Rep. Smitty Pignatelli

Rep. Smitty Pignatelli MA State House Representative William "Smitty" Pignatelli represents the 4th Berkshire district. He's a lifelong resident of the Berkshires, Massachusetts.

State Representative William Smitty Pignatelli grew up in Lenox, Massachusetts. "Smitty," as he prefers to be called, was named after his father’s best friend, William Smith, who was killed during World War II. After graduating from Lenox Memorial High School in 1977, Smitty became a licensed Master Electrician and worked in his family’s electrical contracting business for twenty years. Smitty took over the full operation of the business at the time of his father’s retirement in 1991. Smitty left the family business to his brother Scott when he was offered a position as the Business Development Manager for Lee Bank in 1998. While at the bank, he attended Babson College School for Financial Studies, graduating in 2001. He also served his community on town and county boards before making the decision to leave the bank to represent the people of his beloved Berkshire District, by running for State office. Smitty won the seat of State Representative for the 4th Berkshire District and is currently serving his fifth term in the House of Representatives. As State Representative, Smitty represents eighteen cities and towns in Berkshire and Hampden Counties. At the State House, Representative Pignatelli serves on four appointed committees: the Committee on Ways and Means, the Committee on Higher Education, the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development and the Committee on Personnel and Administration. This page is intended to be a form of open communication between the Representative and his constituents. It is not meant to be a complaint or insult board and any posts resembling this will be respectfully deleted.

Dear Friends,Every year around Memorial Day, I like to share a story with you all that I carry very close to my heart. I...
05/22/2020

Dear Friends,
Every year around Memorial Day, I like to share a story with you all that I carry very close to my heart. I usually introduce the email with a simple ask: that you read it and take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices our Veterans have made to protect our freedoms.
This year, we are experiencing Memorial Day quite different than others of the past, and I humbly send this story to you all and ask that you take a moment to think of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and pause to grieve the Veterans we have lost to COVID-19 at the Holyoke and Chelsea Soldiers' Homes and throughout our wonderful Commonwealth.
Smitty

A friend, a name and a late reunion
--------------------------------------------------
Berkshire Eagle,May 29, 2006
Derek Gentile, Berkshire Eagle Staff


Monday, May 29 LENOX — According to John J. Pignatelli Jr., it was hard not to like his old pal William Henry "Smitty" Smith.

"Oh, yeah," said Pignatelli. "He was a big guy, maybe 6 (feet) 2 (inches), rosy cheeks, handsome, a great smile. You couldn't dislike him."

Pignatelli and Smith were the best of boyhood friends. They were nearly inseparable as young men, attending school together, playing sports together, just hanging out.

"He used to sleep over at my house," Pignatelli recalled. "Sometimes, a couple days in a row. Eventually, his mother would call my mother and ask when Smitty was coming home."

They played on the now legendary 1940 Lenox High School championship baseball team. Pignatelli was in the outfield, Smith at first base.

This was a good friendship, based not on competition or envy, but on a genuine desire on the part of both to see each other do well.

"I kind of wanted to play first base because my father used to play first base back in the day," Pignatelli said. "But before tryouts, Smitty told me he wanted to play first base. So I said, 'OK, you go out for first base, and I'll go out for the outfield.' That way, we played together."

But until this past December, John Pignatelli had not visited William Smith in 61 years. It was not a feud or a personal dispute that kept them apart. It was a war. World War II.

On March 4, 1945, William Henry Smith was killed in a plane crash in that war. He left his parents, Henry and Esther, as well as his best friend, Johnny.

It is a familiar story. The lives of hundreds of thousands of people were disrupted by World War II. But until it happens to someone you know, it doesn't seem real. When his best friend died, war and loss became very real for John Pignatelli.

For a while, Pignatelli tried to find his friend's grave. But although there was only one Bill Smith to him, there were a lot of Bill Smiths in the world.

"I just didn't know where the hell to look," Pignatelli said sadly.

