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With Country Divided, Western Massachusetts Democrats Face Easy Road

A map of the Massachusetts house districts.

There were few surprises in Berkshire County on Election Day, with the region’s all-Democratic legislative delegation running unchallenged.

Attention quickly turned to the national election because none of the four state representatives, state senator and congressman who legislate for Berkshire County faced opposition on the ballot. Only U.S. Senator Ed Markey faced a Republican in the general election – Kevin O’Connor – and handily won with 66% of the vote.

“Well, it feels good that the people of the 3rd Berkshire District have placed their confidence in me again – I never, ever, ever take that for granted.”

State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier’s district includes most of the county seat, Pittsfield. She was re-elected to her fourth full term with 11,600 votes in 2018 – when 15,600 Pittsfielders voted – and received 15,200 votes this year from the 19,000 voters who cast ballots in her district to secure her fifth. She faced no opposition in the September primary.

“We’re really in the midst of a whole lot in this term right now, right? So we expect that the budget will drop tomorrow, the FY21 budget, which is about five months late is going to drop tomorrow, so we’re in the middle of that,” Farley-Bouvier told WAMC. “But certainly going into next term we’ll be putting our legislative agenda together, continuing to work on bills that impact the people of the commonwealth – such as the immigrant driving license that I’ve worked on for a long time.”

“As soon as I woke up, I was talking with colleagues about this year’s budget- So it’s Wednesday, it’s a workday, and we’re right back at it," said State Senator Adam Hinds of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District, who also faced no opposition in the September primary and was also handily re-elected for a third term Tuesday.

“COVID has laid bare a lot of the discrepancies in our society that we knew were there and they’re just becoming more and more extreme," he told WAMC. "So whether that means confronting income inequality as we’re grappling with our revenue shortfalls and making sure we’re doing in a way that’s fair and addresses these big and concerning gaps is something that will be – I’ll be focused on.”

Hinds last faced a challenger in the 2018 Democratic primary, where he defeated Thomas Wickham of Lee with 87% of the vote.

“We’re certainly – related to COVID – going to focused on not only getting ahead of it but working on the economic recovery," he said. "Basically, a day doesn’t go by that I’m not talking to schools and local school committees and the like to reinforce that process. And so, that has to be a priority of ours and it will remain one.”

State Representatives John Barrett of the 1st Berkshire District, Paul Mark of the 2nd Berkshire District, and Smitty Pignatelli of the 4th Berkshire District also sailed through both the primary and general elections without challengers. After a bruising Democratic primary against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse beset by controversy and evidence of a coordinated smear campaign from state party leadership, Congressman Richard Neal of the 1st Massachusetts district was unopposed for a 17th term. In the neighboring 2nd House district, incumbent Democrat Jim McGovern – first elected in 1996 – defeated Republican challenger Tracy Lovvorn in a rematch of 2018’s contest.

“It looks like I will be re-elected and be re-elected by a fairly significant margin, and I’m grateful to the voters of the 2nd congressional district,” said McGovern.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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