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North Berkshire Towns Give Romney Primary Win

Staff ReportsiBerkshires
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The presidential primaries didn't spark much attention in Berkshire County, with low turnout reported across the region as well as the state. The results weren't the least bit surprising, with Mitt Romney leading the Republicans to win his state.

In North Adams, only 579 votes were cast out of 8,717 registered voters, less than 7 percent. The big winner was the one candidate who had no primary challenger: Barack Obama. The Democratic incumbent won 276 votes.

With more than half the city's voters unenrolled, there was a chance for a more competitive Republican nomination race. That didn't happen. Romney, the state's former governor whose appearance in the far west was rare, did score 140 votes, far outpacing the field.

Rick Santorum got 68 votes, Ron Paul 33 and Newt Gingrich 26. The Green/Rainbow Party polled a paltry two votes: one each for Jill Stein of Lexingtona and one for Harley Mikkelson of Michigan.

Adams had better turnout, with just a little more than 10 percent of the town's 5,437 of voters going to the polls. Out of 544 ballots cast, nearly half went to the Democratic nominee. Obama scored 268 votes, with Romney picking up 118, Santorum 52, Paul 36, and Gingrich 27.

In Williamstown, the polls were a lot busier, with 596 votes cast. Obama, big winner again with 367; Romney had 132. The rest came in at Santorum 39, Paul 37, Gingrich 18. Stein took 3 votes for the Green/Rainbow nomination.

Oddly, the results weren't terribly different across the three communities. Even the Republican stragglers placed in order.
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U.S. Senate Hopeful Warren Stumps in North Adams

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff

Elizabeth Warren is ready to take on Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate seat that Brown won in special election in 2010 after Edward Kennedy died.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren says the country has turned in the wrong direction and she hopes to right the ship.

Recapping her own story of rising from a middle-class family to success, Warren told more than 300 people at the Eagle's Hall on Friday night that she fears everyone does not have a shot at success and that she wants to make sure they do.

"I worry my story is embedded in time," Warren said. "I am the daughter of a maintenance man who became this fancy pants professor at Harvard."

She grew up in frugal surroundings, started working at at 9 baby-sitting for the neighbor, went to a public university and taught in public schools on her way to teaching economic law at one of the most prestigious colleges in the world. But now when she looks around, she fears few can follow her path and that is why she is running for the seat, she said.

"As a country coming out of the Great Depression and really the next 50 years, we made the decision to invest in us, to invest in our children, to invest in our future," Warren said. "In the '80s, we lost our way. We turned in a different direction and look where we are today."
Warren said times were booming when the government invested in education, transportation, power and research but those have all taken cuts and, instead, the country is investing in big businesses such as oil, "one of the most profitable industries on Earth."

"We're not investing in our future and that's what draws me into this race," Warren said. "Are we a country that says 'I got mine, the rest of you are on your own' or are we going to be a country that says 'we love success, we think success is terrific, we celebrate success but we believe that everyone, no matter how powerful, no matter how rich has to take a piece of what they've got and pay it forward, to invest so we've got the right conditions in education, infrastructure, power and research so that the conditions will be right so the next kid can make it big."

She also took a shot at what once have been one of the county's largest employers.

"When General Electric is paying zero in taxes at the same time we as a country are saying there is no money for after school programs, young people are going to have to take up more debt to get a college education, seniors have to work and live on less, it's not a question of economics, it's not a question of finance, it's a question of values," Warren said.

In the last 30 years, she said, federal research funds have been cut in half and state college fees have jumped by 350 percent. Meanwhile, as China is investing 9 percent of its gross domestic product in infrastructure and Europe 5 percent, the U.S. is at 2.4 percent, she said.

"At 2.4, we don't only not build a future, we don't hang onto the present," she said.

Warren is expected to be the Democratic candidate to take on incumbent Scott Brown after scaring top-tier Democrats out of the ring; immigration lawyer Marisa DeFranco and Boston lawyer James King are still in the primary. She lead the charge in developing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau but was over to lead it. She was also chief adviser to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, a member of the Federal Judicial Education Committee and most recently appointed as assistant to the president and special adviser to the secretary of the Treasury on consumer financial protection.

