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NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), in cooperation with the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, will host a general election debate for this year’s contested race for mayor of North Adams on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. in the MCLA Church Street Center’s Eleanor Furst Roberts Auditorium.

This event is free and open to the public.

This year’s candidates, Mayor Richard Alcombright, former Mayor John Barrett III and Eric Rudd, an artist and real estate developer, face off in a primary election on September 22, 2015. The top two vote-getters in the primary will move to the general election, and will participate in the debate. The debate is being organized and run by an upper-level political science class on state and local politics. The class is taught by Dr. J. Benjamin Taylor, an assistant professor of political science at MCLA.

Taylor said the debate is important because it is about the future of North Adams at a pivotal time.

“According to media reports and public statements by elected officials and community leaders, North Adams seems to be reaching a critical mass of arts, recreation, education and innovation investment that could put the city at the center of the creative economy for the foreseeable future,” he said.

In addition, the event will benefit the MCLA students who will host and organize it, Taylor said, because it directly connects the academic literature in state and local politics to the practical realities of campaigning for office and governing.
“It also provides students with a chance to hone their research, writing and public speaking skills,” Taylor continued. “While the candidates will be the focus of the event, the preparation that goes into an event like this is immense, and will be a good proxy for students as they begin to transition their thinking from class-based to career and skill-based.”

He added, “MCLA students are excellent, and they can use this event as a way to showcase their skills and ability for the wider community in an effort to provide a community service.”

In addition to seating in the auditorium, the social hall with a video feed also will be available for overflow.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth's public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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