BTW 3 Massachusetts Special Elections Were Held

  - promoted by david

While posts about Syria and Colorado are interesting, as a Democratic learning website we might be interested in noting that Democrats sweep the 3 Special State Representative elections yesterday.

In the 12th Suffolk State Reps final Democrat Dan Cullinane beat two independent candidates with 75% of the vote (1684-435-119) to take Linda Dorcena Forry’s open seat. Dan was an aide to Marty Walsh at the State House and worked as a Wage Inspector for the Attorney General’s Fair Labor and Business Practices Division. Cullinane is the son of a Teamsters Union President.

In the 16th Worcester Special State Reps race Dan Donahue, son of the Carpenters Business Rep for Worcester, current staffer for Mayor Petty and former staffer for Tim Murray beat his Republican opponent 64% to 36% (1609 – 910). His opponent said she wanted to be a State Rep in the Shauna O’Connell mold.

In the Special State Reps race for the 6th Bristol District Democrat Carole Fiola beat her Republican opponent 2861-2536.

The election of the “Dans” is a very nice win for Organized Labor and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Two strong, pro-worker State Representatives were elected at a time when some are trying to write Labor’s obit.

Recommended by amberpaw.


25 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. BMGers Out in Worcester

    Great showing by BMGers in Worcester. Ryan and I were both there. I will leave it to others to mention who was there. Dan is a hard working candidate who has enthusiasm and is already working on building coalitions.

  2. 6th Bristol was a bit closer than it should have been

    Warren got 62% there. Still, a win is a win, so congrats to rep Fiola!

  3. By the above count

    the 6th Bristol was the highest turnout of the three by far, but still not half of what November 2012 turnout was. This further supports my theory that Mass. Dems do best with high or very low turnout (where activists become more important), and worst with garden-variety low turnout. That could explain the better-than-expected GOP result.

    Surprised Dan didn’t post this. I thought he was our go-to guy for state leg special elections, based on the alacrity with which he shared the news of Leah Cole’s fluke.

    • Since you mentioned my favorite Republican, Leah Cole

      Did any of these victorious Democrats, in Democrat gerrymandered safe zones, take the same pledge as Leah Cole, that is not to take a public pension?

      Tell me, do these Dems want to serve, or be served?

      • public pensions in Massachusetts

        Are you aware that if you’re eligible for a pension as a public employee in Massachusetts, that you are therefore ineligible for Social Security — even if you paid into it the requisite time to be eligible?

        So, by asking public workers to not take a public pension, are you aware that you’re asking public workers to retire with absolutely nothing?

        I hope you aren’t aware, because the choices are ignorance or evil and I’d prefer you be ignorant.

        • Time out.

          They ARE eligible, Ryan, if they work the requisite 40 quarters to be vested. If they work no place but the public sector, you are correct that they are not eligible, but that would be equally true if they did not work at all.

          HAS Donohue never held a private sector job? The jobs mentioned in the post seem to be government ones and if that is the case, then he would have ‘nothing’ without the state pension. Since Cole HAS worked in the private sector, she is merely offering to renounce the state pension she might collect if she were to vest with the state (considerably less than 40 Quarters!).

          • Naturally

            The last thing we want is for people who work in government to have much of a say in managing government. That sort of thing might make it easier for the whole enterprise to succeed.

            sabutai   @   Wed 11 Sep 4:39 PM
          • two things

            1) Dan’s argument wasn’t about people like Leah, it was demanding all the elected democrats from yesterday take the same pledge, including people who would otherwise have nothing.

            2) You’re right about SS eligibility, but on a technicality I didn’t think worth bringing up originally. Even with investment, someone who has SS gets it chopped up significantly by the euphemistically-titled “Windfall Elimination Provision” if they have a pension.

            • and by Dan's argument I mean DanFromWaltham

              calling it an argument was probably giving it too much credit. I should have called it a dumb idea.

          • Please

            Since Cole HAS worked in the private sector

            This is pure gimmickry. Representative 35 Percent was elected at 24. I’m quite sure she hasn’t socked away enough to retire on during her two or three years working as an LPN, which came after working at the TSA, which last I checked was (gasp!) a government agency. In fact, I am so concerned for her future security I say we send her back to the private sector next November.

        • Question has to do with these newly elected Democrats and pensions

          Leah Cole pledged not to be a burden to the taxpayers and forgo a public pension. Did the newly elected Democrats take the same pledge? Carole Fiola has worked in the private sector, she getting on the gravy train??

          • You are so fricken boring!

            Same Old Crap, new day.

          • Like I said,

            You are asking people to retire with nothing in at least one and probably two of these cases, should they stay in public service.

            Were you not aware of how SS works for public employees in Massachusetts (ignorance) or are you actually evil enough to think all public servants should retire as paupers?

            • Soooo Democrats elected 2 public workers to be their reps?

