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Paul Caccaviello is finding support outside of the Democrat Party following his loss in the primary.

Berkshire Republicans Back Democrat Caccaviello In DA's Race

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In the latest surprising turn in the race for district attorney, the second-place finisher in the Democratic primary has now been endorsed by the Republican Party. 
 
Paul Caccaviello is being supported in his write-in campaign against Andrea Harrington by the Berkshire County Republican Association.
 
The Republicans say Caccaviello is "apolitical" and that they are endorsing him based on his qualifications for the job.
 
"His whole voting life he's been unenrolled. He is apolitical," said Kathryn Mickle, one of the key organizers for the Republican Association. "He's not a political party guy and the office should not be influenced by a party."
 
Caccaviello was an unenrolled voter until he decided to run for office. Just before announcing his candidacy, he switched his registration to Democrat to compete in that primary. 
 
He said he sees himself as an independent but ran as a Democrat for "purely practical" reasons. And in the very Democratic Berkshire County, it makes sense because without running on that ticket, the likelihood is that two Democrats would get most of the attention leading into the primary. There are few opposition candidates in the Berkshires and the Democratic primary winner has often cruised to victory in recent elections.
 
"It got me into debates and an opportunity to have the election soon," Caccaviello said. "The switch to the Democratic Party was a practical one."
 
The incumbent district attorney had campaigned from the start on his experience against Harrington and Judith Knight, both seen as more progressive candidates. But voters chose Harrington's vision over both Caccaviello and Knight's prosecutorial experience.
 
Mickle said Republicans in the very blue Berkshire County often end up voting for Democrats. She said Republicans are "common sense people" who look at each candidate independently and not just vote along party lines.
 
"It is policy, integrity, ability, that's what we look for," she said. "We are supporting the person we feel has the qualifications."
 
For Mickle, it is Caccaviello's experience in office that stood out. Caccaviello has been campaigning heavily on his 30 years working his way up the ladder inside the district attorney's office. She said she supported Caccaviello in the primary but could not vote for him because she is a Republican.
 
"We've got murder trials coming up, we've got huge things coming up, and she's got no experience," Mickle said, arguing against Harrington.
 
It isn't the first time Caccaviello found support from Republicans. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker had gone along with the plan to appoint Caccaviello as the district attorney so he could run as an incumbent — though the power of the incumbency somewhat disappears now as his name won't appear on the ballot.
 
Following the primary, Mickle had a conversation with some who became the force behind Caccaviello's write-in campaign. She said a group of 11 people, including a few Republicans, a handful of Democrats, and some who are unenrolled, made a pitch to Caccaviello to run a write-in bid. 
 
"It is definitely grassroots," Mickle said.
 
Caccaviello said he isn't surprised by the backing he's received outside of the Democratic Party. 
 
"The district attorney is for everyone regardless of a political party," Caccaviello said. "They really share the same view that it is public safety and not politics."
 
Mickle is now active in both the campaigns for Republicans up and down the ballot as well as serving on Caccaviello's write-in bid. Earlier this month, the Berkshire County Republican Association voted in favor of endorsing Caccaviello and there will be a series of combined events promoting Republican candidates and Caccaviello — including meet and greets and a combined standout in Pittsfield on Nov. 1.
 
"My grassroots effort is really a bipartisan effort," Caccaviello said.
 
Meanwhile, Harrington has solidified her Democrat backing. She ran as a reformer and won the nomination by about 700 votes. Top Democrats both locally and throughout the state are standing behind the primary winner, with Attorney General Maura Healey making an appearance with her a couple of weeks ago.
 
Caccaviello's challenge now is to get voters to actually write in his name since it won't be on the ballot. He's making the case that a write-in campaign is "part of the democratic process" and has been advertising heavily and passing out business cards promoting how to write in his name. Winning a write-in campaign is significantly harder than the traditional electoral process.
 
In another trend-bucking move, Caccaviello also received the endorsement of Knight, who ran as a progressive Democrat and finished in last place. Despite running in the primary, Knight, too, has turned against her party's candidate in favor of Caccaviello.
 
The race has been riven by the usual mudslinging: rumors, allegations of threats, lies and backroom dealings, and claims of sign stealing — all played out on social media.
 
Caccaviello has pressed Harrington to agree to more debates, despite numerous debates and forums held during the primary election. Because there were three candidates in the primary, Caccaviello says more debates would allow voters to better compare and contrast between he and Harrington.
 
"I think a one-on-one debate is different than the ones we've had before. You'd have two visions of the office," he said. "With only two candidates, it could highlight the differences."
 
The summer's many forums touched on a number of issues. Caccaviello's campaign, however, hadn't really found a groove until it doubled down on the question of experience, which it says Harrington is sorely lacking. 
 
Caccaviello wants further opportunities to hammer that issue home and go after Harrington's background and such a debate would give him a platform to do so. Harrington's response has been that there have been plenty of debates and that Caccaviello could have attended them all. 
 
Registered Republicans represent a small minority of voters and were the only group not eligible to vote in the primary. Without a Republican candidate, the Berkshire County Republican Association is now backing a Democrat.

Tags: Democratic Party,   district attorney,   election 2018,   endorsement,   Republican Party,   


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BHS Diabetes Education Program Launches Weight Loss & Lifestyle Change Program

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Health Systems Diabetes Education Program has implemented a Weight Loss and Lifestyle Change Program for those with Medicare, with new classes beginning in November, at multiple locations across the Berkshires.

The program is aimed at adults 18 and older who have a diagnosis of pre-diabetes by a blood test within the past year. To be eligible for this program, participants must have a need to lose weight, with a Body Mass Index of 25 or higher. The program involves 16 weekly classes over the first six-month period, and six monthly sessions over the remaining six months, for a year-long program. Participants must also be willing to log food that they eat and their activity minutes. This program is covered by Medicare.

To apply for the program, call 413-395-7942. A representative from the BHS Diabetes Education Program will take down information and complete the pre-diabetes risk assessment questions. A lifestyle coach will then contact eligible participants to discuss the program and confirm acceptance.

 

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