Incumbents Cancel on Tonight's Debates
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Debates for state representative are scheduled tonight, Monday, at Berkshire Community College but the two incumbents have indicated they won't be there.
The debates, sponsored by The Pittsfield Gazette and Pittsfield Community Television, are set to start at 6 with candidates for the 4th Berkshire District and at 7 with candidates for the 3rd Berkshire District.
The debate scheduled for 6 p.m. between incumbent William "Smitty" Pignatelli of Lenox and Green/Rainbow Party candidate Scott Lee Laugenour of Lenox may turn into a one-sided conversation. Pignatelli, who had accepted the debate invitation, informed the Gazette that he confused the date.
The debate may be moved to next week but Laugenour is expected to go on alone tonight. Laugenour, in an e-mail to supporters, said he has also accepted to debate Pignatelli next Monday.
Third District incumbent Christopher N. Speranzo of Pittsfield reportedly informed PCTV by e-mail on Friday that he was "respectfully" declining to attend tonight's debate. The three-term Democrat has been keeping a low profile, especially after it was revealed he was interviewing for the lifetime position of clerk-magistrate of Central Berkshire District Court. He did attend a Democrat kickoff rally in Pittsfield earlier this month, but stayed in the background.
Gazette Editor Jonathan Levine said the 7 p.m. debate will instead be a "conversation" with Speranzo's challenger Mark C. Miller of Pittsfield. Miller, a longtime journalist and former editor of The Berkshire Eagle, is running as the Green/Rainbow candidate.
The debates, such as they are, will be held in BCC's K-111 room and moderated (or interviewed) by David Cachat, coordinator of PCTV's CityLink; seating is first-come, first-served. The event will be telecast on PCTV and live-streamed at www.pittsfieldtv.org.
A second set of debates hosted by BCC and sponsored by the Gazette and PCTV is planned for Monday, Oct. 25, between candidates for the 2nd Berkshire District (Democrat Paul Mark, Republican Michael Case and independent Stefan Racz) and state auditor, including Great Barrington resident and Democrat Suzanne Bump, Republican Mary Connaughton of Framingham and Green/Rainbow candidate Nat Fortune of Whately.
Any updates on tonight's debates will be posted here.
Democrats Prepped for Final Campaign Drive
State Sen. Benjamin Downing, left, coordinator Josh Hochberg, Paul Mark, Tom Bower, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray and Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray joined local Democrats on Monday to kick off the final leg of the 2010 campaign season.
Some 75 party members and officials were on hand to open the campaign office at 31 South St., just recently the headquarters for Tom Bowler's successful campaign for sheriff.
"We forged some tremendous and wonderful friendships - we hope everlasting friendships - we developed some fantastic partnerships working from this location," said Bowler. "We wish the coordinating campaign all the success on Nov. 2 that we did on Sept. 14."
The get-out-the-vote drive may have greater significance on the statewide level where recent polls have Gov. Deval Patrick and Republican challenger Charles Baker in a dead heat than at the local level.
In the heavily Democratic Berkshires, the 1st Berkshire District and county sheriff were decided primary night when no Republicans chose to run. Going into the general election, only Democratic nominee Paul Mark of Hancock has a GOP opponent, Michael Case of Washington; both Reps. Christopher Speranzo of the 3rd District and William "Smitty" Pignatelli in the 4th District will be vying against Green/Rainbow Party candidates Mark C. Miller and Scott Lee Laugenour, respectively.
Patrick, on the other hand, is working hard to fend off Baker, former head of Harvard Pilgrim; Murray's opponent is Richard Tisei, state Senate minority leader. Trailing behind are Treasurer Timothy Cahill, running as an independent, and Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein for governor and Stein's running mate Richard Purcell for lieutenant governor. (Cahill's running mate Paul Loscocco jumped ship last week.)
Murray speaks with Mary K. O'Brien.
Murray reminded those present that he was selected by them, not the governor, but kept his sharpest comments for Patrick's opponent. Baker, a state budget secretary in the 1990s, is running on his fiscal acumen, but Murray dismissed his reputation, saying he raised insurance premiums 150 percent while at Harvard Pilgrim and pointed to his role in the state's modern symbol of waste and fraud.
"The architect of the Big Dig financing plan now wants to be your governor," he told the appreciative crowd.
U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, who is facing Republican Bill Gunn, was supposed to attend but had to cancel. Also missing was Attorney General Martha Coakley, who was in Lee that morning and at The Berkshire Eagle in the afternoon, and Suzanne Bump of Great Barrington, who's running for auditor.
Olver's campaign manager Debra Guachione stepped in to make a pitch for the entire Democratic ticket. "Only four years ago, we broke a 16-year chain of Republican leadership," she said of Patrick and Murray. "Those governors wanted to be in Mexico, Canada, Washington and New York — not Massachusetts."
Murray said Patrick had the perfect cover for the leaving the state during its worst years: "The president of the United States asked me serve."
"But he didn't. He didn't cut and run," the former Worcester mayor continued.
Downing, a former Olver staffer, said it was important to return the Amherst professor to office.
"We need him to continue to be our voice on Capitol Hill," said Downing. "When Democrats remain in power in 2010 and when we make sure the president's agenda isn't stalled by a party that just wants to say no to anything."
