Berkshire Eagle: Political Season Heats Up


by Dick Lindsay, Berkshire Eagle Staff
The Berkshire Eagle, Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- All four state representative districts in the Berkshires will be contested in this fall's state election.

The latest race to emerge is Mark Miller of Pittsfield who will challenge incumbent state Rep. Christopher N. Speranzo, D-Pittsfield, for the 3rd Berkshire District, which represents all of Pittsfield, except Wards 1B and 5B.

Miller, 64, a Green-Rainbow Party candidate, submitted his nomination papers Tuesday, the deadline for legislative candidates to file with local election officials.

Prior to Tuesday, Speranzo, 37, didn't have opposition, while contests had already been established in the other three state representative districts.

Miller, who will officially kick off his campaign at a later date, said on Tuesday he feels obligated to challenge Speranzo. Miller is a former executive editor of The Eagle.

"I don't like to see a seat go uncontested," Miller said. "Incumbents do need opposition."

While Speranzo, first elected in 2004, hasn't faced opposition in his two successful re-election bids, he said he welcomes a challenge for his fourth two-year term to show he's needed on Beacon Hill.

"The fiscal challenges facing the state are so serious and so significant, my experience dealing with budgets prompted me to run again," Speranzo said.

Meanwhile, Pittsfield's director of Veterans Services, Rosanne M. Frieri, became the fifth candidate to run for the 2nd Berkshire District
seat being vacated by state Rep. Denis E. Guyer, D-Dalton, who's not seeking re-election. Frieri, a Republican from Richmond, will square off against Michael F. Case of the town of Washington in the state primary election on Sept. 14. The general state election is Nov. 2.

Thomas S. Szczepaniak, a Dalton selectman, and Paul Mark, an attorney from Hancock, are the two candidates seeking the Democratic Party nomination in September. The fifth 2nd Berkshire hopeful is Stefan G. Racz, an independent from Buckland, who ran against Guyer in 2006.

The September primary will likely settle the race for 1st Berkshire District since three Democrats are vying to replace state Rep. Daniel E. Bosley, D-North Adams, who is leaving the Legislature after 24 years. Bosley instead is running to become Berkshire County sheriff.

The three people vying to succeed the veteran lawmaker include North Adams City Councilor Gailanne M. Cariddi, former Adams Selectman Edward MacDonald and David Bissaillon, past president and CEO of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce. All three will participate in their first candidates' forum Friday at 7 p.m. at the Florida Senior Center on Route 2.

The race for 4th Berkshire District, like the Miller-Speranzo political battle, is a matchup between the Green-Rainbow and Democratic parties. Scott Laugenour of Lenox, the Green-Rainbow challenger, looks to unseat state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox. If Pignatelli wins a fifth term, he'll become the dean of the Berkshire legislative delegation, replacing Bosley who held the unofficial title for most of his 24 years representing the 1st Berkshire District.

The nomination papers must now be certified by local election officials who must verify all signatures before forwarding the paperwork to Secretary of State William F. Galvin.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.

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Key races

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State representatives

3RD BERKSHIRE DISTRICT

One Democrat is running in the
primary:

Christopher N. Speranzo of Pittsfield, incumbent

One Green-Rainbow Party is running in the primary:

Mark Miller of Pittsfield

What it means: Neither faces a primary. The winner of the general election will be the next state representative of the 3rd Berkshire District.

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4th Berkshire District

One Democrat is running in the primary:

William "Smitty" Pignatelli of Lenox; incumbent

One Green-Rainbow Party candidate is running in the primary:

Lee Scott Laugenour of Lenox

What it means: Facing no primaries, they will square off in the general election. The winner will be the next state representative of the 4th Berkshire District.

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