Smith was an only child. His military records had been lost in a fire. Except for a photograph, John Pignatelli didn't have much to go on.

The photograph, of William Smith in a tuxedo, has a brief inscription: "To my best Pal, (from) Bill." If anything, Smith is about 18. He looks years younger.

Last year, John Pignatelli's son, state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox, did some research and, after several months, found the gravesite of William Henry Smith. It was in Milton, a town to which the Smiths had relocated in 1942.

And so the circle was completed. For, as it must be clearly obvious by now, William "Smitty" Pignatelli was named after William Henry Smith.

And the decision to do that was made almost 20 years before William Pignatelli was born.

"I didn't know if I was ever going to get married, I didn't know if I was ever going to have a son," John Pignatelli said. "But when Smitty died, I promised him that I would name my son after him."

"I've always felt honored," said Smitty Pignatelli. "I'm in awe of their friendship. You have friends, I have friends, but what they had was something else.

"You know," he continued, "in the Statehouse, it's pretty much all about protocol. It's representative this and senator that. But to a lot of people, I'm Smitty. And I'm proud of that."

Of course, John Pignatelli's visit to the Milton Cemetery in December wasn't really a reunion. One man was alive. One was not. But this was closer than the two had been in decades.

"It's been 61 years, and my father never talks about it," said his son. "When I finally found (Bill Smith's) grave, my sister Lisa and I told my father we were going on a little drive. We got him in the car, and when he found out what we were doing, he was a little reluctant. He wasn't sure he wanted to do it."

The wound was not fresh, admitted John Pignatelli. But it was, after 61 years, still there.

"When Smitty died, I was crushed," he said. "I didn't know what to do. I could never get close to anyone after that. I could never have a friend like that again."

They got to the cemetery in Milton, and the gate was locked. At that point, Smitty Pignatelli admitted, he was a little thrown. But this had been 61 years in the making. A locked gate was not going to stop the Pignatellis now. Eventually, a caretaker came to the entrance, and the younger Pignatelli charmed him into opening the gate.

The snow was pretty deep from a recent storm. But the grave was there. And John Pignatelli walked to it, slowly, and touched it, very lightly.

"You know, seeing my father touch Smitty's grave, for the first time in years and years, that was worth all the effort to find it," said Smitty Pignatelli.

And afterward, John Pignatelli told his son that he would like to come back sometime. Maybe when the weather was a little nicer.

So it was that, last weekend, at a private ceremony officiated by the Rev. Daniel Brunton, a longtime friend of the Pignatelli family, William Smith was honored again for his service to his country.

The weather, by the way, was not much better. It rained buckets.

Although the ceremony was a recognition of Smith's service, it was not "the last goodbye." Not by any means, according to his best friend.

"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him," said John Pignatelli. "I remember awhile ago, that I told Smitty — my Smitty — that if he grows up to be half the man Bill was, that would be something."

"And," said John Pignatelli, with some emotion in his voice, "I'm proud to say that he has."

Derek Gentile can be reached at [email protected].

Today, the Mass Cultural Council awarded a total of $3.34M in Gaming Mitigation grants to 52 non-profit and municipally ...
05/21/2020
$3.34M Awarded in First Round of Gaming Mitigation Grants – Mass Cultural Council

Today, the Mass Cultural Council awarded a total of $3.34M in Gaming Mitigation grants to 52 non-profit and municipally owned performing arts centers- including Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Berkshire Theatre Group and Barrington Stage Company all #intheBerkshires to help mitigate the challenges they face when directly competing with resort casinos to book touring artists. I want to express my sincere gratitude tp the MCC and Executive Director Anita Walker for being tireless champions of supporting arts in our community.

