The race to elect a successor to Senator Ted Kennedy holds its primary election on December 8. I am urging everyone to vote for Congressman Mike Capuano. I do not do this lightly. This is a decision that marks the first chance to vote for someone other than Ted Kennedy in 47 years. And Ted Kennedy was so important for our area and our state that we need to ensure the best person is elected to take his place and carry on the tradition passionately advocating for the people in the Commonwealth. I believe that the best person for this job is Mike Capuano. He has the passion, energy, intelligence, and voting record that make him a worthy successor to Kennedy.
We have been faced with a population that has not kept up with the US population growth. We have lost Congressmen in the past during redistricting and we face the prospect of losing another. That means we must fight even harder to make sure that the northeast and Massachusetts in particular continues to get our fair share of government programs. It means that we need to fight harder to shape national policy. Mike Capuano has proven that he is a fighter.
A few people have come up to me in the Berkshires asking why I am not supporting the “hometown” candidate. One letter writer has called me a turncoat for not advocating for the Berkshire candidate. I take exception to that. First, Coakley hasn’t lived in the Berkshires for thirty years. When she ran for state representative and district attorney, she stated she was from Dorchester. In my mind it is far more important to elect the best person based on credentials rather than gender, relationship, or where they lived thirty years ago.
I like Martha Coakley. I campaigned and voted for her as Attorney General. However, I have to judge her based on my interactions with her office. I have a list of five different issues that I have either spoken to her or her office about over the last three years. None have been acted on. A few, like gas pricing hearings to find out why we pay higher prices in the Berkshires as opposed to areas like Phillipston-Templeton; or why we can’t provide a list of companies raising charitable funds with how much goes to the charity as opposed to the paid fundraiser, have statewide implications. Yet, I have been told there is nothing we can do on my concerns or there has been no response.
I would however, like to be very clear. My vote is not against another candidate, but because I believe that Mike Capuano is clearly the best choice. Mike Capuano has always answered my phone calls. I called his office recently over the Financial Stability bill to advocate for some amendments that would help small communities. His staff was responsive, knowledgeable, and ready to work on my concerns. He is familiar with our area and always discusses the Berkshires with a knowledge that most from his side of the state don’t have.
And he has a record he can be proud of. He became the Mayor of Somerville and cleaned the city up. As Mayor, he was a respected leader advocating for our cities and towns. That is where I first met Mike. He was at the State House working to secure money for our communities.
Mike has experience in Washington and serves on a couple of committees that have given him experience in areas that we need in Massachusetts. One of the most pressing issues facing us today statewide is transportation. How do we make capital improvements on the MBTA without bankrupting the state? How do we get rid of the backlog of projects necessary to improve our infrastructure? Mike has worked on these. Mike serves on Financial Services and what is more important to our economy than stability and job growth? Mike has experience in foreign affairs and that has become increasingly important for Massachusetts as we try to expand our foreign trade, foreign direct investment, and deal with international companies. How many had the courage to stand up and vote against the Iraq war with Ted Kennedy? Not many, but Mike did. And if that isn’t enough, he is also the person that was charged as chairman to lead a Special Task Force on Ethics Enforcement.
Add all this together and you get a hard working passionate representative that I would be proud to have as my Senator. I hope you look at all the candidates and examine their records. They are all decent people who want to serve you. But the person with the most experience is Mike Capuano. I hope you agree and vote for Mike on December 8.