Candidates.jpg (copy)

The six candidates for the At-Large City Council seats gathered for a debate Tuesday night at the Berkshire Athenaeum. Pictured from left to right: Councilor Yuki Cohen, Councilor Pete White, Councilor Peter Marchetti, candidate Craig Benoit, Councilor Earl Persip III and candidate Karen Kalinowsky.

To the editor: This year, the residents of Pittsfield have an opportunity to elect a new City Council.

It is extremely important that the right individuals are on the council to ensure that the city finally moves forward with the assistance of the more than $40 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The council is in desperate need of independent members that care about the city and its residents. That's why I will be voting for Craig Benoit and Karen Kalinowsky for councilors at large. Craig is a business owner and Karen is a former police officer. Both have different life experiences and they both have demonstrated a desire to listen to their constituents and vote on matters that benefit the city and not the administration.

The majority of the current City Council seems to have forgotten one of their primary purposes: to be a check and balance to the administration. The council is supposed to represent the residents (after all, that's who elected them) and not be a rubber stamp for the mayor.

Pittsfield residents, take the first step in taking back your city with proper representation and transparency by voting for Craig Benoit and Karen Kalinowsky. I am confident that they won't let you down. My only regret is that I will not be serving on the council with these two fine individuals.

Christopher J. Connell, Pittsfield

The writer is the Ward 4 city councilor and is not seeking reelection.