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Downing to Serve as Chief Surrogate for Coordinated Campaign Effort

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Democratic Party has named state Sen. Ben Downing co-chair of the Coordinated Campaign, a crucial post that will serve as the chief surrogate for Democratic efforts throughout the election cycle.

Downing, of Pittsfield, is a rising star in Democratic politics and has represented the Berkshires and portions of Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden counties since 2007.
As chair of Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, Downing’s leadership on clean energy has helped make Massachusetts No. 1 in the nation. According to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, there are now nearly 80,000 clean energy jobs in Massachusetts, with a 24 percent growth in the last two years.
“Massachusetts is back in the leadership business because of the Democratic Party,” said Downing. “As Democrats, we’ve got a great story to tell about leading the nation in business competitiveness, education, clean energy and veteran’s services. I’m excited to travel the commonwealth and tell that story.”
Downing’s Coordinated Campaign co-chair will be named at a later date.



Gubernatorial Candidate Kayyem Focuses on Future

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
Juliette Kayyem talked with the Berkshire Brigades on Wednesday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Juliette Kayyem doesn't do luck. She does preparedness.

After being called on three times to lend her hand to the government in the wake of tragedy, she is trying to get out in front by running for governor to make sure Massachusetts is prepared for the future.

"We need to solve the problems of today and there are many. But, we need to solve the problems in a way that is sustainable in the future," the Democratic candidate said at a meet and greet on Wednesday with the Berkshire Brigades.

Kayyem's career began as a civil rights attorney before she moved into homeland security. She served on the National Commission on Terrorism and later was appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick as the state's first undersecretary for Homeland Security, leading the state's push for security planning.

She moved back to the federal level as President Barack Obama's appointment for assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs. There, she coordinated responses to major tragedies such as the BP oil spill and the H1N1 flu outbreak while also planning on issues such as immigration.

"Two presidents and a governor have asked me to make government work when it matters the most but it matters most all of the time and that's the way I would think of it as governor," said Kayyem, who also adds lecturer at Harvard, former Boston Globe columnist and mother of three to her resume.

Kayyem said her task in those roles was not just focused on terrorism but all of the factors that contribute to safety and security — such as gun control or climate change.

"I know people hear homeland security and they think terrorism. But, it is not that. Homeland security is as much about the homeland as it is security," she said.

Her views on climate change is one example of how she would prepare the state for the future. While Kayyem believes the state should reduce carbon emissions, she also believes it should build infrastructure to reduce the effects. She said it was only a few miles and low tides that kept the state from being significantly impacted by last year's Hurricane Sandy. Since the state can't solve the problem alone, Massachusetts needs to be prepared for the changes.

Another way the state needs to prepare is economically, because she doesn't believe the state's revenue projects are correct — particularly with the amount expected from the tech tax that was repealed and income from casinos. Nor does she believes the current tax system will provide the needed revenue for the future.

"We're not sure what we can expect from that," Kayyem said. "It is the obligation of the next governor, you need to figure out what does the budget look like and what is realistic and unrealistic sources of revenue."

She is calling for a complete overhaul of the tax system, reforming the criminal justice system, and finding where to reduce expenses.

Kayyem's career has been focused on public safety but she wants to do more for the people of Massachusetts.

"I think we're going to have to start talking about a new tax system that is fair for everyone and gives the state a source of revenue not just for today but in the future," she said.

And as with other democrats, she is calling for investment in infrastructure and education — saying those are ways the state can best prepare for the future.

She said the state shouldn't be backing down from economic competition with other states or countries but push to make the state the best.

"All of us on the Democratic side are going to talk to you about jobs, education and infrastructure. And that's good. I'm going to talk about raising the minimum wage and that's right. And paid sick leave and that's right. That's the bare minimum. What we need to prepare for is a stronger, resilient state in the future," Kayyem said.

Kayyem said the state needs to have a vision of what it wants to be in the future and set a path to together. There are jobs in transportation, life sciences, technology and biotechnology, she said, and government needs to cut through the minutiae to get to the solutions. Government can't just look for a quick solution, she said.

"One of the good things about being a new politician is you can see the challenges of politics," she said.

For example, Kayyem said while officials debate charter schools, they should instead be discussion how the children are currently learning and how the state can prepare them for those future jobs.

Kayyem says the government's job is to be progressive and work for everybody in the state.

"Government has the capacity to do good for people every and also that government can always do better. There is no finish line," she said. "Government's job is to open doors and make sure everyone belongs."