52 Performing Arts Centers Receive Funds to Help Compete with Casinos, Attract Touring Artists

This special edition of my newsletter serves as resource guide on the rules and regulations to Governor Charlie Baker's ...
05/20/2020
To My Constituents

This special edition of my newsletter serves as resource guide on the rules and regulations to Governor Charlie Baker's Reopening announcement, including the most up-to-date information on the phases, work safety regulations, and the recommendations on outdoor activities and recreation brought to you by the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. As this disease brings us new information each day, I highly recommend that you continue to check and visit the re-opening advisory page on the mass.gov website: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-massachusetts

Congratulations to Liana Toscanini and the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires on the success of their first virtual Berk...
05/19/2020

Congratulations to Liana Toscanini and the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires on the success of their first virtual Berkshire Nonprofit Awards! It was an honor to virtually emcee this event and to be able to recognize all of the incredible nonprofit award winners and presenters who exemplify what it means to #BeBerkshire

Thank you to everyone who joined and engaged with us at the Virtual Berkshire Nonprofit Awards this morning. What an inspirational event!

We enjoyed hearing from the amazing honorees and appreciate all the support from our sponsors and presenters.

A special shout out to Rep. Smitty Pignatelli for serving as our event emcee and for serving the nonprofit sector in the Berkshires. #BeBerkshire

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration released Reopening Massachusetts, the Reopening Advisory Board’s report, which de...
05/18/2020

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration released Reopening Massachusetts, the Reopening Advisory Board’s report, which details a four-phased strategy to responsibly reopen businesses and activities while continuing to fight COVID-19. The Administration also released a new “Safer At Home” Advisory, which instructs residents to stay at home unless engaging with newly opened activities, as a way to continue limiting the spread of COVID-19. Starting today, based on current public health data and trends, Massachusetts will begin Phase 1 of a cautious reopening, and workplaces that are permitted to open are required to follow new safety protocols and guidance.

Learn more about the reopening process, I HIGHLY recommend visiting the mass.gov reopening website: www.mass.gov/reopening

Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires
05/18/2020
Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires

Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires

Tune into WSBS Radio (860 AM and 94.1 FM) this morning at 9:05 to hear Liana on Rep. Smitty Pignatelli's show.

She'll be talking about our big Virtual events this week: Berkshire Nonprofit Awards 2020 & Virtual Nonprofit Sustainability Summit

Click the link below to listen live >>

Today, Governor Charlie Baker will be sharing guidance on reopening Massachusetts following the #ShelterInPlace order. B...
05/18/2020
COVID19 Updates

Today, Governor Charlie Baker will be sharing guidance on reopening Massachusetts following the #ShelterInPlace order. Be sure to catch the #COVID19 Update LIVE at 11 AM using this link:

Governor Charlie Baker delivers an update on efforts to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

One of the great honors of serving as your State Representative is having the opportunity to emcee the Berkshire Nonprof...
05/15/2020
Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires

One of the great honors of serving as your State Representative is having the opportunity to emcee the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards. We may not be able to gather together this year, but as they say in the business, the show must go on! Thanks to the leadership of Liana Toscanini, the 3rd Annual Nonprofit Center Awards will be next Tuesday, May 19.

Thank you Rep. Smitty Pignatelli for your continued support of NPC Berkshires! We are looking forward to our Berkshire Nonprofit Awards 2020 next Tuesday, May 19th, and we are happy to have you opening the ceremony for the 3rd year.

More details and registration at the link below >>

The second remote formal session in the history of the Massachusetts Legislature has been completed. Today we enacted Go...
05/13/2020

The second remote formal session in the history of the Massachusetts Legislature has been completed. Today we enacted Gov. Charlie Baker's bill to facilitate short-term borrowing, to be paid back by the end of next fiscal year, to keep the state's cash flowing in the face of revenue shortfalls. It is critically important that we maintain social distancing, but the work in the House of Representatives must continue. I miss my colleagues dearly but I'm thankful to House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Chairman Aaron Michlewitz for guiding us through the challenges of remote voting. #intheBerkshires #mapoli #BeBerkshire

Today the Baker-Polito Administration announced a four-phase approach to reopening the economy and published mandatory w...
05/11/2020

Today the Baker-Polito Administration announced a four-phase approach to reopening the economy and published mandatory workplace safety standards that will apply across all sectors and industries when reopening begins. As soon as more details concerning who and what will be categorized in each phase are published, I will let you know. For more information on the four-phase approach, click here: https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-four-phase-approach-to-reopening-and-publishes-mandatory

To ALL the mom’s out there Happy Mother’s Day. My mother passed away last year but I still feel the love and the lessons...
05/10/2020

To ALL the mom’s out there Happy Mother’s Day. My mother passed away last year but I still feel the love and the lessons each and everyday. Miss her always. I hope that you enjoy this special day.

