PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Rinaldo Del Gallo spent a long time getting the city to pass a ban on Styrofoam. And he’s continued to press for a ban on plastic bags. Those type of environmental concerns have always been a priority.
Now he is running for the open state Senate seat, though he hasn’t made the official announcement yet, and he didn’t expect any difference in opinions among the other Democratic candidates when it comes the proposed natural gas pipeline project. But, he was wrong.
“I just assumed all of the candidates opposed the pipeline. I didn’t know they had said in front of various people that they were unsure. I think this is an immediate difference. If you are going to hop in the race, I think you should have a position,” Del Gallo said.
“There are lawn signs all over. Even if you came from out of town and you’ve never read a newspaper, never listened to news radio, you would have known by looking at the lawn signs this is a huge issue.”
Since then, both Hinds and Harrington have said they oppose the project. But, Del Gallo feels that was a little too late. He said those other two candidates showed they were “not ready for prime time” by entering the race without a stance.
“This is a real issue. There is something to vote on,” Del Gallo said. “You need somebody with some real fire,with passion, with conviction that’s really opposed to this pipeline.”
Between Article 97 provisions and eminent domain of state land, the state Senate has a role to play in the pipeline, Del Gallo said. He promised, if elected, to stand strong against the pipeline. On Friday, he was one of nearly 100 at Park Square protesting outside of what could be an significant court ruling regarding the future of the two proposed natural gas pipelines.
“The most important thing is to be a strong opponent,” Del Gallo said.
He said his environmental stance isn’t political rhetoric. He’s shown he is the “real environmentalist” with such efforts as the Styrofoam and plastic bag bans and previous efforts to streamline the process for wind energy.
“I’m a green guy, I’m an environmentalist. I think the voters know not so much my words but by my deeds that it will be a foremost consideration. I’ve done it. I’ve walked the walk; I’m not just talking the talk,” Del Gallo said.
While his environmental policies stances are a top priority, he says it is only one of the many issues he’d like to tackle if elected. The environmental will be a consideration on any bill, he said, and said he’d like to bringing green jobs to the William Stanley Business Park, which would “kill two birds with one stone, tackling the environment and create jobs.”
Del Gallo characterizes himself as a “Bernie Sanders progressive” and believes when he does dive into the campaign, he’ll have the vote of the true progressives and environmentalist.
“I haven’t formally announced yet. But, I hope to get the website up soon. I think I can get a lot of people very, very interested,” Del Gallo said. “I think anybody out there who is an environmentalist is going to be for me.”
So far, only Harrington and Hinds have announced candidacies, both as Democrats. Del Gallo says he expects to formally announce in the near future. Christine Canning Wilson, of Lanesborough, has also pulled nomination papers to run on the Republican ticket. The Berkshires’ Senate seat has been occupied by Benjamin Downing for the last decade and he’s opted not to run for re-election.