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Paul Mark enters his election night party on Tuesday after determining he will be the next state senator for the Berkshires.

Paul Mark Set to Move to State Senate

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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Supporters ready to welcome state Senate winner Paul Mark at Patrick's Pub on Tuesday night. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Paul Mark will move out of the House and down the hall to the state Senate this January. 

A six-term representative of the 2nd Berkshire District, the Democrat was leading his Republican opponent Brendan Phair of Pittsfield by nearly 60 percent with more than a third of precincts reporting on Tuesday night. 

Around 50 supporters rallied for Mark at Patrick's Pub on Tuesday night.

"I feel great. It feels amazing to have the support of people that you have had the chance to serve for the past 11 years, and then to have met so many people in 32 communities that I haven't served previously and to get an overwhelming level of support, just feels great," Mark said.

"It feels affirming to the work that I've been able to do in the past, it makes me feel good that the message we were speaking about reflected the message that I've heard from people in the district and it makes me feel good that when we go to put a stamp of this region on policy matters, that I am reflective of what the people want, and I hope to stay that way and I hope to stay in touch with people to make sure that happens."

Mark, a resident of Peru, will now represent most of Western Mass in the Berkshire, Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin Senate District. He replaces Adam Hinds, who had unsuccessfully run for lieutenant governor. 

He said his No. 1 priority in the Senate is to make sure that this region gets every penny that it is entitled to, which he said is an "uphill battle."

"As the only member of the Senate for the entire county, it's going to be that much more difficult because A: it's the only voice that Boston is going to hear on that in that chamber," he said. "But B: when you have 32 cities and towns in the Berkshires and 57 total, I have to do everything possible to make sure that I know what resources each of these communities are looking for, and that they feel that they are getting the proper level of attention from it. So it's a challenge for sure, it’s a lot of hard work but it's something that I'm excited about, I’ve been moving into for the last 14 months and on day one, I hope to be ready to really make an impact."

Mark's election party included signs and supporters of Question 1, the Fair Share Amendment that imposes a 4 percent surcharge on yearly net earnings over $1 million to fund education and infrastructure, and Question 4 to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. Both ballot questions were leading late Tuesday night.

"With Question 1, that's a constitutional amendment and it's something that I voted for four times in the Legislature, has come to the voters to ratify in the past and has always lost so to see that it looks like it's going to be a victory, I think is really impressive," he said.

"And I think it's important that we make sure that any revenue that comes in from this new bracket is going to be put to education to transportation, and as much of that as possible is coming to our rural communities and our gateway cities and into our region."

Mark's colleague and supporter state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier has been a lead on Question 4 and he has voted in favor of it.

"I think it's going to have a positive impact, I think it's going to make the roads safer and I think it's really impressive to see that the people of the state are affirming that yes, the Legislature did the right thing, we do think this is going to improve safety and we want to keep this on the books," he added.

Farley-Bouvier was at the event and thanked supporters for re-electing her as representative of what is now the 2nd Berkshire District. She's been a representative 10 years.

Speaking on Question 4, she said "this is what democracy looks like."

The two Senate candidates expressed significantly different views on abortion rights, gender-affirming care, police reform, and the Fair Share Amendment.

Phair was hoping to get at least 40 percent of the vote but the totals so far had him closer to 20. He doubts he will run for office again but said he will support a conservative candidate who has similar pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, anti-electric vehicle, mask and vaccine mandate values, and who cares about the state's energy policies and promoting businesses.

"That was a bit disappointing I was hoping it would be the very least 60-40, but it isn't. So that's OK. I don't have any big regrets. I think I ran a pretty good campaign and takes a lot to win a campaign like this. But I'm glad I gave it a shot," he said, adding that he enjoyed campaigning and the speaking engagements he had.

"It was fun," Phair concluded.

"I guess it confirms what I believe and what other people in the state believe in. I guess it doesn't necessarily mesh with what I believe would be good for the state."

Tags: election 2022,   

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Two Large Scale Drug Traffickers Arrested and Arraigned

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — On May 23 and May 24, the Berkshire District Attorney's Office arraigned two individuals, Michael Caropreso and George Stewart, on drug trafficking charges. 
Both Defendants were arrested on warrants following prior investigations into drug trafficking. The investigations were conducted by the Pittsfield Police Department and the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force.
Michael Caropreso, age 50 of Becket, was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court on May 23. When the Defendant was arrested, he possessed approximately 56 grams of cocaine. Caropreso is charged with Trafficking in Cocaine, 36 grams or more, less than 100 grams. He is being held on $150,000 cash bail.
George Stewart, age 44 of Pittsfield, was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court on May 24. When the Defendant was arrested, he had approximately 300 grams of cocaine and an illegal firearm. Additionally, Stewart had an outstanding warrant at the time of his arrest. 
Stewart is charged with:
  • Trafficking in Cocaine, 200 grams or more
  • Possession of Firearm in a Felony
  • Possession of a Firearm Without an FID Card
  • Improper Storage of a Firearm
  • Possession of Ammunition without an FID Card
  • Firearm Violation With 3 Prior Violent/Drug Crimes
  • Stewart is being held on $250,000 cash bail.
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