PITTSFIELD -- U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal believes that constituent services are the "lifeblood" of congressional work.
"It’s not glamorous," the Springfield Democrat said. "But it’s critical."
Neal’s remarks came on Thursday when he officially opened his Pittsfield office at the Silvio O. Conte Federal Building on Center Street.
His local office is in the same space previously occupied by both his predecessor, retired U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, and the late Conte himself.
"It’s an attachment to me," Neal said. "Washington is 375 to 380 miles from here."
Neal, who has served in Congress for 25 years, was elected to represent the Berkshires this fall. The county came under Neal’s jurisdiction after the state’s legislative districts were redrawn based on the results of the 2010 federal census.
His Pittsfield office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will be operated by two full-time staffers, Dan Johnson, and Cindy Clark.
Johnson, a 2004 graduate of Pittsfield High School, worked on Neal’s 2012 re-election campaign. Clark, who lives in Dalton, previously worked for both Olver and Conte.
Neal said he plans to visit his Berkshire office "regularly" but didn’t give any specifics. His other office in the First Congressional District is located in Springfield.
Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi thanked Neal for opening a local office.
"He followed through on his promise to be close to the Berkshires," Bianchi said.
"Since Day One, Richard Neal said he would have a presence and be a presence," in the Berkshires, said state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield. "Not for one moment did I doubt that that would be the case."
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