Senator Benjamin Downing makes farewell speech Monday

Pittsfield Democrat taking a job at a solar energy company

State Sen. Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield) is seen here in a WWLP file image.

BOSTON (WWLP) – After a decade of service, Pittsfield state Senator Benjamin Downing won’t be returning to the State House in January. The Pittsfield Democrat made his farewell address at the State House on Monday.

Downing was described as one of the most genuine and sincere people by his colleagues. Although he decided not to run for re-election, Senator Downing was a strong voice on many issues: from civil rights and job creation, to clean energy.

Downing was first elected to represent the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden District in 2006. The district covers all of Berkshire County, and much of the “Hilltowns” of western Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden Counties, making it the largest district by land area in either chamber of the Legislature.

His colleagues spoke fondly of Downing, describing him as a person who’s always willing to help his constituents.

Downing has taken the lead on several issues, including: transgender rights, expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and clean energy.

“I hope they remember me as a voice for tackling poverty and economic inequality, but most importantly, I hope they remember that whether he agreed or disagreed, my office was always there. I was always there,” Downing said.

Downing plans to return to the private sector next year,  with a job at a solar energy company. He will be succeeded in the Senate by Adam Hinds, a Pittsfield Democrat who defeated Lanesborough Republican Christine Canning in the November election.