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With historic vote, Macksey to become first female mayor of North Adams

A white woman in a black turtleneck and red jacket stands at a lectern with a mic in hand in front of a Jennifer Macksey For Mayor banner in a white tent
Josh Landes
Jennifer Macksey at her election night party outside of Mingo's Sports Bar & Grill Tuesday night.

Jennifer Macksey has become the first woman elected mayor of North Adams, Massachusetts.

The race for a two-year term pitted North Berkshire School Union Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Macksey against Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts administrator Lynette Bond.

Macksey’s victory Tuesday was secured with the same 200-vote margin as in September’s preliminary election. The final count was 1,681 to 1,484, with Bond only carrying the third of the city’s five wards. Ward 5 was the difference maker, as Macksey topped Bond by 100 votes, 350 to 250. Around a third of the city’s registered voters cast ballots in the election.

A jubilant Macksey addressed supporters at her campaign’s election night party at Mingo’s Sports Bar & Grill.

“When I said on the campaign trail, that I represent the people, you know, damn, well I do," said the mayor-elect. "We knew we were going win. But we didn't want to be conceited about it.”

Macksey thanked her family and supporters, as well as her former boss from her days working as city treasurer over a decade ago.

“And I have to say this – I have to thank John Barrett for letting me do this my way," said the victor. "I appreciate all the support and guidance, but the best thing for me is we did this as a team. And that's what it's all about. So what happens tonight, we celebrate. And we celebrate and we celebrate because on January 1st, we're taking North Adams to a new level. And as we do this, I will never forget where I came from. And as much as everybody wanted to make this campaign about other people, the people in this room stayed focused on Jennifer Macksey and you believed in me. And as I said on the radio, I believe in you, and I believe in this community, and I will work every single day- Except for tomorrow. I'm spending tomorrow on the couch.”

The mayor-elect ended her speech with some words for the current occupant of the corner office, whose performance over the past four years Macksey derided on the campaign trail.

“It's about celebrating this community and that's what I want to do tonight," she said. "And you know what? I'm going go see Tom Bernard tomorrow, I will get off the couch for that.”

WAMC caught up with Macksey as the party continued.

“First, we're going to start by evaluating that public safety building and get right on that, and then we're going to focus on infrastructure," she said. "But my first thing is to work with the city council and start establishing those relationships. And again, I'm so overwhelmed and excited tonight. I’m just ready to get to work on January 1st.”

She also had a message for Bond.

“Lynette ran a great campaign, and I wish her all the best, and I hope we can work together in the future,” said Macksey.

“Well, I mean, I wish the results would have been different, but it's OK," Bond told WAMC.

Her election night party was held downtown at 413 Bistro in the Holiday Inn.

“We have our first woman mayor of North Adams," said Bond. "I'm quite pleased, and I will be right there behind Jennifer Macskey. I will be supporting her 100%, and I want all of our supporters, I want all of our volunteers to be right there behind her because we want our city to succeed, we want the best for our city. So I will be right there at the front of the line to support her.”

Bond said she’s confident Macskey will address the city’s decrepit public safety building and its infrastructure woes, two issues the candidates agreed on.

“I think the next thing is housing," she told WAMC. "I really hope that she addresses the housing needs of our community. That really is an important thing, not only for our seniors, but for our working families and for those working professionals. We really have to address housing. So I hope she really thinks about that. And then also thinking about all of the new investors and all the new people who have moved to our city and really embracing everyone who is part of our city and wants to contribute and be part of the future for our city.”

Given the slim margin, Bond was asked what she would have done differently.

“I probably would have been canvassing a lot earlier going door to door and letting people get to know me, because I think that was my biggest impediment, is that I didn't grow up here and I didn't go to high school here and I think it took it took people longer to get to know me," she said. "And so I think, I wish I would have gotten done a little more canvassing, done a little more door-to-door. But I had a great team, I had a great number of supporters, and I just thank them so much for everything that they put into this campaign.”

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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