Letter: Promising newcomers in city, ward races

To the editor:

One of the few silver linings of the current presidential administration is a greatly renewed interest in civic engagement. Millions of people across the country are actively participating in our country's political process, and thousands of new faces have stepped up to run for office around the country.

Emily's List, a nonprofit devoted to helping Democratic women run for office and win, just announced that more than 20,000 women have contacted them about running for office since the Nov. 8, 2016, election, a 40-fold increase over the previous. They have tripled their staff to meet the demand and are offering training around the country.

Here in Pittsfield, we are seeing this powerful desire to stand up and serve in our City Council races, which have many new faces, including three terrific women candidates: Dina Guiel in Ward 2, Rhonda Serre in Ward 7 and Helen Moon in Ward 1. I support all three.

Dina holds a master's in public administration and public policy analysis from Northeastern University and has helped improve public transportation for people with disabilities, created a successful mentoring program and has been developing an outreach program to aid new parents who suffer from drug addiction. These are the skills and knowledge we need working for Pittsfield.

Rhonda Serre has excelled as an economic development specialist with Mass Development and former Congressman John Olver. Her wide-ranging knowledge and experience in the field, along with fundraising and communications, will serve Ward 7 and Pittsfield well.

I am also proud to support Bill Wright, photographer, father of three and a veteran, who is running for Ward 4 city councilor. I first got to know Bill when he donated considerable time and talent to create an extraordinary series of photographs of Berkshire County veterans, from World War II to Iraq, when I was the city's director of cultural development. The exhibit of his portraits was a signature part of the city of Pittsfield's month-long focus on Vietnam War veterans through the book "The Things They Carried," and it was unforgettable. Bill is hard-working, committed to our community, and dedicated to transparency and good communication with his neighbors.

Join me in exercising our precious right to vote this Tuesday, Nov. 7, and I hope you will support Dina Guiel, Helen Moon, Rhonda Serre, and Bill Wright in their ward races.

Megan Whilden,



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