North Adams resident Aprilyn Carsno has entered the race for mayor, a field that already includes Joshua Vallieres, a student at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and Rachel Branch, an environmental advocate and longtime city resident.
City Councilor Jason LaForest also has said he plans to run for the office but has not pulled papers yet.
Carsno, a political newcomer and self-identified independent, said the condition of the city’s infrastructure and economic issues motivated her to run.
“Personally, I would like to fix the town,” she said. “The streets. The sidewalks. There’s so much to do. The fire hydrants would be first thing.”
Carsno, whose father is from North Adams, worked as a certified nursing assistant at Berkshire Health Systems until recently and now works part time at Stop & Shop. She moved to the city more than two decades ago and bought a home through a program run by former mayor John Barrett III, an “own your own home” program that she says she wants to bring back.
“If we can get that program back, it would help with the low-income housing,” she said. “A lot of the prices lately around here are insane. People can’t afford that.”
One of her priorities would be examining the budget to determine whether some city positions are overpaid, she told The Eagle, though she said she has not yet looked at the budget and therefore did not want to offer specifics about which salaries might need to be decreased.
She also said that she hoped to attract more businesses to the area.
“The only reason I moved up here is that I was intrigued with the area because I was told about it and what it had to offer,” she said. “I’d do the same with companies. You gotta reach out to them. They’re not gonna know about the area unless they’re told about it.”
Carsno declined to say whether she thinks systemic racism exists and did not want to share her thoughts about Black Lives Matter, and she said she was speaking about her personal feelings, not a political platform, when she told the radio station WAMC she does not “see race.”
“I know what I see, but I don’t know what others see,” she said. “So, I can’t answer for others. I can only speak for myself. But, it’s just craziness. Businesses being attacked, cops assaulting people, people assaulting cops, that’s the craziness I speak of that I see on TV.”
Carsno also said she is an advocate of police training around bias and use of force.
“Police officers are supposed to stand for something, serve and protect, not murder,” she said. “I’m constantly seeing on the news that they’re shooting this one in the back of the head, this and that. Whatever happened to shooting them in the leg so they stop? They’re shooting them in the head, and I don’t understand it.”
Carsno also responded to criticism over her use of a pejorative term on Facebook regarding people with developmental disabilities.
She said she didn’t mean to insult anyone and was trying to show how the use of an offensive word can cause harm.