Democratic candidate for governor Jay Gonzalez scoops up endorsements in Pittsfield

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez visited Dottie's Coffee Lounge in Pittsfield on Monday to collect endorsements from City Councilors Helen Moon and John Krol.

PITTSFIELD — In his first public Berkshires appearance since securing his party's nomination, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez stopped by Dottie's Coffee Lounge on Monday to collect fresh endorsements.

City Councilors Helen Moon and John Krol said Gonzalez has their support because they believe he'll be a dogged defender of Berkshire County.

"We need an advocate at Beacon Hill, in the corner office," Krol told a small crowd gathered at the North Street coffee shop. "And Jay's that guy."

Gonzalez set his sights squarely on Gov. Charlie Baker since winning a nomination last month at the state's Democratic Party convention. Gonzalez faces Robert Massie in the Democratic primary Sept. 4. The victor heads to the general election Nov. 6.

Moon said she believes Gonzalez will be there for Pittsfield.

"That's the impression that Jay gave to me as he worked so hard to get my endorsement," she said.

Gonzalez said he sought support from Moon and Krol because he feels they embody the progressive voice he seeks to project in his campaign. He said he wants to help Berkshire County address transportation issues, spur workforce development, secure high-speed internet and win educational funding.

"I want to be a governor that's going to take on these big issues," he said.

He said he'll be a voice "for the little guy," and that he would be a regular presence in Berkshire County. As the secretary of administration and finance for Gov. Deval Patrick, Gonzalez said he managed the state budget and helped initiate the Berkshire Innovation Center project.

He said issues like the overtime scandal at the Massachusetts State Police, state Department of Revenue data breaches and excessive waits at Registry of Motor Vehicles offices poke holes in Baker's record as a manager.

And Gonzalez said that as a former health insurance CEO, he knows better than most that health insurance doesn't work. He said it's too expensive and doesn't offer the care people need.

That's why, he said, he supports moving to a single-pay health care system.

"Health care is a fundamental human right," he said. "I believe I can get us to a system that works a lot better for people."

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.