Kayyem joined the race for governor in August and is vying for the Democratic nomination along with Martha Coakley, Joseph Avellone, Donald Berwick and Steven Grossman. Also seeking the corner office is independent candidate Evan Falchuk and Republican Charles Baker.

Kayyem says she brings a "new kind of leadership," which sets her apart from the other candidates.

"I represent a new kind of leadership, a new generation that we saw represented in Boston race, where people like me, who have different skills — I know government but maybe politics is new to me — can actually provide a vision and a way of moving forward that is different and something people want to hear," she said.

More information at www.juliettekayyem.com.


North Adams & Pittsfield Election 2013 Results

Mayor Richard Alcombright was returned to a third term with a margin of 670 votes
over his opponent, former
City Councilor Robert M. Moulton Jr.
  Ward 1 Ward 2 Ward 3 Ward 4 Ward 5 Total
Alcombright  465  388  332  516  448 2,149 
Moulton  309  281  195  369  325  1,479
These results are official.


City Council (top 9) unofficial results
Name Ward 1  Ward 2  Ward 3  Ward 4 Ward 5 Total
Lisa Blackmer  453  406  301  535  466  2,161
Keith Bona  461  443  303  543  495  2,245
Jennifer Breen  415  373  267  457  408  1,920
Nancy Bullett  494  442  315  574  506  2,331
Eric Buddington  329  260  257  349  362  1,557
Robert Cardimino  264  222  170  277  259  1,192
Michael Hernandez  219  200  157  253  243  1,072
Benjamin Lamb  520  438  321  582  499  2,360
Kate H. Merrigan  552  472  350  619  524  2,517
Joshua Moran  483  378  260  544  434  2,099
David Robbins  352  281  201  369  343  1,546
Wayne Wilkinson  400  305  223  411  340  1,679

North Adams School Committee     McCann School Committee
  Boulger Hodgkins Moulton Vareschi   Gigliotti Rivers
Ward 1 519 405 448  328    564  536  
Ward 2 439 353 403 293   482 467
Ward 3 319 268 272 222   376 346
Ward 4 570 483 537 330   608 625
Ward 5 524 440 460 290   584 540
  2,371 1,949 2,120 1,463   2,614 2,514

North Adams City Council unofficials results, in order, were Kate Hanley Merrigan, Benjamin Lamb, Nancy Bullett, Keith Bona, Lisa Blackmer, Joshua Moran, Jennifer Breen, Wayne Wilkinson and Eric Buddington elected, with David Robbins, Robert Cardimino and Michael Hernandez rounding out the field.

Winning re-election on the School Committee were H. Putnam Boulger, John Hockridge and Mark P. Moulton, with newcomer Michele Vareschi out of the running.

Both incumbents Paul Gigliotti and Gary Rivers ran unopposed for the Northern Berkshire Vocational District School Committee.


















Ward 1

Christine Yon

Lisa Tully

 480  565
Ward 3

Nicholas Caccamo

Richard Latura

 1,013  308
Ward 6

John Krol

Joseph Nichols

 753  373
at-Large  (4) Total
Kathleen Amuso  3,889
Barry Clairmont  3,459
James Conant  1,678
Churchill Cotton  3,916
Melissa Mazzeo  4,182
Mark Miller  2,373
Donna Rivers  3,443
School Committee (6) Total
Joshua Cutler  3,825
Daniel Elias  4,653
Pamela Farron  4,104
Anthony Riello  4,647
Cindy Taylor  4,286
Katherine Yon  4,826
Brittany Douglas 2,964



