State Rep. Colleen Garry of Dracut (36th Middlesex – Dracut & Tyngsborough) has served in the Massachusetts House for more than two decades, since 1995, and she has developed a record of being arguably the most conservative Democrat in the legislature. Notably, despite the lengthy tenure, she has recently felt the need to lie to her constituents and fabricate accomplishments.
On June 9, Rep. Garry tweeted the following:
Note specifically the headline that reads “Colleen delivers!” It is clear that she is personally taking credit for securing the funding items listed in the graphic. If not for her work as State Representative for Dracut and Tyngsborough – at least in substantial part – these funding items would not have been secured for these communities, according to her.
Now, on its face, that’s a totally legitimate campaign message for an incumbent. Absolutely, take credit for accomplishments that you have achieved for your constituents. If you pass (or somehow help pass) a piece of legislation, a budget amendment, etc. that helps your communities, take a victory lap, sure. But…
Note the bottom two funding items that Colleen allegedly delivered:
*$794,267 for Dracut roads
*$432,637 for Tyngsborough roads
I should note here that I have spent a number of years working in both houses of the Massachusetts Legislature. I know that when someone makes reference to funding for roads, odds are, they’re talking about something called “Chapter 90” transportation funding.
The Chapter 90 Program is a state program that originated in 1973. In a nutshell, it is state funding apportioned to municipalities for road-related repairs and infrastructure. Very importantly for the purposes of this post, it is relevant to note that the funding is apportioned based on a set formula taking into account a given municipality’s miles of road, overall population, and employed population.
And, when you search for Dracut and Tyngsborough in the Chapter 90 Apportionment municipality search engine, you see that Dracut received $794,267 and Tyngsborough received $432,637.
By a set formula. Not by the work of their state representative. By a set formula.
Colleen didn’t “deliver” that money to the communities of her district any more than you or I delivered that money. Even if the state representative seat happened to be entirely vacant, Dracut & Tyngsborough would receive precisely that same amount of money. And, given that Rep. Garry has served in the House for more than twenty years, she obviously must know exactly how the Chapter 90 Program works. In other words, she lied to her constituents about “delivering” funding that she did not deliver. She took credit for a fake accomplishment, something that happened entirely and completely independent of her even being in the legislature. In one tweet, Colleen Garry told the voters of Dracut & Tyngsborough a $1.2 Million lie.
So, why did she do it? Why did Rep. Garry lie to her constituents about a fake accomplishment? I suppose it has something to do with Rep. Garry facing the toughest primary challenger of her legislative tenure. The very conservative Rep. Garry is facing a Democratic primary challenge from Sabrina Heisey, a Dracut School Committee member, founder of the Greater Lowell League of Women Voters, a director of the Dracut Mom’s Group, a Girl Scout leader, an adoption advocate, and, by profession, a grant manager at Children’s Hospital. Where Rep. Garry is, again, extremely conservative for a Democrat, Sabrina is pro-choice, pro-LGBTQ equality, pro-gun safety, etc. In other words, Rep. Garry would have difficulty winning a Democratic primary on the issues, so she wants to use her long tenure to her advantage and tout the bacon she has brought home to the district. However, Rep. Garry, disappointingly, is apparently willing to lie to her constituents in order to inflate the numbers on the amount of bacon she has, well, delivered.
If it bothers you that Rep. Garry is willing to deceive her constituents (or that she is as conservative on so many issues as she is while still calling herself a Democrat), you can support her primary opponent, Sabrina Heisey:
Sabrina Heisey’s website: http://sabrinaheisey.com/
Like Sabrina on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SabrinaHeisey/
Follow Sabrina on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sabrinaheisey