NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It's decision time in Berkshire County, especially for two elected positions.
On Tuesday, voters in North County and parts of Franklin and Hampshire will determine their state representative for the next two years in the Democratic primary. Barring a last-minute write-in for November, the Democratic winner of the 1st Berkshire District primary on Tuesday will sail to a predetermined victory.
The same goes for Berkshire County sheriff, where two Democrats are facing off for the six-year position. The last occupant of the office, Carmen C. Massimiano, quietly held onto the powerful political spot for 32 years. He hadn't been challenged since 1980 until Thomas N. Bowler announced his intention to run. Massimiano decided to retire and soon after Daniel E. Bosley, another powerhouse Democrat and dean of the Berkshire delegation at the State House, tossed his hat in the ring.
In the 1st District, three Democrats are vying to step into the shoes of Bosley, who's been representing North County and outlying towns for 24 years. Gailanne Cariddi has been city councilor in North Adams for 20 years and has consistently been among top vote-getters in city elections; Edward MacDonald is currently town administrator for Chester, in the 4th District, but hails from Adams, where he served a term as selectman; and David Bissaillon, also of Adams, is a vice president with Coakley, Pierpan, Dolan & Collins and former president of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce.
Voters the 2nd Berkshire District, which cuts a large swath across the county and includes towns in Franklin and Hampshire, will select nominations in both Republican and Democratic primaries to face off against independent Stefan G. Racz of Buckland in November.
On the Democratic ballot are Thomas S. Szczepaniak, a three-term Dalton selectman and owner of Variety Trucking; Noreen P. Suriner, a retired Episcopal, former teacher and Middlefield selectwoman; and Paul W. Mark of Hancock, a Verizon technician and labor attorney with strong roots in local union activities. On the Republican side are military veterans Michael Case, a retired Pittsfield Police officer and Guardsman who served in combat areas, and Rosanne M. Frieri of Richmond, Pittsfield's veterans service agent and staff sergeant in the Air National Guard.
Also on Tuesday's ballot are nominations for state auditor. In the Democratic camp are Great Barrington resident Suzanne M. Bump, Guy William Glodis of Auburn and Mike Lake of Boston; the Republicans are fielding Mary Z. Connaughton of Framingham and Kamal Jain of Lowell. There also is a race for the Democratic nomination for state treasurer between Steven Grossman of Newton and Stephen J. Murphy of Boston.
More information on the candidates, including letters, articles and statements can be found on the blog or go directly to their websites through the links on the sidebar. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; find your voting location here.
Check the blog later today for update on voting and election news. You'll have the results from the major communities as soon as we do. Check on on Twitter at @iberkshires or our Facebook page and send info to us the same way. Editor Tammy Daniels will join Richard Taskin and Paul Hopkins at Northern Berkshire Community Television at 7 p.m. You can also follow our partners on the Berkshire News Network at WSBS, WBEC and WNAW for election coverage.
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The state is holding a special election to fill the seat vacated by John F. Kerry, who has been confirmed as U.S. secretary of state.
The state primary is Tuesday, April 30. The last day to register to vote or to change party affiliation for the primary is Wednesday, April 10. Enrolled voters may only vote in their party primary; unenrolled voters may select a primary to vote in without changing their status.
The special election is scheduled for Tuesday, June 25. The last day to register to vote in the election is Wednesday, June 5.
To register to vote, one must be at least age 18 by the date of the election, a U.S. citizen and a resident of the municipality in which you are voting.