Local Government and Politics, Opinion

Our opinion: Tuesday’s midterm elections

We believe these are the best choices on Tuesday’s ballot  

Tuesday is Election Day, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Like most voters, we’ve given each race a lot of consideration and would like to share the following thoughts.

 

United States Senate

We think U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren plays a valuable role in the Senate opposing President Trump’s stances on immigration, taxes, and foreign policy; and by demanding definitive action on gun control. Republican opponent Geoff Diehl ensured voters were treated with spirited debates between himself and Warren, but his emphatic support for the president puts him out of touch with most Massachusetts voters. While we disagree with Warren’s support for Question 1 on the ballot setting strict nurse-patient ratios, her voice in the national political arena is invaluable and is sure to grow louder if she decides to run for president in 2020.

We like Warren for reelection.

Sixth Congressional District

On the night of his election to Congress in 2014, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton vowed to focus on Lynn’s revival. Results have been limited. He has demonstrated effectiveness in advocating for issues such as workforce development and remedial education. He has elevated his profile on a national level, but we would like to see more focus — and presence — in the district. Republican opponent Joseph Schneider has an educational and military résumé similar to Moulton’s, and  has shown success in the business world. His campaign struck us as long on generalities and short on specifics, reflecting his status as a novice candidate, but we would like to hear more from him in the future. Independent candidate Mary Charbonneau is also listed on Tuesday’s ballot.

We like Moulton for reelection, but expect more in the next term.

Governor

We think Gov. Charlie Baker should do more to address the area’s transportation needs, paramount among them extending the Blue Line through Lynn, which would provide much needed relief to commuters from Marblehead, Swampscott, Nahant, Lynn, and Revere.

Democrat Jay Gonzalez is a strong Blue Line-extension proponent and he understands the crucial connection between transportation and the economy, and how the North Shore would benefit from both. While we wish Gonzalez had spelled out how to pay for his vision, we disagree with his call for taxing institutions of higher education.

We like Baker’s empathetic commitment to thwart the opioid crisis and would like to see him show that same level of passion in other areas. Baker is said to be the most popular governor in the nation; we hope to see him use some of that political capital for our area’s benefit.

We like Baker for reelection.

9th Essex District

Republican incumbent Rep. Donald Wong faces challenges from Democrat Matthew Crescenzo and independent Michael Coller.

Wong, who won the seat for the first time in 2010, has endeared himself to his constituents by attending to the little things that mean a lot to them, such as fighting for veterans’ issues and Gold Star families. And Wong is there on the big things too. Though his district is predominantly in Saugus, it also encompasses parts of Wakefield and Lynn. And Wong realizes the value of having the Blue Line extend through Lynn, as he feels such a move would encourage more people to use public transportation and, thus, decrease traffic. Other views that show he shares the pain of commuters who drive Route 1 is his desire to redesign the Peabody jughandle, which — at peak hours — can back up traffic on the highway significantly.

At 25, Crescenzo has already has much life experience as a veteran who served overseas in both Afghanistan and South Korea. An employee of the Lynn Community Health Center (information technology),  his main concerns are health care for veterans, mental health, and opioid addiction. He also has some interesting solutions to the growing congestion of Route 1, especially the difficulty of getting on the highway when traffic is heavy. He’d be a very popular person in town if he could help take care of that situation. We hope to hear more from him in the future.

Coller, a private investigator, has broached issues such as school safety, retaining retail jobs in a changing economic atmosphere, improving school curricula, and the increasing amount of traffic in town. All are issues that should be addressed.

We like Wong for reelection.

13th Essex District

In this race, Democrat Rep. Theodore C. “Ted” Speliotis faces a challenge from Republican Mark Mezzina.

Speliotis, of Danvers, is a veteran of the North Shore political scene and is chairman of the Committee on Bills in Third Reading, which controls the flow of bills. Speliotis has actually had two lives on Beacon Hill. The first one extended from 1979 through 1986; and the second from 1996 through the present. In the interim, he was Danvers’ Town Moderator.

Speliotis’ experience and his role within the legislative process gives him an opportunity to make a difference on issues affecting his district and throughout Massachusetts. And it is proof that continuity can be a valuable asset in that process.

Mezzina, a Danvers Town Meeting member, is campaigning on change. Among his key issues are term limits, and he vows to introduce a bill if elected toward that end. Mezzina also believes he speaks to the middle class in the district, which encompasses Peabody, Danvers and Middleton, who are victims of the state’s high taxes.

We like Speliotis for reelection.

Southern Essex Register of Deeds

Despite some physical setbacks brought on by illness, John O’Brien is not ready to retire just yet. He’s running for another six-year term against Republican Jonathan Ring of Rockport and independent Don Colpitts.

O’Brien, of Lynn, has managed the office that keeps track of real estate transactions through the Southern Essex District, which encompasses 30 communities, since 1976. He says his office was the first registry to put deeds and other documents online. He also was in the forefront in recognizing robo-signing, which enables banks to work around the public registry. The result of robo-signing is that homeowners are often in the dark about who holds their loans.

O’Brien has, over the course of his career, showed an unwavering commitment to the consumer.

Ring claims the office has become too politicized, as does Colpitts.

We like O’Brien.

Suffolk District Attorney

Rachael S. Rollins is the Democratic candidate, and she’s facing Independent Michael Maloney.

