Tuesday, August 31, 2010

CMassPolitics.com Interview: Lee Chauvette, 2nd Franklin House District

CMassPolitics.com spoke with Lee Chauvette (D-Athol) about his campaign for state representative in the Second Franklin House District.

CMassPolitics.com Interview with Lee Chauvette sound bite

Press Release: Lamb: Federal Government Needs To Learn To Do More With Less

The following press release was sent by Marty Lamb (R-Holliston), candidate for representative from the Third Congressional District.

Lamb: Federal Government Needs To Learn To Do More With Less

National Debt is Now $120,000 per Taxpayer

Holliston, MA ...Today, in front of Worcester City Hall, Marty Lamb, Republican candidate for Congress in Massachusetts Third District, called upon Congress to learn to do more with less in order to balance the budget and cut the national debt. Lamb blames McGovern for being part of the growing problem.

"I recently printed a Congressional barf bag to capture the frustration voters are expressing to me over the passage of Obamacare and the failure to control spending. This bag also makes the point on how to do more with less. It is cheaper than a regular campaign hand out, but yet has a bigger impact. Congress needs to start thinking outside the box when it comes to our tax dollars. We will only get that by electing new leadership. I want to be that fiscal watchdog leader for the people of the third district," said Lamb.

Lamb strongly believes that the growing national debt is a serious threat to our economy and the fiscal stability of our country. Each taxpayer in this country now owes $120,000 according to the National Debt Clock. Since June that number has grown $2000 per person. Our national debt will not only overburden our taxpayers, but it will also cause a steep increase in inflation and higher interest rates

Lamb does not want to leave his children and grandchildren with this staggering debt. That's why he has compiled 15 steps to reform government spending. The Lamb Chop plan includes the following:
  1. Institute a balanced budget amendment
  2. Line Item Veto
  3. Limit government spending to rate of inflation
  4. Hiring freeze for all non-essential employees
  5. Pay off debt
  6. No new entitlements
  7. Establish a Sunset Committee
  8. End off-budget expenditures
  9. No more bailouts
  10. Take back unspent TARP funds
  11. End Anonymous Earmarks
  12. Repeal Obamacare
  13. Reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  14. One Year Pay Raise Freeze
  15. Option to pay more-Our Massachusetts tax forms allow taxpayers to pay a higher percentage of their income if they choose. Congress should allow it at the federal level with all the funds being used only to pay down the national debt.
Today Lamb is adding several new suggestions for reducing federal spending.
  1. Privatize Amtrak-Every ticket sold loses money. Privatizing Amtrak would save $1 billion annually.
  2. Reduce number of federally owned vacant property--$25 billion is spent each year to maintain federal properties that are not being used.
  3. Reduce Farm subsidies-Congress needs to stop giving subsidies to commercial farms that are making a profit.
  4. Cut the Congressional franking privilege in half-People email nowadays. In fact, 80% of adults regularly use the internet. There is no need to increase this expenditure when email is free. Cutting these funds is long overdue.

"Unfortunately our Congressman has dropped the ball. He has never and will never be a fiscal watchdog for the taxpayers of this district. McGovern has a lifetime rating of voting only 7% of the time against wasteful government spending according to Citizens Against Government Waste," said Lamb. "As a small business owner who has had to watch the bottom line every day, I know that I can be part of the solution for balancing the budget and lowering our national debt."

Mr. Lamb graduated from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in 1985 and received his Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College in 1982. He has an extensive background in real estate law, formerly with Adelson, Golden & Loria, P.C., Edward A. Sokoloff & Associates, and Lamb & Shaffer, P.C. and is currently with Lamb and Browne, P.C. He is a member of the Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts. An active participant in community affairs, Mr. Lamb sits on the Board of Directors of New England Region of United Synagogue and is a past president of Temple Beth Torah in Holliston. He has also served on the Holliston Elementary School Council and the Campaign for Holliston Schools. He resides in Holliston with Peri, his wife of 20 years, and his two teenage daughters Elissa and Simma.

For more information on Marty's candidacy, voters can visit his website www.MartyforCongress.com or follow him on Twitter at LambforCongress and Facebook at Marty Lamb for Congress.

