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State Sen. Adam Hinds will run for statewide office after three terms in the Senate.

Hinds Says State Needs Visionary Leadership in Bid for Higher Office

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State Sen. Adam Hinds believes that the commonwealth needs visionary leadership to take on some of its biggest issues and bring the state together.
On a sunny Wednesday morning, he confirmed his candidacy for lieutenant governor on the steps of City Hall with supporters and his wife, Amherst College professor Alicia Mireles Christoff, and their infant son, Rafael Fernando Hinds. He then headed to Latino's Kitchen in Springfield and on to Beacon Hill for two more media stops. 
"It's increasingly felt like this is a really unique moment in our history, that the pandemic exposed so much about some of our greatest weaknesses. It's also highlighted our greatest strengths as a commonwealth and reveals so much about what needs to be fixed," he told iBerkshires.
"It's a rare moment when there's a will to take on big issues and it overlaps with the resources and to do it, and so this moment does not call for more of the same, it's going to take visionary leadership to take on the incredible challenges we face and people who can actively bring the commonwealth together, and that's what my background has been about."
Hinds believes that the office of the lieutenant governor should play an essential role in making sure the commonwealth is moving into the future in an equitable and strategic manner.
This is a critical moment, he said, and the state is not even getting its fundamentals right in terms of public transportation, child care, and affordable housing.
"I hear from folks in the region and beyond who are deeply concerned about transportation options that are not getting them what they need, and child care access, and affordability and housing costs that are going up," Hinds said.
"So it's clear that there is a need for a new approach. I think the lieutenant governor's office has always been about being a strong link to towns and cities and I will certainly continue that."
The three-term senator also believes that it is time to have a representative from Western Mass in some of the highest offices to make sure that the government is working for every corner of the commonwealth.
Hinds grew up in Buckland and attended Mohawk Trail Regional High School. After graduating from Wesleyan University and earning a master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, he spent more than a decade as a United Nations negotiator in the Middle East before returning to Pittsfield. He was a founding director of the youth violence prevention program Pittsfield Community Connection and later led the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition in North Adams.
"Being from here, I get it, far too many people feel like the government in Boston doesn't know where we are on a map, or that their voices are not being heard and that government doesn't work for them," he said.
"So I think it would be powerful not just to Western Mass, but to communities throughout the commonwealth, to have somebody who is from Western Mass, and to just send that signal that I'll wake up every day wondering about what we're going to do for every region in the commonwealth."
Hinds is somewhat following in the steps of his predecessor, Benjamin Downing, who held the Berkshire seat for a decade and is now running for the Democratic nomination for governor. Hinds won election to replace Downing in 2016 and had no general election challengers in his last two elections. 
Lieutenant governor candidates run independently for the nomination in their parties and then as a team with the gubernatorial candidate. 
Three other Democratic candidates have so far declared a run for the office in 2022: Bret Bero, a businessman and Babson College lecturer, state Rep. Tami Gouveia of Acton, and Scott Donohue of Melrose, who had initially filed for governor.
Hinds' focus in particular has been on climate change and resiliency, transportation needs in Western Mass, aid to rural schools, and economic development for small towns. 
Currently, he is still leading the Senate effort to reimagine Massachusetts in the post-pandemic world, serving as the chair of a new Senate Committee on "Reimagining MA: Post-Pandemic Resiliency" and as Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Revenue.
He said a report released last week by the committee on post-pandemic resiliency put a sharp point on the need to make sure the state is developing the workforce for the future. Hinds said training and investments need to be connected to that need.
"It's also been clear that things like child care we need to be essentially restructuring accessibility and affordability, bridging the digital divide has been an issue that has risen to the top because it's not just a rural issue," he added.
"It's also our downtown and urban areas that are experiencing a big gap at a time when the economy and health care and entertainment and purchasing are moving online, so that is another big area of investment."
Write-thru at 4:10 p.m. with more information and comments from the candidate. 

Tags: election 2022,   Hinds,   

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Pittsfield School Committee OKs Comfort Dog Pilot Program

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee has approved a comfort dog pilot program to support the well-being of students.
Through a partnership between Berkshire Poodles, Berkshire Dogs Unleashed, and the district, one to three dogs will be deployed to select schools by springtime. If that goes well, there is a possibility to have a four-legged friend in every school.
The district's Health and Safety Coordinator Eric Lamoureaux and owner of both businesses Lee Kohlenberger presented a program overview to the committee on Wednesday.
Molly the poodle joined them to vouch for the importance of pups in schools. She didn't have to do much persuading, as the proposal was approved unanimously.
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