Photo Gallery | Andrea Harrington kicks off State Senate run
PITTSFIELD — Standing before her family's market in West Stockbridge, attorney Andrea Harrington on Tuesday formally launched her campaign for the state Senate.
"I am running because our district needs a state senator who is invested in this district," she said. "A senator who has experienced the triumphs and the challenges of raising a family in this community. Our district needs a senator who is committed to leading this district through more than just a few elections."
The Richmond resident noted that she "grew up here in the Berkshires — right down the road. I went to Pittsfield public schools. My family has been in the Berkshires for generations — working for Sprague Electric and GE, and as farmers, carpenters and housekeepers. In my family, you simply worked hard."
In the race to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, who is not seeking another term, Harrington thus far will face Buckland native Adam Hinds, executive director of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition and former coordinator of the Pittsfield Community Connection program for youth at risk of gang influences and violence.
Harrington said following the morning announcement outside the Public Market, which her husband, Timothy Walsh, operates, that she and campaign manager Gregory Maynard, of Cambridge, are planning a flurry of activity to meet voters in the 52-community Berkshire-Franklin-Hampshire-Hampden Senate district.
She said her campaign website will be up within a few days, along with a Facebook page.
The candidate plans to attend "quite a number" of meet-and-greet events at private homes, public gatherings and various venues, and she will attend Democratic Party caucuses in as many communities as possible. Harrington said she wants to make a point of visiting the many hilltowns in the district.
"Thanks to my grandparents and my parents' hard work, I have had opportunities that they did not enjoy," she said in her remarks. "I became the first person in my family to graduate from college. Then I became the first person in my family to go to law school."
Harrington's law practice has focused on family law, divorce and criminal defense. She joined the Great Barrington firm of Hellman Shearn & Arienti in January.
She also is a mother with two young children in local schools. A decade ago, she said she returned to the Berkshires to raise a family, after obtaining her law degree and working in other states.
"After law school, I worked in Florida overturning death penalty convictions,' Harrington said. "It was grueling work, and it brought me face to face with some of the worst problems in our criminal justice system. But the work also gave me hope that with a fighting spirit, and with the right kind of people, we can make things better."
She said she brings to her legal cases a spirit "that there is a solution to the effects of long-term economic decline," adding, "I have never given up on the chance that a client can overcome substance abuse, because I have seen people recover from addiction when they are given the hope and the tools that they need."
She advocated "protecting our children from the drug pushers that are preying on them," along with "early diagnosis and treatment for mental illness and learning disabilities," and "access to high-quality preschool and elementary and secondary programs, afterschool programs, mentoring and high-tech vocational programs that will give our children the skills they need to succeed.
"It is hope in a brighter future that will solve our most difficult problems," she said. "I believe that there are a lot of people like me and my husband that want their kids to have the opportunity to return to this district to raise their families as part of a vibrant community."
Concerning her work with the advisory board of the BerkShares Inc. program, Harrington said, "I worked on innovative ways to keep more local dollars in our communities, and to capture more of the dollars that come through our district from tourism."
She said "the shift of just 3 percent in our spending back into Berkshire County could generate an additional $50 million in economic impact."
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 postconviction appeals in state and federal courts.
She is a 1993 graduate of Taconic High School in Pittsfield and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington.
Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.