PITTSFIELD >> Since announcing my candidacy for state Senate in February, my campaign has focused on the deepest needs of the district, talking to people in all four counties. This is a remarkable region, and I am proud to have been raised here and to continue to call this place my home.
I am honored to have spoken with so many of you, discussing your hopes, concerns, and challenges. That includes employers who can't find workers and workers frustrated by stagnant wages. Business owners concerned about energy costs and pipeline opponents concerned that we are not making the transition to renewable energy quickly enough.
I have sat with teachers short on resources for students, and parents short on funds to send kids to college. I've worked with families fighting the menace of addiction and first responders who need tools to keep people alive and support a path to recovery. I've listened to seniors facing devastating choices due to prescription drug costs.
I will stand shoulder to shoulder with you as we work to overcome obstacles to opportunity and design a vision for the future that inspires. I've spent my career taking on the tough challenges — from my hometown of Buckland, to Baghdad, to the Berkshires. Getting things done is what I'm about.
I have deliberately focused my platform on three key issues. Like the supports of a three-legged stool, each is critical for our success.
Strengthen the economy for everyone. Everyone who needs a job should be able to get a job. We'll strengthen programs to train workers in new skills so they can fill existing jobs or prepare for a changing labor market. We'll strengthen existing small and middle-sized companies and make it attractive for new businesses to move here by improving key infrastructure like transportation and finalizing high-speed internet where it is desperately needed.
Fight for the education funding we need. Our schools aren't getting a fair shake. I'll fight for changes in the funding formula so our schools have the resources they need to give every child a first-class education. I'll push for programs like universal pre-kindergarten so that every child will have a better chance at success.
Win-win for region
Invest in the clean energy sector. To accelerate growth and invest in the future, clean energy is a key, and Massachusetts is leading the way. This can be a big win-win for our region. We'll work to meet our commitment to address climate change, create good local long-term jobs, and secure lower energy costs for homes and businesses. It is also critical we protect the natural environment that attracts so many residents and visitors.
Taken together, these three priorities will allow us to reverse the trend in population decline. With more people moving away than moving in, we see the negative impact on town budgets and taxes. For a better, brighter future, we need to keep and attract residents and businesses, preserve the character of our communities with smart development that protects our green space, and develop a brand that attracts.
Finally, I will be a tireless advocate for tackling the heroin epidemic head-on. I'll set up a district-wide strategy that includes prevention, intervention, and compassionate treatment — bringing our communities together to face down this threat.
I spent nearly 10 years serving in the United Nations, working in Iraq, Syria, and Jerusalem on negotiations. It meant working with some tough actors in challenging situations. As a result, I will not be intimidated by anyone on Beacon Hill.
We need a strong voice for Western Mass. I have already been involved in many of the big challenges we face. In Pittsfield, I launched a program to engage at-risk youth through mentorship, job training, and education — and I worked with the Police Department to bring in millions of dollars of grant money to make it happen. In North Adams I spent time developing a jobs initiative and expanding access to health care and addiction services.
As our next state Senator, I will be a strong voice on Beacon Hill, fighting for all of us. I will be honored if you head to the polls on Thursday and cast your vote for me in the Democratic state primary.
Adam Hinds is a Democratic candidate for state Senate.