joe boncore

^ probably the least disappointing of a field that will not establish the non-partisan reform politics our District needs

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Those voters of the First Suffolk and Middlesex Senate District who were hoping for an entirely new paradigm (and our District seems ripe to build one) will have to wait longer, probably a lot longer. A great opportunity has been missed.

I say this because the field of candidates looks complete, and none of them offers the change that our District is ready for, and which I very much wanted.

Our District should be the premier Governor Baker district in the immediate Boston region. Baker carried 27 of its 46 precincts in 2014 and would probably carry many more today. His reforms — and his approach to state governance and finance generally — comport well with our District’s majority. Until 2 AM this morning I thought that we had a candidate who would carry the Baker message — a few other positions, too, not precisely Baker’s — and establish a solid ground game in East Boston, Revere, the North End, Chinatown, Beacon Hill, and Winthrop to assure reform politics local staying power. Now that will not happen.

The candidate whose campaign I encouraged and signed up for would have run as an independent, on May 10th, facing one opponent, not six, and thereby assuring the District of a palpable contrast : reform unlimited by party schemes, versus party schemes limiting reform.

That was going to be our bottom line message to the voters, and my candidate had the clout and the fund-raising prowess to be taken very seriously by voters who do not have time for being toyed with. We had made all the connections, him and me, and we were ready to cast aside, for our District, the old limitations that have diminished the significance of politics for most of our District’s voters. And we had lined up plenty of support to do it with.

My candidate has very legitimate family obligations that have cancelled his run. I fully understand. This is how it is in politics. Some can run, some cannot. Campaigning is a sacrifice, a huge one. Some can make it, most cannot.

The result, however, for our District is that we have six candidates who represent the same old. Some are purely factional candidates riding a Democratic party ripple. Others seem personally factional — again, entirely within the Democratic party. Others are motivated by a local rivalry even less edifying.

If you’re an activist Democrat, you’re probably happy to ride six ripples of a rave.

However, if you are a voter merely, who goes to work in the evening, or early before sunrise; or who is retired and at home; or who is young and looking forward to graduating school or college and looking for employment — if you look to your State Senator to advance your needs, and to make government work efficiently for you and to prioritize services for the good of all; if you are any of these, you will almost certainly look at the six and shrug.

Do I really care if the “progressives” call the shots inside the Democratic party, as two of the candidates are vying for ? Frankly, most of the elected “progressives” I follow spend their online time sniping at Governor Baker’s reforms and generally being an unhelpful nuisance. The top “progressive” calls home a precinct carried by Governor Baker, even though he, the “leader,” actively supported Baker’s opponent.

Two others of the candidates seem to be acting out a local rivalry that entertains me a whole lot but which is even less edifying to the voter in me than the “progressives” thing.

Another candidate has gained some duende by having the name of a very prominent, highly expert, properly respected Democrat attached to the back side of her marvelous graphics. Other than that, however, I see nothing in her campaign beyond touting the next Democratic party caucus.

There’s one candidate who seems freer than the others of small time rivalries, who is not hopelessly handcuffed by Democratic party insiderism, and, so far as I can tell, not afflicted with short term stutter. Yet even he gives no indication of readiness for the reform platform I wanted our District to build — and is in no position, running in the Democratic primary, to build it. He is probably the least limited of the six partisans, but why should our District settle for the least handcuffed of the handcuffed ?

This is not to say that the six are bad people. I know four of them well (another one somewhat) and like them. I just find their candidacies to be, in one way or another, business as usual.

Our State Senator should be chosen by ALL the voters, not just those whose fingerprints have a “D” in them. That is how we choose our Governors. It’s how we chose Charlie Baker, the most broadly appealing, almost universally effective Governor of recent times. Our State Senator should be chosen in the same way, by the same voters.

Only all the voters can be counted on to respond to an agenda diverse in its responses, innovative, marvelously inconsistent as is life. It is a shame that that will not now happen in the First Suffolk and Middlesex.

— Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

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