(ed note: Added video of old Markey ad: “The bosses can tell me where to sit, but they can’t tell me where to stand.” – C)
For a time “The 17″ voted as a block and drew strength from one another, standing up to Thomas Finneran. I worked with them on access to justice issues in 2003-2004. At times one ‘member’ or the other of the 17 was stuck in a leaky office in the basement, or stripped of staff.
As of now, all of them are either in leadership, state senators, or co-opted/beat down with some level of ‘leadership’ position that pays a little more. I do not see any group that works together in the Massachusetts House to have any independence or work for issues that are truly ‘democratic” with capital “D” or small D. Moving ALL “cram it down their throats” alleged discussions of the budget out of public view into Room 328 and eliminating cable coverage of the Massachusetts House helped bludgeon the members into submission in my opinion.
Massachusetts has plenty of house cleaning to do itself, and the abject nature of democratic politics and the so-called Democratic Party in Massachusetts has a lot to do with the abysmal voting numbers and swelling ranks of unenrolled voters. The Massachusetts legislature also voted itself immune to all “Freedom of Information Act” rules, laws, and requests and is largely not subject to procurement oversight. I think all of this is part of why the last 3 Speakers of the Massachusetts House have left under indictment. Too much consolidation of power and too little oversight.
All of this causes me to fondly remember when Markey was a Representative, and after going head to head with the Speaker who dominated the House during his term reportedly famously said, “You can tell me where to sit, you cannot tell me how to vote.” There is a wonderful old campaign video of his I wish I could link you to! He actually had a desk in the hallway and no office for a while, to my recollection at least. So my support for Markey has deep roots.