NORTH ADAMS -- State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams, and state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, despite being unopposed on Tuesday's ballot, spent the day at polling places thanking constituents and supporting fellow Democrats.
With the election over, it's back to business.
For each, the primary focus over the next two years will be employment -- how jobs can be created directly and the sorts of investments that foster growth.
"[The focus] is going to continue to be jobs and the economy," Downing said in recent interview on his priorities for the coming term.
Downing believes positive development can be had through a number of measures. Most importantly, he said, by investments in education and transportation.
"The state needs to step in," Downing said.
He advocated "long-term funding of public education," like at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Berkshire Community College, as "the best way to a talented work force and the most affordable way."
Downing spoke positively of the effect MassBroadband 123 -- Gov. Patrick's ongoing $71.6 million dollar project to bring broadband Internet access to rural Western Massachusetts communities -- will have on jobs, and said he would continue to fight for transportation dollars.
"The [transportation] system needs more money, and that money needs to be allocated in an equitable way," Downing said. "In other words, [the great majority] can't go toward funding the T."
Downing added that he'd like to see progress toward a Pittsfield-to-New-York rail system.
Cariddi, on the Northern Berkshire side of things, also put a high premium on education and transportation investments.
Cariddi specified support for both state-funded internships to provide recent grads with a "foot in the door" with employers and collaboration between community colleges and the Massachusetts Work force Board Association to better streamline student transition to the work force.
To support small business, Cariddi supports making loans more available, potentially by creating some type of Northern Berkshire community development corporation.
"We have to have a mechanism that allows money to funnel into Northern Berkshire ... so that people can put ideas to work," Cariddi said Tuesday.
Some other areas of focus mentioned by Cariddi include steps to ensure that gasoline is not being overpriced in Northern Berkshire; continued efforts to resolve local issues with cable; support for local farmers; collection of local noncriminal fines; and quicker local medical examiner coverage by way of increased funding.
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