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Attorney General Maura Healey, wearing a sticker supporting district attorney candidate Andrea Harrington, speaks to media on Monday.
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Healey speaks with Mayors Linda Tyer of Pittsfield and Thomas Bernard of North Adams.

AG Healey Touts Record, Endorses Harrington for District Attorney

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Andrea Harrington speaks to supporters at Democratic campaign headquarters on North Street. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Attorney General Maura Healey stressed the importance of voting at the local level during her stop at Democratic campaign headquarters on North Street this past Monday.
"School committee, mayor, Legislature, city council, so many of the policies in our country are determined at the local level and state level," she told one supporter who was asking what she could do to effect change. "Congress is important but don't lose sight of every election mattering."
That includes voting for district attorney as Healey endorsed Democratic nominee Andrea Harrington.
"I've been out here today talking about our role as the people's lawyer and the work that we do to stand up for workers, and consumers and seniors, and the work I want to continue to do for the next four years," said Healey, who is being challenged in her run for a second term by Republican attorney James "Jay" McMahon.
"I'm also here today in support of my friend Andrea Harrington who I think will be a terrific district attorney for Berkshire County," she continued. "I think she brings the right kind of experience for this job, different experiences as a lawyer ... and I really appreciate her support for the new criminal justice reform law."
Healey pointed to Harrington's focus during her campaign to promote programs addressing crimes of violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, as well her ideas on bail reform and support for drug courts, and a potential veterans court in Berkshire County.
Harrington last month won a three-way Democratic primary for district attorney and was expected sail through the general election with no Republican opponent on the ballot. However, incumbent Paul Caccaviello, who came in second in the primary, has launched a write-in campaign. 
But the enthusiasm at Democratic headquarters on Monday was for the Harrington and Healey as supporters packed into the room to speak with them and candidates including state Sen. Adam Hinds and state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier. 
Healey was mobbed as local supporters congratulated her for her work so far and asked that they could do here in the Berkshires. 
"Do everything you can to get out the vote in the fall," she told one woman. "We need new people in Congress who are going to be there to provide a check on this president who continues to do things that are illegal and unconstitutional and harmful to our American values and our American way."
Healey pointed to what her office has done to defend against federal policies on family separation, climate change, the U.S. Census, and the Affordable Care Act.
"It really is the states and the state attorney generals who are stepping up and on the front lines," she said. "We have taken the Trump administration to court because the president and his agencies have done things that are illegal and unconstitutional and, for me, that hurt Massachusetts."
The attempts at a travel ban has hurt the state's technology, life sciences, and educational sectors; the AGs office sued when Medicaid funding for the state was endangered; and, beyond upholding the state's obligations under the state's Global Warming Solutions Act, her office has brought suits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to defend the investments made in clean energy and the 100,000 jobs it has created, she said.
"People may not know but last year alone my office recovered over $800 million for the state of Massachusetts and taxpayers," Healey said. "We're going to continue to be there operating hotlines and working on issues of access to health care and reducing energy costs and continuing to be on the frontline of the opioid crisis."
Healey has brought suit against Purdue Pharma executives she said contributed to the deaths of than 670 residents since 2009 by misleading providers and patients about the effects of drugs like Oxycontin.
"I think as a state and even as a country we could be doing more on this crisis and I wish we had more support at the federal level, frankly, than we currently have," the attorney general said. "Listen, people need access to treatment, they need access to care. There are a whole lot of people out there who are sick and addicted right now and don't have access to the kind of care and treatment and long-term care and treatment that our families need."
Substance abuse prevention education is an unmet need that the AG's office is trying to fulfill with a $2 million collaborative program, Project Here, available for free to middle schools.
Healey also touted work on abandoned housing and heating bill assistance for local towns and cities. 

Tags: attorney general,   Democratic Party,   district attorney,   election 2018,   

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Pittsfield at-Large City Councilor Candidates Answer Questions

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Candidate for the four a-large City Council seats participated in a forum Monday at Berkshire Community College as they made a push for votes before election day.
Seven candidates fielded questions at a forum hosted by BCC, in partnership with the Pittsfield Gazette and Pittsfield Community Television, which recorded the forum. The moderator was Shawn Serre, executive director of PCTV.
After some opening statements, the candidates were asked to pick a number that prompted a question. After three candidates answered the question the next candidate in line chose a new number. At the end of the session, candidates were given two minutes to answer questions they did not get or to expand on the answers they gave.
One of the first questions brought forward was about Mayor Linda Tyer's proposed home improvement plan that would have allowed qualified residents to apply for money from the Pittsfield Economic Development Fund to make small improvements to their homes.
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