Tully Upsets Yon In Pittsfield Election

Staff Reports

Lisa Tully ousted incumbent Christine Yon.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Ward 1 Councilor Christine Yon was ousted from her seat Tuesday night after voters went for her challenger Lisa Tully.
Tully defeated Yon in the Ward 1 race by a vote of 565-480. Yon was seeking her third term in the position while this was Tully's first campaign for public office.
"I'm so ready to go it's incredible," Tully said after receiving the news that she won.
Following a preliminary election in which Yon received 166 more votes than her, Tully said she knew the race was a close one and was shocked by the results. 
"I'm just excited to take on this role. To teach Ward 1 about safety issues, to be involved in the community issues, to really be a people-person for my Ward 1 constituents and to help the city progress. I think we all can work together to progress the city to where it should be," Tully said.
Tully won't be the only newcomer to the City Council after the election. Nicholas Caccamo defeated Richard Latura for Ward 3 councilor. Caccamo and Latura were vying to replace Paul Capitanio, who is facing criminal charges, after he opted not to run for re-election.
Caccamo won easily by reeling in 1,013 votes to Latura's 308. Caccamo said he is excited to begin his work on the council and was humbled by the overwhelming support.
"Its very humbling to get a victory of that margin," Caccamo said. "You just hope to get 51 percent and a win is a win no matter how big the margin."
Caccamo ran in two previous elections, once for mayor and once for councilor at-large. He said his experience in those campaigns helped this election.
"I think oftentimes name recognition tends to go a long way," Caccamo said. "I think I ran a good, positive campaign before and I continued that with this one."
His campaign had some last-minute worries when questions were raised about the city's new charter and when that would be in effect. Caccamo works in the school system and the new charter would exclude him from the elected position when goes into effect. He said he consulted the state election office, which said the charter wouldn't go into effect until 2015 but the ultimate ruling could be in the hands of the city solicitor.
The revised City Charter passed easily with 4,688 vote in favor to only 1,491 against. It now goes to the Legislature.
Another newcomer is Kathleen Amuso, a longtime School Committee member, who won one of four at-large seats on the City Council. Amuso joins incumbents Barry Clairmont, Churchill Cotton and Melissa Mazzeo with at-large positions. Kevin Sherman opted not to run for re-election for an at-large seat.
Clairmont just squeaked by in that race by only 16 votes. Newcomer Donna Todd Rivers just missed bumping him from the seat with 3,443 votes to his 3,459. Meanwhile, Mazzeo was the top at-large vote-getter with 4,182, followed by Cotton with 3,916 and Amuso with 3,889. Mark Miller and James Conant rounded out the field with 2,373 and 1,678 respectively.
In Ward 6, incumbent John Krol defeated opponent Joseph Nichols, 753 votes to 373. 
Krol, who publicly announced his run just before the deadline to enter the race, credited his level of interaction with Ward 6 residents since that time with much of his success at the polls. 
"People in the beginning didn't even know if I was going to run," Krol said following the election. "When I decide to run, I really run. I take it very seriously." 
Krol, who will now enter his third term in January, said that through 12 weeks of intensive door-to-door campaigning, he managed to "really re-engage and re-educated the voters" about himself and his accomplishments representing them the past four years.
"I took it to the constituents," Krol said. "You have to drive that message home."
In the final days of the race, Krol had rebuked his opponent over what he denounced as "untrue accusations," including frequent claims he had been unresponsive councilor, attacks Krol thinks may have hurt Nichols' campaign.
"With my opponent, the entire foundation of his whole campaign was unfair and untrue," said Krol. "I think I've shone that I was more than responsive, I was effective."
In the race for School Committee, Katherine Yon, Daniel Elias, Anthony Riello, Cynthia Taylor, Pamela Farron and Joshua Cutler won the six open seats. Brittany Douglas was the odd person out but finished with 2,964 votes despite not having very much of a public presence until Tuesday, when supporters were holding signs at various polling locations.
In uncontested races, Mayor Daniel Bianchi polled 5,143 votes; City Clerk Linda Tyer, 5,272; Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi, 466; Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell, 915; Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop, 539; and Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli, 569.
A total of 6,894 votes were cast of the 28,118 registered voters, a 24.52 percent turnout. 

Voters took to the polls on Tuesday to choose a new City Council and School Committee.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Turnout has been low so far in the city election Tuesday.

Voters are electing a new City Council and School Committee. There are three ward races, seven vying for four at-large City Council seats and seven seeking six positions on the School Committee.

Tuesday saw supporters and candidates at the polling locations holding signs to rally last minute support. But, the number of people casting votes has been low — somewhat expected because there is no mayoral race.

At 1 p.m. in Ward 4B only 320 made it to the polls with 3A and 6A showing similar numbers with 291 and 376. By 2 p.m. in Ward 1A and 1B, a total of only 521 votes were cast.

"I'm feeling there is a low voter turnout but I'm very optimistic," said Joseph Nichols, who was outside of Columbus Arms on Columbus Street rallying voters in his race against incumbent John Krol for Ward 6.

Nichols said this is the first time he sought election against an incumbent, raising the difficulty of winning. But, on Tuesday afternoon he was feeling good about his support.

"It's been a great experience going door to door and meeting the Ward 6 residents," Nichols said of the campaign. "It's a lot of hard work but I'm happy to be a candidate."

His competitor, Krol, said he did what he could do to drive a higher turnout. He said he is happy with the number of his supports he saw at the polls.

