Brad Marston: Are you serious about the 2010 elections?

Brad Marston

As this is my first post here I will keep it brief. First and foremost I would like to thank the Editors of Massachusetts Election 2010 for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

I recently received a campaign mailer from my State Representative in the Eighth Suffolk District (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, The West End and part of Cambridge) who I am challenging in the November election. I took exception to a number of points she made but one phrase really struck me. “From ethics reform to transportation reform, we have made real progress, but much work remains.”

That seems to beg the question, “Why?” Democrats have had a veto-proof majority in both the Massachusetts House and Senate for nearly two decades. What is stopping them? Is it the five Republican Senators and fifteen Republican Representatives? The only conclusion I come to is that they are not serious about overcoming the challenges we face.

There are a whole host of issues in this race and I look forward to addressing them here as well as at my website www.BradMarston.com over the course of this campaign. I believe the fundamental question regardless of the issue be it jobs, government spending, taxes, corruption or reforms is this; “Why hasn’t our legislature fixed the problem when it has the unfettered power to do so?”

Why are they simply kicking problems down the road?

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Before any voter of casts their ballot for an incumbent of either party, I would hope they ask themselves one question. Why?

12 Comments

  • Matt
    July 23, 2010 - 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Just like the communities the legislature represents, the Commonwealth is faced with problems that are as diverse and pressing as ever. There are always going to be differences of opinion on how to solve these problems; there is no universal solution on which every citizen can agree on every issue.

    This is the basis of our democracy- to listen to every idea, and represent the voices of our neighborhood in a way that addresses these problems. The legislature is doing just that, and there will naturally be conflict on behalf of the many diverse opinions represented. The thought of somehow fixing every challenge the people of Massachusetts face is ludicrous. From what I can see, your campaign is less about solving the problems of the people you seek to represent, and more about criticizing those that have made our neighborhoods a better place to live.

    Marty Walz is committed to solving these problems. She has held leadership roles in organizations that are committed to finding solutions- The Women’s Lunch Place (a daytime shelter), Boston Public Schools, and Jumpstart for Children, to name a few. In the legislature, she helped pass ethics reform, and has kept a strong focus on creating new jobs and preserving current ones in the midst of a recession. She continues to lead the charge on education reform- ensuring that every child’s fullest potential be reached.

    Marty has worked tirelessly find real solutions to the problems we face. If you, Mr. Marston, want to believe these problems can be solved on a whim, not only are you being irresponsible and unrealistic- it just shows how disconnected and out of touch you are with the neighborhood you want to represent.

  • July 26, 2010 - 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Matt,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply. Let me address some of the points you make in your comment.

    As far as your idea that there is a “universal solution on which every citizen can agree” or that we can “somehow fixing every challenge” and “believ[ing] these problems can be solved on a whim” are your thoughts/arguments, not mine.

    The number one problem that people in the district talk to me about is jobs. That is an issue that Representative Walz did not even list on her website until a few weeks ago.

    Further. according to the Nation Federation of Independent Businesses, the advocacy group for small businesses and entrepreneurs who create the majority of new jobs, she has one of the worst voting records in the legislature in support of their positions.

    She supports big government solutions such as the $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative and the $150 million a year Film Tax Credit. I believe those are difficult to support when the state is slashing local aid, aid to schools and social safety net programs.

    On her website, Representative Walz claims to be for keeping taxes low. However she has voted for every tax increase that has come before the legislature. If one is going to argue as she does that the $150 million Film Tax Credit creates jobs and economic activity then one must admit that the ~ $2 billion a year in tax increases she has voted for have the opposite effect.

    “This is the basis of our democracy- to listen to every idea, and represent the voices of our neighborhood in a way that addresses these problems. The legislature is doing just that, and there will naturally be conflict on behalf of the many diverse opinions represented.”

    Again on her website Representative Walz claims she is for sustainable spending and again her record indicates otherwise. One person Representative Walz doesn’t seem to listen is Governor Patrick at least on the budget. She has voted against every single budget item veto he has ever issued. She voted against every budget amendment offered by the GOP caucus.

    She certainly didn’t listen to many ideas from the House GOP caucus on Ethics, Pension or Transportation reform voting agianst virtually all of their amendments that would have strengthened reform.

    She certainly didn’t listen to the will of the people who voted overwhelmingly to cut the income tax back to 5%. In fact she voted for the legislature to thwart that will.

    As for diversity of opinion in the legislature, based on her voting record there doesn’t seem to be much diversity between Representative Walz and whomever is Speaker. She voted with Sal DiMasi over 98% of the time and votes with Bob Deleo over 99% of the time.

    “From what I can see, your campaign is less about solving the problems of the people you seek to represent, and more about criticizing those that have made our neighborhoods a better place to live.”

    I have never said that Representative Walz doesn’t care about our district or that she hasn’t done some good things. The Green Ticket Bill and her advocacy of bike lanes and greater pedestrian access immediately come to mind.

