The Primary Numbers: A Remainder of 5 Races…
For the remainder of the races, we shall keep our endorsements brief. Certainly, we could go on & on about any of these candidates and races. However, with time actually running out to influence the electorate, brevity carries the day over intricate analysis.
To see our remaining endorsements for the 2014 primary please,
For about a year and a half, the commonwealth has been without a lieutenant governor and many are asking: have you noticed? Well, that is really not the point, nor is it fair to the three gentlemen running for the position. All three have stellar credentials and the decision would be no less difficult if this were a position with intrinsic power, rather than just what the governor deigns to permit.
Our choice, nevertheless is Leland Cheung. Both Steve Kerrigan and Mike Lake, as we said, have broad resumes and either would fit well in the number too slot. Kerrigan’s proposal to use the office as a sort of ombudsman is intriguing. Lake’s aspirational rhetoric about the commonwealth’s possibilities is truly inspiring. However, Cheung’s promise to broaden Massachusetts’s economy to benefit all quarters of the state is the winner, here. While we correct Cheung and note that Kerrigan has municipal experience too, Cambridge, however wealthier, is more similar Springfield than Lancaster is. We feel that Cheung can provide that urban perspective we need more of in Beacon Hill.
This race is another tough one. All three candidates, Rep. Thomas Conroy, Sen. Barry Finegold and former Brookline Selectwoman Deb Goldberg have not only great backgrounds generally, but also credentials related to the job itself. We believe any of them would thrive in this office. We would also note all three oppose casinos, although we are not basing our decisions on that alone for any race.
We recommend Barry Finegold for the post, however. In this case, there really is not a “why not the others?” They’re both too qualified for that. One critical dimension under Steve Grossman, is the Massachusetts School Building Authority. While we think that more should be done to repair rather than build new schools all the time, what is more important is that this funding be distributed cognizant of the needs of the commonwealth’s outlying regions. Andover may not be Western Mass, but we feel confident that Finegold appreciates the needs of places beyond 128. Elsewhere, Finegold has also offered the inventive solution of divesting the commonwealth’s account from fossil fuels. The final piece of the puzzle has nothing to do with the treasurer’s office, but speaks to character. Early in his tenure in the State House, Finegold cast a vote against the death penalty in the shadow of a grisly murder in his district. The vote nearly cost him his seat, but he voted on conviction. Brownie points for conviction.
Contra the conventional wisdom from both sides, Christopher Hopewell and Patrick Leahy both provide intriguing candidacies for this race, which will determine who will go up against Don Humason this November. Their backgrounds are very different and yet both ended up in public safety.
It took a great deal of analysis and soul-searching to decide whether we even felt comfortable endorsing in this race. In the end, we came down on the side of Leahy. It is our understanding that some suggested to Hopewell that he drop out and seek a more modest elected post in Holyoke first. While, if unsuccessful, we would certainly encourage Hopewell to consider this, we reject the argument his campaign is without merit or too big a leap on the first try. As we have said, Hopewell’s campaign was largely unfocused in its earlier months, but the Holyoke Fire Commissioner has a crisp command of the issues and true passion for them. We reject his analysis that Leahy does not stand for anything, but we do applaud Hopewell’s needling of Leahy to clarify and expound upon his positions, something Leahy must continue. It is the only way to beat Humason. In the end, issues are a split decision for us, bringing on the next level of consideration.
There is something to be said for honing the craft of politics. In both the art and the science of politics, Leahy has the experience needed to leverage the ground game and, more importantly, the position itself once in Boston. That is not to say Hopewell has no savvy, but both are playing with a field that has withered after 20 years of Republican domination. Leahy has political experience statewide, in Boston and locally in Holyoke as a volunteer and as a staffer. Leveraging the district’s diversity is a slow arduous process and hopefully there is enough time to finish, but we trust Patrick Leahy will do this better during the campaign and as a senator.
Here we will not be making a recommendation. All three of the candidates, Ed Collins, Peter Murhpy and Jose Tosado have something to offer here. Their experiences are all radically different from one another, but each could benefit the district in their own way.
However, we must disqualify ourselves from choosing in this race. Concurrent with this campaign was our first fundraiser and some of the candidates in the race gave public and/or remunerative support. Other candidates in other races have done the same, but not to the same degree and therefore it would be inappropriate to cast offer a show of support lest our endorsement appear for sale or trade. We would urge voters to truly look at the candidates’ records of accomplishment and measure that when casting a ballot. Make not assumptions about where their loyalties will always lie, but think instead who may have the power to do the most for Springfield even in the face of leadership’s tight control of the House.
This decision is by far the most difficult of the legislative elections this cycle. Though our conundrum lay with only two of the three candidates running, all of them bring something to the table. Melvin Edwards brings a body of municipal experience post-ward representation. Carlos Gonzalez has a business background via the Latino Chamber of Commerce. Ivette Hernandez has an activist background for workers and the least of our society.
We first must remove Gonzalez for consideration. By any measure, his success and leadership of the chamber is praiseworthy. However, Gonzalez’s political outlook is too conservative, not to us (although we think it is for a Democratic primary), but for a district facing the challenges of poverty and, yes despair. His solutions do not, in our estimate, fit the district’s needs or if they do, are inadequate.
As to Edwards and Hernandez it becomes much trickier. As we have observed Hernandez surge, so has she grown on us. Her life story is itself compelling, but how she continued to give back and fight for others along to the way and into the present is truly remarkable. However, Edwards has his own style and record of accomplishment. Community activism for him began with just cleaning up the neighborhood, a rejection of the typical acquiescence to decay.
Selecting Edwards would carry other risks, namely leaving Springfield without a Latino rep and, possibly, no woman legislator come January. It is essential that these groups have a voice, especially given their scarcity in our politics, but this consideration cannot override a different candidate’s strengths in other areas. In Edwards in this race, that strength is his Council experience. We know Edwards has been frustrated by his inability to affect certain matters and that, in part, is likely what drove him to seek this seat. However, Edwards also would bring a Councilor’s perspective to the House generally and perhaps find common cause with similarly situated legislators. In no way would we be disappointed if Hernandez won this seat, but in the end, our reasoning brings us to Melvin Edwards, whom we recommend in the primary.