Today I had a great conversation with Margaret Moulton, Jess Camp, and Sarah Gardner from Berkshire Grown concerning loc...
05/08/2020

Today I had a great conversation with Margaret Moulton, Jess Camp, and Sarah Gardner from Berkshire Grown concerning local farmers and what we can do to enhance opportunities for Berkshire County farms. I'm looking forward to this ongoing conversation and the progress I believe we're going to make #intheBerkshires #mapoli

05/06/2020
Fairview Hospital Gala

Today and every day, we need to be thankful for our nurses and healthcare heroes who are the on the frontlines keeping us safe. #NursesDay2020 #ThankYouNurses

We love, respect and appreciate our nurses here at Fairview. Nurses are on the front lines everyday: administering shots, performing exams, tending wounds, and caring for patients. Nurses care for us during the most vulnerable times in our lives. We wouldn't make it without them. Feel free to say something wonderful about a nurse in the comments. #nationalnursesday #nationalnursesmonth #nurses #nursesrock #healthcareheroes

If you see my big little brother Scott today be sure to wish him a very Happy Birthday. He’s one of the most generous pe...
05/05/2020

If you see my big little brother Scott today be sure to wish him a very Happy Birthday. He’s one of the most generous people I know and my most ardent supporter. I’m sure that he’ll enjoy his special day.

The most important takeaway from the Governor's COVID-19 Daily briefing this afternoon was the emphasis that May 18th se...
05/04/2020
Submit Comments to the Reopening Advisory Board

The most important takeaway from the Governor's COVID-19 Daily briefing this afternoon was the emphasis that May 18th serves solely as the date that the report suggesting how to re-open the Commonwealth will be released. Now, I understand how trying of a time this has been for our Berkshire Community, and I know that we are all eager to get a semblance of normalcy back into our lives, but as the Lt. Governor said, this does not mean we are flipping a switch. We have to be smart, and pay attention to the facts released in the coming weeks about what each phase of the reopening might look like, along with industry-specific guidance for those which will need it. Last week, the Governor announced the creation of the Reopening Advisory Board. Today, I organized a meeting between the members of the Berkshire Delegation and Carlo Zaffanella, Vice President and General Manager of General Dynamics, who serves on the re-opening advisory board, to discuss the ongoing progress of the meetings taking place. I have the utmost confidence that Berkshire County is being represented through Carlo, and I'm thankful for his insight and leadership in this critically important group. If you are interested in submitting comments to the board, please fill out the following form below:

Last Wednesday the Berkshire South Regional Community Center began the Nourishing Neighbors Initiative. This community p...
04/27/2020
Nourishing Neighbors program distributes 500 meals at Berkshire South |

Last Wednesday the Berkshire South Regional Community Center began the Nourishing Neighbors Initiative. This community program will provide pre-prepared meals to individuals and families whose lives have been impacted by COVID-19 in the community for the next eight weeks. Nourishing Neighbors demonstrates all it means to #BeBerkshire, thanks to so many who made this happen. Berkshire United Way Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Jenise Lucey

Berkshire South Community Center volunteers, including state Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli (at center with white mask and grey fedora) distribute food packages on Wednesday to families in need. Nourishing Neighbors program distributes 500 meals at Berkshire South By Edge Staff Monday, Apr 27, 202...