    However, she has also voted to cut $140 million in local aid to Boston and Cambridge. It’s the cities that put police on the streets, firemen in firehouses, picks up the trash and maintains our parks. How do those cuts help the city? How does that help the district.

    I have never suggested she doesn’t work tirelessly. I do suggest she is working from the wrong manual.

    Matt, as I mentioned at the outset, you are arguing against positions I have never taken. If I thought government could solve every challenge I probably wouldn’t be a Republican but I think we can do a lot better.

    I also respect your full-throated support of Representative Walz. In fact when I first decided to run, even my Mom thought Representative Walz had been doing a pretty good job. Then I started pointing out her record.

    From speaking to the voters of the district, I believe the biggest problems facing them are 1) Lack of job growth 2) Out of control spending and the ever increasing tax burden that places on citizens and 3) A bloated, dysfunctional government bureaucracy that breeds corruption.

    On Jobs – I believe private enterprise is better at creating jobs than government is. We should merge and in many cases eliminate the 30+ government agencies and commissions related to business and economic development. We should review, refine and in many cases eliminate hundreds of laws and regulations that are either out of date, over burdensome or not cost effective. We need to reduce the cost of unemployment insurance and most importantly health insurance for small businesses. (I don’t know how Walz voted on the most recent proposal to allow small business to buy health insurance as a group. She had voted against it in the past.)

    On Spending – Using 2000 as a baseline, state government will spend $8 billion that cannot be accounted for by inflation, population growth, RomneyCare and increases in safety net programs. We need to radically restructure how government provides services. We need to eliminate the 9000 state employees added since 2000 who are not involved in providing social safety net services to our citizens in need. On taxes, I have taken the No New Taxes pledge and am endorsed by the Citizens for Limited Taxation. I am also one of the ten original signers of the ballot question to cut the sales tax to 3%.

    On Corruption – I believe that the legislature should not exempt itself all laws regarding transparency and open meetings. I believe that all proposed legislation should be available to members and the public for 72 hours before final passage.

    The power to name committee chairs should be taken away from the Speaker of the House and Senate President and should instead be voted on by the members of the respective committees. Neither should the Speaker nor the President have the power to determine legislators office assignments and staff sizes.

    The Attorney General’s office should be given subpoena power to investigate allegations of corruption/ethics complaints.

    So Matt, those aren’t whims. I don’t believe they are irresponsible or unrealistic. I think they are common sense solutions to the challenges faced by the people of the Eighth Suffolk District.

  • July 26, 2010 - 10:06 pm | Permalink

    I think you can see by Brad Marston’s thoughtful and detailed response that he is not easily labeled or demonized. This will be a problem for the Walz campaign as we approach November. While Marston clearly, factually and civilly identifies problems with the incumbent’s voting record (which is universally considered “fair game” in politics), he balances any criticism he might levy with common sense solutions. Moreover, unlike many candidates in Massachusetts and across the country, he is willing to give credit where credit is due to his opponent. Personally, I find this to be a refreshing approach to political campaigning and I applaud Brad for his efforts.

  • July 26, 2010 - 10:18 pm | Permalink

    John,

    I think Matt was basing his attack (“ludicrous” “irresponsible” “unrealistic”) on arguments I never made and positions I never took.

    I also liked the line “…helped pass ethics reform.” Ethics reform passed unanimously. How much help did it need?

  • July 26, 2010 - 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Matt,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply. Let me address some of the points you make in your comment.

    As far as your idea that there is a “universal solution on which every citizen can agree” or that we can “somehow fixing every challenge” and “believ[ing] these problems can be solved on a whim” are your thoughts/arguments, not mine.

    The number one problem that people in the district talk to me about is jobs. That is an issue that Representative Walz did not even list on her website until a few weeks ago.

    Further. according to the Nation Federation of Independent Businesses, the advocacy group for small businesses and entrepreneurs who create the majority of new jobs, she has one of the worst voting records in the legislature in support of their positions.

    She supports big government solutions such as the $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative and the $150 million a year Film Tax Credit. I believe those are difficult to support when the state is slashing local aid, aid to schools and social safety net programs.

    On her website, Representative Walz claims to be for keeping taxes low. However she has voted for every tax increase that has come before the legislature. If one is going to argue as she does that the $150 million Film Tax Credit creates jobs and economic activity then one must admit that the ~ $2 billion a year in tax increases she has voted for have the opposite effect.

    “This is the basis of our democracy- to listen to every idea, and represent the voices of our neighborhood in a way that addresses these problems. The legislature is doing just that, and there will naturally be conflict on behalf of the many diverse opinions represented.”

    Again on her website Representative Walz claims she is for sustainable spending and again her record indicates otherwise. One person Representative Walz doesn't seem to listen is Governor Patrick at least on the budget. She has voted against every single budget item veto he has ever issued. She voted against every budget amendment offered by the GOP caucus.

