Nuciforo Releasing Policy Plan During District Tour
The former state senator's eight-point policy plan aims to restore economic justice in America and to restore prosperity to the middle class. The plan aims to revive American manufacturing, ensure retirement security and revitalize small business, among other priorities.
Nuciforo will start the day in Great Barrington, and travel to Holyoke, Springfield, Pittsfield and North Adams.
Nuciforo's tour includes the following times and locations:
8:45: Great Barrington Bagel Company, 777 Main St., Great Barrington
10:30: Open Square, Mill 1, Open Square Way, Holyoke
Noon: Emerson Hall at Mason Wright Retirement Community, 74 Walnut St., Springfield
2 p.m.: Pittsfield Lawn & Tractor, 1548 W. Housatonic St., Pittsfield
4 p.m.: Berkshire Emporium, 59 Main St., North Adams
The public and members of the media are invited to attend. Candidate information here.
Nuciforo, Shein Talk Live on New England Public Radio
Middle Berkshire Registrar of Deeds Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. will join host Susan Kaplan on Monday, July 16, at 4 p.m.; and Alford activist and humorist Bill Shein joins Kaplan on Tuesday, July 17, also at 4 p.m. Each will hold a live, one-hour discussion of their campaigns and the issues facing Massachusetts voters as they go to the polls on Sept. 6 for the primary. Both candidates will take calls from listeners live from New England Public Radio's Peggy & David Starr Studio in Springfield.
Listeners are invited join the conversation by calling toll free: 877-522-8850.
Both special editions of "Focus: Western New England" will air again on their respective dates at 6 p.m. on AM-640 and 91.7-FM all-news WNNZ.
"Focus: Western New England" features news makers and notable thinkers from around the region, and listeners' comments help shape the timely conversations. To listen to past programs, visit www.nepr.net/focus.
Shein Challenges Neal on Campaign Statements
Shein took issue with remarks made by the incumbent 2nd Massachusetts U.S. representative in two interviews that aired on Friday, one on WGBY public television and one on WAMC public radio.
During an interview on WGBY's "Connecting Point," Neal stated that both Shein and Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., Middle Berkshire register of deeds, first entered the race against retiring U.S. Rep. John W. Olver.
The three men are vying for the Democrat nomination to fill Olver's seat in the Sept. 6 primary. With no other challenger, the primary will determine the outcome of the November election.
"These candidacies were based upon John Olver being the congressman," said Neal, of Springfield. "I frankly think John did a terrific job in the 1st Congressional District, and the decision that was rendered to challenge John Olver escapes me. Only to discover that they were then placed in a Hampden County-based congressional district."
Though Nuciforo indicated his intention in 2008 to run for Congress in the Berkshires this year, Shein first announced his intent to run on Monday, Jan. 16, of this year.
Olver announced in October 2011 that he would retire at the end of his 10th term.
The state Legislature voted in November to redraw the districts in a way that merged parts of the former 1st District with Neal's home territory in the 2nd District and reduced the number of congressional districts from 10 to nine.
"I decided to run after realizing that Western Massachusetts was in danger of no longer having a bold, outspoken progressive voice in the Congress next January," said Shein in a statement over the weekend,
"someone who champions fixes to our democracy, fairness in our economy, and urgent action on climate change and other environmental issues."
Olver, citing Neal as "a great friend and partner in the House," endorsed him in his run for the newly redrawn district in February.
Shein also objected to another statement by Neal, which aired on WAMC on Friday, regarding how his campaign is financed.
"The fundraising that I've done is very similar to President Obama, Senator Kerry, and Elizabeth Warren, and much of the rest of the congressional delegation in Massachusetts," Neal told WAMC, in regards to ongoing discussions about the role of money in this election.
"President Obama's campaign committee does not accept a single penny from political action committees or registered lobbyists," responded Shein in a statement. "By comparison, Rep. Neal raises most of his money from PACs and lobbyists, and regularly attends fundraisers thrown specifically for him by corporate lobbyists."
Regarding comparison to Warren's campaign against incumbent Scott Brown for U.S. Senate, Shein says "only 2 percent of Elizabeth Warren's $15.8 million raised has come from PACs — and just 11 percent of her small total of PAC contributions are from corporate interests. By comparison, in this cycle, Rep. Neal has raised fully 76 percent of his money from PACs, with an eye-popping 94 percent [of this portion] from big corporate PACs."
Representatives for Neal reached on Tuesday declined to comment on Shein's statements.
Money has been an issue of heated debate throughout the last few months of campaign talk surrounding this congressional race. All three candidates on the ballot released campaign financing reports for the first quarter of 2012 in late April, demonstrating a continued considerable lead in funds for Neal over his two
Neal raised a total of $122,875 between January and March, compared to $42,493 for Nuciforo and $11,235 for Shein, but the latter candidates pointed to distinctions in the breakdown of income. A majority ($101,250) of Neal's quarterly gain came from committees and PACs, from whom his opponents say they will not accept contributions.
