|Towle Touts Legislative Experience|
|10:21PM / Monday, October 02, 2017|
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The following is a statement from Kevin Towle, candidate for the Democratic nomination for the 1st Berkshire District:
Abraham Lincoln, once said, "The best way to predict your future is to create it." This is the opportunity that presents itself – the opportunity for the First Berkshire District to elect a new state representative – one with a vision to make today better for all of us, but also to lay the foundation for tomorrow. That is why I am running for state representative.
Electing the next representative in a special election poses a unique challenge: whomever is elected will take office very shortly after Nov. 7. Our next state representative needs to have experience working with the current members of the legislature and with House leadership. I've spent the last year doing exactly that.
I'm honored to have had the opportunity to work with Gail Cariddi for the time that I did. Together, we filed 21 bills that directly benefit the 1st Berkshire District, several of which I authored. We reviewed 5,000 others, filed by other legislators, and determined which would benefit the citizens of the district. I was responsible for leading the budget efforts for Gail's office. This required an intimate working knowledge of the state budget process, as well as leveraging relationships with other legislators.
I've built these relationships, and I will be able to leverage them to ensure effective representation for the 1st Berkshire District. I'm also honored to be able to call Rep. Cariddi a mentor and a friend. After her unfortunate passing, I did what I know she would have done – went back to work. I took over running both the district office and the State House office and have been working to keep the legislation that she filed moving through the legislature.
This is not my first time in the Legislature. I worked as an intern to state Rep. Rosemary Sandlin, D-Agawam, starting at 15; I'm honored to have her endorsement in this race. I left to pursue a bachelor's in history and political science from the College of St. Rose and a master's in government from Johns Hopkins.
Berkshire County faces many challenges, but each is an opportunity to create our future. I've worked in economic development and energy policy on the state level and on the local level as a member of the Lanesborough Economic Development and Energy Committees.
When I announced my candidacy, I released a comprehensive plan for economic development that addresses all aspects, from arts and the creative economy to agriculture to education to energy to healthcare, housing, jobs, and transportation, and shows how they are interrelated. We need to be sure that we are addressing all aspects of economic development. Yes, we need to emphasize workforce development and creating jobs, but we must also ensure that those who fill these jobs have access to adequate public transportation, affordable housing, and education.
There are currently close to 1,500 jobs available in Berkshire County. In my work on economic development, one of the things I hear most often is that these jobs go unfilled because the job skills of local residents do not meet the needs of these companies. I wrote a bill that Gail filed to help address this problem. The bill creates a pilot program to assist recent graduates of Williams College and MCLA with becoming homeowners.
This program would ensure access to a highly skilled workforce, but would also create new taxpayers for the cities and towns of North County.
I've also proposed an expansion of workforce development programs to create internship-like programs that are accessible to anyone. Such a program will help local citizens obtain the job skills they need to succeed in today's workforce by placing them in a real-life business setting where they can acquire the skills they need better than they could in typical workforce development programs. We also need to expand public education at all levels, from preschool through college, including special education and English language learner programs, and provide free tuition at state colleges and universities. Public education is the catalyst for creating the future by providing opportunity for all. I would encourage you to read my ideas and my plan for creating a better today and a better future at www.kevintowle.org.
So why should you vote for me? What I bring to the position is the kind of behind-the-scenes approach of coalition building and leveraging key relationships to ensure effective representation that Gail perfected. I also bring direct experience working with the legislature, as well as over a decade of political, governmental, and educational experience, and the experience of essentially doing the job for the past three months.
I'm proud to have the support and endorsement of the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), Teamsters Local 404, Our Revolution Massachusetts, and former state representatives Sherwood Guernsey and Rosemary Sandlin. I ask you to join them and join me by believing in a new generation of progress and I ask for your vote on Oct. 10.
Towle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or kevintowle.org