Our Opinion: Endorsements for North Adams City Council
Editor's note: This article was updated on Nov. 5, 2017, to correct that Paul Hopkins was formerly employed by North Adams Regional Hospital.
North Adams voters will confront 16 candidates for nine North Adams City Council seats when they go to the polls on Tuesday, a dauntingly large field but one that speaks well of the city. The mix of veterans and newcomers attests to a high level of interest in serving the community, one that faces many challenges as well as opportunities. Combined with a new mayor, this new City Council will have an important role in moving North Adams forward in the term ahead.
City Council President Benjamin Lamb is one of five incumbents seeking re-election. Mr. Lamb runs meetings courteously and effectively and works diligently on important city projects, such as making renovations to Eagle Street.
Keith Bona is a City Council veteran who has been a strong advocate for North Adams and an effective voice for small business. Joshua Moran is a workmanlike councilor whose strength is in the details of committee work. He has also been an advocate for the bike path and for other recreational activities in keeping with the city's place in the Berkshires.
Eric Buddington has focused successfully on bringing transparency to the processes of city government. His background in computer technology enables him to lead on bringing faster broadband service to the city. Wayne Wilkinson is an independent councilor with experience on the Planning Board as well as the City Council.
If elected to the City Council, Paul Hopkins will be new to the group but not new to North Adams government. He is a long-time member of the Planning Board as well as the Redevelopment Authority, and earned the city's respect during his many years as director of community relations at the North Adams Regional Hospital. A youthful graduate of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and an employee of Mass MoCA, Keifer Gammell is positioned to help close the perceived gap between those two institutions and the city as a whole.
Rebbecca Cohen, the human resources director for two family businesses in the city, has run an engaging and optimistic campaign. Jason LaForest is a city native who would bring life experiences elsewhere, such as volunteering in Haiti after a devastating earthquake, to the body. He is an advocate for regionalization of services, which will be an increasing necessity for North Adams.
The Eagle endorses incumbents Benjamin Lamb, Keith Bona, Joshua Moran, Eric Buddington and Wayne Wilkinson to the City Council along with Paul Hopkins, Keifer Gammell, Rebbecca Cohen and Jason LaForest.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.