I don’t have any real favorites coming into the race for Speaker. I view them both as somewhat of a step back from the progressive stewardship of Sal DiMasi – the person who got us near-universal health care, marriage equality and eventually found important ways to compromise on everything from corporate tax reform to important environmental bills. The new guys aren’t that progressive and will mean this community and others will have to fight that much harder to get progressive legislation passed.
However, the idea that one of the two serious candidates for Speaker would accept help from the Republican Party to gain the gavel is not only disconcerting but unacceptable.
From the State House News Service (emphasis mine):
DiMasi was still weighing his options late Friday, but several House members said privately they expected him to relinquish the gavel within a week. DeLeo allies quietly but confidently predicted that the Ways and Means Committee chair would be speaker by the end of the month. Rogers said he was confident he would be the next speaker, and was reaching out to House Republicans in an effort to reach the 81-vote majority.
It’s no big secret that DeLeo has the inside track to the Speakership. But what I don’t know is how solid that majority is. Would Republicans voting for Rogers get him in? Who knows? While I wish both Rogers and DeLeo the best, the Democratic Party of this state cannot let someone rise to power with the help of Republicans. We must have the contest for the Speaker and let the best man win – but we must do so from within our own party. We’ve tried the alternative before. We’ve been there, done that, with the Former Speaker Finneran – with disastrous consequences.
Speaker DiMasi, say what you want about him, was a progressive hero who did a lot of good. We can’t afford to revert backwards from his policies, visions and progressive legislative goals. We have a health reform bill that needs fixing and more equality bills to pass. If a Speaker wins due to Republican support, many of the most important progressive legislation will never make it to Governor Patrick’s desk. This community must let it be known that it is unacceptable to anyone to support those who are supported by Republicans. If Rogers gains support from Republicans, his Democratic support must leave him – and those who don’t must be considered accomplices. And those accomplices must be pursued to the best of our ability, up to and including primary fights.