Voters in Pittsfield advance Marchetti and Krol to general election for mayor
Voters in Pittsfield, Berkshire County's biggest community, narrowed their field of mayoral candidates Tuesday in a preliminary election.
City Council President Peter Marchetti and former City Councilor John Krol will face off in November. They are vying to replace incumbent Linda Tyer, who is stepping down after two terms.
Marchetti, a banker who has served as a city councilor for 16 years, and Krol — who owns a marketing firm, worked for a former mayor and was a city councilor for a decade — easily defeated City Councilor Karen Kalinowsky, a retired police officer.
Marchetti said he was overjoyed after winning 47% of the preliminary election vote. He said he brings leadership that people can trust, and wants to get more state and federal funding to address mental health and substance use in the city. He also wants to focus on economic development.
"And that goes from creating jobs to making sure that we have workforce development training to making sure that we revive our downtown," Marchetti said in an interview Tuesday night.
Krol said there were several issues that resonated with voters.
"The status of our downtown, empty storefronts, the aggressive panhandling that continues to go unaddressed," Krol said. "We really need to create a government that is responsive to our people. And it's not happening right now."
Krol, who refers to himself as a candidate for change, said he can't wait to go one-on-one with Marchetti.
"We're looking at a change candidate that wants to revitalize our downtown again, address the issues that have been nagging our city for some time, address the challenges in our schools, public safety and more," he said, "versus the status quo that has allowed our city to get where it is today."
But Marchetti points to his experience and dedication.
"I've been the guy that's been working for Pittsfield for a very long time and doing it because it's something I love," he said. "And I love my city. And I would put my record of my community service up against [Krol's] any time."
Both candidates said they'll be back on the campaign trail on Wednesday, talking to voters.
Unofficial results from City Clerk Michele Benjamin said just under 16% of Pittsfield's registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday's contest.
In an interview last week, Benjamin said some people don't think a local election matters.
"But in reality it's almost more important than a federal or state election," she said, "because this is the team that is going to run city government for the next two or four years."
Pittsfield resident Steve Garrity voted Tuesday. Outside the polling place at Pittsfield's library, Garrity said one issue important to him is city services.
"In terms of streets, plowing the streets, just the general services, police, fire, just to make sure the city is well run," he said. "That's all I'm after."
Garrity said he voted for Marchetti because of the candidate's background.
"Just his experience as the city councilor and president," Garrity said. "I think he's the guy who is in the best position to do a good job."
Anne Dunham voted for Krol, she said, because of the impression he made at a forum at the city's senior center.
"When he says he's going to do something, you got a feeling that he's going to do what he said he was going to do," Dunham said. "He's not going to pass it off. He's not going to delay it. He's going to really do his own homework on figuring out what's going on and what he needs to do to improve things."
Dunham said one issue she's concerned about is public safety.
"I was a teacher all my life and I worry about kids and people," she said. "And, you know, people think they're safe — but they're not. Not anymore."