Paul’s progressive, perspicacious primary picks

We’re a week from the Massachusetts primary. September 4, the day after Labor Day, is a crappy day for a primary. September is a crappy time for a primary. Josh Zakim is blaming Bill Galvin for the primary date, for the 30 day registration deadline, for the lack of same day registration, for the lack of Instant Runoff Voting, for Trump’s name appearing on the ballot, for global warming, for Babe Ruth being sold to the New York Yankees.

Galvin has long been known as the Prince of Darkness, perhaps the most anti-social statewide officeholder in recent memory. When he was a state representative, he had one of those socially conservative voting records that makes Colleen Garry looks like a Berniecrat. Zakim has a great name. Everybody loved his dad,and we all love that Zakim bridge. Only problem, the kid is not the father. Josh seems to have Andrew Cuomo syndrome; wrapped in the good feeling of the name established by his father, only to fall far short of lofty expectations.

Election laws are the domain of the legislature, the Secretary of State merely implements them. So when Josh Zakim blames Galvin for every failing of our electoral system, it just feels like the cry of an opportunistic demagogue. Galvin was a pro-life legislator? Hasn’t seemed to have had an impact on his role as Secretary of State. Zakim’s beef about election laws have merit, but the argument is with Robert DeLeo, and to blame Galvin for Mr. Speaker’s passive aggressive approach to progressive reforms is misplaced.

Elections are run at the local level, and the historical data made available on the Secretary’s website is outstanding.
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I went to Worcester as a Jay Gonzalez delegate. I looked at Jay as the candidate with the best argument against Charlie Baker, and I still think he has the best shot at making an argument against a popular, lackluster governor. Baker’s argument of being a fixer is best addressed by someone who has command of the details, who can call out the cost of Baker’s inaction to three places beyond the decimal. Still, I am ready to love Bob Massie if he wins the primary. No matter who wins the primary for governor, they need Jimmy Tingle on the ticket. While I am sure Quentin Palfrey was a good and loyal functionary in the administrations of Deval Patrick and Barack Obama, I can’t imagine sending him out to Weymouth or Woburn or Worcester to pull votes away from Baker. Palfrey, who moved to Weston to fight for social justice, may resonate in the other W towns, but Tingle speaks the language of the folks we need to engage and persuade. (Tingle’s convention video is must-see TV.)
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I am an establishment Berniecrat, so I drive people nuts with my endorsements. I do have a fairly consistent set of values, and one of those is that I will show appreciation for someone who has been fighting at my side over the years. That’s why I need to stand tall with Mike Capuano, who I supported enthusiastically when he ran for the U.S. Senate. I met him fifteen years ago, when I was in a group of educators wandering in the halls of the congressional office buildings in Washington. Capuano was knowledgable, strategic, and passionate about education issues, and walked away wishing he would replace Mitt Romney as governor. Yes, we need a more diverse delegation, yes I like Ayanna Pressley, and I want her to have a powerful future. I just don’t want to fire Capuano, who I view as an outstanding Democrat who can do great things if the Democrats recapture the House.

The Globe endorsed Lori Trahan, which underlines her position as the Charlie Baker Democrat in the race. The shoutout to Juana Matias, is further proof that the Globe editorial writes will go out of their way to support Democrats who embrace the charter schol industry. Using that standard, it’s no wonder why the Glohe wouldn’t endorse Barbara L’Italien, an outspoken advocate for public schools and the class of the field. L’Italien has a solid legislative record, so we know exactly what we are getting with this mom on a mission. She was out front, early, on marriage equality. She worked her way up from a seat on the Andover School Committee. She is the hard working, proven progressive, who will crash Fox News to talk truth to Trump.

Meanwhile, what’s up with this Rufus Gifford guy? Dad’s got cash and clout, and the kid got a nice gig as US Ambassador to Denmark. When Nikki Tsongas retired, Rufus moved from Nantucket to Concord, then dumped a bunch of family money into his campaign.
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If we can’t get rid of Charlie Baker, we can (at the very least) shake the foundation of best buddy Speaker DeLeo’s chokehold on the Massachusetts House of Representatives. I mean, Donald Trump is wrecking havoc out there, and we counter with DeLeo and Baker governing over a cup of tea and some lovely scones in a private State House parlor.

Our legislature turned on a dime in 2004, when Carl Sciortino took out sixteen year incumbent Vinny Ciampa in a primary in the 34th Middlesex (Medford and Somerville)District. A flock of lemmings, detecting a potential threat to their seats, made rapid progressive progress into the winds of change. It will take more than one primary defeat to ruffle the current flock, but a good starting point would be Jeffrey Sanchez in the 15th Suffolk house district. Sanchez, a top DeLeo lieutenant, saidThe Safe Communities Act didn’t reach the house floor for a vote because “we just did not find consensus on those provisions.” Translation. DeLeo and Baker vetoed it at tea time. Send a message with Nika Elugardo.

There are several more races where Democrats can shake the foundation of the House. In Dracut and Tyngsborough, Colleen Garry would be center-right in a Republican primary, and is being challenged for her House seat by passionate Berniecrat and Dracut School Committee member Sabrina Heisey. While the two towns have a conservative bent, Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in both towns in 2016, so Heisey has a real shot at winning the primary.

Lexington has a five-way Democratic primary, and the progressive choice is Mary Ann Stewart. She’s a former member of the Lexington School Committee, and a Deval Patrick appointee to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. It’s a body full of Baker appointees, and she manages to be an effective though outnumbered advocate when the numbers are stacked against her. She has the skill to push the envelope as far as she can without being exiled to total irrelevance in the statehouse basement. This is also an argument for retaining incumbent representatives who have shown the same skill; Arlington’s Sean Garballey has shown the same skill while pushing as much of a progressive agenda as possible in DeLeo’s chamber. Note that Elugardo, Heisey, Stewart, and Garballey have all been endorsed by Progressive Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, Barry Finegold is trying to regain the state senate seat he gave up to run for treasurer. Finegold is the point person in the senate for the charter school industry, reason enough to back Mike Armano in the Second Essex and Middlesex primary. Armano is a progressive firefighter in the mold of Ken Donnelly, and it would be wonderful if Armano continues Donnelly’s legacy of fighting for working families and progressive causes. Armano is also endorsed by Progressive Massachusetts.
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As for the Middlesex DA race, I look upon it from my home in Arlington. Our police chief, Fred Ryan, told Town Meeting last spring that if Starbucks called police on a couple of black guys sitting in the store, he would buy them a cup of coffee. “Every one of my officers would do the same thing.” Turns out the chief’s message resonates with the officers, as they bought coffee for a homeless man last week. We have a progressive view of community policing, where we have been leaders in community policing and seeking treatment (not jail) for folks caught up with opioids. When we held a Black Lives Matter vigil in front of the UU church, the police brought boxes of donuts. In all the progressive policing in town, Marian Ryan has been a partner. Embracing my “don’t fire folks who do good work” rule, I like Donna Patalano but I want to keep Ryan.
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So what if I’m not an orthodox Berniecrat. Guess I am sort of a maverick. To that, I say, thank you to John McCain for your service to our country. Let’s hope the next time I wander to Washington to lobby for public education, I get to visit the McCain Senate Office Building. May you rest in peace.