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“America First” Republican Divola to challenge Democrat Farley-Bouvier for 3rd Berkshire House seat

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For the first time in years, a Republican is running for 3rd Berkshire District State Representative, a seat that represents much of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Democrat Tricia Farley-Bouvier, first elected in 2011, hasn’t even faced an opponent in the general election since former Pittsfield city councilor Christopher Connell ran against her as an Independent in 2016. That all changes on November 8th.

32-year-old Gina Divola says she’s a small business owner and stay-at-home mom who believes in constitutional conservatism and the “America First” policy of former President Donald Trump. She outlined her platform for WAMC, and explained why she questions the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

DIVOLA: The “America First” views to me are more just, our citizens first, our country first, what benefits us first. I think that it's important we take care of ourselves before we can, you know, branch out and start helping other people because I think that we're suffering here. So I think that it's important that we take care of our citizens first.

WAMC: So it sounds like you're speaking towards immigration issues there. Is that accurate?

Yeah, I am speaking towards the immigration issues here. It's becoming more rampant over, you know, like, the last year or so.

When it comes to actual policies around that issue, what would you want to see enacted should you be voted state representative?

I would like to see the wall being funded, border security being supported, law and order.

So when you say the wall, I assume you're referring to the border wall as promoted by former President Donald Trump?

Correct.

So is it safe to say you're a supporter of the Trump political movement in general?

Yes, I am.

So can you sort of break down for us- You know, this is a deep blue part of Massachusetts...

Yeah.

…You're running against a Democrat who's pretty well established. What's your strategy to reach out to people, especially in an area where generally it seems that the Trump message has not resonated?

Well, I just- So, I have questions, pretty much, for them. As you've continuously, you know, voted along the lines, what exactly is different here? Is this community safer? Are we really open for business? Are we thriving? Are we bringing in new residents? Or do we have more people fleeing? So it's a lot of, what can we do to better our communities? What can we do to make Beacon Hill work for us, instead of us paying the same amount of taxes, as, you know, people in Boston, but we're barely recognized.

Now, the former president has contested the outcome of the 2020 election. Do you have any thoughts on that? Is his message about the outcome of the election one that you agree with?

Um, I do have my own concerns about it. I do question the integrity of our elections, if they're, in fact, free, safe, secure, transparent. You know, I think a lot of us have these questions, and what raises more concerns and doubts about this is the fact that it seems that we're not being open to forensic audit, you know, being shown the truth. So I think that if we had the forensic audits that a lot of conservatives have been calling for, we can put to rest the issue of if there was, in fact, fraud.

There's been a lot of inquest into the 2020 election, and basically, there's been very little evidence of widespread voter fraud. So, it sort of sounds like you're suggesting that there still might be a chance that the election was not a legitimate one.

I absolutely agree. I think that there's a lot going on, that's probably not being recorded in swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin. I think there's a lot going on behind the scenes that the media refuses to touch because we're being told that the big lie is that the election was stolen.

So beyond that question and other issues around general policies that you disagree with Democrats with, what are some other key elements of your platform heading into this campaign?

I'm really big on medical freedom. I think that, you know, we have a right to choose what we do with our bodies. I'm big on law and order. I support the police and I think that they're important to our communities to maintain safety. I'm big on our individual freedoms and preserving our Constitution the way that it is. And I'm really just big on trying to strengthen the community. There's a divide here. It doesn't seem as much opportunity for our youth, which is to me a little concerning, so that we're not repeating the same cycle. I think that it's important that we get our youth more involved with maybe afterschool activities, keep them off the streets and away from, you know, things that can influence them in a negative way.

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.