It’s down to two in the North Adams mayoral race. Tuesday’s preliminary decisively whittled the hopefuls to the pair of top vote-getters, who collectively racked up about 97 percent of the vote.
Jennifer Macksey, an assistant superintendent of operations and finance at the North Berkshire School Union with previous experience in North Adams city government as treasurer, tax collector, director of finance and chief procurement officer, received 55 percent of votes. Lynette Bond, a member of the city’s Planning Board and director of development for grants and research at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, got 42 percent. They will face off in November’s general election to see who will win the opportunity to represent the people of North Adams from the executive seat. We look forward to what is hopefully a substantive final campaign stretch as the city’s electorate comes to that decision.
The North Adams City Clerk said Tuesday’s election saw “a good turnout for a preliminary,” suggesting that the ballot “drew the interest of the city.” While that’s good to hear, 16 percent of registered voters hitting the polls is still well below what we’d like to see in terms of local political participation, even if it’s on par with decent turnout in previous preliminaries. As with all matters of local democracy, it’s critical that the citizens of North Adams make their voices heard on the matter of who represents their community in the most direct way possible: get out and vote.
Let’s hope that the historic nature of this particular mayoral race continues to draw interest and drives a strong turnout in the general. North Adams has never seen its mayor’s office led by a woman, but that appeared sure to change even at the outset of this campaign before Tuesday’s preliminary, with all four of the candidates on the ballot being women.
Now the city is one step closer to electing a woman as mayor for the first time in its history. That is, all its own, a big step for North Adams as well as for the greater Berkshire political sphere. Based on Eagle reporting and research earlier this year, Berkshire women remain underrepresented at the highest levels of local government, holding just one in five of the top municipal electoral positions in Berkshire County. That figure is behind the proportion of municipal offices held by women across the state (31 percent) and across the country (30 percent).
Even in those larger figures, there is room for improvement in the inclusiveness and gender representation of our politics and governance, especially so in a region like the Berkshires where a slanted gender-representation ratio persists despite its quite progressive reputation. It’s a reminder that there’s still progress to be made — and North Adams readying for this long overdue electoral first is a victory of that progress worth celebrating regardless of who comes out on top. May the best woman win.