In addition to the candidates, the local party members attending included Mary K. O'Brien; Mayor James M. Ruberto, who gave a passionate plug for his friend Patrick; former North Adams Mayor John Barrett III, who has been a strong backer of his former mayoral colleague Murray; Daniel Bianchi; Sherwood Guernsey; and Pittsfield Councilors President Gerald Lee, Christine Yon and Melissa Mazzeo.
Field organizer Josh Hochberg said the vote drive would depend on "friend banks," to prevent people from being inundated with phone calls.
"Open up your cell phone, open up your address book and call your friends," he said.
|Tags: Democrats, Patrick, Murray|
Patrick Plans Community Event in Adams
Deval Patrick will be stumping in Adams on Monday evening, Aug. 8, for one of several campaign events planned across the state. Patrick, a Democrat, is running for re-election as governor.
The "On Our Side: Communities Connecting For Deval Patrick" campaign stop will be held at Forest Park Country Club beginning at 6 p.m.
The meet and greet is open to the public. The Adams Selectmen on Wednesday said they had been informed of the stop as a courtesy and made it clear that Patrick was visiting in his role as a candidate for re-election, not in his capacity as governor.
However, Chairman Michael Ouellette encouraged citizens to attend the event and ask questions of Patrick so to be informed for gubernatorial election.
In a statement on his campaign site, Patrick said: "Policy only matters at the point where it touches people. So, I look forward to the chance to talk with people about the progress we have made in education, health care and job creation, and the work we hope to finish in a second term. This is what grassroots campaigning is all about."
The Adams campaign is the second for the western end of the state and will complete a campaign swing that starts today in Hyannis, followed by Nantucket and Quincy. Patrick has also held a "community connection" in Springfield and in a number of eastern cities.
For more information, go to devalpatrick.com.
Charlie Baker, the Republican candidate for governor, was in Hancock and Pittsfield on Thursday. He first visited Jiminy Peak Ski Resort and then had lunch at the Highland Restaurant.
MacDonald Kicks Off Campaign For State Rep
Ed MacDonald speaks with supporters during Thursday's campaign kickoff dinner at the American Legion in North Adams.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — When Ed MacDonald ran for state representative for 1st Berkshire District 22 years ago, his highest level of education was a general educational development degree.
He heard it from his critics.
"They told me I was a man with an empty suit," MacDonald said. "So I said that when I come back next time, I'll come back with everything."
More than two decades after his defeat, MacDonald, of Adams, has again thrown his hat into the race for state representative. He will square off against David Bissaillon, also of Adams and Gail Cariddi of North Adams in the Democratic primary on Sept. 14, to determine the successor to state Rep. Daniel E. Bosley, D-North Adams, who served in the position for 12 terms.
MacDonald held his official campaign kickoff event Thursday afternoon at the American Legion. The three-hour dinner was a meet-and-greet opportunity for MacDonald's supporters, with all proceeds going to the American Legion baseball league.
After MacDonald's bid fell short in 1988, he was driven to attain the credentials needed to be a strong candidate. He has since earned an associate's degree from Berkshire Community College, a bachelor's from Emerson College, a master's degree in urban and environmental studies from Rensselaer (N.Y.) Polytechnic Institute and a master of business administration from the University of Massachusetts.
MacDonald is particularly proud of his bachelor's from Emerson, considering the great lengths he went to earn it.
"I drove 68,000 miles," said the former Adams selectman. "I drove from Adams to Boston every day for two years, and I finished fifth in my class out of 590."
There was a steady stream of residents at MacDonald's campaign kickoff, which lasted from 4 to 7.
MacDonald, who is currently the town administrator of Chester, said his experience in various fields of government separate him from the other candidates.
"I paid my dues. I'm well diversified," he said. "If you sit down and put us all on paper, who has more background, more information of how government works? That's the difference. I can call someone anywhere in the state and get something done."
If elected, MacDonald said his top priority will be jobs, his second will be taxes and third will be education. He said he'll have a conservative approach to spending, utilizing what he calls "smart dollars." As an example of how he can effectively manage finances, he said that he helped turn a $380,000 deficit in Chester last year into an $80,000 surplus this year.
"We've got to look at every dollar, every expenditure that the state has and make sure that the spending is going to the right places," he said.
According to MacDonald, 74 percent of business growth in Massachusetts comes from small industry, and he is alarmed with the amount of small companies going under in Berkshire County.
"Massachusetts is only giving a one-year roll-off, while the feds give you three years," he said. "So if [Massachusetts] businesses have a bad year, they don't get to roll it over the three-year period. We need to tighten up those issues."
For more information of MacDonald's background and his campaign platform, visit his website.
Szczcepaniak Kicking Off 2nd Berkshire Campaign
Tom Szczepaniak of Dalton will formally announce his candidacy for state representative for the 2nd Berkshire District on Wednesday, May 26, at 5:30PM at the American Legion Post 155, 258 North St. (Route 9) in Dalton.
Szczepaniak, 43, is in his third term as a Dalton selectman and also serves on a number of civic and community boards. He is owner of Variety Trucking & Demolition in Lanesborough.
A Democrat, he will face off in the Sept. 14 primary against Paul Mark of Hancock; the winner will meet the Republican primary winner in November.
The 2nd Berkshire District, consisting of 22 mostly rural towns in Berkshire, Franklin and Hampshire counties, has been represented by Denis E. Guyer of Dalton. Guyer, a Democrat, has declined to stand for re-election.