State Rep. Paul Mark to run for Senate

  • State Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, on Monday announced his candidacy for Sen. Adam Hinds’ seat. Hinds announced last week that he would run for lieutenant governor in 2022 Contributed photo/Paul Mark

  • State Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, on Monday announced his candidacy for Sen. Adam Hinds’ seat. Hinds announced last week that he would run for lieutenant governor in 2022 Contributed photo/Paul Mark

  • CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/PAUL MARK CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/PAUL MARK

Staff Writer
Published: 10/18/2021 5:53:23 PM

PITTSFIELD — State Rep. Paul Mark announced his candidacy for state Senate in the 2023 election cycle on Monday, speaking at Park Square in Pittsfield.

Mark, D-Peru, is campaigning for the Senate seat for the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District. The announcement comes less than a week after Sen. Adam Hinds, who currently holds the position, said he intends to run for lieutenant governor.

“The people of this district deserve a dedicated advocate,” Mark said during Monday’s announcement. “COVID has devastated our communities. It has destroyed small businesses and exasperated the divide between the wealthy and the folks struggling to put food on the table.”

He said that now is the time to develop policies and a state budget that not only heals the state and region’s economy, but re-creates and re-envisions government in a way that supports families, neighbors and those who are most in need.

“That is the work that I am committed to and why today, I am happy to announce my candidacy for state Senate,” he said.

In 2010, Mark was elected to the state House of Representatives to serve the 2nd Berkshire District. Since taking office, he has advocated for Medicare for All, higher education funding reform, student debt relief, additional funding for vocational programs, ways to combat the climate crisis while providing good-paying jobs, and ensuring that western Massachusetts has access to affordable transportation options and high-speed broadband internet.

Speaking after his announcement, Mark said he is pursuing the opportunity to serve the entire region in the Senate seat, which is expected to expand to represent 52 to 57 cities based on redistricting proposals. The position currently represents the entirety of Berkshire County as well as many communities in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties.

Mark said he’s always tried to serve as a “bridge between the counties,” and adding Hampden County to his constituency would enhance this regional connection.

“We’re such a forgotten region already, we can’t afford to let any level of parochialism get in the way of opportunity,” Mark said.

As a member of the Senate, “a chamber with only 40 members and not 160,” Mark said he will have “a greater chance to put this region’s stamp on policy initiatives.”

“It’s an opportunity to make sure the entire region has a chance to be unified,” Mark said. “It’s a chance to have a senator who spends as much time as possible in every one of these communities.”

While the elections for state Senate will not occur until 2023, Mark will continue to finish work he began in the House, while expanding his focus to new communities he anticipates representing.

Based on proposed redistricting maps, which must be voted on by Nov. 8, the Berkshire County representatives in the 160-member House will likely drop from four to three as a result of continued population decline in the county. It is expected that Mark’s current district will be split between state Reps. John Barrett III, D-North Adams; Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield; William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox; Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland; and Susannah Whipps, I-Athol. Pignatelli, Farley-Bouvier and Barrett all announced their endorsement of Mark on Monday.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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