By Caroline Colarusso
How many of you remember voting for class President in High School? I do. How many of you remember this election being the choice between two candidates? You heard their platform; you weighed your decision and you voted for the person of your choice, and that’s the way it should be.
Massachusetts has distinguished itself as the state known to have the least amount of competitive legislative races in the country, and there is good reason for that. One party has a 5 to 1 supermajority on Beacon Hill which discourages challengers. When legislative candidates go unchallenged, they are able to build huge campaign accounts which further discourages anyone in the future from running against them. This vicious circle helps perpetuate deep blue Massachusetts, the 5th highest taxed state in the nation.
Despite our robust beginnings when brave patriots dumped the tea in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts voters in only few districts (about 1 in 3) actually have a choice when voting for a legislative candidate. Beacon Hill operatives have manufactured a self-serving system of government which protects incumbents and creates large barriers of entry for those who wish to challenge elitist liberal career politicians.
It is often said that the most important goal the average politician has is to be re-elected, and the Massachusetts legislature has proven that in spades by just last week refusing to even consider changing the deadline for submitting nomination papers with signatures in light of the virtual ban on gatherings which hinders collecting of signatures in public spaces. Speaker DeLeo who has $794,000 in his campaign account said he expects challengers (who usually have little funding) to mail signature sheets out in an effort to get on the ballot. This type of attitude discourages outsiders who wish to throw their hat in the ring while protecting long-time incumbent Democrats. By refusing to extend the deadline for filing signatures, incumbent legislators have made it even more likely that they will not have to face an opponent in November.
Beacon Hill career politicians historically cringed at the talk of term limits. Rotation in office is necessary for the proper functioning of government, but incumbents don’t want that. When most politicians enter office, they are full of vigor and enthusiasm, but sooner than later they get close and comfortable with special interest groups instead of the people they are elected to serve.
In many of the cities and towns in our area Select Board and City Council members are increasingly appointing local board members who follow the left progressive philosophy of the legislative delegation. For this reason, there is a lack of political diversity, and the average person has little or no representation when overrides are up for a vote or the town administration wants more money. It’s a self-serving system that contributes to a pyramid like power structure that benefits a select few. I am only one or perhaps a few elected or appointed Republicans in Stoneham town government. Republicans stand for government accountability and have historically fight tax increases. It’s no wonder tax and spend politicians don’t want diverse representation and that our taxes are continually going up.
It is a good thing to educate voters on the issues and to hold our elected officials accountable. It is good that in America we have periodic elections that allow us to elect our representatives. However, all of that good goes down the drain when there is only one name on the ballot from which to choose. Do something to change that. Run for office. Give voters a choice by running, there is still time.
I can be reached by phone at (781)438-5720 or by email at ContactCarolineforinfo@gmail.com. The views in this column are my own.