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.
Mark Endorsed by MassAlliance
MassAlliance, a political coalition composed of 22 groups including state chapters of the Sierra Club, the the National Association of Social Workers, the National Organization for Women, and the Massachusetts Teachers Association, has endorsed Democratic candidate Paul Mark in the race for the 2nd Berkshire District state representative seat.
"Paul Mark has demonstrated his clear commitment to progressive values,” said MassAlliance Director Georgia Hollister-Isman. “He is energetic and hard-working. He has what it takes to be a leader on Beacon Hill.”
Mark also has received the endorsement of several unions, including United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1459, the Pioneer Valley Building Trades, Carpenters Local 108, Sheetmetal Workers Local 63, the Heat & Frost Insulators Local 6, Ironworkers Local 7, and Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 4. He is an active member in the electrical workers union, and has the full support of the IBEW telephone and electrician locals.
Bissaillon Campaign Hosts Pancake Breakfast
ADAMS, Mass. — The Bissaillon Committee is hosting a pancake breakfast on Sunday, June 6, from 8 to noon at the Adams Elks Lodge, 63 Center St.
The event provides an opportunity to meet David Bissaillon, the candidate running for state representative, 1st Berkshire District, or for people who already know him to learn more about why Bissaillon seeks to represent the district at the State House.
"I hope to see new friends and old at this event, so I can hear about the state legislative issues that matter to you," Bissaillon said.
Bissaillon, a vice president at Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan & Collins Insurance Agency and former president of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, has a long history of community service.
He seeks to convert his professional and community experience to public service by representing the residents of the 11 communities that comprise the 1st Berkshire District. The district consists of Adams, Clarksburg, Florida, North Adams, Savoy and Williamstown, all in Berkshire Couunty, and Charlemont, Hawley, Heath, Monroe and Rowe in Franklin County.
Tickets are $5 for adults; $4 for seniors; and $3 for kids under 12. You may purchase tickets in advance at Creations and Shima in North Adams and Smith Brothers-McAndrews Insurance Agency Inc. in Adams. Tickets will also be sold at the door.
For more information about Bissaillon, visit www.bissaillon.com, call 413-672-2460, or e-mail email@example.com.
Cahill Seeking Grassroots Support
Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill, right, and WJJW host Charles Schneitzlen the MCLA radio station on Friday morning. Cahill was making a swing through the Berkshires that included a stop at a mayors' forum in Lenox.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Tim Cahill wants people to know what he stands for — even if he has to tell one person at a time.
The gubernatorial hopeful was hammered earlier this week with an all-out attack on his record as state treasurer and Quincy city councilor by the Republican Governors Association on behalf of GOP opponent Charles D. Baker Jr., former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health.
"It's a gross distortion of my record," said Cahill on Friday morning during an interview with "Charlie in the Morning" host Charles Schneitzlen at WJJW at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. "[They want] to try to define me before I get to define myself."
Cahill says he's "a fiscal conservative who'll run a fiscally conservative administration." He left the Democratic Party last summer because, he said, the two-party system is broken.
The GOP's motives aren't hard to divine: Scott Brown's stunning election victory in January to fill the Senate seat of the late Edward M. Kennedy has boosted the aspirations of the moribund party — its recent string of governors notwithstanding. With Cahill running as an independent, he threatens to split the vote for Baker.
"The Republicans want to regain power," said Cahill. "[Mississippi] Gov. Haley Barbour [RGA chairman] poured over a $1 million into attack ads."
The former Democrat says he won't attack back — at least not using negative ads.
"Conventional wisdom tells people that I need to go out and run my own negative ads against Charlie Baker or Deval Patrick, which we're not going to do," he said. "We could spend a million or two on the air, but I think that would leave people confused of who's telling the truth. It's much better for people to do it one on one and that's what I'm doing — that's why I'm here today."
Despite slipping polls, he said a rally Thursday night in Dorchester turned out more than 1,100 people. He's building a grassroots network across the state to talk to people "about who I really am and what I've done for the commonwealth."