Tuesday roundup: Haller gives Mahoney a holla

Worcester Magazine reported Monday that Worcester city councilor Barbara Haller has endorsed John Mahoney (D-Worcester) in the six-way Democratic primary for the 13th Worcester House seat. In addition to other attributes, Haller appreciates that "JOHN MAHONEY likes people, babies, and animals. JOHN MAHONEY also likes hard work, public service, and attention to detail."

In his Election.net column today, Shaun Sutner looks at the ethnic and religious backgrounds of the six Democrats, one Republican, and one unenrolled candidate in the race.

Elsewhere around the region...

Second Franklin House District
The four Democrats running for representative debated on WWLP-TV in Springfield.

First Middlesex House District
The Sentinel and Enterprise profiled Jane Morriss (D-Groton), Jesse Reich (D-Ayer), and Tony Saboliauskas (D-Pepperell), the three candidates for the Democratic nomination.

Sixth Worcester House District
The bill sponsored by Rep. Geraldo Alicea (D-Charlton) that bans novelty cigarette lighters was signed by Gov. Deval Patrick and will go into effect in November.

Worcester County Sheriff
William Frisch, former Deputy Sheriff and supporter of Scot Bove (D-Holden) criticized Tom Foley (D-Worcester) in the Telegram, saying Foley "was found to be 100 percent medically disabled and obviously unable to perform the essential function requirements of his position." Foley countered that Mr. Frisch is "uninformed and totally unaware of the pressures that surround the head of the state police in Massachusetts.”

Breaking: Golnik acknowledges 2001 DUI arrest

The Eagle-Tribune is reporting this afternoon that Fifth Congressional District candidate Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle) has confirmed that he was arrested for DUI in 2001 and admitted to sufficient facts.

More coverage in tomorrow's roundup.

Congressional Roundup: Niki Tsongas? "Voters hate her."

The four Republicans running for the chance to defeat Fifth Congressional District Rep. Niki Tsongas attacked her repeatedly in a debate in Methuen Monday night. From the Lowell Sun:

METHUEN -- The four Republican candidates running for 5th Congressional District didn't do much to put distance between themselves during a debate last night....

"Voters hate her," said candidate Robert Shapiro of Andover during a debate last night hosted by the Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence. "I think any one of the four of us has a decent shot."

Along with Shapiro, candidates Jon Golnik of Carlisle, Sam Meas of Haverhill and Tom Weaver of Westford tried to set themselves apart from the competition. They agree on several issues, such as the deficit being too high, job growth being low and government spending leading to problems.
The Eagle-Tribune has more on the debate. They have also posted video of the forum on their site (although I haven't been able to get it to play).

Third Congressional District
The symbolic issue du jour led the Telegram's coverage of a Congressional forum held in Worcester yesterday. Each of the candidates who attended the taping of Charter TV's "Hank Stolz Experience" weighed in on the proposed Islamic Center a few blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center in Manhattan:
Candidate Michael P. Stopa of Holliston said he suspects terrorists would use the center to plot attacks. He said he wouldn't oppose construction if he knew the mosque would be under FBI surveillance once it opened.

“If violence is being planned, we have a right to defend ourselves,” he said this afternoon at a taping of “The Hank Stolz Experience” on Charter TV3. All five Republican candidates for the district were invited to the forum; four attended.

Brian J. Herr of Hopkinton immediately disagreed with Mr. Stopa, saying there is no need to spy on a house of worship. But Mr. Herr opposes the plan to build the Islamic center because he feels it is insensitive to 9-11 families and to people who live and work near ground zero.

Robert A. Delle of Paxton, formerly of Westboro, said he was concerned about something bigger — the growth of Islam.
MetroWest Daily News columnist Rick Holmes calls out Delle and fellow candidate Robert Chipman (R-Holliston) for their contention that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim:
Anyone who says Obama is a Muslim is either ignorant or unprincipled. Either they don't know the truth, or truth means nothing to them.
The Telegram also caught up with Herr, who has admitted to twice missing campaign finance reporting deadlines. As could be expected, the missing forms earned a slap from the McGovern campaign.

First Congressional District
John Olver (D-Amherst) joined HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Gov. Deval Patrick to announce a $24 million project to renovate Gardner's former Heywood-Wakefield factory into an assisted-living facility.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Press Release: Stopa Unveils Massachusetts Model for Dismantling Obamacare

The following press release was sent by Michael Stopa (R-Holliston), candidate for representative from the Third Congressional District.

