PITTSFIELD — State government does not happen in a marble building with a golden dome, on a hill in a faraway city. State government happens right here, in our community. With this principle in mind, I have prioritized being accessible to all my constituents in Pittsfield.
When I was first sworn into office, I established a full-time district office in the heart of downtown to make it convenient for anyone to call or stop by anytime. I am accessible via social media, and my constituents know I am there for them to answer questions, to help solve problems, and to gain their vital feedback on state legislation.
Listening is critical
This is because I believe my most important job as a legislator is to listen to people who work, do business, and make their homes in Pittsfield, and then to collaborate with others to address challenges they face. I count on the expertise of our community partners on issues of economic development, education, child welfare, health care, housing, and the cultural economy. I also learn from my constituents who are passionate about environmental, economic, and social justice issues.
I work closely with the mayor, and I am always available to city councilors, School Committee members, the schools superintendent, and other city officials. Having all of us working together makes all the difference in securing state funding.
We all agree that economic development is job one for Pittsfield. When I listen to employers both large and small, their number one concern is a well-prepared workforce. This is why I am so proud that our perseverance is paying off with the construction of the new Taconic High School. We owe it to our children and our own future as a community to invest in a 21st century facility that will support the excellent work of our teachers.
In addition to leading the charge on the new Taconic, I am an active member of the Berkshire Compact for Education, which brings together diverse stakeholders with the mission of raising the educational aspirations and attainment levels of all people.
In the legislature, I have been active on four strong teams: the progressive caucus, the Gateway city caucus, and two legislative committees. During my tenure as a leader in the progressive caucus, we have partnered with advocacy groups to pass forward-thinking bills, such as raising the minimum wage and creating equal protection for transgender people.
A great example of the work of The Gateway city caucus is a partnership with MassDevelopment called the transformative development initiative. With Sen. Downing, we were able to pass legislation, secure funding, and advocate for the local application to transform the Tyler Street neighborhood.
Since my first term, I have served on the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. Past cuts and the ongoing surge in the opioid epidemic have created immense pressure on the system. In response, I brought together a group of legislators to learn from stakeholders who are too often ignored. We now have an understanding of the importance of strengthening families so that children can stay safely at home and of supporting foster families.
Concerned about the opioid epidemic and its devastating toll on Pittsfield, I pushed for a seat on the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee. I am proud of my contributions to our most recent omnibus opioid bill, I am pleased that there are plans for two more facilities in Pittsfield with 46 new long-term recovery beds.
I grew up in Pittsfield and chose to raise my family here. Through my work on community projects, School Council, the City Council, and now as your state representative, I am looking forward to continuing my partnerships with local government, businesses, and community members to advance the needs of Pittsfield and advance a progressive agenda.
I truly love my job and I hope that those of you who work, do business, and make Pittsfield your home see fit to return me for another term.
Tricia Farley-Bouvier is the Democratic state representative from the 3rd Berkshire District.