              At a boy, keep it in the family. How about the third, she a newbie? If she already has a 401-K, does she need a pension? Can she just opt to contribute to her existing retirement and pay into social security?

              Based on what you told me about these elected pols, damn right, I would take Leah any day.

              • Voters Elected State Reps who aren't Cole

                Actually Dan, the three Democarts elected were elected in a General Elections so the voters – not just Democrats but Independent and Republicans -elected Fiola, Donahue and Cullinane. And since you asked I don’t think any of them took a non-issue with the voters pledge to deny themselves and their families the ability to retire with dignity. It’s public work not public indentured servitude.

                As for private sector experience, again the voters decided that the three new State Reps had the experience they wanted, be it private sector or public. Your problem seems to be with the voters’ choices not the candidates.

                Interesting to note that in the 16th Worcester the Republican candidate said she wanted to model herself after Shaunna O’Connell and she got smoked. So the voters didn’t care about Leah Cole or Shaunna O’Connell as role models.

          • Why shouldn't they take a pension?

            They’ve rendered public service and thus should get a public pension. It is a very appropriate way to thank them for their service. However I’ve never understood the objections to “double dipping”. If over their careers they have paid into both SS and state retirement it seems only fair they should receive from both as well.

            • Real Issues Around Double Dipping

              The problems around double dipping are real and largely created by the dual system of separate SS and State retirement which can tend to hurt some people and benefit others. When they attempted to resolve some of the more egregious issues, they created others. If I work and pay into SS and phase into retirement, I don’t get SS. If I end my career and start working part time at an age where I can collect, my benefits are impacted substantially. Someone can get a full public pension, especially public safety employees, and then go on to work at another job, either in the private sector or another state and continue to collect full pension benefits while earning a full salary. The fact is that SS is a tax that we pay that was designed to help the lowest income earners. Public employees in Mass don’t pay that. The problems created by the dual systems are not problems that can be addressed retroactively.

          • Do you happen to have the docs to back that up?

            Speaking of Leah Cole, this is still one of my favorites. Charlie Baker backing Greg Bunn, This is the pull Charlie has, freakin’ guy can’t even help in a Republican primary. Really, how many people does he need to sway, 5? 10? HA HA HA HA.

            • Leah took a pledge before the election

              Her word is as solid as oak. I know someone keeping their word is out of the ordinary in this state, like promising a property tax cut but once elected, cutting local aid which raised property taxes. . Deval is wonderful, no? But who actually believed Mr. 48% ( Deval’s actual vote in 2010).

              Johnk- did Deval endorse Diane Wilkerson, even cut an ad for her? Old saying, people with glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

              • Talk About Your Glass Houses!

                But who actually believed Mr. 48% ( Deval’s actual vote in 2010).

                By that standard, Rep Cole is Ms. 35% (Leah’s actual vote in 2013)!

                Rep. Cole was helped (much more so than Patrick) by an Independent candidate splitting the majority vote.

                *Crash* go the windows on Dan’s house.

                • Not to mention

                  Rep. Cole was helped (much more so than Patrick) by an Independent candidate splitting the majority vote.

                  The time when, without the prominent independent candidate running, Deval took 56%.

                • To be fair to Rep. Cole

                  I have always believed you run the race you are given. Each of the three candidates for the Peabody seat had the same job – get the most votes rergardless of who else is in the race. Rep. Cole did that.

                  That said 65% of the voters wanted someone else. Not a mandate for Rep. Cole’s “no pension” position by any measure. By contrast Dan Cullinane got 75% of the vote in a three way election and Dan Donahue got 64% in a two way race while being vocal pro-labor candidates who are taking a pension they earn by working for the voters. Strikes me as the Dans have a much stronger mandate for their positions than Rep. Cole has for hers.

          • Gravy train?

            While each of these factors are discussed in more detail below, it is important to note that state employees who joined the system after the mid-1990s actually contribute a significant portion of their salary (starting at 9 percent) toward their pensions with little to no state contribution. In essence, many of these state workers are entirely funding their own pensions


            Facts are annoying aren’t they?

      • It takes ten years to get vested in

        the MTRB and in my town.

        When states make their scheduled contributions and employees have realistic contributions, public pensions are just fine. They also happen to be cheaper than the state contributing to Social Security.

        On the other hand, there’s a lot of money to be saved by reneging on state contributions.

  4. Taxpayers save money with public pensions....and Santa and Rudolph fly around the world on Christmas Eve

    Man, now I’ve heard it all. Forget the wreckage known as blown municipal bankruptcy filings, NYC has a terminal condition called balance-sheet insolvency.

    Why do people equate pensions with dignity? Social security and 401-K’s are inhuman? Why do politicians receive pension? Is there a need? Will we lose quality politicians if we put them on what everyone else has? Public jobs are at a high demand b/c of the bennies. Do we really want to incentivize career politicians to stick around? We should be compensating politicians enuff so they serve a short time, and get back to the real world.

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