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MCLA graduate Morrow says run for North Adams city council about addiction resources, transportation, housing

Deanna Morrow.
Deanna Morrow for North Adams
Deanna Morrow.

A recent graduate of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts is running for city council in North Adams, Massachusetts.

23-year-old Deanna Morrow moved to North Adams from Boston in 2018 to attend MCLA. After graduating last year with a psychology degree, she works as a direct care support worker at residential recovery center Keenan House North.

“I think what's inspired me to take public office is just throughout my years here, I've been very involved in the community," Morrow told WAMC. "I did a lot of volunteer work at MCLA, started a food insecurity program, worked for the volunteer center. So, I did a bunch of things in the community for that. I volunteered at some rallies, I volunteered for food bank, and making windows for people who need insulation in their homes, different things like that.”

Morrow is looking to secure a seat on the nine-member body that represents roughly 13,000 residents of Berkshire County’s second largest community.

One challenge she sees facing North Adams is the lack of resources for community members struggling with addiction.

“Since the last few years, a lot more people have been being addicted to more drugs, and there's been a significant increase in how many people have had them," said the candidate. "And I just think that there needs to be better resources for people to equal out the amount of addiction that is happening, as well as people up here would be able to be closer to their families and doctors and in the place where they were living.”

Housing is another of Morrow’s focuses.

“Being a renter in North Adams, it is expensive and rent has actually gone up in the last few years as well," she told WAMC. "I think that there needs to be better rent prices as well as more housing, too. There hasn't been a lot of housing made in the last, I believe, decade in North Adams, and so it doesn't equal to the amount of people, as well as the rent has been a lot more expensive. I actually used to live on my own, but it was too expensive. So, I had to move in with some people.”

Transportation is also one of her top priorities.

“It's hard to get around for people who don't have cars," said Morrow. "I'm a walker, I don't have a car, so it's hard for me to get around on the buses and things because they just take a long time. And there's not a lot of bus stops, as well. And speaking of that too, the roads and the sidewalks have a lot of cracks and things like that, potholes and stuff.”

Morrow is a fan of Mayor Jennifer Macksey, who made history with her victory in the 2021 election and is seeking a second two-year term this year.

“She's the first woman mayor of North Adams, so I think that that's really awesome as well," she said. "Being a woman running for something, that's really inspiring to me. And she's done a lot for the city in the two years that she's already been in office.”

The candidate says she’s eager to bring a new generation a voice in North Adams’ leadership.

“Getting more younger people involved is really important," Morrow told WAMC. "And I think that being able to run for city council and being able to show people that even if they're young they can do that, I think that that is pretty cool for me to be able to do, and maybe it'll pave the way to show younger people, that if they want to get involved more, if they want to do things like city council, that they could do that. And I definitely think that young voices, there needs to be a lot more young voices in positions like this.”

North Adams will hold its preliminary election September 19th and its general election November 7th.

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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