Rollins is the former president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association and a general counsel of the MBTA and Mass. Department of Transportation. She believes the No. 1 issue facing her office, whose jurisdiction includes Revere, is implementing diversion programs for people who come into contact with the DA’s office because they have mental health conditions or substance abuse histories.

Rollins’ experiences are varied and she shows a deep knowledge — just in terms of what she considers important — in how the criminal justice system works. We would like to see her put some of her priorities into action.

Maloney is a criminal defense attorney. He vows to prosecute violence and gun crimes to the fullest extent of the law.

We like Rollins.

Attorney General

Maura Healey, a Democrat, is seeking her second term. She will be opposed by Republican James McMahon.

Healey has emerged as a passionate opponent within the state of the policies of President Trump.  She has taken aggressive and highly visible stands in her first term, among them the need for gun control legislation (specifically the sale and/or transfer of most semi-automatic rifles within the Commonwealth), her opposition to Trump’s travel ban on Muslims and for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate possible interference by Russia in the 2016 election.  Healey also would prefer to end mandatory sentences for non-violent drug offenders, opting for more treatment instead. Hers appear to be common-sense and compassionate responses to a growing, and very tragic, epidemic.

McMahon, 64, of Bourne, believes the opioid crisis is the most pressing issue affecting the state, partly because his son, Joel, was a victim. He wants to reshape how the state prosecutes and punishes offenders.

We like Healey for another term.

Secretary of State

Newcomers Anthony Amore (R) and Juan Sanchez (Green Rainbow Party) will try to unseat longtime incumbent William Galvin Tuesday.

In this age of charges and countercharges regarding election fraud, and foreign interference in how America chooses its leaders, Amore’s experience in working with Homeland Security could result in creating a template for how to avoid these pitfalls in the future.

The Swampscott resident has worked at Logan International Airport for the department and has been director of security for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for the past 13 years.

Amore believes his professional life in the area of security leaves him uniquely qualified to ensure against fraud and sabotage in managing elections — which is obviously an important aspect of the job. Amore would also like to see primary elections moved up to the spring to give voters a better chance to study the candidates involved in the final runoff.

Galvin, who survived a bitter primary challenge by Josh Zakim, is seeking his seventh term. He believes his biggest accomplishments are an expansion of the state’s voting system and maintaining election security, as well as establishing mail-in and online voter registration.

Sanchez, born in Puerto Rico and raised in Holyoke, has as a goal to run a multilingual statewide voter education campaign to ensure that everyone can be involved in democracy.

We like Amore.

State Treasurer

Democratic incumbent Deborah B. Goldberg seeks her second term with opposition from Republican Keiko M. Orrall and Green-Rainbow party candidate Jamie M. Guerin.

Goldberg has mixed a life-long knowledge of running a business (Stop & Shop)  with her involvement in politics on both the local (Brookline) and state levels to emerge as an effective treasurer and we feel she should continue in that position.

While in office, Goldberg has expanded the Financial Literary Trust Fund and created the Office of Economic Empowerment, which offers college savings plans for kindergarteners an middle school students. She would like to continue expanding public/private partnership programs, including wage negotiation for women, fraud protection for seniors, college savings plans starting at birth, and retirement plans for non-profit employees.

Orrall is the first Asian-American woman elected to the State House. She’s been a state representative since 2011. She is a critic of nationalized school testing and opposed plans for a casino in Taunton. She also favors eliminating what she thinks are unnecessary roadblocks for small businesses and municipalities.

Guerin says she is a lifelong advocate for peace and economic, social and environmental justice. And she believes the two-party system is inefficient. She would focus on establishing a state bank that would fund infrastructure projects.

We like Goldberg.

State Auditor

Democrat Suzanne M. Bump seeks a third term, with opposition from Republican Helen Brady and Libertarian Daniel Fishman.

Bump believes she has established some serious credentials since taking office in 2011, and we would agree. She says her leadership has moved the state to the top ranks of government accountability offices. The auditor’s office has identified more than $1.3 billion in waste, misspending and fraud, she says, and has improved agency operations and public service.

She wants to continue, with the state’s new risk detection capabilities, to focus on agencies whose operations are wasting public resources and/or failing to deliver promised services. The same goes for her efforts to improve the MassHealth system.

Brady has worked for the Boston Symphony Orchestra or 30 years as business manager for the Boston Pops. She says that as a hard-working taxpayer, she is tired of seeing the state’s tax money wasted.

Fishman, a computer scientist, says he understands the value of automating much of the work he claims the auditor neglects to do. He also says that the basic Libertarian political philosophy means he owes no favors to state employees who are patronage hirees.

We like Bump.

Ballot questions

As we indicated in Page 1 editorials in Saturday’s Item, we believe a no vote on Question 1 and yes votes on Questions 2 and 3 are warranted.  Serious concerns were raised by Question 1 opponents about significant costs to hospitals and healthcare if patient-nurse ratios are imposed. Complex decisions about your health care should be made at the bedside not at the ballot box. We think voters should view Question 2 against the backdrop of their opinions on campaign spending reform. Proponents say reform starts with forming a commission to help study efforts to reaffirm individual free speech rights.  

We strongly believe a yes vote for Question 3 is the right thing to do. Upholding the 2016 state law prohibiting discrimination in the use of public accommodations affirms the rights of transgender individuals to enjoy protections all Massachusetts residents deserve.

A final thought

There you have our opinions. Whether you agree, we urge one thing: that you go to the polls and express yours.

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