Patrick Throws Support Behind Pignatelli
The election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
"I am honored to have the support of Governor Patrick. He has been a great friend and advocate for the Berkshires over the past six years and we are lucky to have him in the State House," said the Lenox Democrat. "He is well aware of the unique issues we face here in the Berkshires and I know he has made it a priority of his to support the initiatives and programs we have here."
He continued, "I am proud to be a partner and supporter of the governor and his agenda of moving Massachusetts forward and building on the successes of the past several years. Thanks to the efforts of this administration over the past few years in weathering the Great Recession, we continue to lead the nation in job growth, education, health care, veteran's services and information technology and we are in a great position to take advantage of the improving economy."
SEIU Local 509 Endorses Pignatelli for 4th Berkshire District
The election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
"I have great respect and admiration for the hard working members of the SEIU Local 509 and I am truly honored to have won their endorsement of my campaign," said Pignatelli in a statement.
"Every day these folks go out and provide the care and support that our most vulnerable citizens need and I am proud to be able to represent such selfless and hard-working folks. I would like to thank the members of the Local 509 for their support and I look forward to working with them further," the Lenox Democrat continued.
Melody Hugo, deputy political director of SEIU Local 509, said that "Given Representative Pignatelli's commitment to working families and our members in particular, this decision was an easy one."
Pignatelli said he has been a strong supporter of SEUI priorities, and was a strong advocate during the budget debate relating to the Human Service Salary Reserve line item. He also supported an amendment filed by Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick, that would fully fund the salary reserve. Private provider human-service workers had gone without an annualized pay increase since 2007. The final budget included $20 million for the reserve and Pignatelli, along with his colleagues in the House and Senate, were able to ensure that this funding stayed intact throughout the final stages of the budget debate.
SEIU Local 509 represents more than 12,000 human service workers throughout Massachusetts, including as professional, direct care, and support staff at private agencies that receive funding to provide a variety of social services to elders, at-risk children, and people with mental illness and developmental disabilities.
Service Employees International Union has 2 million members and is focused on uniting workers in public services, long-term care, property services, and hospital systems. It is the largest health care union, the largest property services union, and the second-largest public employees union.
Social Workers State Chapter Endorses Pignatelli
Pignatelli is a candidate for re-election to represent the 4th Berkshire District. The election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
"I am thrilled and honored to win the endorsement of the NASW-MA PACE and I wish to express my sincere gratitude for their support. I greatly admire the wonderful work that the NASW members do, especially out here in the Berkshires," said Pignatelli in a statement. "They are really an integral part of our communities and particularly in the rural areas out here they are on the frontlines of delivering care and support to our residents."
Pignatelli has been a supporter of social workers throughout his time in the State House, particularly by being a lead sponsor and supporter of An Act Establishing an Education Loan Repayment Program for Social Workers in Areas of Need. This legislation will create a student-loan repayment pilot program for licensed certified social workers in underserved and high-need areas of Massachusetts, such as Berkshire County.
This bill is needed, said the representative, because the levels of debt that licensed social workers are graduating with are unmanageable and dissuade qualified students from staying in the field or, out of financial necessity, from pursuing social work as a career.
Founded in 1957 the National Association of Social Workers is the largest organization of professional social workers in the world, with over 155,000 members in 55 chapters.
The Massachusetts Chapter of NASW is the major professional social work organization in the state. NASW is committed to the mission of advancing professional social work practice and the profession; and to promoting human rights, social and economic justice, and unimpeded access to services for everyone. Its 8,300 members work in a broad range of settings including hospitals and other health care settings, community agencies, government, academia, business, nursing homes, schools, and private practice.
United Auto Workers Endorse Laugenour in Rep Race
President of the UAW Massachusetts State Cap Council, Willie Desnoyers, specifically told Scott in a letter dated Aug. 10, 2012, that the UAW is "looking forward to working with Scott on important issues that concern Massachusetts working families. These issues include quality health care and education, along with fair wages and worker's rights."
Laugenour is honored by this endorsement. "We are working hard to bring a choice for real progressive change to voters. I stand for fair taxes and health care for all residents in the Commonwealth. Without a good education and jobs-supporting infrastructure the quality of life for the average Massachusetts resident declines. I intend to continue to stand up to business as usual. The choice for the November 6th general election will be between voting to keep things the same or voting for real progressive change. I thank the UAW for recognizing this and for supporting my candidacy."
