Huff Tyler Templeton, Democratic candidate running for the state Senate in the primary election on Tuesday, September 6. Photo via Huff Tyler’s campaign website.
Berkshire County — Williamstown’s Huff Tyler Templeton is one of two Democratic candidates running for the state Senate in the primary ballot on Tuesday, September 6. The community organizer is running against State Representative Paul W. Mark de Becket. Both Templeton and Mark are running for the seat which is vacated by State Senator Adam Hinds, candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
On his LinkedIn profile, Templeton lists that, as of November 2018, he is self-employed as a workforce development consultant. Since January, he has been working as a mentor at Entrepreneurship for All. At the top of his campaign website, it says “For freedom and social justice for all”.
“I feel like we live in a time where our freedom is in jeopardy, and social justice is one of the most important issues I’ve fought for in recent years,” Templeton said in an interview with The Berkshire Edge. “We are seeing events across the country where we are not allowed to say the word ‘gay’ in schools. We are witnessing the cancellation of the right to abortion. We are seeing attacks on transgender people to provide them with the health care they need. I think our freedoms are in grave danger.
Templeton said one of her concerns is that there are no health care facilities for Berkshires residents who are going through a gender transition. “People I know who are going through a transition have to get out of the district to get health care,” he said.
On his website, Templeton cites that one of the multiple reasons he is running for office is because “I always find great injustices fighting.”
“Following the death of George Floyd, in August 2020, I was the petitioner and co-author of two papers at the Williamstown Annual Meeting,” Templeton said. According to city records, Section 36 is the “Not in Our County” Pledge which pledges to work to recognize, address and act in response to all forms of exclusion, hate, bigotry, d intolerance and intimidation, intentional or not. Section 37 is an equity petition that recommended that Williamstown councils, committees and agencies review its policies to commit to accessible housing, make changes to allow support for residents of racially and economically diverse; and to recommend equity training for city employees. Both articles were passed by residents at the 2020 city assembly.
Templeton said while he is proud the two articles were passed, more work for racial equity needs to be done in the Berkshires.
He said one way to improve the situation is to fund economic development projects for what he called “areas that have been neglected and deliberately maintained for decades.
“If we can get the government to invest in these communities, not just on a small scale, but on a large scale, we can improve these areas in the Berkshires,” he said.
When it comes to economic development, Templeton said he believes in creating multiple businesses in a small space. He cited the Topia Arts Center as an example, with “two black entrepreneurs who started the Firehouse Cafe a few doors down.”
“It’s great that we can create an attraction for artists who might need space in a part of the country where rents are going up,” he said. “We can create arrangements that attract more businesses and spaces that entice more people to move to the area. One of the best things we can do for small businesses is to attract more people to the area. Berkshire County has lost at least one percent of its population over the past 15 to 20 years. We need to reverse this trend if we want small businesses to survive here. If you’re a small business and you lose one percent of your customer base every year, that means you’ll have to work harder the next year to get the same amount. The calculations do not work.