RICHMOND — A Richmond woman is poised to enter the race for the Democratic nomination for the state Senate district seat now held by Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, who has decided against seeking re-election.
Andrea Harrington, an attorney with a Great Barrington law firm, said she will make her formal campaign announcement at 10 a.m. March 8 at the Public Market in West Stockbridge, which her husband, Timothy Walsh, owns.
Harrington said she's running because the region needs "someone invested in the district," and aware of the challenges it faces.
As someone who grew up in Richmond, she graduated from Taconic High School in 1993 and returned to the area to raise a family after obtaining her law degree and working in other states, Harrington said she believes she has the right experience to represent the district.
"I am running for state Senate because our district needs a leader who understands the challenges facing our communities and will build on the opportunities we have to create jobs and protect our children," she said.
The 52-town Berkshire-Hampshire-Franklin-Hampden district has been represented by Downing, a Pittsfield Democrat, for the past 10 years.
Harrington also is a mother with two young children in local schools. She said that as an attorney in the Berkshires, she has represented clients suffering the effects of addiction and poverty, giving her a valuable perspective on the difficult challenges the region faces.
Her practice has focused on family law, divorce and criminal defense. She joined the Great Barrington firm of Hellman Shearn & Arienti in January.
Harrington said she has an understanding of "the disparity between income and the cost of living" in Berkshire County and is ready to work hard to address that.
"I am running to expand the bright spots in our regional economy — in court, I have seen too many lives impacted by financial hardship," she said.
"I believe we need to expand economic opportunity in this region, and that's why I joined the board of BerkShares," Harrington added. She said her work with BerkShares focuses on supporting local business, growing entrepreneurship and a new community-supported industry program.
Harrington is a 2003 graduate of American University's Washington College of Law, who returned to the area in 2007 after practicing in Florida as a commercial litigator in a Miami law firm. She later represented Florida death row inmates in post-conviction appeals in state and federal courts.
Harrington also serves on Richmond's Affordable Housing Committee and on the advisory board of BerkShares Inc. She is a volunteer for Railroad Street Youth Project, the Crocus Fund, Berkshire Academies Mentors, and the Richmond Consolidated School.
She said members of her extended family have lived in the Pittsfield area and worked at GE and at the former Sprague Electric Co. in North Adams.
In the Democratic primary in September, Harrington will face Adam Hinds, a native of Buckland who has served as coordinator of the Pittsfield Community Connection anti-youth violence initiative and now is executive director of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition in North Adams.
Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.