Mass. Voter Deadline; Vermont Primary
Massachusetts voters have until Wednesday, Aug. 25, to register to vote in the Sept. 14 primary. Most town and city clerks will be open late Wednesday to accommodate voter registration; check with your town or city hall to confirm times.
Berkshire County will be selecting from a range of state offices on Sept. 14, including state representatives in the 1st and 2nd districts and sheriff on Sept. 14, to determine the Republican and Democratic candidates for the November election.
Vermont's holding its primary elections earler than usual: voting is tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 24, with the main event the selection of a Democratic candidate for governor in the general election.
On the Democratic ballot are state Sen. Susan Bartlett of Hyde Park; six-term Secretary of State Deb Markowitz of Montpelier; state Sen. Douglas Racine of Richmond, a former lieutenant governor; state Sen. Peter Shumlin of Putney, current president pro tem of the Senate; and Google executive and former legislator Matt Dunne of Hartland.
The winner will face the Republican candidate, current Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, and Progressive candidate Martha Abbott and independents Cris Ericson, Dan Feliciano, Ben Mitchell, Em Peyton and Dennis Steele on Nov. 2.
Polls open in Pownal at 7 a.m. at the Pownal Center firehouse; in Readsboro at 10 a.m. in the school gym; and in Stamford at 10 a.m. in the school gym. All polls close at 7 p.m. For other polling locations and opening times, click here.
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Sheriff, 1st Berkshire Debates This Week
Voters in Pittsfield and North County will have several chances to hear from candidates for sheriff and representative over the next few days.
Both races will essentially be decided in the September primary just a month away because all the candidates for the two offices are Democrats.
The debates begin tonight, Monday, at Conte Community School in Pittsfield as Thomas N. Bowler and Daniel E. Bosley face off for a second time in their pursuit to become Berkshire County sheriff. The candidates met in June in a forum hosted by the Williamstown Democratic Committee at Town Hall.
Monday's debate is being hosted by the West Side and Morningside neighborhood initiatives in collaboration with The Berkshire Eagle and broadcast on Pittsfield Community Television. The debate runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Bosley, currently the state representative for the 1st Berkshire District, and Bowler, a 20-year detective with the Pittsfield Police Department, will be questioned about countywide issues as well as those of interest to residents of the city's West Side and Morningside neighborhoods. They will also be posed questions selected from the audience.
(The sheriff candidates will meet once more in early September for a "Last Word" debate on WNAW/WUPE in which iBerkshires will be participating.)
On Tuesday, the sheriff's candidates will meet again at the Church Street Center at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. They will be joined by the three candidates for the 1st Berkshire District seat being vacated by Bosley.
The representative candidates are Gailanne Cariddi, a local businesswoman and North Adams city councilor; David Bissaillon, vice president of a local insurance agency and former president of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce; and Edward MacDonald, town administrator for Chester and a former Adams selectman. This is also the second time the representatives will meet, having participated in a forum in Florida in June.
The event is being hosted by the Williamstown League of Women Voters and its president, Anne Skinner, will moderate. The event begins at 7 p.m. and is expected to last two hours. The audience will be allowed to ask questions.
The representative candidates will also speak to the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning beginning at 7:45 at the Williams Inn in Williamstown. The candidates have been invited to address issues relevant to the local business community.
The cost for nonmembers to attend the Good News Business Salute breakfast is $35; members' price is $25. Those planning to attend should contact the chamber at 413-499-4000, Ext. 26, at email@example.com, or at www.berkshirechamber.com.
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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.
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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.
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Town Meeting & Election Roundup
Budget Approved at Becket Annual Town Meeting
BECKET, Mass. — The town held its annual town meeting on Saturday, May 8. Only 74 of the town's 1,261 registered voters were in attendance. Voters approved a total municipal budget of just over $4.5 million. The town's assessment to the Central Berkshire Regional School District was also approved at nearly $2.1 million. The town's vocational budget of $264,000 was also given voter approval on Saturday.
Also of interest, voters did not approve the expansion of the town's select board from three to five members. They also turned away an article that would have made the town clerk's position an appointed position instead of an elected one as it is now.
Town election is Tuesday, May 18, noon to 7 at the Senior Center
Town meeting is Wednesday, May 19, at 7 at the Elementary School
Dalton Voters OK Debt Exclusion, Elect New Selectman
DALTON, Mass. — Voter turnout in Dalton was not good Monday as residents went to the polls. Elected to the Board of Selectmen was Mary R. Cherry, who pulled in 429 votes. Opponents Thomas Burgner picked up 247 votes and Timothy Kirby, 232. Current Chairman John Boyle and Selectman William Chabot were re-elected to their seats unopposed.
