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PRESS RELEASE- Downing & Pignatelli Field Concerns: Berkshire South Community Forum a Success
March 05, 2007

Great Barrington - Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) and Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli (D-Lenox) hosted a community forum this past Friday at Berkshire South Community center.


Rep. Smitty Pignatelli and Sen. Ben Downing receive public comment at their Southern Berkshire Community Forum.

Despite the wintry weather, local people came by to share their ideas and air their concerns.  One topic on everyone’s mind: broadband access in western Massachusetts.  Citing economic development, educational advancement, and increased public safety as chief reasons for pursuing broadband expansion, both Senator Downing and Representative Pignatelli are encouraged by the energy building around the issue. “There has been a renewed commitment to extending broadband to disconnected communities,” said Downing. “I am confident that soon we will see a plan, an action plan for implementation.”  Pignatelli added, “This is not a partisan issue, it’s an economic development issue.  There may be some upfront costs but in the big picture, it’s a small investment with great returns.” 


Topics raised included education funding (Chapter 70), the Governor’s proposed closing of corporate tax loop holes, local options for meals tax and hotel/motel taxes, and the new health care reform law passed last session.  Senator Downing spoke about his first few months in office and provided updates from Beacon Hill. “For me, the best way to learn how the system works is from within,” said Downing. “The Joint Committee on Public Service, of which I am the Senate Chair, is gearing-up for a lively session and I look forward to addressing important issues.”


Senator Downing will travel to two other locations in his district collaborating with his respective colleagues in the House to field questions, provide updates and address issues affecting western Massachusetts.


“I believe legislators should be accessible and available to hear and address their constituency,” said Downing.  “It’s great to be out there, engaged in meaningful dialogue with folks who are concerned about their government.”


On March 12th at 7pm, Senator Downing and Representative Kulik (D-Worthington) will address their constituency at the Williamsburg Town Hall.  Representative Daniel E. Bosley (D-North Adams) will join Senator Downing for the final stop on this three-part circuit on April 20th, 7pm at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Sullivan Lounge located in the Campus Center.  These forums are open to the public and all are encouraged to attend to interact with their state legislators, voice their opinions, promote their ideas, and share their concerns.  



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