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Dean Martilli speaks at the Berkshire Hills Country Club. The Republican candidate is challenging incumbent Richie Neal for the 1st Massachusetts congressional seat.
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John Comerford, left, of Palmer is running for Governor's Council and Brendan Phair of Pittsfield for state Senate.

Conservative State Candidates Pitch Campaigns in Pittsfield

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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Candidate Dean Martilli, with the Kathryn Mickle of the Berkshire County Republicans, was one of three conservative candidates pitching their campaigns at the meet and greet. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire County Republican Association recently hosted congressional candidate Dean Martilli at the Berkshire Hills County Club.

The West Springfield native spoke of his priorities to secure the U.S. border, deflate inflation, gain energy independence, and restore parental rights.  

He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island and is founder and principal of Martilli & Associates, an independent public-policy and governmental affairs firm that specializes in strategic planning, business development, marketing, and communications.

In the fall, he will challenge the incumbent in the 1st Massachusetts District, Democrat Richard Neal, who has served in Congress for more than 30 years and is the chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

The Republican association's Kathryn Mickle introduced him. About 20 attended the event, including an appearance from Ward 2 Councilor Charles Kronick. 

The candidate pointed out that he got involved with politics on the Democrat side and worked for the congressman at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. He said he learned a lot during this period of time, became disenchanted with what was happening in the country, and started voting differently.

"I started voting Republican, even though I was a Democrat, and then I finally said, 'What the heck am I doing this for?' I'll just change my status. It was just appalling to me. I couldn't understand why the Democratic Party was the way they were," Martilli said.

"So that was spearheading me plus the fact that I couldn't go anywhere, hang around with anyone, they're complaining about what's going on in the country. I'm one of these guys. I just don't want to hang around and complain about it so here I am, I'm running for Congress and I know we can beat this guy."

Martilli is running on a platform of fiscal conservatism, energy independence and a strong military. He is against abortion, free speech limits, lockdowns, and business and education mandates.

While Neal has supported forward motion on east-west passenger rail, his challenger feels that it is a waste of money. Martilli said one of his points in running for Congress is to create jobs in the area and maintain business here rather than transporting workers to Boston.

"I think it is crazy that you'd spend all this money but it does fit the narrative of the Democratic Party," he said.

"'Let's put your cars away, let's put you on the rail, let's save the planet' and everything else and it makes no sense."

He also expressed his personal opinion about the Democratic Party, asserting that it is trying to take away people's rights and that they are liars.

"They are telling you you guys are all stupid, we know what's better for you and we're going to tell you what to do and every one of my things that I have is created to make your life miserable and take away your rights, take away religion, take away the family unit. They do not care about you," Martilli said.

Martilli takes a strong position on the southern border. The candidate believes that undocumented immigrants are treated better than citizens and pose a threat to public safety.

"First of all, we're more breaking the law in the country by letting illegals enter," he said.

"And I don't have anything you know, against helping people and everything else, but it's not realistic that like last year, we had 2 million illegals coming into the country and we don't know who they are. We treat them better than we treat our own citizens, so we care more about people that aren't citizens of the United States. We move them around, we give them phones, we give them water."

Undocumented immigrants have limited access to federal programs; more local benefits vary from state to state.

Martilli claimed that undocumented immigrants are feeding fentanyl into the drug cartels in Mexico that are coming to the border.

"We could shut it down but we don't do that and we're also allowing the drug cartels to collect money to allow people to come in, no one comes into the country from any country unless they're paying the drug cartel so we set up a business for drug cartels to make a ton of money to shift people into our country," he said.

"And it's our problem and we allow that to happen so the whole thing is the craziest thing ever so why are we doing this? Why are we allowing 2 million-plus people a year that don't belong here and we don't even know who they are?"

Relative to immigration, Martilli spoke against the driver's license bill that was passed into law after the state Senate overrode Gov. Charlie Baker's veto. This allows undocumented immigrants to apply for a standard state driver's license beginning July 1, 2023.

"If you give people driver's license, then that's a step for them to vote and they shouldn't be able to.  They shouldn't have any rights," he said.

"I mean, really, what are they doing here? They got in illegally because the administration said, 'yeah, come on in and we'll take care of you.'"

Martilli also advocated for parents being able to decide what their children learn in school. He is opposed to schools teaching gender studies or critical race theory, a college-level framework that looks at how embedded racism affects laws, regulations, rules, and procedures.

Independent candidate for state Senate Brendan Phair also pitched his campaign at the event.

The Pittsfield resident will run against the winner of the Democratic primary — Paul Mark or Huff Tyler Templeton III — in the general election.

Phair, a paraprofessional educator at Taconic High School, described himself as "conservative, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-energy, pro-business," and a supporter of tax relief for seniors.

"I support crisis pregnancy centers, one of our U.S. senators said that she wants to shut down all crisis pregnancy centers. The work that crisis pregnancy centers do are invaluable and she doesn't know anything about crisis pregnancy centers," he said.

"They help women in our society who are more often than not underserved and underprivileged and come from lower-income brackets. If there's any attempts or shutdown crisis pregnancy centers, I will fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening."

Switching gears, Phair said he also supports body and dash cameras on willing police officers with initial funding for implementation and the municipalities covering the costs of data storage. He said it seems both the police and victim advocacy groups support the cameras.

"It seems like one of those topics that the majority of people support," he said.

In contrast to Martilli, Phair is optimistic about the east-west rail

"I think it would be great and it's already started but I think I'm being optimistic about it," he said.

"I think it's a great idea. It's fun. Why not, right? Rails can be very difficult to be successful — as far as people that ride, scheduling, the cost, the fare that it takes to go from point A and point B — so I'm optimistic but sometimes these things don't work out but I think it's worth moving forward with it."

John Comerford of Palmer, who is running for the Governor's Council in District 8, also spoke at the event. The lone Republican candidate said the district seats are all held by Democrats and he wants to change that.

"My intention is to get there and be a very loud voice for the people in my district, be a very loud voice for change," he said.

The former state fraud investigator who last ran unsuccessfully for Hampden County sheriff, will face off in the general election against the winner of the Democratic primary: Shawn Allyn, Michael Fenton, Jeffrey Morneau or Tara Jacobs.
The Berkshire Republicans opened a campaign office at 55 Church St. last week. 


Tags: 1st Mass,   election 2022,   Republican Party,   

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Pittsfield's Erin Laundry Competes in 'Lego Master' TV Show

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

A watch party was held at the Garage at the Colonial Theatre for Wednesday's premiere, which shows Laundry and her teammate's 'space ukelele.'
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Friends and family cheered on Wednesday as Erin Laundry appeared on the television screen. 
The Colonial Theatre's Garage was packed for the Pittsfield resident's debut on Fox's "Lego Masters."
The third season of the reality competition show, hosted by actor and comedian Will Arnett, premiered on Wednesday. Twelve teams of two Lego builders each are competing for $100,000 and the title of "Lego Master" over the next seven weeks.
Laundry traveled to the Atlanta area in the spring with her teammate Liz Puleo to film. For her, it was like being at a summer camp that is dedicated to her passion.  
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