BOSTON (WWLP) – Representative John Barrett represents one of the most western districts in the state. 22News spoke with him Tuesday about why a lot of his focus is on broadband access.

Representative Barrett has called western Massachusetts his home his entire life, calling himself a 413 guy, and since 2017 he has been representing the 1st Berkshire in the House of Representatives.

Barrett’s start in government began at 23 when he was elected to the Democratic State Committee. He later became the Mayor of North Adams where he served for 26 years and from there, he won his House seat in a special election.

“I’ve never been known as a shrinking violet by any stretch of the imagination, and that’s why I entered a lot of races that I got into, and especially as mayor and later as State Representative, is bringing a strong and experienced voice to government,” said Barrett.

Barrett believes the pandemic brought about a lot of focus on broadband access, which is significantly lacking in his district.

“The only way we’re going to bring effective competition out here is to make sure that we have decent broadband, broadband service that is going to allow communities to consider establishing their own, it’s not going to happened from the Verizon’s and others that are going to create, it has to come from the government leaders and the communities themselves, and that’s the only way, especially in Berkshire County, that I see our economy growing,” said Barrett.

He also believes COVID shined a light on the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. He has re-filed a bill to review that office and study if HHS could be better organized or run more efficiently to better serve constituents.

“This agency has become so large, it’s just uncontrollable right now, and where did people die during COVID? They died in our nursing homes, it came under the jurisdiction of the Health and Human Service Department,” said Barrett.

Another bill Barrett has filed deals with idling trains, he is concerned with health and environmental risks. His bill would limit trains idling time to 30 minutes.

If you need to get ahold of Barrett, he has two full time offices, one on Beacon Hill and the other in the Adams Town Hall.