Three Green-Rainbow Party Massachusetts candidates formally launch their statewide campaigns on Earth Day, April 22. They want to hear from residents of the Commonwealth as they tour the Berkshires. They chose Earth Day because they and their party have a strong commitment to environmental health, safety, and sustainability, along with their work on policies and programs to abolish poverty. Updates will be posted on Twitter at #BerkGreenTour.
Ian Jackson (Arlington), M K Merelice (Brookline), and Danny Factor (Acton) are Green-Rainbow Party candidates in this November’s elections for State Treasurer, State Auditor, and Secretary of the Commonwealth, respectively. They are meeting Berkshire voters and community leaders for dialogue on important issues, making joint public appearances at the following venues on April 22, 2014. The public and members of the media are invited to accompany them to any and every event during the day.
12:00 noon – The candidates will gather at the site of the North Adams Regional Hospital to meet first hand with people affected by the sudden closure of the privately run hospital. Candidate Factor believes that health care in one’s community is a human right and that the Commonwealth’s proposed solutions to keep North Adams Regional Hospital open are moving too slowly and are not nearly comprehensive enough. Factor proposes that the Commonwealth immediately take over North Adams Regional Hospital by eminent domain, towards the goal of handing local ownership of the hospital back to the people of the Northern Berkshires. All three candidates support a single payer, improved medicare health care system for all in the long term.
1:30 pm – Kelly’s Package Store, 653 Main St., Dalton. The candidates will meet with business owner John Kelly, who runs the largest package store recycling operation in Berkshire County. Discussion will include the expanded bottle bill, which Democratic Party leadership has thwarted for over ten years despite broad public support. Kelly supports expanding the bottle bill to include deposits on bottled water and sports drinks, as do the three candidates who will stand strong in opposition to Democratic Party leaders. “We have had enough of one-party rule in Massachusetts,” State Treasurer candidate Jackson says.
2:00 pm – Berkshire Organics, 813 Dalton Division Rd., Dalton. The candidates will meet business owners and managers of this expanding local business that has taken the lead on advocating for required labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) in their ingredients. The Green-Rainbow Party firmly supports such labeling, which is required in many democracies around the world. The Democratic Party leadership, which solicits and accepts corporate lobbyist funding, is blocking this popular initiative, also.
2:55 pm – The candidates will board the #2 BRTA bus in Lenox and travel to the Pittsfield ITC, where they will meet Robert Malnati, the Assistant Administrator of the BRTA to discuss public transportation needs. The BRTA receives only enough funding to operate in the morning and afternoon on Monday – Saturday, with no service during evenings and on Sundays. This creates a serious economic justice and economic development issue, which the Green-Rainbow Party candidates pledge to correct when elected. The candidates assert that in a healthy community, all individuals whether working, retired or those with disabilities require the transport means to be able to conduct their basic affairs whether it be get to a job, go to a doctors appointment or shop for food.
3:55 pm – Pittsfield City Hall. The candidates will submit their first full sheet of Pittsfield signatures to the office of Linda Tyer, City Clerk of Pittsfield, for certification. Green-Rainbow Party members and supporters across the Commonwealth are collecting the necessary 5000 certified signatures to qualify the three candidates for the November ballot.
4:15 pm – Following a walk in downtown Pittsfield the candidates will use Berkshares to purchase lunch and snacks at Market Place Café at 53 North St., Pittsfield. They will meet with Alice Maggio, Berkshares Coordinator. “I’m very interested in learning more about how Berkshares can be expanded and emulated around the Commonwealth,” says State Auditor candidate Merelice.
At 5:30 pm at the Pittsfield ITC the candidates will return to Lenox and Lee on the southbound #2 BRTA bus.
At 6:15 pm they will stop at the Leahey Farm at the end of Reservoir Rd. in Lee to meet with farmers Phil and Jen Leahey, who operate one of the oldest continual family farming operations in Massachusetts. The candidates are committed to policies that sustain healthy local food economies.
At 7:00 pm the candidates will attend the meeting of the Lenox Green-Rainbow Party Town Committee at Lenox Town Hall. On the agenda for the committee meeting is the controversial fracked gas pipeline. Members of the Committee launched a successful petition drive in February and March to place a question on the May 1 Annual Town Meeting Warrant (Article 24) asking the town to vote in opposition to expanding fracked gas infrastructure. Fracking operations have polluted water sources and have recently caused earthquakes in Ohio, according to the US Geological Survey. In many democracies where the influence of corporate lobbying and funding is more effectively regulated than in Massachusetts, the practice is banned. The three candidates stand opposed to the pipeline. Local elected Democrats have been silent on the issue, while the Governor supports it.
On Wednesday morning, April 23, at 7:30 am Merelice will appear as a studio guest on Pittsfield Television’s Good Morning Pittsfield, which is also broadcast live on FM 89.7, with John Krol as host.
The Green-Rainbow Party and its endorsed candidates do not accept contributions from registered lobbyists or from the officers of for-profit corporations that hire registered lobbyists.
Danny Factor for Secretary of the Commonwealth
Danny Factor, a lifelong activist and public interest attorney from Acton, is the Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Secretary of the Commonwealth because he believes that “people matter more than profits” and every single person deserves dignity, respect, and love. Factor calls for Massachusetts to institute an Economic Bill of Rights, advocates ways for voters to exercise their rights of democracy, and proposes restoring the original purpose of corporations to serve the public good.
Ian Jackson for State Treasurer
Ian Jackson, candidate for State Treasurer, believes that people working together can build a Massachusetts for everyone, “a commonwealth for the common good.” As a father, Jackson wants a Massachusetts for his children which narrows the economic gaps and provides opportunity to everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity, and ability. He says the state can be sustainable in its use of resources and he believes our taxpayer money should work to invest in a future that includes clean water, solid education, green employment growth, and a banking system that is too good to fail.
MK Merelice for State Auditor
MK Merelice advocates auditing all the State’s resources: human and environmental as well as financial, and using these resources “for the benefit of all people, our planet, and a peace-making economy.” She avows that investing in sustainable use of state land and equal education will strengthen, not deplete, the economy. After a career in journalism and the financial services industry, Merelice is an elected Brookline Town Meeting Member and serves on the boards of the Brookline GreenSpace Alliance, Brookline’s affordable housing CDC, and the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending.