Election 2017 = November 7th = 90 days away.
There will be weeks and months of analyzing the impact and causes and lessons learned from the Senate repeal and replace failure. One undeniable message that will come to light is the strength and power of the women Senators. Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have gotten their share of press for voting no, but Senator Maggie Hassan’s victory in 2016 was crucial for winning this vote. Turning that formerly red seat blue by just 743 votes made all the difference.
We in Massachusetts sometimes feel like we can’t control much because we have great Democratic leaders in the Senate. For all those who knocked on doors last summer and fall to elect Senator Maggie Hassan, you made a difference in 2017. I said it before, but it’s well worth repeating: Senator Hassan won by 743 votes. I’m going to credit many of those votes to folks from Massachusetts who drove to Salem and Manchester and Nashua and Hampton to door knock. I’ll refrain from joking about the “busloads of voters” from Massachusetts who went to New Hampshire according to one.
After the outcome of the presidential election, I tend to avoid thinking about my trips to NH last year. But I am grateful for the groups that coordinated the trips to NH and knowing that we got Maggie Hassan to represent our Democratic values. It matters. It all matters.
What else did I learn from the health care repeal and replace vote? The Senators who understood that they represented constituencies with the most to lose were the ones who voted no. Senators from places where under-represented constituencies were vocal and empowered – voted no. Senators who truly understand what it is like to walk in the shoes of those whose families and health and lives were at the greatest risk from repeal and replace voted no. Women. Veterans. People with pre-existing conditions. Minorities. Immigrants. Individuals with disabilities. Low-income families. If you haven’t seen Sen. Mazie Hirono’s speech check out below where she talks about what it’s like being an immigrant and fighting cancer and living in poverty:
We now have a track record of elected officials who vote on behalf of all of us, including those who are traditionally under-represented groups. I am no longer focused on past elections but I am looking to carry our work into the future. We in Massachusetts now get to volunteer on upcoming elections in our state and neighboring states and work on electing more women, more minorities, more veterans and more immigrants. I’m asking everyone to go and knock on some doors of candidates who aren’t our traditional candidates. Because they are candidates who will represent us. Even if your town doesn’t have an election – go a neighboring town. Go to a neighboring state. We need more elected officials at home and in Washington who are listening to their constituents and representing those who are most vulnerable. Grab a clipboard. Lace your sneakers. Knock on some doors. Let’s keep winning.
Mehreen N. Butt, Esq.
Wakefield Board of Selectman