Call for submissions — Promote Your Favorite Reform Candidate

Jay has tweaked us (I think) for supporting the idea that a Democratic governor would be an even more effective check on our hacky (Democratic) legislature than the 16-year string of ineffectual, résumé-pimping Republicans. (You tweak me — and I will not be tweaked again!)

And while I devoutly hope for a Democratic governor willing to crack skulls for a pro-reform agenda (Walsh commission, Clean Elections, etc.), one has to agree that without a serious pro-reform movement within the legislature, things may continue merrily along their wonted way. (For instance, I don’t think Howie Carr had to work too hard to get this column, and it doesn’t sound like the legislators he interviewed are too afraid of any backlash.)

We hardly need to say it: There Is No Republican Party in Massachusetts. Recently, we’ve had rich people slapping the “R” label on themselves and running for Governor, while the institution of the Republican Party has withered on the vine. And even if there were a stronger GOP, do they represent “reform” — here or the national level? If this is a check, it looks like it’s bounced.

So really, the division is between the unchecked, veto-proof Incumbent Party in the legislature, which feels free to kill the health care amendment and resist the calls for an independent investigation into the Big Dig, for instance, vs. the Reform and Transparency Party — some of whom may well be incumbents, but apparently don’t hold enough sway to restore people’s confidence in the legislature.  Most folks in both the Incumbent Party and R&T are Democrats in this state. And indeed, some pols may be a little bit of both — would-be Jedis struggling with the Dark Side of the Force. So it’s important for us — the junkies — to know who’s who. If we don’t know, who does?

So, let’s treat this as an open thread to promote your favorite squeaky clean, pro-reform, Sweetness and Sunlight, transparent-as-Lucite, Mr.-Smith-Goes-to-Beacon-Hill candidate for the legislature. We don’t have much time before the primaries, and if there are such candidates out there, they may well need this community’s help.

BMG denizens, what do you know? Bring someone to our attention — make a user post introducing a candidate, and tell us what reform credentials they bring to the table.

Yesterday I put up my interview with Sonia Chang-Diaz, running against Diane Wilkerson in the 2nd Suffolk district; David interviewed Leah O’Leary, running against John Rogers in Norwood. But we need your help in identifying others — and hey, why not interview them yourself?

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26 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Let's admit it....

    this state is pretty much hopeless.  We can have a few reformers but the tide of corruption seems to be far too accepted by people in this state.

  2. Sean Fitzgerald running in Peabody!

    Sean is far more progressive than the Republican in Democrats clothing he is running against.  He is running against Joyce Spilliotis 2nd term incumbent.  Joyce makes the Republican caucus look liberal. 

    • Cool -- here's an article about the race

      ... from the Boston Globe, of all places. Who knew? Sounds like flooding is the big issue there.

      Fitzgerald said an example of the need for stronger representation was in seeking funds to correct the chronic flooding problems that ``put not only people's lives in danger but devalue the economic prosperity of our community."

      Two years ago, lawmakers appropriated $5.7 million to help Peabody with the problem, but the money was vetoed by Governor Mitt Romney. Fitzgerald said the $2.5 million secured by legislators this year, while appreciated, falls well short of the aid the city needs.

      Spiliotis said it was the Romney administration's decision that the city should use more of its own finances to address the flooding. She said the money recently appropriated ``is the first time Peabody has gotten that kind of money for flooding."

      Well gosh, that doesn't really address the issue, does it? And I'm more prone than I was to think that the legislature might have done more to get that flood abatement through.

      This is a good one. Thanks.

    • Vehemently anti-gay

      In a primary debate two years ago Spiliotis lashed out at challenger Anne Manning who had been endorsed by Mass Equality by saying "Why don't you tell them you're on gay and lesbian websites!"  She is an embarrassment.


      • Ahhhhh

        Living right next to Peabody, I've always noticed she NEVER has a clean primary. NEVER. There's always serious opposition mounted. Here's hoping Fitzgerald can mount an effective campaign.

      • Isn't she also completely in bed with Article 8

        We all know how progressive and democratic those people are.  They are very interested in letting the people vote because that is the Democratic way!


        • Didn't she change position, though?

          From the bit of Googling I did, it seems as though she voted with the anti-gay crowd in 2004, then switched her vote in 05.  Strategic?  Dunno - I know next to nothing about her.  Anyway, more info is always good!

          • Nope

            She's one of the people who voted the "right way for the wrong reason."  That is, she didn't even want to give same-sex couples civil unions.

            I don't know much about her opponent, but it would be nice to see an upset in Peabody -- I hope he can pull it off!

  3. How about a reform REFORM?!

    The on-target analyses in this post support our arguments for why re-legalizing the cross endorsement (or fusion voting) in Massachusetts is valuable - as a way to pressure the Democratic Party without necessarily damaging it (disclaimer: I'm the campaign director for the Mass Ballot Freedom Campaign - Yes on 2).

    Nobody here wants a rejuvenated Massachusetts Republican Party, and the Green experience shows that their straight-up third party strategy won't work. But a strategy that strengthens the non-machine/reform forces within the Democratic Party by giving them an outside strategy as well, has real potential. The cross endorsement provides a tool to accomplish this.

    The relationship between the Democratic Party and it's core base (progressives, organized labor, communities of color, etc.) has been an abusive one. And you can't change an abusive relationship if you don't have the power to leave.

    The cross endorsement, when used by a progressive minor party, provides activists and disenchanted voters with an organizational home (like the New York Working Families Party) from which to partner with reform-minded Democrats. In this way, the good guys can continue to elect progressive Democrats, while using elections to elevate issues, and occasionally discipline "bad" Democrats or reward good Republicans (is that an oxymoron?).

