Monday, November 6
From all indications, Matt Kinnaman is a good man who might stand a good chance of being a state senator if he lived in Alabama or Ohio or Kansas. Unfortunately for him and the Republican Party, he lives in Berkshire County.

Here, the reality is, Mr. Kinnaman's stances against stem-cell research, same-sex marriage and abortion do not reflect the views of the majority. And it is more than likely that, in his race against Democrat Ben Downing, he will struggle to reach the 34 percent of the vote he managed to garner in a strong fight against U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, D-Amherst, for Congress in 2004.

Mr. Downing, although at age 25 quite young, in the view of many, to be a state senator, has shown a maturity beyond his years and perhaps most importantly, a willingness to listen to people's concerns and to respond to them personally.

He surprised more than a few people in edging out the experienced Christopher Hodgkins and thrashing North County's hope, Margie Ware, in the primary. He also has a benefit that can't be overlooked — the reputation of his much-respected father, the late Gerry Downing, whose name recognition likely put him over the top in the primary race.

Ben Downing has made all the right moves in his campaign, has come across as educated and up to date on the important issues and deserves to be elected. The bet here is he will prove himself a capable state senator who will work well with and learn the ropes quickly from the county's fine and experienced legislative delegation.