The debt exclusion question of $230,000 for Town Hall renovations and equipment passed 499-399 while the non-binding ballot question to re-format the Select Board to three positions and eliminate the town manager's job lost by 494-409. Voter turnout was dismal, with only 935 out of 4,255 registered voters casting ballots.
Elected unopposed were Ronald J. Marcella Sr. as moderator; Karen M. Quinn and Caleb J. Darby for Planning Board; E. Edwin Cady as cemetery trustee; John Kittredge, Anne M. Ronayne and Stephanie Shafiroff as library trustees; Judith A. Conroy for the Dalton Housing Authority; and William A. Drosehn III, J. Michael Hoffman and Patrick J. Sheehan for Finance Committee.
Egremont Voters Turn Out In Droves
EGREMONT, Mass. — There was very good voter participation in Egremont on Tuesday, May 11, as the town held its annual election. Some 540 of the town's 963 registered voters went to the polls, a 56 percent turnout.
There were four contested races, the most interesting being a rare tie in the race for a two-year seat on the Planning Board between H. Bernard Haeckel and Penny Hudnut. Both candidates received 236 votes. The normal course of action in this case is a recount. If there is still a tie after recounting the votes, then a special election can be scheduled.
In the other races Tuesday, Janis Sagarin beat out David Hall Devine 306-183 for a five–year seat on the Planning Board, Elizabeth Holland defeated Georgette Kinney 317-177 for a three-year term as assessor and Bruce Turner defeated Laura Allen by a mere 13 votes for a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen. The vote count was 271-258. The remaining races were uncontested: Thomas A. Gage as modertor, Margaret A. Muskrat as town clerk, James Olmsted as tree warden, Rosemary Besancon as constable, Susan Turner as library trustee, Herman Trudeau Jr. as cemetery commissioner, William H. Wood as associate for the Planning Board and Stephen Agar as water commissioner.
Florida Fills Posts with Write-ins
FLORIDA, Mass. — There were no races in the town election this year but 85 of the 540 registered voters went to Town Hall to cast ballots on Monday, May 3 to vote for 11 town positions. Ronald Briggs was returned as selectman to a three-year term with 79 votes; Michael LeClair received one write-in.
There were a large number of write-in votes, some of which filled vacant seats. Judy Embry was re-elected with 79 votes to the School Committee over Jana Hunkler Brule, with two write-ins, but Brule won a seat on the McCann School Committee with 22 write-ins. Ed Drummond had one write-in for McCann. Brule also picked up up the one-year auditor post with six votes; her nearest competition was Al Bedini Jr. and Doris Lewis, garnering a vote each.
Other results are:
• Tree warden for one year: Doug Miller, 77 votes, with one write-in for Stanley Brown; assessor for three years: Margaret "Margo" Van Peterson with 56 votes and one write-in vote each for Bradley Furlon and Michael LeClair.
• Board of Health for three years: Alfred Bedini Sr. with 72 votes; Ken Sherman received two write-ins.
• Constable for three years (all write-in votes): Richard LeClair with 13 votes; Kevin Dodge garnered two and Bradley Furlon, Richard LeClair, Calvin Peters, Michael Bedini and Ronald Briggs received one.
• Library trustee three years: Alfred Bedini Jr. with 58 votes; Heidi Dugal, 18 write-ins. In the two spots for trustees for Soldierss Memorial, Theresa Culpepper was elected with 80 votes and Drummond with 14 votes.
•Planning Board for five years: James Pedro with 63 votes and one write-in for Francis Mundy.
New Faces On Great Barrington Board
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Two three-year seats on the Selectmen went to newcomers in the Tuesday, May 11, election.
Alan Chernila polled 1,016 votes and Stephen Bannon 553, ousting Selectwoman Deb Phillips. Phillips garnered 649 votes and fourth candidate Walter F. Atwood III received 524. Turnout was 30 percent, with 1,352 of the town's 4,460 registered voters casting ballots.
A write-in campaign by Alice Reilly earned her 60 votes for a three-year seat on the Finance Committee. All other offices were unopposed.
Lenox Ousts School Committee Members
LENOX, Mass. — There were two contested races in Lenox on Tuesday as 1,056 of the town's registered voters made their way to the polls, including for two three-year seats on the School Committee.