Stopa Unveils Massachusetts Model for Dismantling Obamacare

(Boston, MA) Harvard physicist and U.S. Congressional candidate Michael Stopa today unveiled his plan for defunding, delaying, and ultimately repealing Obamacare. Appropriately, he used a blueprint that was successful in overturning the Massachusetts Universal Healthcare Bill signed by Governor Dukakis in 1988.

Standing with Mike on the steps of the Massachusetts State House was State Representative Betty Poirier, whose husband Kevin, was one of the key lawmakers instrumental in defeating "Dukakiscare."

Included here is the plan which includes an Executive Summary, the Case for Repealing Obamacare, the Plan to Repeal Obamacare, and free market alternatives that will provide better healthcare reform.

Michael Stopa is a fiscal conservative and first-time candidate running in the Third Congressional District of Massachusetts who will be competing for the seat currently held by Democrat James McGovern.

Press Release: Back to School -- Evangelidis on Education

The following press release was sent by Lew Evangelidis (R-Holden), candidate for Worcester County Sheriff.

Evangelidis: Sheriff Should be a Community Partner in Educating our Youth

Worcester- Worcester County Sheriff candidate Lew Evangelidis recently announced his plan to bring innovative programs aimed at educating our youth to the Sheriff’s Department. He has repeatedly stated his commitment to be a community partner and active participant in our local neighborhoods and schools.

Evangelidis, a former assistant district attorney and assistant state prosecutor, said, “Having two daughters enrolled in our public schools, one of my top priorities as Worcester County Sheriff will be to bring innovative programs into all the schools in the county to educate our students on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, to avoid a path to criminal activity, as well as the important issues of cyber bullying and online predators.”

Evangelidis continued, “The office of the Sheriff does not end at the four walls of the jail, but extends to the four corners of Worcester County. As Worcester County Sheriff, I will work with our local police departments, school officials and PTA groups to form strong community partnerships to prevent crime and keep our children safe.”

Here are just a few examples of the highly effective, low cost programs that Evangelidis will bring into our schools as Sheriff:

Face2Face Drug Intervention
Young adults often struggle to see the long term effects of drug abuse and the never ending road of addiction. The innovative FACE2FACE drug intervention program will bring the true consequences of drug abuse into every high school in the county. The FACE2FACE program uses state of the art technology to instantly show students what they will look like after only few months of drug abuse. This technology was originally developed to show patients what they may look like after plastic surgery, but was quickly redeveloped to create the FACE2FACE program.

The shocking results of deteriorated facial features can be a tremendous tool in drug prevention and teach students that decisions they make today will have serious affects tomorrow. This program is an inexpensive and effective tool to give students a glimpse into the future after drug abuse.

Cyber Bullying
43% of teenagers reported that they have been victims of cyber bullying in the last year. (National Crime Prevention Council) As your Sheriff I will be committed to bring programs into our schools and communities to help teach students and parents about preventing cyber bullying before it starts. Our goal will be to develop a program to help students understand the consequences of cyber bullying and create safe ways for students to report bullying. I will also work to provide parents with effective tools and guidance to identify cyber bullying, as well as teach them the most effective way to handle instances of cyber bullying.

Back to School: Inmates
As Worcester County Sheriff I will make sure that every high school student hears directly from inmates about the consequences of criminal behavior and importance of good decision making. I will match inmates to specific communities to help the students identify with inmates who used to live in their neighborhood, attend their school and have similar socioeconomic backgrounds.

Youth Self-Defense
As your new Sheriff, I will be committed to bringing youth self-defense programs into schools throughout the county. These programs can be fun for our children to participate in, but more importantly they can save a child’s life.

Press Release: Michael Engel Endorsed by Green-Rainbow Party in MA-01

The following press release was sent by Michael Engel (U-Southampton), candidate for representative from the First Congressional District.

Green-Rainbow Party Endorses Engel Congressional Candidacy

Southampton, MA - August 29 - Michael Engel, independent candidate for the U. S. House from the first district, has been endorsed by the State Committee of the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) at its meeting today in Boston.

Engel commented that he is “proud and pleased” over the endorsement, and noted that his own approach to economic policy and political reform is consistent with the “Ten Key Values” of the GRP.

