Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli won't run for state Senate, will seek new House term

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PITTSFIELD — State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli is saying no to a run for the Senate to replace his longtime friend Sen. Ben Downing of Pittsfield.

Pignatelli, D-Lenox, had been considered a strong candidate for the Berkshire-Franklin-Hampshire Senate district and said recently he was seriously considering a run. However, he said in an emailed release on Tuesday that he wants to remain in the his 4th Berkshire District House seat.

"The opportunity to serve in the Massachusetts state Senate is, admittedly, very tempting," Pignatelli said. "However, I love the House! I am honored to serve! In that spirit and in the best interests of my family and the district that I call home, it will be an honor to run for re-election to the House."

Pignatelli's decision leaves no declared candidates to replace Downing, who announced Jan. 25 that he wouldn't seek another term after 10 years in the Senate. He will, however, serve out his term through the end of 2016.

State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield, who also had considered a run for the Senate, said Tuesday that her decision to run for another House term instead won't change. She said that decision "was made without regard for who the other candidates would be."

Farley-Bouvier said of the now wide-open Senate race, "I would expect to see some movement over the next few weeks."

"After an extremely successful run as our state Senator, Ben recently announced that he will not run for another term," Pignatelli said in his statement. "With this news, my name has been offered as a likely candidate to run for Ben's seat and so, today, I have an important decision to make. Running for office, for any office, is a deeply personal and intense decision. I have been on an emotional roller coaster ever since Ben's announcement.

"I have spent considerable time reflecting on my 14 years of service as your state representative for the 4th Berkshire District, and what we have achieved together," Pignatelli said.

After noting ups and downs for the county and some recent successes, Pignatelli added, "Ben and I didn't succeed in all of this as solo enterprises, or even as one half of a 'dynamic duo;' we succeeded together, and we succeeded because of our supporters. In terms of legacy, together, I believe that we have achieved something we should all be proud of."

Quoting the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, Pignatelli said, "'The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.' Those words inspire me each and every day to do good work for the people who have entrusted me to represent them."

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6347.


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