A different Harpin aims for North Adams City Council

NORTH ADAMS — A familiar name, but new face, is running for the City Council.

Marie T. Harpin has joined 16 others vying for one of nine open, at-large seats on the council.

Harpin's mother, also named Marie Harpin, served on the council for more than a decade. "I am definitely inspired by my mom. I grew up talking politics with her," Harpin said. "I not only share her name but I share her compassion for the city."

Harpin sees this as an exciting time for the city and said she'd like to contribute to it.

Harpin said she is excited about the recent injection of private investment in the area, but said, "I also think it's important to support other industries."

She believes the city can benefit from the growing biotech industry in the Albany, N.Y., area and should encourage small manufacturing.

After graduating from North Adams State College in 1989 and spending a career in finance and accounting, Harpin returned to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts as an adult and received a Master of Business Administration degree in 2014.

"My biggest asset to the council will be my financial experience," Harpin said.

Among the issues Harpin sees as important is the regionalization of education. She said that is a trend to embrace considering the declining number of students graduating from high schools in Adams and North Adams.

"They're small numbers, and we need to consolidate our resources," Harpin said.

Harpin also supports continued development of a recreational bike path through the city. Having lived in Adams until returning to North Adams in 2008, Harpin said she was a regular user of the bike path in Adams and believes it would be an asset for the community as it connects Williamstown, North Adams and Adams.

Harpin also wants to battle opioid addiction in the area.

"We need to address it and bring more awareness to it as a community," Harpin said.

As a woman on the council, Harpin said she would raise awareness about women's issues and shine a light on resources for women in the community, such as the Elizabeth Freeman Center.

Harpin has launched a campaign Facebook page titled "Marie Harpin for North Adams City Council."

The city election will be held Nov. 7.

Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376 or @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter


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