Attorney General Maura Healey boasted about the teamwork her office has had with Farley-Bouvier.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Being a state legislator means being part of a team for state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier.
That was a message she delivered on Friday when she kicked off her re-election bid. In the audience were members of that team, from Mayor Linda Tyer to School Committee and City Council members to leaders in local housing, child care, and an array of other agencies.
A crowd surpassing 100 gathered at the Itam Lodge on Friday night in support of the Pittsfield Democrat's re-election bid.
"The first team that I am a part of is the local team, the home team. The job of a state rep is to work with the mayor, the City Council, the School Committee, the superintendent, with local officials on such things as housing — Brad Gordon is here — mental health, public health, early education. We work on these things together," Farley-Bouvier said. "We work together as a team to get things done."
One accomplishment stems from her role in the Gateway Cities Caucus. She worked with other legislators to craft the bill creating the Transformative Development Initiative and to fund it. She also collaborated with the city's staff in the application. Pittsfield was not only one of the 10 cities invited into the program but also received the extra support of a fellow being assigned to the city. Now, Pittsfield has a development specialist focused solely on Tyler Street and the goal is to leverage public monies to generate private investment in the area.
"That as a competitive process we were able to do because we work as part of a team," Farley-Bouvier said.
State Rep. Ben Swan has worked on a number of pieces of legislation with Farley-Bouvier. On the progressive caucus she has taken the leadership role, he said, comes prepared and well versed in the subject, and has brought various legislators together to finely craft bills.
"Since she came in four years ago she took off running," Swan said. "I don't know why someone would run against her. It doesn't make any sense. You already have the best legislator."
Farley-Bouvier said by teaming up in the caucus she is building the infrastructure for pull in the State House. Not only will that help pass bills of those legislators but also show leadership they can be counted on.
"Tricia has been a champion of all progressive causes," Attorney General Maura Healey said.
Healey said a lot of Farley-Bouvier's work is "unheralded." But when it came to a recent transgender bill, Farley-Bouvier was working behind the scene to rally up the votes for the bill to pass, she said.
"Once I got into office my team has gotten to work with her on many issues," Healey said, specifically citing a bill to force gas companies to repair the many leaks in lines throughout the state. "Tricia is somebody who gets things done."
State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli said Farley-Bouvier helps with his legislation as well because Pittsfield is a piece of the Berkshires. North County state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi agrees.
"We have different styles and interests but we make a hell of a team," Pignatelli said.
The North Adams Rep. Cariddi — the northern Berkshires also had Mayor Richard Alcombright and City Councilor Lisa Blackmer in attendance — said she'll be putting in the work to help get Farley-Bouvier re-elected because the help means so much to her district as well.
"I really want to see her back. It is crucial that we keep her voice," Cariddi said.
One of the major issues facing the county is the opioid crisis and Farley-Bouvier sat on the committee for mental health and substance abuse.
"I'm proud to say that we did pass comprehensive legislation this past session, getting a lot of things done. We are really working with doctors on the prescribing habits because we've got to change. Prescribing got us to this point. We are working with the Department of Public Health and we should see online very, very soon in Berkshire County two new facilities, one specifically for women especially pregnant women and they can return with their babies," Farley-Bouvier said.
Further she worked on the committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities and there is more work to be done, specifically with the Department of Children and Families which Farley-Bouvier said is "completely overwhelmed."
"We're hoping to work on foster family rights, sibling family rights. What are the rights do you have if you have a sibling who is also in care? Siblings are being torn apart. What can we do to bring support to those families?" Farley-Bouvier said.
In the aftermath of the shooting in Orlando, Fla., Farley-Bouvier reiterated her belief in making it more difficult for military weapons to be sold in the state, which is legal right now. She said she will no longer sit silently while these tragic events continue to unfold in America.
"We're not trying to change the Constitution folks. We are just trying to bring some common sense here to make our cities safer," Farley-Bouvier said.
And overall, she reiterated her point in that being part of the local team and representing only 41,000 people, she wants to ensure she is accessible to everybody.
"You have access to your state rep and you should. That's why I have an office on the first floor, right across from city hall and I have a full time legislative aide right here in the district office. I want state government to be accessible to you," Farley-Bouvier said.
Farley-Bouvier is being challenged for the Democratic nomination by Michael Bloomberg. The winner will face off against City Councilor Christopher Connell, who is running as an independent.
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Mac-Haydn Theatre, Shakespeare & Company Take Top Honors at Berkshire Theatre Awards
Tara Franklin accepting the award for Outstanding Solo Performance for 'On the Exhale' at the Chester Theatre Company.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Theatre Critics Association presented the Berkshire Theatre Awards on Nov. 11, the fourth year the awards have been presented to honor and celebrate the excellence and diversity of theater in the greater Berkshire region.
The 2019 awards really display the commitment of regional theaters to presenting new and diverse work. Women and minorities were well-represented among the nominees and the winners in all categories. Nominees represented theaters in Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Connecticut.
Critics J. Peter Bergman and Macey Levin once again hosted the ceremony, which saw top honors for Outstanding Play Production go to the Shakespeare & Company's production of Suzan-Lori Park's "Topdog/Underdog" and "Ragtime" take home the award for Outstanding Musical Production for the Mac-Haydn Theatre.
This year's ceremony featured musical and Shakespearean performances by nominees David Joseph ("Times Stands Still" at Shakespeare & Company) and Greg Boover ("Twelfth Night" at Shakepeare & Company), and musical selections by Monica M. Wemitt, Rachel Rhodes-Devey and Gabe Belyeu from the Mac-Haydn Theatre.