By Meg Britton-Mehlisch, The Berkshire Eagle, November 4, 2023
PITTSFIELD — Election day in Pittsfield is just around the corner. After a few raucous final weeks of the campaign season, voters will have their say as to who will follow Mayor Linda Tyer as the next city leader.
Mayoral candidate Peter Marchetti wins lion's share of votes in preliminary election and ward races see narrowed fields
Low turnout in the preliminary election in September had mayoral candidates Peter Marchetti and John Krol separated by just under 500 votes, with Marchetti in the lead.
In the month and a half since then, Marchetti and Krol have campaigned at a clip’s pace on a issues from a new vision for downtown Pittsfield, improving public safety, taking on deferred maintenance, setting a new path for city schools and major projects on the city’s horizon like Wahconah Park.
The Berkshire Eagle's third and final video debate between Pittsfield mayoral candidates John Krol and Peter Marchetti. In this episode, the candidates answer questions about Wahconah Park, the cultural economy, a recent audit of ARPA funds and more.
In the candidates’ final sit-down with The Eagle, Marchetti and Krol answered what makes them most qualified to lead Pittsfield and their predictions for election day on Tuesday.
Answers have been lightly edited for clarity.
THE EAGLE: Why do you want to be mayor and what are your qualifications for this job?
PETER MARCHETTI: So contrary to what you hear all the time from my opponent, I have served 16 years in city government. I have served as a city councilor under three mayors — one of the mayors, I served as council president — and a fourth mayor, I served on both the Conservation Commission and the Charter Review Commission.
City Council President Peter Marchetti kicks off his campaign for mayor with vision of 'One Pittsfield'
I've been working hard for the city of Pittsfield for decades. I believe that my 35 years of banking experience — that both provides me with financial expertise, budgeting and managing people — puts me in the right place. I can honestly say that in that timeframe, we can touch upon each mayor — Mayor [Sara] Hathaway, Mayor [James] Ruberto, Mayor [Dan] Bianchi and Mayor Tyer — and point to all good things that they have done, where they have set a base — not just Mayor Tyer — but they have set a base for us to move the city forward. And I believe with my skill set of community service and banking, I'm the best to lead us forward.
JOHN KROL: Well as far as qualifications, look temperament is very, very important in a mayor. You have to be able to keep your cool under pressure. And I think through this campaign, I have shown that. I've not had the smoothest ride on this campaign, but through it all I've shown strong temperament and that's really, really important.
When I look at ‘why am I running for mayor?’ — hey, I have my three boys that attend Stearns Elementary School. We are out in the community. I have my two stepchildren. My stepdaughter goes to Pittsfield High School. The quality of experience in our classroom is not what it can be in Pittsfield, Massachusetts — we need to work on that. When I'm out in our fields each and every day and I'd have a mother and father say to me, ‘Hey, you'll get elected mayor if you can get those bathrooms unlocked during the baseball games.’ Those are the kinds of things that drive me to make our quality of life better.
Look, there are so many moms and dads and families and grandmothers and grandfathers who know we can do so much better. I am there for you. And that's why I'm running for mayor — for real change.
THE EAGLE: Who’s going to win the election on Nov. 7?
KROL: I am certainly gonna win that election. Boy, I can tell you when you have a good turnout — and we're looking for that and when our families, our moms and dads and everyone make it out who didn’t make it out in September — it's going to be a great turnout.
We expect to have a wonderful experience on Nov. 7 at the Proprietor's Lodge — we’ll be there. We’ll hope to see you there. So Nov. 7, I asked for your vote. I ask for your confidence that — look we've seen it here, the status quo is not working. The status quo is not working and people in the city know it in their bones and in their soul. And if they want downtown to be revitalized, if they want their schools to be where they need to be to make them the schools of choice in the Berkshires, to make Pittsfield more business friendly, to get our services back on track — we need to overhaul each of those departments — and we know the status quo is not going to do that. Real change is right here and I ask for your vote on Nov. 7 for John Krol.
MARCHETTI: If you're hedging your bets at Berkshire Hills Country Club on Nov. 7 for our victory party that's there. You know, we've been out knocking on doors — we're well over 6,000 doors — I'm talking to the people. I'm correcting the record when I need to correct the record. You know, we can continue to call ‘real change versus status quo.’
I think that people know me and see the things I've done over the last 30-plus years in the city of Pittsfield — when the Fourth of July parade was dying, I was able to save the day and work with a great group of people to put the parade back on. I think this election comes down to this: both people — I consider John a friend — both people are putting their heart and soul into a new Pittsfield. I look at the people that I've been able to bring together in this campaign, who were my political enemies years ago. On Nov. 7, I ask for you to vote for me, Pete Marchetti — a vote for leadership you can trust, experience you can count on and dedication that's proven.
Meg Britton-Mehlisch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-496-6149.