|Bowler Wins Third Term as Berkshire County Sheriff|
|By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff |
11:24PM / Tuesday, September 06, 2022
|Sheriff Thomas Bowler hugs his sister Mary Murphy, also one of his campaign volunteers, as they celebrate his winning a third term on Tuesday night. |
Sheriff Thomas Bowler poses with employees from the House of Correction.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Family, friends, and supporters for Sheriff Thomas Bowler gathered around the television watching intensely at the results as updated on Pittsfield Community Television.
Loud cheers erupted in the ballroom of Berkshire Hills Country Club as the displayed results fulfilled their hopes.
"He's an excellent candidate. And the voters knew that and we're grateful for their support," Bowler's sister Donna Matoon said.
Bowler walked into the crowded room hugging his family, friends, co-workers, and proud supporters as they shouted "six more years."
"It happened because of all of you," Bowler said. He recalled how a friend has sent him text "before all this nonsense started" that said "don't poke the bear."
"You guys, all of us in this room, and everybody else who supported this campaign — we are the bear."
The crowd roared in appreciation as fireworks lit up the sky behind him.
"Those are illegal in Massachusetts," Bowler said cheerfully.
"We got a permit," someone in the crowd shouted back.
He thanked his wife for all she'd put up and wished her a happy anniversary, and then announced another grandchild was on the way.
"This woman gives me the strength and courage to keep going," Bowler said. "As well as my siblings."
Matoon was the brains of the campaign and his sister Mary Murphy the treasurer.
"I would like to say that we have an incredible band of volunteers that helped us out along the way," Murphy said.
"The number makes a huge statement about where this county wants to go. It is beyond reproach. I call him honest Tom," one proud supporter said.
With no candidate in the general election, Bowler wins a third six-year term as sheriff over his challenger Alf Barbalunga. The campaign had been a contentious one, with Barbalunga pummeling the incumbent with allegations and critiques of his 12-year tenure.
Barbalunga, on leave as chief probation office for the Southern Berkshire District during the campaign, had proposed bringing women inmates back to Berkshire County from a facility in Chicopee and quested Bowler's commitment to drug rehab, job training, budgets and equity.
But none of the arrows seemed to hit the target and Bowler lead into the evening with nearly 80 percent of the vote.
The sheriff concluded his speech praising the community and looking to the future excited about the work ahead.
"The last 2 1/2 months were very trying. We fought a hard campaign. I'm glad it's over. And we have such great positive results. So I'm very, very happy with that. For the future, we still have a lot of work to do," Bowler said in an interview following the speech.
"We've started some great initiatives. And we want to continue those initiatives, and we want to enhance them and grow. And as I mentioned before in my speech, this is a great community. And I want to make sure that people in this community get the quality of life that they so deserve."