Nuciforo pointed out that he outraised Neal 2 to 1 in individual contributions, while Shein, who only accepts donations of $99 or less, touted his more than $11,000 in unitemized individual contributions (under $200) over Neal's $4,125 in this small donation category.
Neal Sharing Campaign Offices With Warren, Downing
While both offices belong to Neal, Elizabeth Warren's campaign for U.S. Senate, the Massachusetts Democratic Party and Benjamin B. Downing's campaign for state Senate will operate out of Neal's headquarters.
"As we have seen in the past, Democrats are successful when we work together to achieve common goals," said Neal, currently the representative for the 2nd Mass District. "Once I established the locations for my regional campaign headquarters I knew offering Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democratic Party, and Senator Downing the opportunity to join my Springfield and Pittsfield offices would be beneficial to Democrats of the First Congressional District. I look forward to working closely with Elizabeth and continuing the close relationship I have shared with Ben and the Massachusetts Democratic Party."
Neal is running for the Democratic nomination for representative. Part of his current district will be merged with the 1st Mass Distrit beginning in January 2013. Warren is challenging the sitting Republican incumbent for the Senate seat. Downing is running for his fourth term in the state Senate representing communities in Western Massachusetts.
"I'm excited to be opening offices in Springfield and Pittsfield and to continue meeting people throughout Western Massachusetts," said Warren. "I look forward to working with Congressman Neal to address the unique challenges facing the region and to level the playing field for middle class families across the commonwealth."
"It's great to see the grassroots excitement and organizing that Democrats are committed to across Massachusetts," said Downing, who previously served as an intern in Neal's Washington congressional office. "I'm looking forward to working with the Mass Democratic Party, Congressman Neal, and Elizabeth Warren to make sure the Berkshires help elect leaders committed to fighting for the middle class."
Neal's regional campaign headquarters are both situated in residential areas with high traffic. While the Pittsfield office is a short distance from the downtown business district, the Springfield office is located in the heart of the East Forest Park neighborhood that was decimated during last year's June 1st tornado.
"Winning campaigns are fueled by volunteers with the buzz and excitement created through an active headquarters," Neal said. "We are fortunate to have campaign offices in prime locations that will enable our volunteers to mobilize and organize effectively."
Berkshire Congressional Candidates Wrap Up Signature Push
Bill Shein of Alford, above, said he's closing in on the number of signatures. Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., left, was the first candidate to submit signatures for the primary. Both are hoping to retire U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.
The former state senator from Pittsfield turned in his signatures to the secretary of the commonwealth's Springfield office Thursday.
In total, 2,249 signatures collected by his campaign were submitted. His campaign celebrated by launching a fundraising appeal later in the day asking for donations of $22.49.
"Being the first candidate to complete this monumental task is a clear sign of the strength of our organization and message," Nuciforo said at a press conference at the Springfield office. "Voters across central and Western Massachusetts have told me time, and time again that after 24 years, they're ready to send a strong Democrat to Washington that will stand up for woman's right to choose, and stand up against the Wall Street deregulation ushered on by Rep. [Richard] Neal."
"This is the first time Rep. Neal has had a meaningful primary challenge, so thanks to the dozens of volunteers, interns, family and friends that were out pounding the pavement and knocking on doors to secure my name on the Sept. 6 primary ballot, we're one step closer toward being represented by a real progressive."
Bill Shein's campaign is in the final stages of signature collecting, the Alford resident said at an appearance at a May Day rally held in Pittsfield on Tuesday. He described the campaign as "going quite well."
"I'm running against a couple of candidates, one of whom has an awful lot of money," Shein told supporters at the Park Square rally. Shein pointed out that a cornerstone of his platform has been the need to reform the influence of money in politics, which he said has become a leading issue in the campaign.
"Here I am, some guy from Alford, raising small money, and the conversation in the campaign for three and a half months now has been about the issues that I'm advancing. So I take that as a real sign that what we're talking about is something that people care a lot about."
These recent comments continue a running theme in challenges by the two Berkshire County candidates of their opponent, Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield, which is shifting into the 1st Mass District. Neal, who has served the 2nd District since 1989, has a vast lead over Nuciforo and Shein in spendable campaign funds.
All three declared candidates in the race recently released campaign financing reports for the first quarter of 2012. Neal raised a total of $122,875 between January and March, compared to $42,493 for Nuciforo and $11,235 for Shein, but the latter candidates pointed to distinctions in the breakdown of income. A majority ($101,250) of Neal's quarterly gain came from committees and PACs, from whom his opponents say they will not accept contributions. Nuciforo pointed out that he outraised Neal 2 to 1 in individual contributions, while Shein, who only accepts donations of $99 or less, touted his more than $11,000 in unitemized individual contributions (under $200) over Neal's $4,125 in this small donation category.
Neal has repeatedly dismissed the notion that large donations from PACs influence his priorities in Congress.
"Successful political campaigns raise money to make sure their candidate's message is heard by voters," Neal spokesman William Tranghese said in a statement. "Congressman Neal is grateful to the many men and women in the district and neighboring states who donate to his campaign and are supporting his re-election."