Warren has not been shy about saying she will go Washington and throw her weight around to "rebuild" the middle class by making those investments. That has draw criticism from Brown, who's trying to position himself as a bipartisan aisle-crosser, not a rock-thrower.

Warren says the Wrentham Republican is anything but bipartisan. Brown has voted against three different bills that would have brought jobs to the state, against the DREAM Act and financial reforms that shifted more burden to the taxpayers, she said.

"That's not bipartisan, that's voting against families as I see it," Warren said. "Scott Brown is much more about protecting Wall Street, protecting the biggest corporations. I am here to say that we need to protect our kids and our future."

As for her own ability to reach across the aisle, Warren pointed to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau development that faced challenges by the "biggest lobbyists in the world." She said she's work with banks and creditors with regulations that protect both the consumer and the banks.

"I know how to work with a lot of people to get something done," Warren said. "This is my first election but it's not my first campaign."

This campaign is also an uphill battle with Brown not only being an incumbent with strong approval numbers but also twice as much money as her, she said. Her campaign strategy is not going to be about buying TV spots but instead a grassroots campaign fueled by word of mouth, she said.

"I need you, starting now, to start talking about this election of 2012, talk about what's at stake, talk about the difference between investing in those who have already made it and investing in our future.Tweet it, Facebook it, if you are old fashioned use the telephone," Warren said.

Warren was joined by the many of the county's politicians. Mayor Richard Alcombright, state Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, and state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams, introduced Warren. Also attending were some of the area's Democratic leaders and city councilors, U.S. representative hopefuls Andrea F. Nucifor Jr. and Bill Shein, and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield,  who later took the stage to encourage the crowd to spread the word.

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Senate Candidate Warren To Stop In North Adams

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren will be visiting the city this Friday, Feb. 17, at 6:30 at the Eagle's Hall on Curran Highway.

This is her first venture this far west and north in the state since she began her "listening tour" last fall before announcing a run for the Democratic nomination. Local Democrats and others have packed Warren's past stops in the area.

Warren's Western Mass field organizer Greg Maynard had promised late last month that the Harvard professor and creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (designed ride herd on Wall Street) would be in the North Berkshires in a matter of weeks.

"We are working very hard to make sure she visits the whole of Berkshire County," Maynard had told a gathering of the Democrat City Committee. "We're going to get the margin of victory out here."

Warren has visited Sen. Benjamin B. Downing's Western Mass district nine times and Pittsfield twice, once during her listening tour. Of the 48 towns in his district, 47 had voted for North Adams native Martha Coakley in the last election. "We've got to straighten out Otis," Maynard said to laughter.

Otis was the only Berkshire town to support Republican Scott Brown in his win for the seat of the late Ted Kennedy. Brown decisively defeated Coakley in the special election in 2010 to complete the final two year of the term.
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Shein Speaking to Williamstown Democrats

The Williamstown Democratic Town Committee is hosting congressional candidate Bill Shein on Wednesday, Feb. 15, from  7 to 8 p.m. at Town Hall.

The event is free and open to the public.

Shein is running for the Democratic nomination for representative to the 1st Massachusetts District.
More information about Shein's candidacy can be found at www.billshein.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BillShein.

Contact number on-site will be 413-717-2924
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Lenox Democratic Committee Sets Caucus

LENOX, Mass. — The Lenox Democratic Town Committee will hold the annual Democratic Caucus for the nomination of candidates seeking election to town positions or boards on Thursday, March 15, from 5:30 to 7 at Town Hall. 

Nominees will be selected for moderator, Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Board of Assessors, Board of Health, Planning Board and Housing Authority. Only registered Democrats will be allowed to participate, and are encouraged to attend and vote for the candidates of their choice. Registered Democratic candidates who receive the most votes for each position will have their name placed on the ballot as the Town Democratic Party nominee for the annual town election to be held on Monday, May 7. 

Candidates wishing to run for any of the above offices must submit nomination papers by 4 p.m. on March 2, to either Joseph Kellogg, Democratic Town Committee secretary, or the town clerk's office. Nomination papers may be obtained from the town clerk's office. 

For more information, contact Kellog at 413-637-5477.

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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.

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