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Sen. Scott Brown shook hands and posed with members of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

Brown Stresses Job Growth, Collaboration to Chamber

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Sen. Scott Brown greeted everyone at the Country Club of Club of Pittsfield before speaking for about 25 minutes about the debt ceiling bill and job creation in Massachusetts. He pledged to do his best to keep jobs at Crane & Co. by fighting the dollar coin idea.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — U.S. Sen. Scott Brown returned to the Berkshires on Wednesday, stressing the need for collaboration and a laserlike focus on the solution to the nation's economic woes: Jobs.

"I don't work for Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, I work for you," the Republican from Wrentham told members of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce during a luncheon at the Country Club of Pittsfield, then joked, "Even though I only won Otis ... ."

The stop was billed as a "jobs summit" but sounded very much like a campaign speech to win over an uneasy Democratic electorate (including admiring nods to his predecessor and liberal icon Ted Kennedy) as 2012 is shaping up as an ideological battlefield. And it comes just days after Congress cobbled together a debt ceiling bill that did little to assure the nation's credit rating or Wall Street.

Brown called the credit-rating drop a "huge wakeup call" and expressed disappointment in the fingerpointing and blame game that's been going on. "It's everybody's fault," said the senator, who continued that not enough time had been spent on job creation or dealing with a debt-ceiling issue everyone knew was coming.

Despite the reports of hardening along party lines, there is collaboration, he said, at least within the Senate.

"We banged away at our leadership and forced them to grips with where we were, and what we were doing, and stop with the rhetoric and actually look at a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would be signed by the president," said Brown.

The state's junior senator spent some time expounding on the continued need for collaborative efforts and his own willingness to work across the aisle.

"Being a Republican from Massachusetts, when I got up in the morning and went to work, I would always work with Democrats; so when I'm in Washington, I work with Democrats," he said, something it seemed difficult for congressmen from majority party states to understand. "It's not a big deal."

Brown said he kept a picture of Kennedy (whose term he is completing after soundly defeating native daughter Martha Coakley in 2010) in his office to remind him how the late senator was willing to work with those of "goodwill" on issues — even if he didn't always agree with them.

"I deeply appreciated his work ethic and his dedication to our state; how he zealously advocated for us," said the senator, who also pledged to read and understand every bill before voting on it.


Brown speaks with Sherwood Guernsey, former state representative and a local Democratic leader.
"If it increases taxes or increases the deficit it's going to take a lot for me to vote on it; if it's good for Massachusetts, creates jobs and is good for the country, I'm going to work my darndest with any person of goodwill who'll come through my door to move our country forward."

Despite some Democratic name-dropping, Brown is expected to have a tough time keeping his seat in this very blue state and his appearance at the chamber event even caused a few protests on its Facebook page. However, he received a warm welcome and applause from those attending.

The senator has scheduled a handful of events with chambers of commerce, veterans and seniors across the state over the past two weeks, but no open public meetings.

The events will focus on jobs,  and Brown said it was imperative to provide the type of long-term economic security for businesses to grow. To lift what he called the "wet blanket" of taxes and heavy regulation to allow companies to be innovative and creative.

"I mean by creating that business certainty and stability, whether it's regulatory certainty, tax certainty," he told the 150 or so chamber members and local officials. "It's easy to do short-term fixes folks, but we need that long-term fix so you can have a business plan."

He pointed out the compromise debt-ceiling plan didn't include new revenues and said raising taxes in the middle of recession is a job killer (including a gas tax hike being floated in the Bay State). Rather, the country should be focusing on reducing spending — and taking a serious look at at the so-called "sacred cows" of Social Security and Medicare.

"When I went down there [to D.C.] it was a $11.95 trillion national debt; it's over $14.5 trillion in a little over a year and a half," said Brown. "If we don't make bold steps right now, in this moment in time, right now, step back from our overspending, lack of cooperation, the inability to get our fiscal and financial house in order — we're going to be in trouble."

Tags: Berkshire Chamber of Commerce,   Brown,   

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Pittsfield Schools Subcommittee OKs Policies on Education Stability

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Public School's Policy Subcommittee adopted three policies to make sure that homeless, foster, and connected military students have education stability.  

The policies are to ensure that these students are receiving proficient education and that they are immediately enrolled upon entering the district.

Director of Curriculum Judy Rush's examination of the current policy resulted in her offering a revised homeless student policy and two new policies to the subcommittee.

Last week, the subcommittee voted unanimously in favor of each policy's approval on first reading.

The Homeless Students policy is a revised policy that has been driven by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act that ensures homeless children and youth have equal access to the same free and appropriate public education, including public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.

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