Laugenour, a Green-Rainbow Party candidate, is running in a two-way race for the seat currently occupied by Democrat William "Smitty" Pignatelli, who is seeking re-election. The Green-Rainbow Party does not solicit or accept corporate lobbyist contributions, unlike the political parties with which current Beacon Hill incumbents affiliate.
The answers that Laugenour submitted to the UAW 2012 Candidate Questionnaire can be viewed online.
Neal Leads Congressional Race in Endorsements, Fundraising
|Clockwise from left: Richard Neal, Bill Shein and Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. face off on Thursday in a Democratic primary that will determine the winner of the newly drawn 1st Mass District. Neal, representative for the 2nd Mass District, has gained more endorsements and campaign money than the two Berkshires candidates.|
Neal has served the 2nd District in the House of Representatives since 1989, and is a senior member of the influential House Ways and Means Committee. Last year's redistricting announcement moved his native Springfield into the new 1st District, where Neal began introducing himself to new voters in Berkshire and Franklin counties at the beginning of 2012, following the anouncement in late 2011 that incumbent Rep. John W. Olver, D-Amherst, would retire at the end of this term.
Neal officially entered the race in mid-May, filing triple the number of signatures needed to appear on the ballot at 7,340. Seventeen percent of signatures came from residents of Berkshire County, which trails a distant second behind Hampden County in district registered voters, at 18 percent compared to 63 percent in Hampden.
"The consolidation of Western Massachusetts is not a bad thing, it's a good thing," Neal told iBerkshires on one of his earliest visits. "I can assure people that I will vigorously represent the interests of the Berkshires with the same enthusiasm that I represent my district."
Nuciforo first declared his intention to run in this election in 2009 as a challenger to Olver, prior to the plan for the redistricting. Currently the Middle Berkshire Register of Deeds, Nuciforo served as state senator from Pittsfield from 1997 to 2006, and chaired the Joint Committee on Banks and Banking, which became the Joint Committee on Financial Services. Nuciforo launched his full-scale 2012 campaign with a bus tour in early February, having already begun building support among some local Democrats with events in Pittsfield and elsewhere over the previous months. Nuciforo became the first to turn in papers to appear on the ballot on May 3, with 2,249 signatures.
"This is going to be a watershed moment in American politics," Nuciforo said at one Pittsfield appearance, "because people in this country have felt more and more detached from the people who are supposed to be representing them. That's what this election's going to be all about."
Alford writer, humorist and political activist Bill Shein announced his intention to run in mid-January. Other than a 2004 parody campaign for president, Shein has never run for public office but did work on Paul Simon's presidential campaign in 1988 and for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee after graduating from Tufts University in 1990. His op-ed column, "Reason Gone Mad," has won three National Press Club Award for Humor and appears in The Berkshire Eagle. Shein turned in 2,349 signatures to qualify on the ballot on June 4.
"In the Congress, I look forward to working with my new colleagues and reform activists from across the political spectrum to make vital changes in service of a democracy that works for all of us," said Shein in a recent statement.
Public endorsements for his opponents, in contrast, have been scarce. While Nuciforo's campaign has seen contributions from some local elected officials, including Pittsfield and North Adams city councilors, there have been no publicized endorsements. Shein was endorsed in June by L. Scott Laugenour of Lenox, Green-Rainbow Party candidate for 4th Berkshire District state representative.
The most significant disparity between the campaign of the Springfield congressman and his Berkshire-based opponents, however, is in fundraising and spending. Neal has spent just over $1.4 million in the race, according to his most recent FEC filings, with more than $2 million left remaining in his campaign fund. Nuciforo has raised a total of $242,209 in this election cycle, and spent $242,459, with a total of $100,620 left. Shein, whose campaign only accepts contributions of $99 or less, has raised only $20,035 and spent $14,710.
Funding has been a largely looming issue in the race, with Nuciforo and Shein repeatedly targeting Neal's large fundraising contributions from corporations and political action committees. Neal has maintained that donors do not influence his voting record in Congress.
On election day, Neal will vote at the Boys & Girls Club in Springfield, then host an election night results party at the Community Music School of Springfield at 8 p.m., to be followed by an expected "Thank You" breakfast in Pittsfield the following morning at Dottie's Coffeeshop.
Nuciforo will cast his vote at Capeless Elementary School, and will be gathering with supporters to watch results at Mazzeo's Ristorante, 1015 South St., Pittsfield starting at 7:30 p.m. Shein will vote at Alford Town Hall, with his election night meet-up at Gypsy Joint in Great Barrington beginning around 7 p.m.