State Democratic Party Opens Regional Office In Pittsfield

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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The state Democratic Party has opened a regional office above the Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield with organizing group Berkshire Brigades.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state Democratic party has opened a regional office on North Street.

In partnership with the Berkshire Brigades, the unit above the Beacon Cinema will be a home base for campaign operations for the next year.

The Brigades, which received donations from local Democratic legislators for this, are splitting the cost of the office with the Democratic Party and are hoping to make it a permanent home.

"It's the Western Mass regional office of the Democratic party," Brigades Chairwoman Sheila Murray said on Thursday. "It'll be used for all Democratic campaigns."

During last year's U.S. Senate campaign, the party enrolled 170,000 new voters with 3,500 of them coming from the Berkshires. With many elections — including another Senate race — coming in the next year, the party wanted to open regional offices to keep in touch with those voters.

Murray jumped at the chance and became only the fourth regional office in the state.

"We have continuous campaigning from now until next year," Murray said.

Any Democratic candidate can use the office and since opening at the beginning of the month, the group has been getting inquiries. The office has already hosted presumed gubernatorial candidate Donald Berwick. Murray said candidates have been calling her about scheduling appearances because of the office.

"It's not fully operational yet," Murray said, adding that the group began moving in on April 1 when the one-year lease was signed and is still moving furniture in and planning painting. "It was a lot bigger than expected."

They hope to hold an open house in a couple weeks.

Campaign leaders will be using the office to make phone calls and use it as a staging area for canvassing efforts. At the height of a campaign for any of the upcoming elections, Murray expects the office to be used nearly every hour of every day.

In previous years, the party opened offices in various locations in the city for only the election season. This office will be for an entire year at first, with the possibility of becoming a permanent location.

The party is also planning to have volunteers staff the office for residents, which will be increased in peak election times.

"The plan is that we'll have guest speakers each month on different issues," Murray said.

Those speakers will be experts on various political issues who may not be running for office at that time. Those will open to public.

"One of the primary goals of the Berkshire Brigades is educating the public," Murray said.

Overall, Murray calls the office a "connection to Boston" that people in the Berkshires have not felt.

Tags: Berkshire Brigades,   Democratic Party,   

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Pittsfield Holds Tree Lighting Ceremony

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

City Council President Peter Marchetti welcomes the crowd. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The holiday season is officially on in Pittsfield with the annual tree lighting  Ceremony at Park Square.
Hundreds gathered at Park Square on Friday night to bring in the holiday season with song and cheer as they lit up the Park Square Christmas tree.
"On behalf of Mayor Tyer and the entire City Council, I want to welcome you to the tree lighting ceremony and wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays on behalf of the city," Council President Peter Marchetti said. "Tonight is a very special moment in the city."
Recreation Activities Coordinator Becky Manship thanked all who made the event possible especially the parks maintenance crew. 
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