City Councilor and Congressional Candidate Jake Auchinchloss begins his stump speech with an impassioned reminder about his calls the impeachment of Donald Trump from the floor of the Newton City Council. He did so at a Fourth Congressional District candidate forum that I chaired. There were smiles and nods all around from attendees.
Councilor Auchinchloss always leaves out an important part of the story–he voted ‘no’ on the actual impeachment resolution. He in fact joined the City Council’s lone Republican Jim Cote in opposition to the measure, which otherwise overwhelmingly passed the Newton City Council.
This is classic Jake Auchinchloss. Present as a progressive, obscure the truth.
Today, Councilor Auchincloss is responding to civil rights demonstrations with his own calls for racial justice. This Politico article highlights the cognitive dissonance. In 2016, Councilor Auchinchloss responded to a hate incident at Newton North High School by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the white students who displayed a racist symbol. Councilor Auchinchloss asked the full Newton City Council to protect the free speech rights of Confederate flag-waving white students by demanding that the Newton Public Schools let the hate incident go unpunished. The Councilor did not show empathy or support for the victims of the incident. His support of “free speech” in this case aligns directly with how right-wing groups use this concept as a cover for promoting white supremacy.
Democratic primary voters should know that Councilor Auchinchloss has done a great deal to help elect conservative Republicans to state offices across Massachusetts. He worked for the Massachusetts Republican Party and co-owned a Republican political consulting firm. As recently as fall, 2019, if given a do-over, he said he would still vote for Republican Charlie Baker over Democrat Martha Coakley for Massachusetts Governor. These facts are important for people to know in a crowded field of candidates who are reliable Democrats.
Councilor Auchinchloss has had a long affiliation with Congressman Seth Moulton. Democratic activists, particularly those who prioritize electing women to leadership positions in government, may recall Moulton’s attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Throughout Moulton’s campaign to unseat the nation’s most powerful woman and, I would argue, one of the most effective House Speakers in history, Auchincloss remained at Moulton’s side, even co-hosting a fundraiser for him in Newton as recently as last year.
There are many fantastic Democratic candidates for Congress in the Fourth Congressional District. I know most of them through my years as chair of the Newton Democratic Party, a position I stepped down from in April. One thing is certain for me – this district must be represented by someone Democrats can trust to be a leader on progressive issues that will define our future.
Shawn Fitzgibbons is a Democratic activist living in Newton, MA. He is the immediate past chairman of the Newton Democratic Party. Shawn served as chair for eight years and held other leadership roles since 2009 of the Newton Democratic City Committee.
I always look askance at a new or rare poster coming out with a negative diary.
He claims some reasonably impressive party credentials, though, and appears to be using his real name. If he’s been chair of the Newton Democratic Party and active in the leadership of the Newton Democratic City Committee, then it shouldn’t be too hard to perform some due-diligence on this diary.
He was certainly upfront about his bio, and it was easy to find more. For example, he still maintains a <a href=”http://shawnfitzgibbons.com/”>campaign website</a>.
This doesn’t strike me as a drive-by hit piece.
If I lived in the 4th CD, I’d be doing some similar due diligence on Mr. Auchinchloss.
I’m more interested in the substance of the diary than the pedigree of its author. Each of us had a first post here.
Is there some way to fix links and other explicit html markup? The new comment editor seems to at least occasionally ignore it.
I’m not at all questioning who he is, or even the accuracy of his statements about this candidate, but I’m always more favorably inclined to supportive diaries rather than opposition diaries.
Charley on the MTA says
Shawn has some old posts from 2012-13. Not new, and I recognized the name.
Susan Albright says
Jake earned an endorsement from Progressive Newton in the last election. He has been a supporter of causes that I support including housing, diversity, immigration, and education, amongst other things. He was with me and co-docketed the Welcoming City Ordinance to stand with immigrants. And – I’m with him (along with many of my colleagues) in support of his campaign for Congress.
Shawn Fitzgibbons says
Christopher – you are correct and reasonable in your concern. Nevertheless, I have a long history of activism in Newton. I lead the Democratic Party here for many years and also have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic Party candidates. I don’t post here much but am a long-time reader. I have long been frustrated by Auchinchloss because he is so deceptive about his background and views – the ultimate politician who wants to get elected to things. We can do much better in the 4th CD and that is what inspired me to write this post.
That’s fine; I just prefer diaries about whom you do support on general principles.
