Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) was first elected to the Massachusetts Senate on November 7, 2006 and was re-elected in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. Senator Downing represents the 52 communities of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden District, proudly serving the largest Senate district in the Commonwealth.
Senator Downing serves as the Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, which is tasked with reviewing all legislative matters concerning renewable and non-renewable energy sources. He is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Redistricting.
The Senator also currently serves as vice-chairman of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development and the vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Post Audit & Oversight. He has held multiple leadership posts throughout his tenure in the Senate: in past legislative sessions he served as chair of the Public Service Committee (2007), the Senate Ethics and Rules Committee (2007-2008), the Revenue Committee (2009-2010), the Higher Education Committee (2010), the Senate Committee on Steering and Policy (2012) and the Senate Committee on Bills in the Third Reading (2013-2014). He is an active, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, and serves on several other Senate and joint committees. Additionally, Senator Downing is a member of several legislative caucuses; he serves as co-chairman of the Gateway Cities Caucus and is an active participant of both the Regional Transit Authorities (RTA) Caucus and the Regional Schools Caucus.
A Pittsfield native, Senator Downing received his B.A. in Political Science from Providence College in 2003. In May 2008 he received a M.A. from Tufts University’s Department of Urban and Environment Policy & Planning.
Before returning to Pittsfield, Senator Downing lived in Washington, D.C. working for former U.S. Representative William Delahunt (D- Quincy) and U.S. Representative Richard E. Neal (D- Springfield), before joining the staff of former U.S. Representative John W. Olver (D- Amherst). For nearly two years he served as senior advisor to Congressman Olver.
Senator Downing’s family has a long history of public service. He is the oldest of four children (Maggie, Nate and Nick) raised by the late Berkshire District Attorney Gerard and Pamela Downing. He is married to Micaelah B. Morrill.