    Vote "Yes!" on Question 2!

    • Still not convinced

      I'm sorry, I'd rather you were pushing IRV...that would have been energy well spent.

      I can't stand the idea that a candidate might be endorced by the Democratic party and say, some tiny minority conservative party that only agrees on like one issue. That to my mind pollutes the Democratic (and even the minority party's) platform.

      I'm also not convinced this is the road to viable third parties, which I WOULD like to see.

      I hate to say it, but unless someone actually comes up with a compelling argument, I will be voting no, just because I can't forsee all the impacts this sort of reform will have. Positive AND negative.

      • To be clear -- any Democratic candidate would still have to accept the minor party's cross-endorsement

        But, first, let me lay my cards on the table: my preferred "cocktail" of election reforms would be IRV for the primaries and cross-endorsement in general elections.

        Here's why...

        With IRV in the primaries, we would maximize our ability to support the best individual(s) w/in the Democratic Party. And then using cross-endorsement in the general, we could send whichever candidate emerged victorious from the primary a clear message about the issues that matter most to us -- making use of minor party's ballot lines to do so if we wished.

        Regardless, Lynne, let me try to address the two points you make above:

        1) An endorsed Democratic candidate would still have to accept that "tiny minority conservative party's" endorsement in order to appear on that party's ballot line. So if the candidate didn't want such a party's endorsement, she wouldn't have to take it -- but if she did, it would tell us all something about her values.

        2) And, in New York, there are viable third parties. I think I can safely claim that they exist practically nowhere else in this country. New York also has an election system where cross-endorsement is a regularly used and legitimate political tool. I do not believe that these two facts are you?

        Finally, let me suggest that you watch the Working Families Party video that the Mass Ballot Freedom Campaign has put online as a way of trying to convince you on the merits. I'd be curious to find out what your reaction to it is.

        • Interesting dynamic

          1) An endorsed Democratic candidate would still have to accept that "tiny minority conservative party's" endorsement in order to appear on that party's ballot line. So if the candidate didn't want such a party's endorsement, she wouldn't have to take it -- but if she did, it would tell us all something about her values.

          Hmm... that sets up an interesting dynamic.  It might also tell us about her level of committment to those values.  i.e. is it sufficiently important enough to her to distinguish herself from conservative Dems that she'd risk losing the election without the endorsement?  You can make that same argument in the other direction, i.e. would someone risk losing an election by rejecting a Green endorsement?

          my preferred "cocktail" of election reforms would be IRV for the primaries and cross-endorsement in general elections.

          Why not IRV and cross-endorsement in the general?  They're not mutually exclusive and according to your argument, you'd get the advantages of both.

        • An experiment

          As an experiment, I wonder how each of the candidates mentioned in this thread would respond to potential cross endorsements?  I realize this would be total speculation unless you actually asked the candidate, but it's a thought. 

          Would anyone care to guess a yes/no from each candidate regarding endorsements from Working Families, Libertarian, and Green-Rainbow?

  4. Rep Doug Petersen of Marblehead

    He was formerly a very powerful incumbent Democrat who had a committee chair and v.c. and nice office because he's been there forever.

    Well, when along came clean elections... he refused to go along with Finneran. Finneran basically told Petersen to vote against clean elections or lose all his seniority....

    Petersen went with his conscience and stood up to Finneran - losing his chairs and his nice office, etc. It was actually huge news when it happened, it was even a prominent article in the Globe.

    Petersen continues to be very progressive. He's very pro-gay marriage, he was a huge supporter of the health care amendment, etc.

    So he's one of the good guys who we should hope can re-advance in the House into new positions of leadership. In fact, I say make him Speaker =p I'm very proud to be able to vote for him.

    • Does Doug have a Race???

      He beat Mark Paster pretty handedly two years ago, but I don't beleive anyone is running against Doug in this cycle are they??? If they are, they haven't done a very good job of getting their name out there. 

      • oh lol

        I must not have read the original post very clearly... I just thought they wanted our favorite people listed. He's worthy of house leadership and maybe even a State Senate seat, so I'm more than happy to throw his name in this discussion.

  5. Can we use this space to bitch and moan...

    ...about the LACK of reform/challenger candidates in my city? The first person I'd like to see go down is Rep. Nangle, followed by Rep. Golden. They are not Democrats.

    Then, I'd like to see a competative race against Panagiotakos, who isn't a bad Dem except on a few major issues (like gay marriage). But I think he needs to compete for his seat again. He's too much of an institution...

    Anyone progressives in Lowell wanna put up a run against any of these next cycle? Please?

  6. haunted Irish pub?

    Anyone who owns a pub should get our support, duh. 

    But a HAUNTED pub?  That is amazing.  Honestly, BMG editors, we really should NOT less this opportunity pass by.  We should ALWAYS keep this guy as one of the "recommended threads" and put a "contribute to" button on the top of the website. 

    David, Charley, and Bob - if you do not move on this you are INSANE. 

    I'm not kidding! 

  7. Absolutely rock-solid on the haunting, GGW

    It was apparently reported as such in the Springfield Republican.

    You're right, it does merit some extra consideration. I mean, dead people have been voting in Chicago for ages; do they not deserve their representation in Wilbraham -- and on this blog?

  8. Didn't mean to be flip ...

    and in fact I did check out his website, which is that of a serious candidate.

    Regarding reform: What you do you know, strbrr? Is Driscoll pro-Walsh commission? Is he pro-Clean Elections?

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