Michael Horan, Co-Chair of the GRP, stated, “There's nothing, to my mind, more important than folks of similar values and mindsets and goals transcending our labels to make common cause. When truly independent candidates and dyed-in-the-wool Greens (and similar parties!) look behind the labels and extend a hand, we actually start getting somewhere.”

Engel will continue to run as an independent, and will be listed as such on the November ballot.

Monday Roundup: Herr slow to report

The Milford Daily News reports that Brian Herr (R-Hopkinton) has missed a couple of campaign finance reporting deadlines in reference to his run for Congress in the Third District:
Republican congressional candidate Brian Herr of Hopkinton has sought more time to file a financial disclosure form due in May but appears to have already missed a final pre-primary deadline.

Herr said yesterday that his campaign needed more time to fill out the forms than initially thought, then misunderstood the rules governing extensions....

U.S. House candidates must file forms listing their incomes, liabilities and certain assets with the chamber clerk within 30 days of hitting the $5,000 mark for fundraising or spending, with May 15 the first day to do so.

Herr hit that mark early on, but the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct can grant extensions of up to 90 days, an accommodation Herr has requested. But the form must still be filed 30 days before the next election; the Sept. 14 primary, however, is less than three weeks away.
The article also looks at the financial statements of the other candidates in the race, if you are inclined to care how much each of them earned last year.
Incumbent Rep. James McGovern (D-Worcester) is the subject of a profile in the Boston Globe, which suggests that he is in one of the toughest campaigns of his career. For his part, McGovern says he will not change his politics because of the political climate:
“Just because Scott Brown won an election doesn’t mean I should change everything I believe in," he said. “It’s no secret that I’m a liberal; I didn’t poll any of this stuff, but I am who I am."
Worcester County Sheriff
The Worcester Business Journal looks at the fundraising efforts of the major-party candidates for Worcester County Sheriff.
Scot Bove (D-Holden) talks to the Telegram about his priorites for the Sheriff's Office, including reducing the Worcester County Jail's budget.
First Middlesex House District
Tony Saboliauskas (D-Pepperell) is finding that some voters are confusing him with his son Zach, who ran for the seat in 2008 as an unenrolled 21-year-old.
Sixth Worcester House District
The Southbridge Evening News notes that Rep. Geraldo Alicea (D-Charlton) has not yet officially announced his run for re-election. Alicea says that he is running, but is waiting to announce.
Twelfth Worcester House District
Rep. Harold Naughton (D-Clinton) touts his record from the recent house session, in a column in The Banner.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Press release: Lamb concerned about another occurrence of vandalism

The following press release was sent by Marty Lamb (R-Holliston), candidate for representative from the Third Congressional District.

Lamb concerned about another occurrence of vandalism

Holliston, MA ...Today, Marty Lamb, Republican candidate for Congress in Massachusetts Third District, has filed another police report about vandalism that took place at his home late Saturday night at his home in Holliston.

This time vandals threw broken glass, old books, suit cases, and broken lamps on to the candidate's family lawn along with stealing their campaign signs.

"I am concerned about the escalation of vandalism at my home where I live with my wife and two daughters. It is one thing to have a political disagreement, but going to a candidate's home is just plain wrong," said Lamb.

During a campaign candidates often see lots of theft of signs. It is unusual to have people throwing glass and dumping garbage on a candidate's lawn.

Mr. Lamb graduated from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in 1985 and received his Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College in 1982. He has an extensive background in real estate law, formerly with Adelson, Golden & Loria, P.C., Edward A. Sokoloff & Associates, and Lamb & Shaffer, P.C. and is currently with Lamb and Browne, P.C. He is a member of the Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts. An active participant in community affairs, Mr. Lamb sits on the Board of Directors of New England Region of United Synagogue and is a past president of Temple Beth Torah in Holliston. He has also served on the Holliston Elementary School Council and the Campaign for Holliston Schools. He resides in Holliston with Peri, his wife of 20 years, and his two teenage daughters Elissa and Simma.

For more information on Marty's candidacy, voters can visit his website www.MartyforCongress.com or follow him on Twitter at LambforCongress and Facebook at Marty Lamb for Congress.

Press Release: Mike Stopa Will Suggest Blueprint For Dismantling Obamacare

The following press release was sent by Michael Stopa (R-Holliston), candidate for representative from the Third Congressional District.

