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Capuano and Brown for Senate

After 3 months of campaigning, primary day has finally arrived. If you live in Massachusetts PLEASE PLEASE vote. I don’t care who you vote for, only that you vote. This is a critical first step in electing a US Senator who will be casting votes on issues that will affect all of us. If you want more information on any of the candidates, take a look at my Candidate Tuesdays, visit the campaign websites, do google searches – there is plenty out there. I’ve been teasing it for a while and now I am ready to reveal who I have decided to vote for. However, before I get to that, I have to say that this was one of the hardest electoral decisions I have ever had to make. I do not share the frustration that many feel with the caliber of candidate – I feel like we have 6 very strong candidates who all bring unique and important credentials to this race. However, we can only vote for one and this is what I have decided.

Democrats – Mike Capuano
With four strong candidates, my decision has come to down to four key characteristics – experience, accessibility, integrity and potential influence. All four candidates are impressive and I believe any would make a great senator. But I can only vote for one and Congressman Capuano is my choice.

Capuano is the only candidate on the Democratic side who has any legislative experience whatsoever. He understands how the process works and there won’t be much of a learning curve for him. With so many critical issues facing the Senate, a steep learning curve is not an option. He already knows many of the players and will be able to jump right into negotiations and committee responsibilities.

This was the great untold story of the true value of Senator Kennedy. Any constituent who called his office has a story of Senator Kennedy just getting things done. No request was too small and, no matter how big or famous he was, he never forgot his true responsibility to represent those who elected him. Anyone who is currently represented by Congressman Capuano will tell you that he has that same understanding and commitment to his community. That is such an important trait and Capuano has it.

Normally I don’t put much stock in who endorses who since it can be very political.. However, the list of people who are supporting Capuano is extraordinary. Especially when one considers that Former Governor Dukakis decided, for the first-time, to endorse a candidate in a state-wide primary. It is an impressive list and speaks to the feeling that people “in the know” have about him. To have a non-front runner accumulate such a list is impressive and says a lot to me.

In thinking about this category, I can’t help but, once again, think about Senator Kennedy. After his death we heard countless stories about Kennedy’s ability to work with anyone he needed to work with in order to get things done. Capuano has that same ability. When Nancy Pelosi tapped him to head up ethics reform in the house (a MAJOR priority for her) many reformists were skeptical of his ability to see the project through. However, after working with him and seeing the results he got they were singing a different tune. In fact, many of those groups are supporting his Senate bid now. Colleagues really respect him and I believe he will be able to have an immediate impact influencing the critical legislation in the Senate.

Republicans – Scott Brown
This really isn’t much of a race. While I admire the business experience of Jack E. Robinson, Scott Brown has all the tools to be a complete US Senator. If I was electing a business representative I would support Robinson. However, since a Senator deals with many different issues, Brown is a better choice.

Whoever you like, PLEASE vote!!!!! Reports say that only about 4% of registered voters in MA are planning to vote today which is terrible. This is a big election and I encourage you to make your voice heard!

Candidate Tuesday #10 – Endorsements (Updated 12/7 to reflect President Clinton)

Endorsements are a funny thing.  When they come from unions or other large organizations they provide foot solidiers to help the campaign in the final days.  When they come from individuals they get the candidate’s name in the news in a (usually) positive light – always a good thing.  For undecided voters they can be that final tipping point for or against a particular candidate.  If you are between two candidates and three people you really respect endorse one of the two…well, that can help push you to a final choice.  By the same token if someone you generally disagree with makes an endorsement that can swing you to someone else.  So, while they are not a substitute for really learning as much as you can about your options, they are a good way to make or confirm your final choice.    Coming on Monday, some of our fellow citizens will share who they are supporting and why  – I encourage all of you to consider posting your choice and reasoning in the comments section of that post. Together we can help any undecided voters make up their mind! 

In the meantime, however, here are some of the notable endorsements of this primary season.

Martha Coakley – Click here for a full list
Former President Bill Clinton
Former Lt. Governor Evelyn Murphy
Congresswoman Niki Tsongas
Many mayors including Kim Driscoll (Salem) and Setti Warren (Newton)
Many members of the State Senate and State House of Reps including Senate President Therese Murray and Senate Majority Leader Frederick Berry
Emily’s List
Massachusetts Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus
Massachusetts Chiefs of Police
National Association of Police Organizations
More than 50 different unions and professional organizations

Mike Capuano – Click here for a full list
Former Governor Mike Dukakis
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
Congressmen Ed Markey, Barney Frank, Stephen Lynch, Jim McGovern, Richard E. Neal, John Olver, John Tierney
First Lady Diane Patrick
Former First Lady Kitty Dukakis
Many members of the State Senate and State House of Reps including Marian Walsh and Stephen Buoniconti
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Massachusetts, AFL-CIO AND Massachusetts Teachers Association
Veterans and Military Families for Progress (VMFP)
Boston Herald

Steve Pagliuca – Click here for more on Steve Pagliuca
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Paul Pierce, Danny Ainge, Ray Allen and many other prominent members of the Celtics have appeared at Pagliuca events
A Pagliuca spokesman, when asked by the Boston Globe to identify any major endorsements responded “endorsements are not a focus of our campaign.” His website touts the fact that they are “winning the endorsements of thousands of Democrats across the state.”

Alan Khazei – Click here for more on Alan Khazei
General Wesley Clark
NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Max Kennedy
Blue Mass Group
Boston Globe

Scott Brown – Click here for more on Scott Brown
ALL GOP members of the Massachusetts State Senate and State House of Representatives
Boston Globe
Boston Herald

Jack E. Robinson – Click here for more on Jack E. Robinson
No notable endorsements…yet

Link for 11/12/09 – Oh Mike, Mike, Mike

Well that was quick.  Just days after voting for a healthcare bill that included a provision restricting the use of federal funds to pay for abortions AND strongly criticizing Martha Coakley for her “foolish” opposition, Congressman Capuano has reversed course.  Now he says that he will not vote for the bill when it returns to the house if it has the abortion clause in it.  

There is no doubt that this is an extremely difficult issue and, as a good friend of mine points out, “An inflexible politician is more dangerous than one who changes their opinions.”  However, such a major shift so soon after a vote and some strong statements is concerning.  This sure smacks of doing the right thing politically, rather than doing the right thing for the community.  Look, I’ve gone back and forth on where I stand on this question and have thought a lot about whether or not I’d vote for the bill in the current form.  However, before you make this important societal issue a part of your political game, it would be nice if you were comfortable with your position. 

Congressman Capuano, stick with what you believe in and, if you are going to change your mind, you better make sure you don’t call your opponent’s position “manna from heaven.”  I’ll tell you what manna from heaven would be – a politician who votes a certain way because it is the right thing to do and not because it is what will get them a promotion.

Link for 10/19/09 – There was a voter forum? Really?

If Senate candidates hold a voter forum and no one notices, did it still happen?  The 4 Democrats vying to replace Senator Kennedy appeared yesterday at Merrimack College and fielded questions on a variety of topics.  The Gloucester Times has a decent review of the event.  To me, the biggest thing to come out of the forum was that Attorney General Coakley and Mr. Pagliuca both indicated that, while they didn’t like the idea, they would be open to more troops in Afghanistan depending on what they heard from Generals.  However, Mr. Khazei and Congressman Capuano were more firm in their positions that the US not commit additional troops to the country.  Beyond that, there were not too many substantive differences to report on.