I was proud to co-file legislation with my Berkshire delegation partner Rep. John Barrett III, to address the needs of c...
04/23/2020
Rep. William 'Smitty' Pignatelli: Our cultural organizations need us because we need them

I was proud to co-file legislation with my Berkshire delegation partner Rep. John Barrett III, to address the needs of cultural organizations. H.5017, An Act establishing a COVID-19 nonprofit cultural organizations emergency relief fund would establish a COVID-19 nonprofit cultural organizations emergency relief fund to provide grants for nonprofit cultural organizations that are experiencing financial hardship because of coronavirus #intheBerkshires #mapoli

Arts and cultural programs are not quantifiable in terms of the tremendous impact they have on our society. Whether we are in a museum, concert hall or any other venue, enjoying art together is …

As of this morning claimants will now be able to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)They can do so by applyi...
04/20/2020

As of this morning claimants will now be able to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

They can do so by applying at: www.mass.gov/pua

PUA is a program open to the following individuals:
-Self-employed individuals, including gig workers, freelancers, and independent contractors
-Those seeking part-time employment
-Claimants that have an insufficient work history to qualify for benefits
-Claimants that have been laid off from churches and religious institutions and are not eligible for benefits under state law

Thank you to the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires for organizing a great virtual event! I had the opportunity to discu...
04/17/2020

Thank you to the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires for organizing a great virtual event! I had the opportunity to discuss all of the COVID-19 work we are doing here in the 4th Berkshire District, and talk about resources that non-profits can benefit from during this time. We also got to witness Representative John Barrett III on his first zoom call!

Thank you to our local delegates for taking time out of your busy schedules to speak to our nonprofit sector this morning! We appreciate all the hard work you're doing for the Berkshires.

Senator Adam Hinds, Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, Tricia Farley-Bouvier, John Barrett, Paul Mark

Many thanks to our board members for helping make this program happen!

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6 Walker St
Lenox, MA
01240

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Comments

Good suggestion in the news this morning about the month to month budget. Tough times. In my judicial retirement I decided to run in the First as a Biden delegate. Hope you’ll request a ballot at the following link, give me a vote a spread the word. Thanks and me well. David Sacks
Smitty, as of today, 4/9 the state website for the 'gig' worker unemployment has yet to be updated to accept the federal support of us self employed. Why is this taking so long and when can we expect to have this up and going. THIS IS IMPORTANT AND NOTHING IS HAPPENING
This is terrific, no easy task as we know how hard it is to get networks to budge for waivers. Do you think the satellite companies will be allowed, have they been asked? Direct T.V? Thank You
Great that you were able to get Charter to give local news....I dont live where I can get cable....what about the rest of us??
Remember to follow my State Representative page Rep. Smitty Pignatelli to stay up to date on the latest #COVID19MA information #intheBerkshires
Representative, I implore you to please watch and act accordingly. People are not getting this.
Why are liquor stores essential but gun stores are not??
Rep. Pignatelli, have you seen this ad online? Something needs to be done about this, as NY has a stay in place. Thank you in advance for looking into this. - a concerned New Marlborough resident
First and foremost, thank you for all you do! Is there any way, the news broadcast from WWLP be moved up so Berkshire citizens can get Massachusetts updates regarding emergency info from Gov. Baker?
I keep hearing about travel industry, oil company, and other large businesses getting bail outs because of Coronavirus. What about Main St. businesses? Have any local politicians proposed helping real local small business. Any one in the local Chambers of Commerce lobbying the state house or congress? I have not heard a thing. Supply chains are being disrupted and there are noticeably less people around. This has a the potential to do serious harm to many cities and towns around the Mass. and the country. Imagine stores being forced to close or store owners being forced to stay home because of a quarantine, unable to open for 1 day is harmful to small business but two weeks? Many would never open again. As you drive down you Main St. today imagine just 25% of the business shuttered.
Please help our townspeople, Smitty! We have the right to breath in non toxicity! Please stand behind your people!! Thank you 😊
Smitty this is outrageous!! This woman did a fantastic job. Something needs to be done about this!!