Downing discusses his next moves as state Senate term draws to close


PITTSFIELD >> Ben Downing is job hunting, but has yet to land on his private-sector career move.

"I honestly don't know the answer yet," the 35-year-old state senator said.

The Pittsfield Democrat isn't seeking election to what would be a sixth term as the state senator for the 32 cities and towns in Berkshire County and 20 more in Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden.

When asked about his next move at a meeting Friday with The Eagle's editorial board, Downing said he has "started to interview for a couple positions."

What is clear is what he's not going to do, Downing said.

"I'm not going to do contract lobbying. I'm not going to do lobbying generally," Downing said. "I've been offered those positions and I have no desire to do that work. There are plenty of fine people who do it, it's just not what I want to do."

Downing, chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, said he's spoken with a "couple of energy companies, nothing formal yet."

"I'm interested in that area, but I don't know if I want to make that my 9 to 5. I've talked to a couple of foundations, both nonprofit and corporate, about work there. I'm still trying to see," he said.

"Hopefully, in the next month or so, I'll have an answer. I've had a few people say, 'Take a break.' ... But I don't think there'll be a break for me."

Downing arrived in the Senate nearly 10 years ago after having served on the staffs of congressmen John W. Olver, Richard E. Neal and William Delahunt. His resume includes a political science degree from Providence College in 2003 and a master's from Tufts University's Department of Urban and Environment Policy & Planning in 2008.

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, present at the meeting as well, might make a strong job reference for Downing.

Asked what his reference for Downing might say, Rosenberg didn't skip a beat.

"Highly competent, professional individual with enormous integrity, talent and insight. He's a bright guy and his values are in the right place," Rosenberg said.

"Too kind," Downing said.

Downing said he and his wife, Micaelah B. Morrill, want to start a family.

As the senator of the state's largest district geographically and the one who drives the farthest to reach to the Statehouse, Downing doesn't want a long commute to his next job.

Being a "Turnpike dad" isn't going to happen, he said.


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