|Tyer Backs Harrington In District Attorney's Race|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
03:30PM / Wednesday, August 22, 2018
|Joined by Harrington and her supporters, Mayor Linda Tyer announced her endorsement Tuesday afternoon.|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With less than two weeks to go until the primary, Mayor Linda Tyer is putting her support behind Andrea Harrington in the race for district attorney.
"My endorsement comes with the strong belief that Andrea and I share similar values and we are like-minded. We both believe in creating opportunities for social justice and for thinking differently about entrenched problems," Tyer said.
"Our leadership styles are similar in that we seek diversity of thought, opinion, and professional experiences to inform our decisions. We believe in building any bridge to find a solution or to advance a progressive idea."
Harrington is one of three candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination. Both Paul Caccaviello, the incumbent, and Judith Knight are also seeking the post as Democrats. There is no other candidate on the November ballot so whoever wins the Sept. 4 primary will likely become the next district attorney.
In one of the least surprising of late campaign surprises, Tyer was joined by Harrington supporters at the campaign's headquarters on East Street to announce her endorsement.
"I am truly humbled and honored by the mayor's endorsement. The mayor's leadership in the city has been an inspiration to me and my campaign. She has shown us that it is more effective to lead by giving people hope rather than through fear. Mayor Tyer has tackled tough issues facing the city with candor and determination. She has broken with the go along to get along politics that have prevented progress and reform and I will do the exact same thing as your next district attorney," Harrington said.
"I will work with Linda and leaders throughout the county and the state to make our community safe for everyone and one where all of our children can thrive. We will do this by working together to get dangerous people off of the streets and modernize our approach to law enforcement by fighting the underlying causes of crime and deploying proven strategies to combat the opioid epidemic and the crime that we've seen that comes from drugs."
Tyer also highlighted the opioid epidemic, saying the city has seen the "sad and tragic consequences" of the drug issue. She believes Harrington offers "alternatives for how to be a better advocate for those who struggle."
The mayor also highlighted Harrington's plan to create a citizen's advisory committee and "her balanced perspective of vigorously prosecuting crimes, protecting victims, and seeking new ways to disrupt criminal culture."
"Andrea has built a broad-based, grassroots, countywide campaign. She has hustled up and down this county for every vote. That's the kind of energy, enthusiasm, and tenacity that's needed to lead the DA's office with fresh ideas and a new vision," Tyer said.
The mayor believes the district attorney's office serves as an important piece toward improving safety in the city. That intersection is why the mayor feels it is important for the city to have a like-minded person in the office.
"We run a law enforcement agencies. We have an important responsibility to ensure that our city is safe, to ensure that the people of our community know that our Police Department and our district attorney's office is working together to keep people protected, to keep them safe, to ensure we are doing what they can for social justice matters," Tyer said.
The police officers and the superior officers' unions, however, have both endorsed Caccaviello
. Tyer said that while the officers and she may differ on who should lead that office, she believes that the union members still know she is supportive of their efforts.
"I believe the Pittsfield Police Department knows I stand with them in the efforts they are undertaking now to keep our city safe. Some of the things Andrea is talking about, we've already deployed in our Police Department -- things like cultural competency training, things like implicit bias training. We're already advancing some of these progressive ideas in our Police Department. That work has to be supplemented by the work of the DA's office," Tyer said.
The election has been divisive and often combative between the candidates' supporters and the race remains tight. Tyer said she doesn't fear any ripple effects once the race is ended, no matter who ultimately wins.
"When the dust settles we have to come together and do the next right thing for the people that we represent. So I will extend my hand to whoever the successful candidate is -- it is going to be Andrea Harrington -- and hope that hand is extended back to me," Tyer said.
The two also used the occasion to highlight the difference in experience Harrington has compared to other candidates. Both Caccaviello and Knight have been critical of Harrington's lack of prosecutorial experience: Caccaviello has worked in the DA's office for more than 20 years and Knight has been both an assistant district attorney and a public defender.
"She has a worldview that is different from the other candidates," Tyer said of Harrington.
Harrington has 15 years of experience as an attorney and had worked with one of the state of Florida's Capital Collateral Regional Counsels for two years in post-conviction death penalty appeals.
"We would completely reinvestigate the case. We would have investigators. We would pour through court records. We would look for new theories of the crime plus all of the forensic evidence. We worked very closely with mental health professionals and those cases go through state and federal court processes," Harrington said.
She returned to the Berkshires, still working on a contract basis with the district, and moved around, working with a number of firms. Here she worked in the courts as a defense attorney for a wide array of cases. She also worked on civil cases, which she said ranged from discrimination to sexual assault to consumer protection.
So while Harrington hasn't specifically been a prosecutor like the other two, she said her wide range of court work gives her a perspective the others do not have.
"I bring a problem-solving approach that is sorely needed in the district attorney's office," Harrington said.
"The one-track mind of prosecuting everybody to the hilt is not working to solve the tough challenges. I want to work with the city, work with community leaders, and really get to the underlying problems which have to do with the drugs, crime, and lack of opportunity."
In all, Harrington hopes to bring a "new leadership and new direction."