As some of you know, before 2003 I was not active in Massachusetts politics at all. My time and energy was totally taken up with both earning a living and being a wife – and mother of two very demanding special needs kids. When I did wake up to the political world it was because Mitt Romney made me so angry in his attacks on the right to counsel, mental health care, treatment for addiction and more.
While I had been an assistant girl scout leader and also helped found Arlington Children’s Theater in those years, I was not born in Arlington, my kids did not do sports here, and we had a pretty awful educational experience – and no, no one every reached out and included my kids in sports here nor did I know Hurd or any of the select people except Charlie Lyons who also was active in Arlington Children’s Theater ’cause of his kids. And as to politics, well, sometimes Charlie and i agreed and sometimes not. I have continued to develop in both my views and my political activity, eventually being emancipated from “the homework wars” when my youngest graduated from High School.
What got me involved were issues that lead to social change, and especially, to giving those with special needs or collapsed families a chance at education and involvement. And I don’t mean just sports – sports did ZERO for our family in Arlington.
So my issues were statewide, and I came to townwide or district wide issues after statewide issues; probably not the usual path. I give this backiground to explain why a governance-oriented path to politics like Ken Donnelly’s resonates with me.
I note that of our current selectmen and women, twot seem to be supporting Donnelly, out of five [and one is Mr. Hurd himself] as well as many current school committee and many former ones.
I am not in a position to know if Mr. Hurd was or is an effective selectman, really. I haven’t followed that. The fact that two selectmen I respect are supporting Mr. Donnelly is important to me, however.
As it happens, when I try to discuss issues like the sixth amendment right to counsel, the Rosie D. case and adolescent mental health, and the over haul of DSS into DCF with Mr. Hurd, it felt to me personally like his eyes just glazed over and he did not know about the issues I care about.
When I talked about the same issues with Mr. Donnelly, he got it, understood and had a plan I liked with regard to dual placement for addiction treatment beds [for new mothers in treatment & teen parents] that resonated with me.
So I am more attuned to statewide issues then I am to local town politics, just the way I am. And, therefore, on my issues, Donnelly remains my candidate by a large measure.
I am not a union member nor have I been in this state [I was in Michigan and I must say, unions do a lot to keep oligarchy in check] – and that is because I am a self employed professional as well as a parent.
Frankly, the number of days spent coaching by each of these men doesn’t mean much if anything to me – nor do I know what those numbers may be. The number of days spent on the second floor of Town Hall do not sway me, either. However, understanding of policy, legislative drafting and support, and the big issues that brought me into political life, that matters.
So for me, my choice is clear not because I am a buddy of either candidate, or either candidate paid their dues in local politics, but because I find on the big issues that make politics matter to me I agree more with Ken Donnelly. I see him as the better candidate for the level of policy set and created in our State Senate.
If we are to have “One Massachusetts” it will take vision, and the State Senate is the body where greater vision is needed.
And, as a disclaimer, I don’t know either Jack Hurd or Ken Donnelly as personal friends; I haven’t eaten at the Hurd or Donnelly home, nor they in my home. I don’t know either Mrs. Hurd or Mrs. Donnelly, nor any of their children at all. And this year, I haven’t been in a position to make much in the way of money donations to anyone – the economy has really hit me hard as a self-employed person. What was decisive for me were policy and issue discussions.
Deb Sirotkin Butler