Paul W. Mark (D – 2nd Berkshire District) was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives on November 2, 2010 and began serving on January 5, 2011. Representative Mark’s district encompasses 16 communities in Berkshire and Franklin Counties, the largest geographical Representative district in the Commonwealth.
Paul Mark has dedicated his life to exceeding expectations through hard work and perseverance. His philosophy has been shaped by his blue-collar background, his strong commitment to family, and his passion for learning and education.
When Paul was young his father was a Teamster working in a warehouse while his mother stayed home, devoting herself to raising Paul and his younger sister. In Paul’s early teens, the warehouse closed down, leaving the family unemployed and struggling to hold on to their dreams. His family pulled together through the hard times and never gave up; each member doing everything they could to secure a brighter future. Eventually, his father found employment with the Telephone Company and the good times returned. But Paul never forgot the lessons of the bad times and dedicated himself to preventing others from experiencing such devastation.
During high school and through his early college years he worked at a number of part-time and temporary jobs. Paul secured full-time employment with Bell Atlantic at the age of 20 and immediately joined the IBEW. Six months into working at the phone company, the members of IBEW went on strike against the newly renamed Verizon to retain health care benefits and job security. Paul, having learned much from his co-workers during this time, became involved with the union. His experiences also cemented his involvement with politics and government, which he had been interested in since he was a young boy.
Paul resumed his studies by re-enrolling at college in the evening while continuing to work full-time during the day. He earned an Associate’s Degree in Telecommunications from Springfield Technical Community College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Southern New Hampshire University. His passion for education and the opportunities which came along with it only increased the more he learned, causing him to enroll in both a Master’s Degree program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the evening division of Suffolk University Law School in the fall of 2005. Paul commuted back and forth across the Commonwealth from work in Pittsfield to Boston for law classes three nights a week while continuing to work full-time at Verizon and completing his UMass studies. In 2007 he completed his Master’s of Science and immediately enrolled in Northeastern University’s Law and Policy Doctoral program. Paul graduated from Suffolk Law in 2009 and Northeastern in 2010. His Doctoral dissertation is entitled, “Predicting Labor Law Reform”, an analysis of why the Employee Free Choice Act would not pass the 111th Congress in spite of Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. Paul took and passed the Massachusetts Bar Exam in July 2009 and was sworn in as an Attorney at Faneuil Hall in Boston on December 2, 2009.
While completing his studies Paul also got more involved in his community. He became a union steward for IBEW to help his co-workers maintain fairness and dignity on the job. Paul was elected to the Executive Board of Local 2324 representing the Pittsfield Unit. His duties required him to address member concerns as well as oversee the finances and activity of the local union. He became Press Secretary of his local and a delegate to the Berkshire Central Labor Council. On the labor council he was involved with the successful “Labor for Life” fundraising team for the Berkshire County Relay for Life, as well as rapid response efforts to help workers in need, and numerous local political events. Paul founded a scholarship for the children of IBEW members and has promoted community and political involvement as Chairman of the COPE Committee. He is a proud annual sponsor of many town funds and charities in the district.
Politically, Paul has been involved in many aspects of campaigns on all levels of government. Paul first volunteered at the age of 16 to work for Bill Clinton’s re-election and the Jeanne Shaheen for Governor Campaign in New Hampshire. Through the years, he has served as a volunteer for state, local, and federal candidates, interned for Barack Obama for President, and drove for Bill Clinton as part of a Presidential Motorcade. He has served as Chairman of a state level Political Action Committee, marched on Washington for health care reform, experienced direct democracy in the form of the annual town meeting, and also organized and was elected Chair of his Town Democratic Committee.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, Paul met a beautiful young Connecticut woman named Cassandra through mutual friends at UMass Amherst. They began dating, fell in love and were married. Cassandra also recognized how much the region has to offer and agreed to relocate to western Massachusetts. They look forward to having children and raising them in this wonderful community.
All of these experiences have shaped the man who now serves the Second Berkshire District in the State Legislature. His tireless dedication to hard work and helping others continues in the State House.