"I knew we wouldn't have additional momentum to drive turnout. [But] I think we've had a steady flow," Krol said, also outside of Columbus Arms. "I think I did everything I could."

This is only the second time Krol has faced competition for the seat and Nichols is no stranger to campaigns after representing Ward 7 previously and launching a bid for mayor in 2011.

In Ward 1, Lisa Tully, who is vying for the seat against incumbent Christine Yon, was feeling good about her first campaign. Tully was outside of Reid Middle School where both Ward 1 precincts are polling.

"I think I made it a personal campaign and let's hope it works," Tully said, adding that he focus was on meeting every voter face to face and sending handwritten letters asking for support. "If worst comes to worst, I've had a great experience."

Yon also spent the morning campaigning outside of Reid Middle School but she was not there at the time iBerkshires stopped by.


Alcombright Wins Third Term; Younger Council Elected

By Tammy Daniels & John DurkaniBerkshires Staff
Mayor Richard Alcombright won a third term for mayor on Tuesday night.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Mayor Richard Alcombright decisively won a third term on Tuesday night, calling for unity and saying it was "time to move this forward."

Alcombright polled 2,149 votes to challenger Robert M. Moulton Jr.'s 1,479, winning about 60 percent of ballots cast.

This election, even more than Alcombright's 2009 victory, was a changing of the old guard.

Along with returning the mayor to office, voters also swept a new, far younger slate of councilors into City Hall by large margins.

Kate Hanley Merrigan, 34, led the pack with 2,517 votes. The four incumbents running were also returned — Keith Bona, Lisa Blackmer, Nancy Bullett and Jennifer Breen. Newcomers elected were Josh Moran, Benjamin Lamb, Wayne Wilkinson and Eric Buddington.

"I'm both proud and humbled to be elected to this third term," said Alcombright to cheering supporters, many clad in green, at Mediterra.

"Well, you always hope to win, we didn't win. We got the message out there. It doesn't resonate I guess with the voters. But we believed in it we were passionate about it," said Moulton, at a quieter gathering at the American Legion. "Dick's an awful nice fellow and we lost and he won and people get what they vote for and that's the American way and I can live with that."

Alcombright said he'd spoken with his longtime friend and hoped to get together with him in the coming months to see if they hash out some of their differences. He thank the former city councilor for running a great race, along with every candidate who had put themselves out for a chance to serve their city.

"It takes great courage to put yourself and your family into the public arena these days," he said.

Left out of the running for council were David Robbins, Robert Cardimino and Michael Hernandez. Returned to office were School Committee incumbents Heather Boulger, John Hockridge and Mark Moulton and McCann School Committee incumbents Paul A. Gigliotti and Gary F. Rivers.

But he wasn't holding back on who he thought his real opponent was: The last three elections have been "literally about John Barrett," whom he ousted from the corner office in 2009 and who has supported the last two mayoral challengers, Moulton very publicly.

"I have run each time against John Barrett and I have now beat him three times," he said to applause. "I'm hoping that three is the charm."

He called for an end to negativity and challenged residents "to pull the rope in the same direction, those of us in green, those of us red, and yes, those of us that are still in blue."

It was time to stop petty politics that slow things down, said Alcombright, saying that the city needed to grow to solve its financial situation.

"We've got to stop this, we've just got to stop this," he said afterward. "We have a community that wants to move forward. We've got a new young energetic council.

"It's time ... it's my time and it's our time to move this city forward."

"I think there are going to be some exciting projects and we don't have to worry about someone trying to knock it down," said Bona, who added that he thought running on negativity doesn't win elections — or aligning with city's longtime former mayor.

One of those new councilors, Moran, said he's looking forward to "positive discussions with people who don't necessarily agree" but who can work together to compromise.

"They might have their own avenue how to address an issue," he said, adding it was time to overcome the city's negativity. "It's going to be really fun to hear people say we want to go after that. ... That is our city and this is how we're going to do it."

Buddington, who squeaked into ninth place by 11 votes (unofficially) on this third council try, said he was thrilled to have a chance to represent citizens. "It's so gratifying to live in a city where everyone is pleasant and civil ... with some exceptions."

Moulton plans on keeping busy with his television show and his businesses and not to re-enter the public arena any time soon.
"It was a little hectic but I'll tell you I met a lot of great people and we got out there, going door to door, every weekend for the last five, six weeks," Moulton said. "We talked to literally hundreds of people and whether they were for us or against us everybody was courteous... and we got our issues out there, and people I never knew before that was a positive thing on this campaign."
Moulton said Alcombright will have a tough job in the upcoming term working with a depleted budget.
"He's going to have his plate full just like I knew I would have my plate full."
The mayor said as much, and that he'd been upfront on addressing the city's financial woes and crime issues. No politician wants to see taxes go up, he said, "but you have to meet your budget."

