North Adams City Councilor Lisa Blackmer joins race to fill Cariddi's seat


NORTH ADAMS — Another local woman is in the running.

Lisa Blackmer, the treasurer and tax collector for the town of Buckland, will vie with local Democrat Stephanie Bosley for the Democratic nomination to fill the state representative seat vacated by the late Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams. Cariddi lost a battle with cancer on June 17.

"My first goal is to continue the priorities that Cariddi was working on," Blackmer said.

Those priorities include supporting a single payer health care system across the state and finding common ground with legislators in similar communities to the 1st Berkshire District.

"I think single payer is way to address inequities in care," said Blackmer. "It would also provide relief to cities and towns and small businesses."

Another of Cariddi's priorities, establishing a cultural corridor between the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, is on Blackmer's agenda.

"My goal would be to make sure her policies get through the system," said Blackmer.

But Blackmer has her own priorities too. She told The Eagle that regionalization, the opioid crisis, and transportation are challenges facing the area that need solutions.

"Trends in collaboration and regionalization can solve these problems," said Blackmer. "A lot of barriers can be dropped."

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Blackmer added that sometimes these things take time: Asking whether things can work is the first step.

"Sometimes you have to do study to look into it before you do it," she said.

Blackmer brings an extensive municipal resume to her candidacy. She has served on the North Adams City Council for five terms, winning reelection most recently in 2015. She has also served as the town administrator for the town of Sandisfield. 

"Being part of local government, I saw how I could make a difference," Blackmer said.

Blackmer was the first Berkshire representative to take the helm at the Massachusetts Municipal Association in two decades when she assumed the role in January, 2016. Blackmer's six years with the association, she said, taught her how to work with people from across the state.

"Working with colleagues, collaborating, finding compromises for the best interest of the community help make a difference," said Blackmer.

She also touted her longtime ties to the community. In a press release provided in advance of her interview with The Eagle, the candidate said she has spent the last 30 years living in the 1st Berkshire District.

A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Blackmer sits on the Alumni Board and has returned to her alma mater to pursue a Masters in Business Administration degree. Blackmer is also involved in a number of volunteer causes in the region, including serving as a board member for the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts.

Blackmer will face Bosley in the primary on Oct. 10. The winner will go on to the general election on Nov. 7.

Reach staff writer Eoin Higgins at 413-464-4872 or @BE_EoinHiggins.


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