Cahill points to his efforts to return Lottery monies to towns, and to cleanup and structure the School Building Authority, restoring its financial health and targeting worthwhile, economically feasible projects. If elected, he would apply part of the sales tax revenue into fixing infrastructure problems and give students 21st-century classrooms. Education, he said, is key to rebuilding the economy.
The major portion of Cahill's plan to rejuvenate the state's economy is across-the-board tax cuts and incentives to promote entrepreneurial investment, such as tax relief for the first three years of a startup. He thinks the current and past administrations have focused too much on big business and specialized areas rather than broadly based incentives for all small businesses.
"I was a small-business man out of college. I realized through experience how difficult is to manage your own business when government takes more and more of your revenue," said Cahill. "We want to allow people to keep more of their money."
The Quincy native operated Handshakes Cafe, which grew to three locations during the 1980s, credited the Reagan tax cuts for helping him expand his business.
The cuts would be an investment paid through the job growth — more people working and buying means fewer people depending on government assistance to get them through hard times thus less government spending, he said.
"Let the pivate sector not the public sector rebuild our economy so we can invest in infrastructure."
Cahill was to take up those topics in his address to the Massachusetts Mayors Association later in the morning at Cranwell Resort in Lenox (Gov. Deval Patrick was also speaking Friday; Baker spoke Thursday) and visit Taconic High School in Pittsfield in the afternoon.
For more on Cahill's positions, go to timforgovernor.com.
Longtime City Councilor Cariddi Kicks Off State Rep Campaign
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The sun broke through gray clouds just after noontime Friday. It was perfect synchronicity for Gailanne Cariddi.
To kick off her campaign to become state representative of First Berkshire District, Cariddi shed light on her top priorities in front of the North Adams Public Library. Joined by a modest gathering of family, friends and supporters, including fellow Councilors Ronald Boucher and Marie Harpin, the North Adams native drew upon her more than 20 years of experience as an elected official and her imbedded roots in the business field as the outlining criteria for her candidacy.
"I am committed to using my skills as a listener and facilitator to bring our collective wisdom to Boston," said Cariddi, who is in her 21st year as a city councilor. "I know that working together we can make our district and our commonwealth better, safer and more prosperous."
Cariddi is hoping to fill the position currently held by fellow North Adams resident Daniel E. Bosley, who is ending his 24-year tenure as state rep in an attempt to become Berkshire County sheriff. Cariddi, 56, is running against David Bissaillon and Edward McDonald, both Adams Democrats, with the primary election date set for Sept. 14.
She said the First Berkshire District, which encompasses 11 communities, has an "economic engine" in the arts, culture and creative sector. If elected, Cariddi plans on creating a capital fund to foster the development of new space for artists. She also hit on topics ranging from small-business growth, small-town farming, health-care costs and budget control, which can be found in more detail here.
Cariddi also discussed the state's PILOT ("payment in lieu of taxes") fund, which provides annual payments to communities that host state property. According to Cariddi, the First Berkshire District is home to 47,000 acres of of state-owned land, and in rural towns such as Hawley, Monroe and Savoy, the PILOT fund is a vital source of aid.
"Despite reports from the state auditor that the program be fully funded, this has hardly ever occurred," she said. "This year, the program is slated to be level funded at $27.2 million, well short of where the appropriation needs to be. If elected, I will join the Legislative Rural Caucus to push for full funding of the PILOT budget."
Standing beside Cariddi during her speech, which was taped for Northern Berkshire Community Television, was her 94-year-old father, Jimmy Cariddi. He has been an operating partner with Cariddi Sales Co. for over 70 years, and said his daughter was a hard worker from a very young age.
"She started working with me when she was 10 or 11 years old," he said.
While she's a seasoned vet in city government, Cariddi is looking forward to the new challenges of a broader role. She admitted that the biggest challenge, if elected, will be her status as a freshman rep.
"You don't have all the clout you probably deserve going down to Beacon Hill [as a new rep]," she said. "I think I'll earn their respect with my work ethic and my ability to network and communicate with my co-legislators."