Rinaldo Del Gallo made his announcement in front of 35 or so supporters at Shire City Sanctuary.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Jim Martin had his daughter taken away from him and he didn’t have the money to fight for custody in the courts.
Rinaldo Del Gallo offered his legal services pro-bono and put more than 100 hours into the legal representation.
“He is more concerned about justice than he is money,” Martin said on Tuesday when Del Gallo formally announced his campaign for the state Senate seat being vacated by Benjamin Downing.
Mark Delmyer has a similar story about Del Gallo helping to fight off developers looking to divvy up his family farm into subdivisions.
“The farm now is still in the midst of being determined but the good news is we have somebody to help,” Delmyer said.
Grier Horner told a similar story of when Del Gallo defeated a timeshare project eyed for the Ponterill property. And Brad Verter credited Del Gallo with being his inspiration for the ban of polystyrene and plastic bags
in Williamstown, after which Del Gallo lead the successful ban
“He held my hand through the entire process,” Verter said, adding that he motivated him to ultimately start the statewide Mass Green Network.
There are dozens of stories of Del Gallo’s work and his message in the campaign is “you know me.”
The attorney has been active in a number of different political and social issues in the area since he returned here in 2000. He started the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. He ushered through the ban on polystyrene food containers in Pittsfield, and inspired and worked with other communities to do the same.
“I stuck with it, it took three years and in 2015, the city of Pittsfield banned Styrofoam,” Del Gallo said.
He cited a number of small legislative items he got through the Pittsfield City Council and his ongoing petition to ban single-use plastic bags. He’s previously filed a petition to support transgender rights.
“So far, I seem to be the only talking about this. I believe transgendered people should have equal rights,” Del Gallo said. “If elected to the Senate, I will fight for the rights of transgendered people.”
He represented First Amendment cases, including a 2012 suit against local blogger Dan Valenti. And he said he’s always had the courage to speak out against such things as supporting the decriminalization of marijuana in 2008 when most officials were opposing it and the Bernard Baran case. Through countless columns and opinion pieces submitted to newspapers, Del Gallo says he has the name recognition and the platform to win the Senate seat.
Dubbing himself a “Bernie Sanders progressive,” his primary focus is on income inequality.
“We want to keep the revolution going on the local level,” he said.
Crediting Sanders’ speeches, he said the top 1/10 of the top 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans have as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent and that the richest 20 people have more wealth than the bottom 150 million people.
That’s where the money is to support a number of projects that were never completed, he said, such as high-speed rail to Boston and New York from the Berkshires or a more robust public transportation system or providing tuition-free college.
Grier Horner voiced support for Del Gallo not just because of his local work but also because of the national and state issues in which the two share the same views.
“I want to introduce a graduated income tax system,” Del Gallo said, adding he’d go after making the amendment in the state Constitution to join the 33 other states with such a system.
He also supports raising the minimum wage, adding a millionaire tax, and a wealth tax. That will pave the way for universal preschool and single-payer health insurance.
“This isn’t pie in the sky stuff, it’s being done all over the world,” Del Gallo said.
He also supports GMO labeling, bioremediation of the Housatonic River, opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline in Otis and Sandisfield, and using the William Stanley Business Park as a place to grow nanotechnology industry as has been done in Albany, N.Y.
“This is just talk unless we can get some of this wealth,” Del Gallo said.
He went on to oppose the war on drugs and incarceration — instead calling for more rehabilitation.
Del Gallo took a few shots at his opponents in the Democratic primary, saying Adam Hinds has only been in the Berkshires for a small period of time compared to him and that Andrea Harrington has been “quiet” while he’s been active in the community. Del Gallo hopes to defeat those two in the September primary to win the Democratic nomination. From there he’d be up against Christine Canning, of Lanesborough, who is the Republican candidate.
Del Gallo is a Pittsfield native and his uncle Remo Del Gallo was Pittsfield’s mayor in the 1960s. His father was a cost engineer at General Electric. Rinaldo Del Gallo got his law degree from George Washington University.