"I think mostly people are seeing the growth, I think they're seeing the unemployment rate coming down, I think they're seeing the good things we're doing," he gave as reasons for his re-election."

But, he said, it wasn't about him but about everyone who'd been working with him. It was about unity, said Alcombright.

There was agreement among those celebrating at his victory party.

"I think bottom line though, it all comes down to having a council that's strong and visionary, and there are a lot of visionaries on this new council," said resident Kurt Kolok.

Turnout continued to be steady all day, with more than 30 percent of voters heading to the polls. At St. Elizabeth's Parish Center, some 42 percent of the voters in Wards 1, 2, 3 and 5 had cast ballots by 5:30.

Both mayoral candidates said they felt good about the voters they'd seen and spoken to at the polls.

"It's been a great day, I think voter turnout has been pretty good," said the incumbent, Richard Alcombright. "I fell pretty comfortable right now, seeing folks who are voting. I seem to be getting a good reaction."

The challenger, Robert M. Moulton Jr., on the other side of the driveway, also was feeling a good response.

"We've talked to hundreds of people, people have been good, it's been a great community thing," he said. "It's very heartening to see the community come together like this no matter who wins."

Both said at this point, it was up the voters.

Michael Hernandez and Eric Buddington were hoping the voters will swing their way this time around. Both have been up for City Council seats before and need to get into the top nine vote-getters of the dozen running.

"I feel great, I feel good I'm optimistic I'll win a seat," said Hernandez, who noted the large and steady turnout. "It's been larger than I would have thought."

Buddington, who spent much of the day at the polls with his young son, Solomon, said he didn't like to guess.

 "But it's sure been a nice day out, warm and not too breezy," he said, and referred to a collegial atmosphere among the candidates and supporters. "This section has been very warm and welcoming to everybody. There's been no strife in this part ... we've been very well behaved."

Fellow council candidate Cardimino had reportedly continued to clash with police over his attempts to make contact with voters.

Candidates and supporters line the sidewalk around St. Elizabeth's Parish Center.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Voter turnout is described as "steady" at St. Elizabeth's Parish Center early this afternoon.

Candidates and supporters lined the street in front the polling location for Wards 1, 2, 3 and 5 in the chilled air, waving at drivers.

Election worker Ron O'Brien pegged the turnout so far at about 10  to 12 percent, or a little over that.

"It's been steady but not a big crowd," he said. "There have been no lines except when we opened."

The expectation is for 30 to 40 percent of the city's more than 8,000 registered voters to cast ballots. O'Brien pointed to a mayoral race with candidates of very opposing views as well as the slate of very new candidates running for City Council as good reasons for a larger turnout.

Last election saw a turnout of 42 percent; polls are open to 7 p.m.

Some of the candidates outside said they'd been getting good responses from voters.

"A lot of people have shaken my hand," said City Council candidate Robert Cardimino, who was frustrated when officers told him he could no longer reach over a low wall to shake hands with voters. "I can't shake hands with you ... the police told me I can't, " he said as a voter reached across to him.

Cardimino said he called Police Director Michael Cozzaglio to find out why shaking hands was a problem.

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Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Election
Tuesday, Nov. 4

Voting is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation was Oct.15.

Candidates on the ballot in races for state office; all others on the ballot are unopposed. Links will take you to their campaign websites.

U.S. Senator
Edward J. Markey, Democrat
Brian J. Herr, Republican

Governor/Lieutenant Governor
Charlie Baker & Karyn Polito, Republican
Martha Coakley & Stephen Kerrigan, Democrat
Evan Falchuk & Angus Jennings, United Independent Party
Scott Lively & Shelly Saunders, Independent
Jeff McCormick & Tracy Post, Independent 

Attorney General
Maura Healey, Democratic
John B. Miller, Republican

Secretary of State
William Francis Galvin, Democratic
David D'Arcangelo, Republican
Daniel L. Factor, Green-Rainbow

Deborah B. Goldberg, Democratic
Michael James Heffernan, Republican
Ian T. Jackson, Green-Rainbow

Suzanne M. Bump, Democratic
Patricia S. Saint Aubin, Republican
MK Merelice, Green-Rainbow

Municipal Elections

The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015

You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.

2010 Special Senate Election Results

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