Andrea Harrington: An independent senator for Berkshires

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RICHMOND >>In a few days, residents of 52 cities and towns in Western Massachusetts have an important decision to make as they elect their Democratic nominee for the state Senate. This election will have major implications on our region and there are clear differences between the three candidates running.

I am asking for your vote because I have the experience and background to be a bold, independent voice for working families and seniors in the Berkshires. As your state senator, you will always be able count on me to put our residents and our communities first.

Since announcing my candidacy in March, I have knocked on thousands of doors and run a true grassroots campaign across four counties in the largest state Senate district in Massachusetts. Here, I've met countless people who share the same struggles and triumphs that my family and I have encountered.

I grew up in a working family — my mom was a housekeeper from Pittsfield and my dad a carpenter from a small town in the Berkshires. My parents raised me to work and study hard and gave me opportunities that they never had. I graduated from Taconic High School and went on to become the first person in my family to go to college and then law school.

After working to overturn death penalty cases, I returned to the town where I grew up to raise a family with my husband, Tim. I started my own local law practice and Tim and I started a small business in West Stockbridge.

For more than a decade, I've been working on behalf of families as an attorney in the Berkshires. As good jobs have been leaving our region, I have seen firsthand the challenges caused by population decline, a shrinking middle class, seniors struggling to stay in their homes, and a devastating opiate crisis impacting thousands of our friends, family, and neighbors.

Invested in Berkshires

My experience is right here in the Berkshires working on issues that matter to Western Massachusetts. In addition to running a small business, I've served on the school council for my local school district, the affordable housing commission in my town, as delegate to the Democratic state convention, and as a board member of local non-profit organizations. I am not running for office as a stepping-stone for higher office. I'm running because I am deeply invested in the Berkshires, and I feel an obligation to do more for our region.

I have outlined a detailed platform and list of my priorities for how I think we can strengthen our communities and our region to provide greater opportunities for residents. I hope you'll take a moment to read this on my website at www.andreaforsenate.com or on the flyer I mailed out to Berkshire voters this week.

In addition to having the right priorities and the experience, I believe that I am the candidate with the independence to always put our people first. Sadly, outside money has been pouring into politics from SuperPACs, lobbyists, and Beacon Hill insiders. These special interests have made it clear that I am not their candidate.

The same goes for supporters of the Kinder-Morgan pipeline and executives at Berkshire Health Systems — they are raising money for another candidate in this campaign. That's fine by me!

In the current political culture, too many people feel disconnected because they can't make big political contributions or don't know the right people to call. I'm running for State Senate, because I want to be a voice for our residents who do the real work to enhance and support our communities every day. I want to be an advocate for working families, single parents raising their children here, and seniors who have invested decades building and giving back to our communities.

I want to stand up for those who coach youth sports, volunteer at senior centers, and serve on local boards and commissions. I want to work to create jobs and opportunity for those who can't find work in our region. I want to increase access to treatment beds for those struggling with addiction. And, I want to stand up to protect the natural beauty of Western Massachusetts from gas pipelines and toxic waste dumps.

On Thursday, I hope to earn your vote. I can assure you that there is no one who will harder for you in the Massachusetts state Senate.

Andrea Harrington is a Democratic candidate for state senator from Western Massachusetts.


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