Rep. Paul Mark plans to announce his campaign for state Senate on Monday, eyeing higher officer after six terms in the House in a move that will also avoid the Peru Democrat having to potentially run against one of his colleagues to remain in his reconfigured House district.
Mark plan to seek the seat currently held by Sen. Adam Hinds, a Pittsfield Democrat who announced last week that he would run for lieutenant governor in 2022. The announcement, which had been expected, will take place Monday afternoon in at Park Square in Pittsfield where Mark will be joined by friends, advocates and all three of his House colleagues from the Berkshires, according to his campaign.
Mark is no stranger to complications arising from the decennial redistricting process. In 2011 just halfway through his first term in the House, Mark's hometown of Hancock was drawn into the same district as then-Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, of North Adams. Rather than face off against Cariddi, Mark anticipated what might happen and purchased a new home in Peru where he was able to run unopposed.
Last week, Mark found himself in a similar situation, with his district combined with that of North Adams Rep. John Barrett III under the proposed new House district map, with the Berkshires projected to see the number of House seats in the county drop from four to three. Barrett will join Mark to help kick off his Senate campaign at 1 p.m. along with Reps. William "Smitty" Pignatelli of Lenox and Tricia Farley-Bouvier of Pittsfield.
Hinds' Senate seat covers all of Berkshire County and towns in Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden Counties. In the House, Mark has promoted Medicare-for-All and pushed for higher education funding reform and student debt relief. He was an early supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, and has been active in progressive Democratic Party politics.
Before being elected to the House in 2010, Mark worked for Bell Atlantic and was an IBEW member. He went on to earn a law degree from Suffolk University and a doctorate from Northeastern University in law and policy.
Mark is the House vice-chair of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, but between Census cycles he chaired the House Committee on Redistricting, which worked to prepare for the 2020 Census count and the map drawing process currently being led for the second time by Assistant House Majority Leader Mike Moran.