An exciting time to exercise the right to vote in Massachusetts
What we have here is a political nut’s dream come to fruition. A thoroughly entertaining Boston mayoral and City Council election has captivated the city. Senator Ted Kennedy’s unfortunate passing has kick started an incredible Democratic primary with four legitimate candidates hammering away at each other that speaks to true Massachusetts politics.
Depending on who wins, there are even more opportunities for political addicts to get their fix, with implications for who would replace Attorney General Martha Coakley or Representative Mike Capuano. Finally, Governor Deval Patrick faces a tough re-election against two serious opponents. With all these happenings, there are ample opportunities not just for politicos to be satisfied, but also requirements for the rest of us who might not be so inclined. With all that is occurring in such a short amount of time and very real consequences for residents of Boston, Massachusetts and students at the University of Massachusetts, it’s time to act like its 2008 all over again and get out and participate and vote and stand up for our most important democratic right.
For those of us who live in Boston, this year’s mayoral election has more implications than any in recent memory. Challenger Michael Flaherty has joined forces with Sam Yoon who was knocked out in the preliminary election and if voters see more to it than basic political maneuvering, the partnership could have dramatic results for Mayor Tom Menino. With his regime coming under fire for illegally deleting e-mails and the improper use of computers, Menino’s reign might be coming to an end.
On the City Council front, tireless incumbent John Connolly is running for re-election, as is Stephen Murphy. This means two seats are open for the taking since both Yoon and Flaherty vacated them to run for mayor. This directly affects college students since Boston could either come under new leadership or keep trudging along with the status quo. One has to wonder, though, how much change can come from an insider like Flaherty who has served on the City Council since 2000 and as President for five terms. This election affects Boston Public Schools, crime, the greening of the city and many other issues.
On the Senate front, there is a fight between imposters and true blood liberals. Who wins the Democratic Primary will undoubtedly win the general election, so this has serious implications for the future of Massachusetts. As was proven by Senator Kennedy’s 40 plus years as Senator and Senator John Kerry’s ease in winning reelection time after time, being senator is almost a lifetime appointment. Mike Capuano is the only real and known liberal in the field. He deserves the seat after years of representing liberals in the House of Representatives. Coakley’s policies are unknown and her campaign has an aura of inevitability in that it seems she is assured of victory. Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca is made of money and will spend whatever amount he can to win the seat. The Boston Globe last week reported that he has seldom voted, skipping presidential primaries and local elections. More importantly, he supported Mitt Romney in 1994 against Kennedy in the Senate election.
This race demands college student participation and high voting rates. Whoever wins will likely be around for a long time to come. Get out there and stand up for your issues.
The governor’s race is due to be heated with Republican Charlie Baker and Independent Tim Cahill. Despite sweeping to victory in 2006, Patrick has brought very little to the table. Besides tax breaks and other incentives for the biotechnology industry and the film industry, Patrick’s 2006 campaign slogan of “Together We Can” was a blatant lie. Or it was an unfinished slogan which really means together we can do nothing, but for young progressives like most college students are, the alternatives are disconcerting. Baker was a high-ranking member of the Bill Weld administration in the early 1990s when Republicans ran the Governor’s office, but to them making government smaller meant cutting spending on social welfare programs. Independent Cahill has done an admirable job as Secretary of the Commonwealth, but his politics are more moderate than most of us.
In the end, all the mixing and matching, all the elections, all the possible outcomes are exciting for the political junkie, but momentous for eligible voters. We – college students and young adults – voted prolifically for President Obama, but that does not mean our job is done. It is time to step up and keep participating politically. Capuano opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning. If you support that position, work on his campaign, give money, or most importantly, get an absentee ballot and vote.
For those of you who live in the city of Boston, you have limited time to get an absentee ballot. Exercise your democratic right. The future – and it is a cliché – will be determined by who gets the lifetime appointment to the Senate, by the next mayors and city councilors of Boston and by the governor. Federal student aid, local schools and aid to UMass are all pertinent issues and they will all be affected by this election. Please, do not sit idly by.
Nick Milano is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.