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OFFICIAL CANDIDATE ANNOUNCEMENT
Over the past 30 years, North Adams has gone through tremendous changes but has also faced extremely difficult struggles. It’s been more than 30 years now since Sprague Electric closed its doors, an impact we are still struggling to recover from.
Our city has done an excellent job in re-branding, and making North Adams into a tourist destination rich in Arts and Culture. However, we have neglected to focus on the most important piece of our city, the residents who live here. Our poverty rates are amongst the highest in the state, our hospital has been closed, and our residents face an opioid epidemic and high domestic violence rates, which is very much linked to our lack of quality jobs and lack of economic development and lack of mental health resources.
North Adams has the potential to be the economic center of the Berkshires. We have plenty of space for businesses, we have low real estate prices, we're located in a central location between Albany, New York City, and Boston, without all the crazy city traffic. We also have two tremendous resources that people overlook, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and our neighboring institution Williams College.
It's time for the City of North Adams and our representatives to focus on economic development and the recruitment of quality jobs and employers. We can be a hub for start up technology, biotech companies, and other diverse entities looking for a new workforce who are prepared to take on new opportunities. It’s also time to have a deep conversation about the mental health issues, lack of access, and underlying causes that affect our community.
The city needs to renew its focus into investing in our most important resource... the people of North Adams. Elected officials are not supposed to control people, they are elected to represent people. They are not better, nor should have any more privileges than any other citizen. Their duty is not to a political party, but to represent their constituents. All of their constituents. When the system no longer focuses on the people, it no longer properly represents them. If I have the honor to be chosen to serve, my duty will be to the people of North Adams.
Love is the brightest flame of liberty and through Compassion, Education, and Love, we can help our city, and the people of North Adams, grow and prosper together.
Ashley Shade is your candidate for North Adams City Council!