Both incumbents, Arlene Schiff and Shannon Delasco lost their bids for re-election. The winners were David Berkel and Veronica Fenton. Berkel finished with 502 votes and Fenton with 480. Schiff and Delasco came in third and fourth place, respectively, with the least amount of votes garnered by fifth canddiate Jeremiah Ames.
Kenneth Fowler beat out David Roche Jr. and Derrick Holt for a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen with 22-vote margin of victory. Fowler garnered 468 votes while Roche finished the night with 446 votes and Holt came in with 131 votes.
Elected unopposed were Moderator Hugh C. Cowhig, Assessor James E. Sorrentino, Planner Joseph A. Kellogg and Theresa E. Sorrentino to the Housing Authority; write-in candidate Christopher Trancynger won a seat on the Board of Health.
Debt Exclusions Pass in New Marlborough
NEW MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — Voters approved two Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusions for equipment at the town election on Tuesday, May 11: $59,000 for a Highway Department truck by a vote of 81-72 and $100,000 for a new ambulance by a vote of 98-56.
All offices were unopposed; 158 voters cast ballots.
Richmond Sets Meeting, Election
RICHMOND, Mass. — A special town meeting will be held prior to the annual town meeting beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26, at the Richmond Consolidated School. The town meeting will follow at 7:30.
Of the nine articles to be considered at the special town meeting, six address current fiscal-year deficits within several salary accounts, including Winter Roads, the Fire Department and the Road Maintenance accounts (this will replace the funds expended during last July's rain storms). One asks for the funding of the town's portion of a new mower, the remainder of which will come from the school's current operating budget. Another asks for a transfer of funds into the Stabilization Account, and the final for the adoption of certain sections of the Massachusetts General Laws that will allow for the placement of tax liens for unpaid sewer operation and maintenance bills.
The annual town meeting will be asked to consider the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, proposed bylaw changes, and other matters.
The town election will be held on Saturday, May 29, at Town Hall from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Absentee ballots are no available from the town clerk. There are no races on the ballot.
The offices and individuals who will appear on the ballot are: Selectman for three years, incumbent Marguerite Rawson; two members of the Board of Health for three years, Dean Fulco and Diane Pero, both incumbents, and one for two years (vacant seat), Eric Melle; School Committee for three years, incumbent Christine Triantos; two members for the Finance Committee for three years, John Mason and Diane Pero, both incumbents; Planning Board seat for five years, John Hanson, incumbent; library trustee for three years, incumbent Adeline Ellis; and moderator for one year, incumbent John Whitney.
Town meeting is Saturday, May 15, at 10 a.m.
Town election is Monday, May 17, from 10-8
Both at Old Town Hall on Silver Brook Road
More information: www.sandisfieldtimes.org/
Sheffield Elects New Selectman
SHEFFIELD, Mass. — There one contested race in the town election on Tuesday, May 11. Incumbent Library Trustee Susan Young retained her seat, garnering 319 votes for another three years. Her challenger, David Pottle, finished with 190 votes. Also of note, David Smith Jr. earned an unoppposed three-year term on the Selectmen with 441 votes. Out of the towns 2,275 registered voters, 515 cast ballots.
West Stockbridge Elect Two Selectmen
WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Voters elected Karen Zick to a two-year seat and Edward Denham to a three-year seat on the Selectmen.
Zink won 184-146 against former Police Chief Karl Cooper; Denham, running unopposed, garnered 253 votes. Kathleen Davis was re-elected 194-113 to a three-year term as library trustee against Michael Polizzi.
A third of the town's 1,035 registered voters turned out.
No Moderator For Windsor
WINDSOR, Mass. — Voters elected newcomer Brian Koczela to a three-year seat on the Selectmen in the town election on Monday, May 10. Koczela was unopposed. Of the town's 628 registered voters, 122 cast ballots.
Two write-in candidates duked it out for the position of town moderator but ended in a tie. Paul Hoag and Charles Sturtevant both got 7 votes, meaning the voters will have a elect a moderator for each town meeting.
Elected unopposed were George J. Bigelow, Michael R. Tesoro and newcomer Valerie Nickerson-Bird to the Finance Committee, Kip Andrew Boymaster as constable, Hugh Ferry as tree warden, Marcia Musiak to the Cemetery Commission, Andrew M. Schmidt to the Planning Board and newcomer F.A. Webb as library trustee.
Information provided by Berkshire News Network and iBerkshires.com.
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