For 1st Berkshire District candidate Christine Canning, it's about 'getting these people what they need'
"I think I'm pretty moderate. For me, it's getting the job done," Canning said.
Canning sat with Berkshire Eagle editors and reporters recently to discuss why she's running for the 1st Berkshire District seat vacated by Democrat Gailanne Cariddi, who died in June.
After running unopposed in the Republican primary, Canning moved on to face former North Adams Mayor John Barrett III in the November special election. The winner will serve the remaining year of Cariddi's term.
Canning, of Lanesborough, ran for state Senate last year and lost to Sen. Adam Hinds.
Canning said the Berkshires are rife with corruption and nepotism, among other issues.
"The health, welfare and safety of people comes first, and my track record shows it," Canning said.
On social issues, Canning said that because she is a Republican, people assume she is racist.
But she contends that she has served with the NAACP and advocated for equality in the public school system.
Canning said she has worked in developing countries and has seen what universal health care can do to help people. Her husband died of cancer while they were living overseas.
"I don't know what I would have done at the point [without insurance]. You can't be fighting with insurance companies when that happens," Canning said.
Although Canning is on the left when it comes to social issues, she said she is on the right when it comes to finances.
"I can't stand fraud," Canning said. "I have absolutely no problem taking people to task."
Canning said she wants to serve on the House's committee for technology, and she would advocate for "business without borders." She wants to get local businesses certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, or DBE's, to improve their ability to receive government contracts.
She also proposed legislation that would allow towns to forgo taxing certain business, instead charging a single licensing fee.
"Let's say we take the town of North Adams or Adams. We [would] say, if you're willing to invest in Adams, we want to remove the local taxes from you. Instead, you would pay a fee," Canning said.
Canning also advocated for new workforce development programs, citing programs that are available at the New York City Public Library.
"When they talk about workforce development, a lot of the programs that are being offered now are outdated," Canning said. "We need stuff that's updated."
Canning said the area has to position itself for the future economy.
"Why are we not having workforce development on 2035, where we know robots are going to be taking over robots? We just saw that today, I think it was a large phenomenal amount that's being paid into languages for training robots. Could you imagine? They have right now people who are training robots on how to act just like you or me. With the cast of characters in this county, we could have a real diverse population of that," Canning said.
"We need to learn the dark web. If I go out, I feel like jaywalking and saying to them, what do you think about the bitcoin? That shouldn't be, because you're not globally competitive," Canning added.
At 23 years old, Canning worked for the United Arab Emirates government and worked in the Middle East for more than a decade. She is the CEO of New England Global Network LLC, an education consulting firm, and has an English degree from the University of Massachusetts and a master's degree from West Virginia University in foreign language and linguistics.
As for education, Canning advocated for sharing services between districts while still educating those with special needs at a high level.
"I would look at their budgets and I would rethink how they spend their money," Canning said. "I think you need consolidated services."
Canning believes she can draw support from both major parties, and claimed that 30 percent of her team during last year's Senate run were Democrats.
"I even had a guy from the Communist Party," Canning said. "Now I'm doing this a second time around based on my notes of what worked and what didn't work."
Canning said she does not accept "financial endorsements" and will not allow her vote to be bought.
Instead, she said she's reaching out directly to voters to see what they need.
"It's about working bipartisan and getting these people what they need," Canning said.
Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376 or @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter
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