PITTSFIELD >> Six months ago I began a campaign to be your next state senator because I believe in the extraordinary potential of this region. I remain inspired by our amazing story here in the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden district. We come from a strong manufacturing legacy that has brought, and continues to bring, critical infrastructure and cutting edge technology to the rest of the world. We have world-class cultural institutions, vibrant cities, welcoming small towns, and unequaled access to nature.
People throughout the district share the character and concerns of the people who surrounded me as I grew up in the small town of Buckland. We believe in basic fairness and are eager to work hard to ensure a bright future for our families.
That is what this campaign is about. It is about ensuring every working family feels secure about the future because they have a quality job in a strong economy, and their child has a first rate education. It is about overcoming decades of wage stagnation and population decline by working toward a vision for the region that inspires others to join.
As your next state senator, my top priority will be to ensure economic growth by supporting existing businesses while advocating for an environment where entrepreneurship thrives. To do this, we must improve our transportation systems and ensure access to high speed internet in every corner of the district. It is unacceptable that finalizing last mile broadband has taken this long.
We must also support our educational institutions and workforce training programs so they can meet the changing needs of our business community. With over 2,000 unfilled jobs in this region, this link puts people to work.
As the son of two public school educators, I grew up understanding the importance of a quality education. I was lucky to receive that just over the hill in the Mohawk Trail Regional School district, where both my parents worked. In Boston, I will fight for an education system that is responsibly funded across the commonwealth, not just in Boston.
I will prioritize closing the opportunity gap by supporting universal Pre-K and full-day kindergarten to help students read proficiently by third grade — a significant measure of future success. I will be a tireless advocate for changing broken funding mechanisms that fail to recognize the challenges of our rural region. It will also be my guiding mission to ensure a college education is available to all who desire one. We cannot allow the cost of higher education to deter anyone from continuing to learn and grow.
Serious on energy
I will work in the trenches with business and energy leaders, and then with Senate colleagues, to find real solutions to meet clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction mandates while also reducing the burden of rising costs. We have to get serious about deploying new energy solutions. Utility bills should not hinder business growth. We should set an example by pushing forward the clean energy solutions that will make us a leader in protecting the environment and in the green energy industry.
The heroin epidemic requires a comprehensive strategy that includes prevention, intervention and treatment. I will be a fierce proponent for ensuring our prescription drug monitoring practices are strengthened, our first responders are equipped to treat overdose victims, our criminal justice system embraces mental and behavioral health services, and treatment and recovery is accessible.
Our economy, education system, energy and environmental challenges have a common link. They can contribute to a declining population that results in a smaller tax base for municipalities and a difficult environment for maintaining quality schools. Yet challenges can be viewed as opportunities to secure an even deeper connection to this place for the next generation and for more individuals today. To honor the place we love, we must create a path forward that inspires.
I have spent my career working as a convener and a problem solver from Buckland to Baghdad to the Berkshires. In each of these places I always found a way to get people to the table with a willingness to work toward solutions. No matter how difficult the issue or the individual, I stood strong for the greater good. I will bring that determination with me to Beacon Hill.
If I am fortunate enough to have your vote on Thursday, Sept. 8, I promise to tackle head on the challenges that impact our daily lives in the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden district.
Adam Hinds is a Democratic candidate for state Senate.