In John Bonifazs campaign for Secretary of State he pointed out some serious problems that were not being addressed by the office of the Secretary. That office is the one that oversees public information, voter registration, elections, lobbyists, and corporate charters. It should be the watchdog for our democracy.
As someone who has been watching the crumbling of democracy in Massachusetts in recent years, I think weve reached a point of crisis. Laws are being written in secret with legislators huddling with industry lobbyists. Bills are passed without public hearings or any meaningful public scrutiny. The referendum process has been rendered almost void by the tricks used by legislators to undermine the process. We are suffering from voting rights violations, gerrymandering, and the undermining of traditional New England town government. Incumbents are reelected at a 98% rate while the money required to run for office is an increasing barrier to all except the personally wealthy. People are disengaging from the political process, and many have lost faith entirely in the ability of government to make a difference. If we keep going down this road we will wind up with a government run behind closed doors for the benefits of a few wealthy interests with insider connections. Its time for a real discussion of what is being done to us.
Unfortunately, the 12-year incumbent, William F. Galvin, refused to even participate in candidate forums organized to discuss the issues. Galvins tactic worked to get him through the primary, and he is probably now hoping that all this talk of reforms and change will fade away.
Sorry, Bill, we arent finished yet! Our democracy is in greater peril than ever, and some of us are not giving up the fight. Bill Galvin still has a pro-reform challenger in the general election. Her name is Jill Stein and she is running on the Green-Rainbow Party ticket. This is a two-way race (No Republican qualified for the ballot.) , so voters have a clear chance to vote for change or vote for more of the same.
Jill is the type of candidate that deserves our support. She is a proven champion of Clean Elections and shining sunlight on the hijacking of the public agenda by insiders and lobbyists. She is an articulate advocate for fair redistricting, eliminating the Legislatures exemption from the open-meeting law, moving to a modern single-payer health care system, and making the tax system fairer. As a medical doctor with a public health interest, she has been at the forefront of numerous struggles, helping people fighting for the health of their communities, their air and water, and the food they eat. Lessons learned in fighting insensitive bureaucracies has made her an advocate for empowering government at the grassroots level.
Jill hasnt had to call a public relations firm to invent a properly positioned persona for her race – shes the genuine article, having been in the trenches with us over the years as weve fought the power of big money and insider-influence on Beacon Hill. Jill is the clearest possible alternative we could have to the business-as-usual approach of William F. Galvin.
Jills campaign is already providing the critical missing ingredient in Massachusetts politics: A voice that speaks up to defend the public interest, and to explain why we dont have to settle for the status quo. We know from experience how important it is to speak truth to power, and not let the other side frame the debate and control the microphone. Win or lose, its important to make sure that we give Jill every opportunity to give a voice to all the people who the Beacon Hill establishment would prefer be silenced.
For more information, check out her campaign website. Call the campaign office at 781-652-0053. Or try to attend one of her Wheels of Change bus tour stops.
Please continue to stand up for our democracy through November 7 and beyond. Youre only defeated when they convince you to stop working for what you believe in.
– John Andrews
(Im a longtime worker for Clean Elections and other progressive initiatives, and currently an unpaid volunteer for Jill.)