Former Cariddi aide jumps into race for 1st Berkshire District seat

Kevin Towle

NORTH ADAMS — A former legislative aide to state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi is now vying for her former seat.

Kevin Towle, a Democrat from Lanesborough, announced Thursday that he will campaign for the 1st Berkshire District.

"We had a really dynamic relationship and she gave me a lot of responsibility," Towle said of Cariddi, for whom he had worked for just more than 10 months. Cariddi died of cancer in June.

 Towle said he will release a comprehensive economic development plan for North County that includes a focus on renewable energy, addressing transportation issues, changing the funding formula for rural schools, and adopting single-payer health care.

"It's important that we focus on the bigger picture of economic development and not just react to problems that arise," Towle said in a statement. "With this plan, you will know exactly where I stand and you can hold me accountable."

The plan builds on work Towle assisted with in Cariddi's office, including proposed legislation to encourage graduates of Williams College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to stay in the Northern Berkshires.

"As soon as they're done, they hurry up and leave the Berkshires," he told The Eagle. "What this legislation did was it gave the power to Mass Housing to craft a program that would assist recent grads of Williams and MCLA with low-interest loans, with capital for down payments, or both on homes provided that they live in one of the nine communities in the 1st Berkshire District."

That legislation, which was proposed in January, was scheduled for a hearing in June before the Joint Committee on Housing.

Towle, 25, graduated in 2013 with a bachelor's degree from the College of St. Rose in Albany, N.Y., and is weeks away from obtaining a master's degree in government. He and his wife, a Pittsfield native, now live in Lanesborough, where he has been active on the Historical Commission, Economic Development Committee and Energy Committee.

A native of Southwick, Towle's activity in politics dates back to his teens. He interned under former state Rep. Rosemary Sandlin, D-Agawam, while still a high school student.

"She really took me in and was just a fantastic mentor to me. She taught me everything about politics, the Legislature, all of that," Towle said. "It was just so fascinating to me and as I started college and now my master's. I've seen how much of a difference the Legislature can really have."

Towle will continue to work as an aide in Cariddi's district office in North Adams until the special election, which will be held Nov. 7 to fill the vacant seat. The primary is scheduled for Oct. 10.

Stephanie Bosley, daughter of former state Rep. Daniel Bosley and a 1Berkshire employee, and Lisa Blackmer, a North Adams city councilor and former president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, also have announced their candidacies for the seat.

Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376 or @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter.