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Jennifer Macksey speaks to supporters at her victory party at Mingo's on Tuesday night.

Jennifer Macksey Makes History as North Adams First Woman Mayor

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State Rep. John Barrett III hugs Macksey. The former mayor had kept in the background of her campaign. Macksey had worked under him in her finance positions in the city. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The results came within minutes of the polls closing on Tuesday and the victor by fewer than 200 votes was Jennifer Macksey. 
 
The city's former treasurer will be the first woman to take the corner office and only the fourth mayor in more than 30 years. 
 
Macksey won in a close vote against Lynette Bond, director of grants at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and a member of the Planning Board. 
 
Surrounded by cheering supporters at her victory party at Mingo's — and getting a hug from her biggest supporter, state Rep. John Barrett III, who's kept to the background — she thanked the team that helped her win. 
 
"You all made something so challenging just come naturally and when I said on the campaign trail that I represent the people, you damn well I do," she said. "We knew we were going to win but we didn't want to be conceited about it. It comes down to hard work and I first want to thank my family — my mom for praying for me every single day and my sister for swearing at me every day, and for my boyfriend for making sure I went to bed but on time, but he didn't know I got up after he went to sleep, and to my committee who has been right beside me every day. You're the best damn team you could ever ask for."
 
She added that her opponent "ran a great campaign, and I wish her all the best. I hope we can work together in the future."
 
Macksey also laid out her priority for the coming year — an  issue that very likely got her votes from the public safety sector. She was supported by both the former police chief and fire chief, along with a number of former city colleagues.
 
"First, we're gonna start by evaluating that public safety building and get right on that. And then we're gonna focus on infrastructure. But my first thing is to work with the City Council and start establishing those relationships," she said. "I think the message people wanted is they wanted experience, and they want to build community back, and I'm ready to represent them."
 
One issue that seemed to separate her and Bond in the last debate between the two was the reform efforts being implemented by District Attorney Andrea Harrington. Asked if she thinks this vote was a signal to the DA, Macksey said her focus was a safe community.
 
"I want to work with the DA. She's a great person, and we need to work together," she said. "The people in North Adams want safe communities, and that's what we're going to have."
 
Both candidates had been optimistic of their chances during the day. Supporters had lined the sidewalk in front of St. Elizabeth's, but the turnout was slightly above average at 3,151 votes cast, or about 34 percent. 
 
This selection of the city's first woman mayor didn't generate as much excitement as might have been imagined. The turnout was lower than in 2017, when some 3,400 votes were cast in the election that brought Thomas Bernard to the corner office, the first election in more than 30 years in which an incumbent was not running. 
 
"Let me congratulate Jen Macksey. You know, I've known Jen for many, many years, and she's a true professional. And I'm sure the city will be well served by Jennifer," said Richard Alcombright, former mayor and newly elected School Committee member at Bond's much quieter get-together at 413 on Main Street. "Yeah, I'm disappointed that Lynette  didn't pull this off, but again, I have to look at it as her first. Her first run for public office to be a couple 100 votes short ... Yeah, it was really quite a thing. ...
 
"I think that people need to realize particularly such a divided country, that as a small city, we have so much opportunity so much in front of us and that if we all kind of tomorrow, wake up and say let's get on the train. Let's all move the train forward."
 
Alcombright said he was glad to see younger people getting involved in the city boards and committee and people coming to the city to get involved.  
 
"Your voice is no less important, or no more important than someone who's been here forever," he said." ...  Don't be afraid to come out. Don't be afraid to go to public meetings. Don't be afraid to approach your counselors. Don't be afraid to knock on the mayor's door."
 
Alcombright will be joined on the School Committee by Joshua Vallieres, an MCLA student who will complete the two years left on Moulton's term; incumbent Emily Daunis, who was appointed to Moulton's term last year; and David Sookey, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2019 election. There were no races for the committee or for the McCann School Committee, to which Gary Rivers won re-election and Diane Gallese Parsons was newly elected. 
 
Bond said she was proud of her supporters and of the community for coming out and voting.

Lynette Bond, with her campaign manager and brother-in-law David Bond at right, speaks to supporters after her loss in Tuesday's election.

"This is the will of the city, and I will continue to be part of it. I want our supporters, I want everyone to take part in our city. We have a bright future, and I just I can't wait to see what's next for North Adams," she said. "People probably didn't have enough chance to get to know me, and that's OK. You know, we put it out there, and we had a good time. I'm just so proud of all our supporters and all the people who really took a stand and decided what they wanted for this city."

She added, "We want to wish Jennifer all the best because if her administration succeeds, obviously we all succeed and we want the best for our neighbors, are friends are families."

There had been a low-level call in recent days to vote out of the incumbents and to have two former councilors — Robert Moulton Jr. and Jason LaForest, both of whom quit the council during their terms — to be written in. Also running a write-in campaign was Roger Eurbin, who has run for council in the past and missed the deadline for signatures this year. 
 
That write-in revolt did little to sway any numbers and all five incumbents — Lisa Blackmer, Keith Bona, Peter Oleskiewicz, Bryan Sapienza and Wayne Wilkinson — were all returned to office. 
 
Joining them will be Marie T. Harpin, who quit the council in August but then indicated in the short weeks before the election that she was still interested in serving. Because she resigned, she could not run as an incumbent but still scored enough votes to place fifth and return to a board she said was too toxic to function. 
 
Three new faces will join the council — Michael Obasohan, Ashley Shade and Jennifer Barbeau. Obasohan and Harpin were the top non-incumbent vote-getters and will join the council at its next meeting on Nov. 9. This is because the council decided to wait until after the election to fill the two seats left open when LaForest and Harpin quit in August. 
 
 

Tags: city election,   election 2021,   


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North Adams Issues Request for Proposals for Mohawk Theater

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A request for proposals for the Mohawk Theater will be available on Wednesday. 
 
Mayor Jennifer Macksey told the City Council on Tuesday night that the RFP document will be available in the Community Development Office.
 
The decision on what comes next for the historical moviehouse will be more collaborative than other property sales in the past. Macksey said she would be asking for representation from the City Council on the selection committee and will gather public input. 
 
"Part of the rollout will be a couple of public forums. So the public can come and ask questions on creating the top two or three," she said.
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