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21-Year-Old Takes Out Papers To Run For Mayor Of North Adams, Massachusetts

Josh Vallieres, 21, of North Adams, Massachusetts, is running for mayor.
Paula Evans
courtesy Josh Vallieres
Josh Vallieres, 21, of North Adams, Massachusetts, is running for mayor.

A North Adams, Massachusetts, college student who grew up in the city has taken out nomination papers to run for mayor.

Most people wait until they've graduated from college before going for their first big job. Not Josh Vallieres.

If elected, the 21-year-old Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts junior would still be juggling classes when his first term as mayor would start next spring. But he said he can do that.

Vallieres wants to improve sidewalks and roads, diversify the arts economy and make government more open.

"We need more information that's coming out of City Hall that the general public can see on a daily basis, that can better explain what's going on in their government," he said. "The more transparency we have equals the more political participation we're going to see in the future, too."

Vallieres said he was inspired by former Holyoke mayor Alex Morse, who was elected at age 22.

So far, Vallieres is the only one to announce candidacy for mayor. The current mayor, Tom Bernard, is not seeking re-election.

Nancy Eve Cohen is a senior reporter focusing on Berkshire County. Earlier in her career she was NPR’s Midwest editor in Washington, D.C., managing editor of the Northeast Environmental Hub and recorded sound for TV networks on global assignments, including the war in Sarajevo and an interview with Fidel Castro.
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