    She certainly didn't listen to many ideas from the House GOP caucus on Ethics, Pension or Transportation reform voting agianst virtually all of their amendments that would have strengthened reform.

    She certainly didn't listen to the will of the people who voted overwhelmingly to cut the income tax back to 5%. In fact she voted for the legislature to thwart that will.

    As for diversity of opinion in the legislature, based on her voting record there doesn't seem to be much diversity between Representative Walz and whomever is Speaker. She voted with Sal DiMasi over 98% of the time and votes with Bob Deleo over 99% of the time.

    “From what I can see, your campaign is less about solving the problems of the people you seek to represent, and more about criticizing those that have made our neighborhoods a better place to live.”

    I have never said that Representative Walz doesn't care about our district or that she hasn't done some good things. The Green Ticket Bill and her advocacy of bike lanes and greater pedestrian access immediately come to mind.

    However, she has also voted to cut $140 million in local aid to Boston and Cambridge. It's the cities that put police on the streets, firemen in firehouses, picks up the trash and maintains our parks. How do those cuts help the city? How does that help the district.

    I have never suggested she doesn't work tirelessly. I do suggest she is working from the wrong manual.

    Matt, as I mentioned at the outset, you are arguing against positions I have never taken. If I thought government could solve every challenge I probably wouldn't be a Republican but I think we can do a lot better.

    I also respect your full-throated support of Representative Walz. In fact when I first decided to run, even my Mom thought Representative Walz had been doing a pretty good job. Then I started pointing out her record.

    From speaking to the voters of the district, I believe the biggest problems facing them are 1) Lack of job growth 2) Out of control spending and the ever increasing tax burden that places on citizens and 3) A bloated, dysfunctional government bureaucracy that breeds corruption.

    On Jobs – I believe private enterprise is better at creating jobs than government is. We should merge and in many cases eliminate the 30+ government agencies and commissions related to business and economic development. We should review, refine and in many cases eliminate hundreds of laws and regulations that are either out of date, over burdensome or not cost effective. We need to reduce the cost of unemployment insurance and most importantly health insurance for small businesses. (I don't know how Walz voted on the most recent proposal to allow small business to buy health insurance as a group. She had voted against it in the past.)

    On Spending – Using 2000 as a baseline, state government will spend $8 billion that cannot be accounted for by inflation, population growth, RomneyCare and increases in safety net programs. We need to radically restructure how government provides services. We need to eliminate the 9000 state employees added since 2000 who are not involved in providing social safety net services to our citizens in need. On taxes, I have taken the No New Taxes pledge and am endorsed by the Citizens for Limited Taxation. I am also one of the ten original signers of the ballot question to cut the sales tax to 3%.

    On Corruption – I believe that the legislature should not exempt itself all laws regarding transparency and open meetings. I believe that all proposed legislation should be available to members and the public for 72 hours before final passage.

    The power to name committee chairs should be taken away from the Speaker of the House and Senate President and should instead be voted on by the members of the respective committees. Neither should the Speaker nor the President have the power to determine legislators office assignments and staff sizes.

    The Attorney General's office should be given subpoena power to investigate allegations of corruption/ethics complaints.

    So Matt, those aren't whims. I don't believe they are irresponsible or unrealistic. I think they are common sense solutions to the challenges faced by the people of the Eighth Suffolk District.

  • July 26, 2010 - 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I think you can see by Brad Marston's thoughtful and detailed response that he is not easily labeled or demonized. This will be a problem for the Walz campaign as we approach November. While Marston clearly, factually and civilly identifies problems with the incumbent's voting record (which is universally considered “fair game” in politics), he balances any criticism he might levy with common sense solutions. Moreover, unlike many candidates in Massachusetts and across the country, he is willing to give credit where credit is due to his opponent. Personally, I find this to be a refreshing approach to political campaigning and I applaud Brad for his efforts.

  • July 26, 2010 - 6:18 pm | Permalink

    John,

    I think Matt was basing his attack (“ludicrous” “irresponsible” “unrealistic”) on arguments I never made and positions I never took.

    I also liked the line “…helped pass ethics reform.” Ethics reform passed unanimously. How much help did it need?

  • July 26, 2010 - 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Brad–Expect similarly well-written (but equally flawed) arguments throughout the campaign. Your response to Matt was spot on, not only because you rejected the flawed premise (which, in and of itself, would have been sufficient to end the discussion), but you demonstrated that you will be the type of State Rep. who “goes the extra mile” to explain his positions, even to those who oppose you. Well done!

  • July 26, 2010 - 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Brad–Expect similarly well-written (but equally flawed) arguments throughout the campaign. Your response to Matt was spot on, not only because you rejected the flawed premise (which, in and of itself, would have been sufficient to end the discussion), but you demonstrated that you will be the type of State Rep. who “goes the extra mile” to explain his positions, even to those who oppose you. Well done!

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