North Adams school committee member Jacobs seeking Governor’s Council seat

  • JACOBS

For The Athol Daily News
Published: 6/20/2022 3:04:25 PM
Modified: 6/20/2022 3:04:05 PM

NORTH ADAMS — Of the four Democrats seeking their party’s nomination for Governor’s Councilor from Massachusetts’ 8th district, North Adams School Committee member Tara Jacobs is the only one not holding a law degree. That, however, is not deterring Jacobs in her effort, as her campaign website states, “to bring the voice of all of Western Massachusetts to the Governor’s Council,” and to dismantle “systemic injustice throughout our state.”

In a recent interview with the Athol Daily News, Jacobs said, “For me, the work the Governor’s Council does is so important, representation from Western Mass in that process is so important. Judges matter; who sits on the bench matters. And equally important to me is who sits on the parole board matters.

“And that’s only two of an entire slate of important and society-impacting positions that that council makes. They are the least well-known most important position in government, as far as I’m concerned.”

Jacobs, 51, says she wants to use the position to level the playing field of the justice system.

“One reason I’m running,” said Jacobs, “is because I want to do that work and I want to do it from the standpoint of being at the table where the decisions are made; where I can be a lever in dismantling systemic injustices and promoting equity in the work that they do.

“Coming from the most western part of the district and traveling this whole district, equity is a significant issue. It’s not just a buzz word. The equity-oriented solutions coming from Boston often miss us in terms of truly understanding what our challenges are and what the makeup of our communities are, and the algorithms they create to try to effect positive change work for some communities, and some communities do get lifted up. But it doesn’t work for a majority of western Mass. We just get left out of that algorithm.”

Jacobs said there’s a second motivating factor behind her decision to run.

“The secondary motivator for me,” she explained, “is that access to the State House as an opportunity to advocate for western Mass and all of our issues on a weekly basis — with the Governor, the Lt. Governor, the Legislators. Western Mass needs a voice to fight for what we need, and that includes the work of the Governor’s Council.

If elected, Jacobs also wants to work to increase the visibility of the Council and its importance.

Jacobs said she was one of many who pushed to return cameras to the Council room after they were removed following the loosening of COVID restrictions. Prior to their removal, Council meetings could be viewed live online or on Youtube.

“I’m also advocating for access through that technology. Coming from western Mass, if you want to – on any given issue – share, as a community member, your feelings about someone who is up for a judicial confirmation, a parole board appointee, if you have commentary you want to add, you have to have the time and the transportation to get to Boston and wait for whenever your turn might come up during that day. Why can you not share your views from your home in western Massachusetts without having to get in your car and drive there?”

A native New Yorker, Jacobs became familiar with western Mass at a young age. Her parents owned a home in Lanesboro which they would visit every weekend during the summer. She ended up earning an associate degree from Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington, then transferred to Tufts University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and English. She also has a master’s in business administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

In addition to serving on North Adams’ School Committee, Jacobs also is Chair of the city’s Trustees of the Library. She previously has served on the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women, and the North Adams Cultural Council.

She currently runs a marketing consulting business. Her husband, Ross, is a software engineer who also chairs North Adams’ Zoning Board of Appeals. The couple have a daughter who just completed 8th grade.

Also seeking the Democratic nomination are Springfield attorney Michael Fenton and attorney Jeffrey Morneau of East Longmeadow.

The 8th district

The 8th district stretches across western Massachusetts, from Royalston to Mount Washington, and from Hampden to Williamstown.

Greg Vine can be reached at gvineadn@gmail.com


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