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Fellow Democrat Challenging Pittsfield Rep. Farley-Bouvier

Another person has decided to challenge Pittsfield’s representative in the State House, this time from within her own party.Mike Bloomberg is challenging State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier for the Democratic nomination for the 3rd Berkshire District House seat. The 26-year-old graduated from Pittsfield High in 2008 and UMass Amherst in 2012 having studied political science.

“I grew up here,” Bloomberg said. “This is my high school, my local pizza shop and my roads.  Urban revitalization and urban redevelopment is something that I’ve been focused on for the past few years and political involvement is something I’ve been a part of since I was a little kid. Whether it was making phone calls for John Kerry or working on the state senate campaign back in 2006. I’ve always been involved the community.”

Bloomberg and the former New York City mayor of the same name are first cousins once removed. Having spent time working in finance, he says he wants to take a holistic approach to economic revitalization, which he says is the foundation for strong social structure.

“You see what’s going on in Portland, Oregon and Seattle right now — places where people want to live because it’s a beautiful environment,” he said. “An Austin, Texas or Charleston, South Carolina — with vibrant culture. Pittsfield, we should be excited. We have both of those things together. That’s something that us incredibly rare, but also an incredible opportunity for the city.”

Farley-Bouvier is seeking her third full term in the State House. The former Pittsfield city councilor ran unopposed in 2012 and 2014 after narrowly winning a 2011 special election.

“I’m very happy to stand on my record as a progressive Democrat and feel confident that the people of Pittsfield will be supporting me,” said Farley-Bouvier.

Pittsfield City Councilor Chris Connell is running as an independent for Farley-Bouvier’s seat. If sent to Beacon Hill, Connell says he intends to continue serving as a city councilor for the remainder of his term in Pittsfield, which runs through 2017. Farley-Bouvier has said it’s not possible to do both jobs well. Saying the majority of city councilors have full-time jobs, Connell questions that thinking.

“If I’m elected as state rep that will be my full-time job and then I would come back and go to council and subcommittee meetings for my council role,” Connell said. “I think really understand her [Farley-Bouvier] philosophy for that. I’m willing to work hard. If she’s it taking it as if it’s a lot of work, well, I’m not opposed to hard work.”

With State Senator Ben Downing deciding not to run for reelection after a decade in office, Bloomberg says it’s even more critical Pittsfield have someone in the State House who can bring something back for the community. Calling Farley-Bouvier a friend, Bloomberg challenges her ability to do that.

“I think if you look at her voting record, the things she’s done and what she’s actually been able to deliver to the city of Pittsfield it’s been very light,” Bloomberg said. “It’s been almost five years now and I think her ability to bring back for the city of Pittsfield, I think that it’s an area where I can deliver.”

Farley-Bouvier says facing two challengers after running unopposed in consecutive elections is not a reflection of her performance.

“Chapter 70 and Chapter 90 money has increased to Pittsfield since my time [in office],” Farley-Bouvier said. “We have been very aggressive in going after grants whether it’s through the Brien Center, BerkshireWorks, the regional employment board and the partnerships that we’ve formed to get the funds to the people of Pittsfield.”

Bloomberg, who says he is campaigning full-time for the seat, is planning a public announcement at 5 o’clock Thursday at Flavours of Malaysia in Pittsfield. Connell is holding a kickoff rally and fundraiser March 16 at American Legion Post 68 in the city. Farley-Bouvier says she will roll out a campaign strategy with events throughout the spring and summer.

Farley-Bouvier and Bloomberg would face off in a primary September 8th.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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