Speaking of which, you should disclose whom you support when you attack a candidate and what your role is in the campaign. I constantly discloses my affiliation with Evan Falchuk and the MTA whenever those came up in my posts. ‘Sponsored’ posts they may be, their views are still mine. You could easily do that here.
I assume you’re speaking more to the diarist here than to me?
Yeah it embedded oddly, sorry about that.
Jake is a friend, and although I do not live in his district, I support him.
So far we have a lot of guilt by association and votes taken out of context. Not the best way to attack someone. As a teacher, I proudly support the free speech rights of my students. As a student of constitutional law, Jake well knew that removing the student, a odious as their speech may be, violated Tinker v. Des Moines. You can oppose censorship without endorsing the views being censored, particularly censorship of youth. If we say no to Confederate flags, we have to say no to anti-war arm bands and students and teachers supporting black lives matter. Fight speech with more speech and better speech. That’s the American way Jake defended.
I had a vocally Trump supporting student wear a “I Stand for the Flag, I don’t kneel” hoodie and talk to the class about attending the so called Straight Pride parade. Instead of condemning him I used it as an opportunity for him to share his views and to listen to other students who found those things about him to be offensive. When he got reprimanded by an Associate Principal, I used it as an opportunity to teach the entire class about Tinker and their free speech rights. I would be seriously uncomfortable seeing that flag and some could argue it is an incitement to violence in certain circumstances not covered by Tinker, but I would rather not embolden administrators to censor students in violation of the First Amendment.
As to the point on impeachment, he may have delineated between his responsibilities as a councilor not to waste time on symbolic votes and his potential vote on the same issue as a member of Congress. Craig Kelley was a progressive city councilor in Cambridge who always got into hot water voting against symbolic resolutions he agreed with since correctly felt they were a waste of the councils time.
I am not sure what Jakes explanation is, and you did not provide any sourcing for that allegation, but surely what he promises to do in Congress matters more?
As for the Baker comment, a majority of registered Democrats in this state voted for Baker and approve of the job he is doing, including the 4th district which he overwhelmingly won. You and I may not agree, but I don’t see that statement as an endorsement. In retrospect, I’d take first term Charlie over Juul pod Martha too.
Jake responded to this attack while standing up and kneeling for the black residents of the 4th, including a Northeastern dean who recently had police guns drawn on him for going to a Whole Foods while black.
The Tim Duncan incident
I am sad to say that I agree with your last sentence.
I appreciate your thoughtful comment. It makes me glad that I don’t live in CD-4, because my choice for my rep has been easier here in Somerville.
Thanks for this dialogue on Auchinchloss. I do live in the 4th CD. I am supporting Dave Cavell. Auchinchloss seems to have some pretty powerful backing, based on the money he has raised. Just shy of $1 million, reported by WPRI news in April. Very unfortunately, the impact of COVID on this race will only be to increase the importance of spending on advertising. Candidates have very limited opportunity to campaign in person. Auchinchloss’ service as a Marine is laudable. But on talking with him, he conceded to me that his experience on the Newton City Council is actually more relevant. In terms of relevant experience, Dave Cavell is a much stronger pick. Cavell has worked in the Obama White House and as Senior Advisor and Assistant Attorney General in Maura Healy’s office. Cavell is solidly progressive. He also is the candidate who I think has the best sense of how to get things done. He was involved with Healy suing Perdue Pharma and the Slacker family for impacts of OxyContin. He hasn’t forgotten that the southern portion of the district, including Fall River, has been severely impacted by Oxycontin and still needs help. He understands health care disparities of COVID are similar to the disproportionate impact of opioids for Fall River and similar communities. Cavell will likely be severely outspent by Auchinchloss and Khazei. A supporter of Charter Schools, Khazei has done impressive work with City Year and other organizations. However, it’s not clear how that translates into being an effective congressman. I hate to see this race come down to who can spend the most money, but likely it will.
Also important to remember City Year employees were grossly underpaid and given instructions on how to apply for food stamps. Even libertarian leaning Mark Cuban said his barometer was a company should pay at least $15/hour and should be embarrassed an employee took government assistance to supplement shoddy wages.
I get it’s more like a Vistacorps Gap year opportunity, but they should still pay living wages. Especially to attract more diverse applicants. I had not heard of Cavell but I’m glad he and Jake are focused on the Southeastern portions of the district. Those communities were well served by Barney Frank and Joe Kennedy and I would hate for them to lose that touch.