FIRST SUFFOLK & MIDDLESEX : DUCKING THE ISSUES

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^ targeting the “progressives” : State Representative Jay Livingstone.

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The campaign to choose a successor to Senator Anthony Pertrucelli isn’t one month old, and already the leading candidate is faced with vital issues he should not be allowed to duck. For example : the opioid addiction crisis. This leading candidate — whom I will name presently — has a choice to make.

It is disappointing to learn that Speaker DeLeo has chosen to dilute Governor Baker’s opioid legislation. The bill that he will succeed in passing does nothing to change the current situation. It discards all of the tools utilized in the Governor’s bill.

How did this happen ? Easy : the hospitals do not want to deal with addicts and addiction medicine. That simple.

The Speaker lives in our Senate district. I appreciate the influence he brings to bear on our behalf. I am glad that he supports some important aspects of the Governor’s agenda. But on this issue he supports the status quo. It’s not right.

The situation has implications for our District’s special Senate election. Here, on Speaker DeLeo’s home turf, perhaps we can get him to change his mind. I hope this article helps get him there.

And now to the special Senate election, with a primary to take place on April 12th :

More than ever, our District needs a Senator who will advocate and support the reforms that Governor Baker is fighting for and who will say so, eloquently and often. The Speaker needs to hear our conversation right here, where he lives.

In that regard, the race’s likely leader, State Representative Jay Livingstone, is a member of the Speaker’s House. Will Jay vote for DeLeo’s diluted opioid bill, or will he support Governor Baker’s strong bill ? If not, why not ?

Will Livingstone support any of Governor Baker’s reforms — in energy policy, municipal law reform, charter cap lift, and fixing the T ? The voters of our District want to know. Keep in mind — as a purely political calculation — that two thirds of the Suffolk County precincts carried by Governor Baker are in this Senate District. Including all four North End precincts and the one that Livingstone lives in.

Today, Baker would carry the entire District, and a large part of his popularity arises from the strength of the reform legislation he has submitted. If I were running, I’d run as a supporter of Governor Baker’s agenda. It’s good politics AND it’s fright for the District.

Livingstone may also find himself hobbled,  as far as all the District’s voters are concerned, by seeking “the progressive” vote. Doing so probably commits him to some policy choices which I doubt a majority supports — and which, indeed, merit criticism. I speak of “just cause” eviction, which can’t work; opposition to lifting the charter school cap; and support for a poorly conceived, two-tier tax referendum. Being “progressive” might even mean opposing Baker’s MBTA pay structure reforms. That would be most regrettable.

The entire campaign, so far, except for the candidacy of Winthrop’s Joe Boncore seems geared to political activists. That candidates have engaged political consultants for a purely local race doesn’t warm my fuzzy feelings either. Dammit, fellas, run your won campaign. Amass your own following of people who support you because you get it. People who support you because you’re you almost always do more effective campaigning than a battalion of paid operatives led by helmsmen with ulterior agendas. Isn’t that being proved right now by the Donald Trump campaign, as ugly as it is ?

This campaign, so far, has a huge hole in its center. Where in it are the ordinary people ?

We deserve better than to be boot camp for prospective Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders operatives, practice sessions for an “XYZ Strategies.” We deserve a Senator who is comfortable relying on one campaign manager overseeing regular folks — who are always by far the large majority.

— Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

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