Attorney, former state Senate candidate Andrea Harrington to challenge new Berkshire DA

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PITTSFIELD — Less than a week after Berkshire County's new district attorney was sworn in, he has a potential challenger.

Andrea Harrington, an attorney and former state Senate candidate, on Tuesday announced her decision to take on Berkshire District Attorney Paul Caccaviello in the Democratic primary.

"I'm excited to announce my candidacy for Berkshire County District Attorney," Harrington said in prepared remarks. "I want to bring a fresh approach to the DA's office focused on real solutions to combating the opioid epidemic, preventing crime through effective social programs and community engagement, and focusing on recovery and reentry services to reduce recidivism."

Harrington said she pulled nomination papers from the Secretary of State's Office in Springfield on Tuesday morning. Her campaign will officially kick off in the coming weeks.

Former Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless announced March 1 his intention to retire after 14 years in the post, and said Caccaviello, the first assistant district attorney, would be appointed to replace him March 15. That drew criticism from some, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, which felt that the move gives him a leg up on any potential opponents in the upcoming election.

Harrington's statement called the transition "controversial," describing Caccaviello as a political ally of Capeless.

She said she wants to prioritize treatment over incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders and increase access to treatment beds for those trying to recover from addiction.

"Every day, countless Berkshire residents are working to fight this public health crisis, but we need leadership in the District Attorney's Office that supports the work of our first responders and public health workers," Harrington said.

"Through my work as an attorney, I have seen the effectiveness of drug courts, and I support their expansion in the region," she said. "I've seen how critical youth outreach and educational programs are for crime prevention. And through my advocacy work here in our communities, I know that investing in effective programming will make our cities and towns safer and healthier places to live.

"This campaign is about keeping our communities safe through an effective approach to prevention and rehabilitation," she said.

Harrington is an attorney at Connor & Morneau LLP and has been practicing law for more than 15 years.

She grew up in Richmond, where she and her husband, Tim, are raising their two sons.

She has been actively involved in the region, serving as a member of her local Affordable Housing Committee, School Council and as an advisory board member of the regional nonprofit BerkShares Inc.

Harrington is a graduate of Taconic High School in Pittsfield, the University of Washington and American University's Washington College of Law. 

She is a Richmond School Committee member and co-founder of the Berkshire Committee of the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus. Harrington also is a member of the Berkshire Bar Association and Hampden County Bar Association, and has extensive experience in criminal law and civil litigation.

In 2016, Harrington ran an unsuccessful bid for the state Senate seat previously held by Benjamin B. Downing, who did not seek re-election. She lost in the primary to Adam Hinds, who went on to win the seat.

The state primary is scheduled for Sept. 4; the general election will be held Nov. 6.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.

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