LENOX >> "Politics" wasn't a dirty word in my house growing up. Nor were politicians thought of as "bad people". On the contrary, my parents, leading by example, taught their children that a life spent in service to others — with passion, leadership and vision — was an honorable profession.

My parents expected my siblings and I to do whatever we could to help others and they proved to us, time and again, that doing so helped to raise our own hopes and aspirations.

Ten years ago, Ben Downing, my lifelong family friend, was first elected to the Massachusetts state Senate. Since then, he and I have tackled the tough issues of the region and delivered great results.

After an extremely successful run, Ben recently announced that he will not run for another term. With this news, my name has been offered as a likely candidate to run for Ben's seat and so, I had an important decision to make.

Running for any office is a deeply personal and intense decision. I have been on an emotional roller coaster ever since Ben's announcement. I have spent time reflecting on my 14 years of service as your state representative for the Fourth Berkshire District and what we have achieved, together.


Together, we have seen the ups and downs of our local, state and global economy. We have seen long-established businesses close and we have seen entrepreneurs open the doors to new endeavors. We have seen buildings, long dormant, brought back to life. We have seen restaurants, theaters and world-class companies once again employ hundreds of hard-working people. We have seen roads and bridges and "streetscapes" repaired and replaced. We have seen new and renovated public schools throughout the district as well as much-needed investments in higher education. We have seen 17 communities pull together in an historic initiative to "share services" that will strengthen municipal budgets and save money for the hard-working taxpayers who call our towns "home".

Ben and I didn't succeed as solo enterprises, or even as one half of a "dynamic duo", we succeeded together, and we succeeded because of our supporters, In terms of legacy, together, I believe, that we have achieved something we should all be proud of.

Throughout my career in public service, I take the greatest pride in providing good constituent service. When the parent of a child with disabilities needed assistance in their school, I was there. When someone was having difficulty finding home care for an elderly parent, I was there. When someone needed help getting veterans benefits or health care, I was there. Whatever the issue, whatever the circumstance, I AM there. I have approached each constituent case with personal attention. I love my job and I aspire to help as many of my constituents as I can. I promise always to do this; with the same passion, leadership, and vision that my parents taught me.

To quote our late US Senator Edward Kennedy "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die".

Those words inspire me to do good work for the people who have entrusted me to represent them. The opportunity to serve in the State Senate is admittedly tempting. However — I love the House! I am honored to serve!

In that spirit and in the best interest of my family and the district that I call home, it will be an honor for me to run for re-election to the House of Representatives. Together with each of you and with the Berkshire delegation, we will continue to make the Berkshires great.

"Smitty" Pignatelli officially announced his decision on Monday.