Mike Stopa Will Suggest Blueprint For Dismantling Obamacare
At Massachusetts State House, Site Of Rise and Fall of Dukakiscare

Holliston, MA, August 29, 2010: Michael Stopa, candidate for U.S. Congress in the Third Congressional District, will hold a press conference on Monday, August 30th, at 11:00 A.M. at the Massachusetts State House to suggest that a plan for dismantling Obamacare already exists, and that the blueprint was developed right here in Massachusetts in the 1990's.

Standing on the steps of the State House where Dukakiscare was enacted, then killed, Stopa will be joined by, among others, State Representative Betty Poirier, whose husband Kevin Poirier, was instrumental in defeating the Dukakis plan. According to its opponents, the plan would have had a devastating effect on small businesses in the state.

Stopa will point out some of the major problems with Obamacare, including its higher costs, its negative effects on small businesses and senior citizens, and the expected rationing of medical care services and/or longer waits for medical service. He will discuss how the Obama administration, through Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi, passed the bill against the will of the majority of Americans, as evidenced by numerous national polls and by Senator Scott Brown's upset win this year.

He will discuss Congressman McGovern's marching in lockstep with Speaker Pelosi throughout the process and will challenge McGovern to a healthcare debate "anytime, anywhere" on the issue.

"Reforming healthcare is a noble and worthwhile goal, if it's done properly," Stopa has said. He will provide some of his ideas for reforming healthcare "the right way" at the press conference.

Michael Stopa is a Physics researcher at Harvard University and an internationally recognized expert on nanoscience and computation with over 80 publications and a thousand citations. He is a fiscal conservative and a first-time candidate. He and his wife and four children live in Holliston.

Press Release: Benson campaign knocks on over 1,000 doors

The following press release was sent by Rep. Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg) candidate for re-election in the 37th Middlesex district.

Benson campaign knocks on over 1,000 doors

State Representative believes in a personal approach to voter outreach

LUNENBURG – State Representative Jen Benson announced today that her campaign has knocked on well over 1,000 doors during the summer, and she is just getting started as the campaign season starts to heat up. While many candidates rely on mailings, automated phone calls, or advertisements to reach voters, Benson is following a more personal approach going door-to-door to meet and talk with voters one-on-one.

“Voters sometimes tune out impersonal communication like mailings and advertisements,” said Benson. “While just about everyone appreciates a personal visit and a chance to ask questions and discuss the issues.”

Benson acknowledges that going door-to-door takes a lot of time and energy. “Scheduling time for canvassing while the legislature is in session is a challenge, but the process of meeting with voters and hearing about their personal situations helps me serve them better as a their Representative,” said Benson. “Our legislative session wrapped up at the end of July, and while I still have a great deal of constituent work to do, I look forward to spending more time going door-to-door and hearing what voters have to say.”

Benson is not surprised that the top concerns of voters during her visits are the economy and job creation. “While Massachusetts is recovering from the recession faster than the rest of the country, there are still too many people out of work,” said Benson. “I have gotten positive feedback on the economic development bill and small business healthcare legislation we just passed, but people are still suffering and there is much more that needs to be done.”

Benson’s campaign has also included campaign volunteers in their canvassing efforts. “Going to someone’s door to talk about a candidate and the issues can be a daunting task for a volunteer,” said Campaign Manager Amy Burke, “but we have had some wonderful volunteers and campaign interns who have really connected with voters and added a great deal of positive energy to the process.”

Benson believes that other campaigning tools and communication strategies have their place. “My campaign will be sending mailings so voters know where I stand on the issues and I will be making phone calls with volunteers to get out the vote,” said Benson, “but I truly believe that speaking with voters one-on-one is the best campaign tool.”

August 30-September 5 Political Calendar

Here is a list of upcoming events, as posted in the local press or forwarded directly to CMassPolitics.com:

Monday, August 30
11:00 am -- Michael Stopa (R-Holliston) will hold a press conference at the State House to discuss Massachusetts' universal health care plan and the federal Affordable Care Act.

12:00 noon -- State Rep. Paul Kujawski (D-Webster), candidate for re-election in the Eighth Worcester District, will host his annual Dudley Senior Appreciation Cookout at the Senior Center at the Dudley Municipal Complex, 71 West Main St.

4:00 pm -- Marty Lamb (R-Holliston), candidate for Congress in the Third District, will appear on Fox News' Neil Cavuto show "Your World."

