Editorial: In state senate primary, look to experience
Democratic voters in the Fourth Middlesex senate district essentially have a choice between two candidates in the Sept. 16 primary.
Ken Donnelly made a name for himself in 2007, having raised more than $100,000 in his bid for this seat, which was ultimately won by James Marzilli. Marzilli has said he will not seek re-election.
Jack Hurd is a newcomer to many voters in the district, though his reputation in Arlington as an energetic selectman is bolstered by his long record of community service.
Hurd’s charisma and dedication to his town are just what Arlington needs. As a selectman since 1997, he’s certainly been effective in making a difference for the lives of Arlingtonians. His help in creating the Transportation Advisory Committee in that town has meant for close studies of infrastructure, signage and safe passage for kids walking to school.
But Donnelly’s work as a firefighter, and the many state positions he’s already held, make him the better choice as your next state senator.
As a Lexington firefighter for 35 years, Donnelly dedicated a good part of his life protecting the lives of others. He has already had experience and success in writing and passing legislation on Beacon Hill.
He knows the major players, as he’s been appointed by the governor to take on the mediator position on the Joint Labor Management Committee where he has worked on contract disputes. He’s also been appointed by the state to the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission, and is the chief financial officer of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts.
Both candidates met with our editorial board last week, consisting of five editors of weekly GateHouse newspapers inside and outside the district.
Donnelly talked about his desire for retooling the state’s education system from kindergarten all the way through community colleges. But he also talked about exploring options to increase public transportation, to retool the Chapter 40B law on affordable housing, supporting a hotel and meal tax, and considering another gambling proposal that may cross his desk. He supported parts of Gov. Patrick’s first casino plan.
The casino issue may be the greatest divide between the candidates. While Donnelly supports regulating what is already being done in the state, Hurd called gambling “a disease” that would increase the demands put on the state’s social assistance programs.
The editorial board was not unanimous in its decision. One editor voiced interest in Jack Hurd and another said he would have difficulty endorsing either candidate because both called for more funding to programs and that money would most likely come out of taxpayers’ pockets.
We liked Hurd’s experience on the local level. In his tenure as a selectman, the town created a five-year financial plan and passed an override. In that time, Arlington has enjoyed a reputation for responsible spending.
But it became clear that Hurd’s experience is Arlington-centric. This state senator position has been a revolving door for almost two years; the person who needs the least amount of time to get caught up is the best person to represent Democrats in the November general election.
There are only 40 state senators in Massachusetts, and a senator’s voice carries a lot of power. Donnelly knows the issues inside and out of his district. A candidate with his experience becomes an asset for everyone.
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