Here in the U.S. we have the wonderful right to secrecy in the voting booth. It sometimes trickles over into citizens being reluctant to talking about how they vote/voted. (Looking at you Alison Lundergan Grimes!) Anyway, I have no problem telling you all who will get my vote and why. This isn’t pressure or an appeal, simply endorsement. What I care about more than anything is that everyone who is eligible to vote, shows up and votes on elections day.
In Massachusetts, it’s Tuesday, November 4th. Mark you calendars now. Make a date: you, a voting booth. Très sexy.
Here are my picks. Remember, the voting booth is an open-book exam, so you can print this and take it with you or keep this bookmarked on your cell phone.
On the Candidates:
GOVERNOR: Martha Coakley
BECAUSE: Meh. Because she’s better than Charlie Baker. She was not my first choice, she is not perfect but she is much, much better than Charlie Baker. And some of the other candidates are people you wouldn’t want leading a cheer when your team was ahead let alone an entire state.
LT. GOVERNOR: Stephen Kerrigan
BECAUSE: Well, Shelly Saunders sees her role as “supporting Dr. Lively in whatever capacity he needs me.” This doesn’t sound like a leader to me and oh, BTW, this Dr. Lively? He’s an independent candidate for governor who doesn’t believe in global warming. NO THANK YOU. Tracy Post seems like a nice enough person but doesn’t seem to have any experience. Karyn Polito talks too much about Charlie Baker in discussing her ideas for leadership; I realize that Governor and Lt. Governor are complementary roles but I want someone who can stand on his/her own. This leaves Angus Jennings (who has a sociology degree and lots of city planning experience) and Stephen Kerrigan (Democrat and non-profit board president). I’m giving it to Kerrigan because his bailiwick is to get a bunch of locals together to try to find out how to make the state more competitive to prospective employers while closing outdated tax loopholes.
ATTORNEY GENERAL: Maura Healey
BECAUSE: Wouldn’t it be nice to have an openly-gay woman serving as the head of our legal system? Someone marginalized by the system may be in a better position to start reforming some of the ways the justice system is absolutely unjust. Also, her primary government service was as a CIVIL RIGHTS attorney and working at the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau (the agency dedicated to making sure consumers don’t get ripped off). This is who I want in charge of my state’s justice system.
SECRETARY OF STATE: Danny Factor
BECAUSE: Yeah, maybe this is a “spoiler vote” and William Galvin hasn’t been a bad Secretary of State but I like to vote Green-Rainbow when I can and I especially like to vote for someone who says that his #1 priority as Secretary of State would be to establish election-day voter registration as well as making election contributions truly free and public documents.
TREASURER: Deborah Goldberg
BECAUSE: I just love to see a woman in charge of money. KIDDING. What I like are her priorities: wage equality, establishing a state-wide financial literacy program to educate citizens on mortgages, college loans and other financial products, free tax prep for low income families, college savings plans that can start in kindergarten.
AUDITOR: Suzanne Bump
BECAUSE: I just can’t get enough of women in charge. Again, KIDDING. She wants to use the power of data analytics to do a better job of assessing how government money is being spent. I like anyone who wants to use data and facts to solve a big problem.
On the Ballot Questions:
QUESTION 1: [Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing] No!
BECAUSE: Currently, our gas tax rises with the rate of inflation (you know, like the price of milk and coffee and underpants rise with the cost of inflation). This is an attempt to generate enough revenue from drivers to support resources that drivers use, like roads, bridges, tunnels, etc. Have you noticed how LONG roadwork projects seem to take these days? How often bridges close and stay closed before the repair work can get underway. The Dept of Transportation is majorly UNDERfunded because gas tax already doesn’t generate enough revenue. If you think you pay too much for gas, check out the prices in NEARLY ANY OTHER country and you will be astonished at how the government does not subsidize the true cost of gas. This question isn’t about major hikes, it’s about 1-3% per year, to keep pace with the rising costs of maintaining roads and infrastructure. What good will cheap gas be when there are no functioning roads left to drive on?
QUESTION 2: [Expanding the beverage container deposit law] Yes!
BECAUSE: Don’t be fooled by all the ads on the TV that are sponsored by grocery chains and beverage companies. Yes, 90%+ of us DO have “access to recycling.” Does that mean 90%+ of us actually recycle? HELL NO. This bill will ensure that more recyclables actually get recycled. It will make cities and towns cleaner as there’ll be a financial incentive for people who harvest depositable containers to harvest even more. And … we all really need to start working on our single-serve consumption ANYWAY. Single-serve bottles of water, juice, etc. are wasteful. If this bill motivates you to stop buying bottled water or to make your own ice tea instead of buying bottles … GOOD. That’s a good thing. For you and the environment.
QUESTION 3: [Expanding Prohibitions on Gaming] Yes!
BECAUSE: Again, the “no” campaign has big money behind it and the argument is “more jobs.” Well, my zippy retort is: “short term gain, long term drain.” Casinos create lots of good jobs at the outset in the building phase. But then? Primarily service-industry jobs that aren’t as great. Not to mention that a large casino creates major traffic disturbances, leaves a big footprint on its host town (and in this case, it’s a vibrant urban, densely-populated location – not somewhere in the middle of nowhere), and has the potential to put small shops and restaurants out of business. Look, I’m not against gambling on any moral grounds (we gamble occasionally) but the local market is saturated and casinos nationwide are struggling to turn a profit. If the communities of Everett and Revere need money and jobs, let’s focus on real, long-term solutions and not hope that a casino will solve all the problems.
QUESTION 4: [Earned Sick Time for Employees] Yes!
BECAUSE This one’s a no-brainer. It is totally reasonable to allow employees to accrue 1 measly hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Yes, it will be hard on any business that requires coverage (because you have to pay sick time and someone to work the shift) but only companies with 11+ employees are affected. True, tiny mom & pop operations are not affected. Sick workers cause all kinds of productivity issues from their own inability to work at full capacity to getting co-workers ill and potentially getting customers sick. The U.S. does not do a good job of taking care of workers and this is a reasonable step in the right direction.
If your town or city has more questions – you’re on your own! (Though please let me know in the comments, I’m always curious about municipal ballot initiatives)
If you are in the the 34th Middlesex district – Christine Barber for State Rep (to replace Carl Sciortino) – she’s a true progressive and more than worthy to fill Carl’s trailblazing shoes (and march on forward in them!)
I wanna know:
If you’re NOT in Massachusetts, how are you voting? What’s going on in your state that’s getting you good and riled up?