6:30 pm -- The Republican Town Committee is hosting a "meet and greet" Monday for state party candidates and voters at Tatnuck Booksellers, intersection of Route 9 and Lyman St. Candidates for Congress in the Third District have been invited to attend.

Wednesday, September 1
6:00 pm -- Lamb will attend a meet and greet at AMF Town & Country Bowling Lanes, 405 Boston Turnpike, Route 9, Shrewsbury.

7:00 pm -- Mt. Wachusett Community College is hosting a debate between the five candidates for State Representative in the Second Worcester District. The debate, sponsored by The Gardner News, The Mount Wachusett Community College Center for Democracy & Humanity and The Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, will be held at the College Commons.

7:00 pm -- Sheila Harrington (R-Groton), candidate for State Representative in the First Middlesex District, will be handing out ice cream cones and meeting voters at Goss Farm, 446 Pleasant Street (Route 113), Dunstable.

Thursday, September 2
5:30 pm -- Lew Evandeldis (R-Holden), candidate for Worceter County Sheriff, will attend a fundraiser in his honor at Tatnuck Country Club, 1222 Pleasant Street, Worcester. The event is sponsored by four Sheriffs from across the Commonwealth who have endorsed his candidacy.

6:30 pm -- Democratic Candidates for the open House seat in the 13th Worcester District will face off at The Willows, 101 Barry Rd., Worcester (off Salisbury St.). The event will be moderated by Hank Stolz of WCRN-AM Radio and will be rebroadcast on WCRN at 7:00 pm on Thursday, September 9.

7:00 pm -- Keith Nicholas (U-Warren), candidate for Worcseter County Sheriff, will appear on "Politically Speaking" on Fitchburg Access Television.

CMassPolitcs.com Site Update

Earlier this week, CMassPolitics.com began expanding its coverage of local politics with its first exclusive story, an exchange between the two Democratic candidates for Worcester County Sheriff. In the coming weeks, we hope to continue to pen original reports in addition to the daily roundup of stories from across Central Massachusetts.

We are also going to increase our coverage over the next few weeks in a couple of important and exciting areas:

1. Beginning Tuesday, CMassPolitics.com will publish exclusive interviews with primary candidates from across the region. These audio interviews will be presented in a raw, unedited format. Every candidate in a contested primary race will be asked to participate.

2. We will also begin publishing raw press releases from the candidates as we receive them. When we publish a press release, we will not edit it, except to format it for this site (you will get the chance to evaluate the candidates for their spelling and grammar, as well as their ideas). We will not publicize press releases on our Twitter feed, so if you want to read the releases directly from the candidates, make sure you check in periodically.

3. Finally, we plan to be on the ground on primary day, September 14, with live video updates from across the region as we catch up with the candidates as they make their final push for votes.

Thank you for following CMassPolitics.com and we hope you keep coming back.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Weekend Roundup: Margo Barnet on the move

Margo Barnet (D-Worcester) has gained some major support over the last couple of weeks in her attempt to win the Democratic nomination for the State House in the 13th Worcester District. Shaun Sutner of the Telegram reports that she has been getting help from outside organizations:
Three deep-pocketed unions have flooded the 13th Worcester District with mailings for Margot Barnet, the most liberal of the six Democrats in the race to succeed state Rep. Bob Spellane and the chosen candidate of Worcester Mayor Joe O'Brien.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association, the Massachusetts Nurses Association and SEIU Local 1199 have all chipped in for Barnet.
Barnet also picked up the endorsement of the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters earlier today.

Speaking of endorsements, Paul Franco (R-Worcester) continues to get mileage out of the withdrawal and subsequent endorsement of Bruce Card (U-Worcester).  Franco and Card appeared together on the Hank Stolz Experience on WCRN-AM and Charter TV3, and Franco also took a turn on the Jim Polito Show on WTAG-AM.

18th Worcester House District
Sutner also reports that some supporters of Rep. Jennifer Callahan (D-Sutton), including two Uxbridge selectmen, are retracting their endorsement of a letter Callahan published last month calling challenger Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) a liar.
Ms. Callahan wrote letters that appeared in four Blackstone Valley community newspapers in which she attacked Fattman for allegedly purveying a series of lies about her and rebutting each one.

