Branch Launches Second Campaign for Mayor

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Rachel Branch is running for a second time for mayor or North Adams. Her announcement is below: 
 
Once again, I am pleased to announce that I am candidate for mayor of the city of North Adams. 
 
It is an honor and a privilege to be able to do so in the United States. My public service background and my extensive experience in city, state, national and international places offers the residents of the city of North Adams solutions that are required of the chief executive of our city. We need "2020 Vision -- One to One Together."
 
When I stood up in 2017 as only the second woman in North Adams history since 1895 to run for mayor, I hoped to encourage and empower other women to run for office. I still hold that hope. We need "2020 Vision -- One to One Together," a vision that creates ongoing programs and answers to our changing economy, the changing demographics and the handling of what appears to be gentrification in our city, along with the declining population and our aging community. 
 
When I returned to North Adams in 2000, I continued my ongoing public service and became involved in many areas of North Adams civic life: foster care, education, housing, and developmental disabilities to name a few, and I continued my ongoing fight for our environment which began in 1997.  
 
That fight included numerous comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and to commonwealth agencies writing the regulations for our climate in hopes that they would adhere to the 2008 Global Warming Solution. I testified many times and traveled to many communities in Massachusetts helping to stop Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas from installing a pipeline across our state. As part of that successful fight, I produced 30 shows on my "Solutions Rising" community television program. I am still involved with so many others fighting climate catastrophe for our communities, here and in Bridgeport, Conn., where I lived for 23 years. We need "2020 Vision -- One to One Together!" 
 
The most meaningful part of my life was becoming a respite-care foster parent for children who had been traumatized by violence and/or sexually assaulted, loving and caring for each and every one of the 23 children who came through my North Adams home. We need "2020 Vision -- One to One Together" to keep a spotlight on the needs of our children in foster care. This is a serious, major problem for these children and for finding foster parents to love and care for them.
 
The hardest job I ever did was as coordinator of disaster volunteers in April 1987 after the L'Ambiance Building collapse in Bridgeport killed 28 workers. Those 10 days working with thousands of volunteers, police, firefighters and trade union members indelibly transformed my life. One never forgets the enormity of such a disaster and the loss to so many families. 
 
We need "2020 Vision -- One to One Together" to stop the violence against women and girls and others who have suffered from rape, sexual assault and domestic violence, work that I have been doing for years and years and continually highlight on my "Solutions Rising" TV program.
 
We need "2020 Vision -- One to One Together" to work on the many problems our country is facing right now that affects our city. I believe that all local politics are global and all global politics are local. What we do here in North Adams affects places thousands of miles away. 
 
Many of you are probably not aware that I was a military wife for nearly five years and lived in Tripoli, Libya, North Africa, for two years until I was caught in the Six-Day Arab/Israeli War in 1967 and evacuated to Spain before being flown back to the United States. It was a terrifying experience to be in a war zone. I loved living in Tripoli and becoming friends with my neighbors, their children and families. My neighbors protected our home, and I felt great sadness leaving Tripoli.  
 
We need "2020 Vision -- One to One Together" when it comes to being a healthy and welcoming community, a community that sees the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow as a place of hope and home, a community that embraces the changing demographics in the Berkshires and is inspired by those who bring cultural backgrounds that add to the spice of our evolving city. 
 
It more than disturbs me that the administration thinks the loss of our community hospital is past history. Over 37,000 Northern Berkshire residents without hospital beds just cannot be considered past history, especially with the ongoing opioid/alcohol crisis. We need hospital beds and a mental health wing. We need "2020 Vision -- One to One Together!"
 
It more than disturbs me that the two-year elementary educational program to paint the columns on Marshall Street were painted over by Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, disregarding the restoration of those historic paintings about Arnold Prints Works, part of our international North Adams history. With over 500 signatures on a petition to see if the art can be restored, just what does this say to all of us, but most of all to the elementary students and their caring teacher who created the program and was empowering them with art and local history?  What are we doing for a child today? We need "2020 Vision -- One to One Together!"
 
It more than disturbs me that a water main break on Main Street caused those in a senior, low-income village in North Adams to be without water. Infrastructure needs cannot survive the can continually being kicked down the road. It is an ongoing mayoral responsibility to ensure that public service systems are up to date and needs responsively handled in an ongoing manner.
 
Several years ago, there were 26,000 gas leaks in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. After a friend sent that list to me, I forwarded it to our last mayor, and I believe that is why North Adams saw gas leaks being sealed. After what happened in the Merrimack Valley, there is never any excuse for one gas leak in our city. Public health and public safety demand no less. We need "2020 Vision -- One to One Together!"
 
It is essential that our budget is transparent and understandable. To think that it is OK to attempt to cut lifeguards out of their positions with children and families swimming at Windsor Pond goes right to the heart of transparency, but, more important, to caring for our children and their safety.
 
All of this means beginning with answering the questions: "What are We doing for a Child Today?" It means, "What are We doing to Save our Planet for the Children and those to follow Today?" It means, "What are We doing for the Most Vulnerable in Our City?"
 
All those questions are pertinent to why I decided to seek the office to become your next mayor for the City of North Adams. I am honored to do so, and I hope you will join me in my continuing role as a public servant. We need "2020 Vision -- One to One Together!"

Tags: city election,   election 2019,   mayor,   


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PopCares Cancer Charity Has Helped Nearly 900 People

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Kate Zarnay tells the crowd about her son's cancer and how PopCares has helped her family.  
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — PopCares has proved a powerful force in helping local residents dealing with cancer, largely thanks to the outpouring of support from a community that's raised more than a half million dollars over the past eight years.
 
On Saturday, that generosity was on full display as some 600 or so attended the annual chicken dinner fundraiser held for the third year at Greylock Works and catered by David Nicholas of Bounti-Fare.
 
The charity was founded by the family of William "Pop" St. Pierre, who died of cancer in 2012, both to memorialize his kindness and to help other families suffering from the disease.
 
"Cancer does not just come for us physically, it comes for us emotionally, mentally, and financially as well. When cancer comes for you, it comes for your whole family and all who love you," said Kate Zarnay, whose son Jacob has been battling cancer on several fronts since infancy. "The reality is adequate treatment options do not exist for Jacob, and many people fighting cancer locally, especially children."
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