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Earl Persip III, seen in this file photo, is running for a third term as councilor at large.

Persip Focuses on Economic Development, COVID Recovery in Council Re-Election Bid

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Councilor at Large Earl Persip III has announced he will be running for his third two-year term.  

"I wanted to re-run because It comes down to one thing," he said last week. "I believe in Pittsfield, and I believe we're moving in a positive direction. And I want to keep that momentum. And I want to be part of that momentum. And I want to be a voice in how we move forward."

The councilor's announcement come after the decisions of three of his colleagues not to run: Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi, Ward 4 Councilor Chris Connell, and Ward 3 Councilor Nicholas Caccamo announced early this year that they would not seek re-election.

With a full-time career as director of facilities at The Mount in Lenox and a new addition to his family, Persip said he wanted to make sure that it would be a realistic commitment.

The Pittsfield native is a descendant of one of the city's most notable African American families. Alfred K. Persip was the first African American in Berkshire County to enlist at the start of World War I, followed by his brothers John and Charles, for whom the American Legion Post 68 on Wendell Avenue is named. Persip Park on North Street was dedicated to the family in 1983.

Growing up on the West Side and splitting time between parents on Linden Street and John Street, Persip became a part of the local workforce by working a summer job at the YMCA. Eventually, he was promoted to operations director where he was in charge of up to a $2.2 million budget.

Considering all of his time spent in the city of Pittsfield, Persip wouldn't rather be anywhere else.

"I think Pittsfield is like one of the best places," he said. "You know, we have our issues and things, but I mean, one of the best places to live and raise a family. And I believe that 100 percent."

Persip first ran for council four years ago because the ward representatives at the time "all looked the same" through no fault of themselves and he wanted to make sure that all voices were represented in the panel.

"I don't want to step backwards," he said. "I think we moved a positive direction and there's different voices on the council, and I want to make sure I'm on there and can give my input.

Persip is most proud of the economic development he has supported in the city such as welcoming of Electro Magnetic Applications Inc. aerospace systems, the renovation of St. Mary's Church into Morningstar Apartments, Tyler Street streetscape improvements, and recently the overhaul of Bousquet Ski Area by Mill Town Capital.

He is also happy to help constituents with smaller issues and letting them know that their voices are heard. Just this week, Persip was able to get a "no parking" sign installed on a concerned resident's street and the gesture was met with appreciation.

"Just hearing her feedback and her just being thankful I even just called her back, it's things like that, that is just the best part," Persip said.

"When some person who would never call a city councilor ever, doesn't know how to call us basically, they're almost like, scared a little bit at times because they don't know the process and they're not used to it, they call up and you can help with a problem, that's the most rewarding part of the job."

When the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, Persip said the city has a lot of rebuilding to do both in the economy and with residents.

"We have a lot of rebuilding to do after the pandemic, he said. "I think that no one's really thinking about quite yet because we're kind of still in it, but I think there's going to be consequences to this that are going to need some work and guidance. We still don't know what's happened with kids who stayed at home for so long, and adults that stayed at home, so there's a lot of that, and so that's what I look forward to is that process."

Throughout his terms, Persip said he has been able to work well with all of the fellow councilors whether they agree on policies and issues or not.

"I have a working relationship with everybody," he said. 

Tags: election 2021,   municipal election,   Pittsfield city council ,   

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Veteran Spotlight: Sgt. Maj. Michael King

By Wayne SoaresSpecial to iBerkshires
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — This week's Veteran Spotlight subject is retired Army Sgt. Maj. Michael King, who now leads the Berkshire Veteran Outreach Center.
King grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and served his country from 1993 to 2015. He enlisted at the age of 18 and was sent to basic training at Fort McClellan, Ala. 
"It was definitely a culture shock," he recalled. "I learned about biscuits and gravy from the mess hall, which I found delicious ... remember an obscene amount of heat and humidity."
King's first assignment was at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., where he served in law enforcement as an military police officer. From there, King was assigned to the former Johnston Island Air Force Base — 800 miles southwest of Hawaii — that is now a wildlife preserve.
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