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Our Opinion

Our Opinion: An Eagle-eyed view on the year ahead

Every calendar year contains multitudes, but the past one seemed uniquely stuffed. We took the first great leaps toward reopening in the post-COVID era. A heated election cycle’s decisive races, from the county level to the congressional midterms, drew voters’ attention. Here in the Berkshires, many of our communities’ long-simmering issues were brought to a boil — from water woes in Housatonic to debates over policing in Pittsfield to the friction between local officials in North Adams.

Some say making the most of New Year’s arrival means leaving behind the baggage of the previous 12 months. By our lights, though, that’s not quite right. What we owe ourselves, our neighbors and our communities as 2023 nears is a sober accounting of what we have achieved in 2022. This is not just for celebration’s sake, but that we might take heart and redouble our spirits to take up that which is unfinished, unaddressed and unacceptable.

We are blessed to be surrounded by examples of fresh starts, opportunities for renewed efforts and reasons to look forward.

The Greylock Glen Outdoor Center project, a years-long labor of love, earlier this year saw some long-awaited tangible progress. We look forward to tracking this dual endeavor to upgrade the region’s tourism potential and preserve our priceless landscape as this project takes shape this coming year.

After a grueling district attorney election, there will be a new leader in the county’s highest law enforcement office. Incoming DA Timothy Shugrue has his work cut out for him, as crime prevention and criminal justice reform both rank as high-priority issues for many of his soon-to-be constituents. We look forward to holding his administration accountable in that critical mission.

We also look forward to holding a new governor accountable. Maura Healey made Massachusetts history as the commonwealth’s first woman governor-elect, and a few days into the new year she’ll make U.S. history as well when she’s sworn in as the nation’s first lesbian governor. Beyond these overdue victories for representation in the state’s highest public offices, we have high hopes for a Healey administration that has pledged a more transparent and regionally equitable approach along with a solid policy platform. She has a tough act to follow in popular outgoing Gov. Charlie Baker, whose profile as a reasonable, problem-solving Republican is at once a Massachusetts tradition and an unfortunately endangered species. Fortunately, the commonwealth is well-positioned for the transition, at least fiscally, as the state coasts into next year on a historic surplus.

Taken together with all the other headlines of a year gone by, these are reasons to be both clear-eyed and optimistic — proud of what we’ve accomplished, but aware of what we must yet do. It’s impossible to fully express how proud we are to serve a Berkshire community that shows us year in and year out that progress is possible — even when it’s not the path of least resistance, even while facing the most stubborn issues. Many of those sticky issues still need solving, and we’re ready to do our part in 2023. We hope you are, too.

The Berkshire Eagle wishes all a happy, healthy and rejuvenating New Year.

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