Chris Connell kicks off run for 3rd Berkshire District seat

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Photo Gallery | Chris Connell kicks off campaign for State Rep

PITTSFIELD — Christopher Connell kicked off his independent run for the 3rd Berkshire District House of Representatives seat on Thursday with an event at the American Legion post attended by more than 60 people.

Connell, the Ward 4 city councilor, reiterated his called for "a stronger voice in Boston" to push for a greater share of funding and other support for Pittsfield.

"Over the last four-plus years serving on the City Council, I have come to realize there is only so much I can accomplish to help the city," Connell said in his remarks.

He noted that as Pittsfield's population and industrial base has declined in recent decades, the tax base has eroded and the city has "limited flexibility in raising taxes to support ever increasing city services."

Among needs for which he said the city should have "our fair share of tax revenue from the state," are for a new police station, major educational investments and street and other infrastructure upgrades.

"That's why the citizens of Pittsfield need a strong voice on Beacon Hill that will put Pittsfield's needs first," Connell said.

Running as an independent, he will face the winner of a Democratic primary race and any Republican, Green/Rainbow Party or United Independent Party candidates who enter the contest.

Currently, incumbent state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield, is facing a challenge in the September primary from newcomer Michael Bloomberg of Holmes Road. No other candidates have announced a campaign.

Connell was introduced prior to his remarks Thursday by Ward 7 City Councilor Anthony Simonelli. Others attending the Connell event were Mayor Linda M. Tyer, council President Peter Marchetti, councilors Peter White and Kevin Morandi, and former Mayor Gerald S. Doyle and former Councilor Barry Clairmont.

Connell said that while a councilor and previously he has worked with a number of boards and commissions and on bipartisan initiatives. He said those include work with former Assistant City Solicitor Darren Lee, who in attendance, to submit a council petition to help prompt the city's first-ever tax lien sale, which recouped more than $2 million in back taxes owed.

He also cited work with former council President and current at large Councilor Melissa Mazzeo and others to update the city's parking fine schedule, and on a study group he proposed to look into city water and wastewater system operations, as well proposing, along with councilors Mazzeo and Donna Todd Rivers, a study of operations at the Pittsfield Municipal Airport to determine whether other management options might be more cost-effective.

"I have always tried to think out of the box and collaborate with others to offer alternative ways of doing business and hopefully save the city and taxpayers money," he said.

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.


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