Voters to choose between Barrett, Canning to fill Cariddi's seat in 1st Berkshire District

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NORTH ADAMS — Voters will choose the successor to former State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi on Tuesday.

Democrat John Barrett III and Republican Christine Canning are the two candidates on the special state election ballot for the 1st Berkshire District seat.

The winner of Tuesday's contest will complete the final year of Cariddi's term. She died of cancer in June.

The 1st Berkshire District encompasses the Northern Berkshire towns of Hancock, Lanesborough, Williamstown, New Ashford, North Adams, Florida, Adams, and Cheshire.

John Barrett III

Barrett, the former mayor of North Adams for 26 years, fended off three other candidates in a tightly contested Democratic primary election in October.

Barrett's platform was built on his experience as a longtime local mayor and as the former executive director of the BerkshireWorks career center in Pittsfield for two years after his departure from office.

The North Adams resident has promised to fight to revise the state's Chapter 70 funding formula for local schools, which he argues negatively impacts more rural school districts like those in the Northern Berkshires.

Barrett has also made the pitch that he knows what cities and towns need, as well as the impact that state budget cuts can have locally, and that his experience in local government would be valuable to the communities of the district.

He also wants to see improved workforce training programs and has focused on economic development during his campaign.

Christine Canning

Canning, an independent businesswoman who lives in Lanesborough, will be identified as a Republican on the ballot. But she'll proudly tell voters that her political views are fiercely independent.

Although she unsuccessfully ran for state Senate last year, Canning has continued to push to win a political office. She ran unopposed in the Republican primary in October.

Canning argues that her professional background makes her well-suited to win grants and bring funding back to the 1st Berkshire District.

She also is focused on modernizing the local economy and workforce to prepare for changes like automation.

Canning makes little effort to fundraise for her campaign and is resolute in her ability to remain independent as a legislator and not be influenced by outside groups or people.

Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376, ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, or @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter.


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