The letter had 16 co-signers. Callahan also listed Sutton Town Administrator James Smith and planning director Jennifer Hager as contacts.

Now, though, two Uxbridge selectmen have distanced themselves from Callahan's letter, and Smith says he and Hager have nothing to do with any conflict between the candidates.
Here is Callahan's original letter, as published in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle.

First Middlesex House District
All five candidates appeared at a forum sponsored by the Pepperell Business Association last night. Earlier, Republicans Connie Sullivan (R-Ayer) and Sheila Harrington (R-Groton) squared off in a televised session on Groton Community Television. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Second Franklin House District
Video of Wednesday's debate in Greenfield has been posted to the Greenfield Community Television Web site.

Congressional Roundup: GOP candidates on their own

The Sentinel and Enterprise reports today that despite Republican optimism inside the Fifth Congressional District, the National Republican Congressional Committee is not planning on spending any money to oppose Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell):
BOSTON -- The national Republican Party, eyeing a possible takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives this fall, has not been fully sold on the chances of Bay State congressional GOP candidates to tap into the Scott Brown magic.

In the 5th District, that could mean another election cycle that the Republican nominee will have to go it alone against a better-funded U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, who is seeking a second full term after her special election victory in 2007.

Despite the insistence that Tsongas could be vulnerable this fall, national Republicans are not yet willing to commit any resources to a race in Massachusetts still considered a reliable Democratic stronghold, even after U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's upset victory in January over Attorney General Martha Coakley.
The article discusses the chances of either Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle) or Sam Meas (R-Haverhill) to upset Tsongas. Tom Weaver (R-Westford) and Bob Shapiro (R-Andover) are relegated to the dreaded "also running" status.
That hasn't stopped Weaver, who took a shot across Golnik's bow with a press release calling news of Golink's eight-and-a-half year voting hiatus as a distraction and asserting that only Weaver's "resume" was strong enough to defeat Tsongas.
The Boston Herald looks at WTKK-FM radio host Lawrence “Huggy” Bergman, who doubles as a "campaign operative" for Meas. Bergman insists that there is no conflict of interest.
Meas continues to garner national recognition for the story of his emigration from Cambodia, this time in the Wall Street Journal.
In a post at Blue Mass Group, Tsongas uses the 90th anniversary of women's suffrage to argue for her re-election.
Third Congressional District
Three of the five contestants for the Republican nomination squared off in a televised debate in Hopkinton. Michael Stopa (R-Holliston), Robert Delle (R-Paxton), and Brian Herr (R-Hopkinton) differed on the size of the federal workforce and the acceptance of Race to the Top education funding. Video of the forum is available on the HCAM-TV website.
Rep. James McGovern (D-Worcester) visited Somerset to discuss future development possibilities on the town's waterfront.
Marty Lamb (R-Holliston) continues to get mileage out of his barf bag gimmick, with coverage on WCVB-TV and in the Attleboro Sun-Chronicle.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nicholas jumps into Bove-Foley fray

Unenrolled Worcester County Sheriff candidate Keith Nicholas (U-Warren) waded into the contentious Democratic primary today, criticizing Tom Foley (D-Worcester) for seeking "another taxpayer funded check" and hitting Scot Bove (D-Holden) for defending a promotion system Nicholas says still allows supporters of the Sheriff to be promoted over other candidates.

In an early morning e-mail, Nicholas attempted to referee the dispute between the two Democrats reported Wednesday morning on CMassPolitics.com. In doing so, he knocked both candidates, though he saved his strongest criticism for Bove.

"It is still a promotional and hiring process of 'who you know,'" Nicholas wrote in regards to Bove's defense of the Sheriff Department's promotion policies. "This is one of the very first concerns that the officers’ union addressed during my interview with them just a few month ago... If this had been corrected two or three years ago, as Scot Bove states, then why is it still an issue with the Officers?"

As far as I am concerned, 'Passing the written exam' carries very little merit," Nicholas continued. "Ultimately the real factors should be the top scores, job experience, training and personnel record...This 'process' opens the door for the person with a lower score, someone with a lesser amount of experience or training, and of course, a mere 'supporter' of the Sheriff or “whom you know” to get promoted."

Nicholas also criticized Foley, saying the issue surrounding his medical disability pension is not the fact of the disability, but that he would be collecting both a pension and a salary.

"Tom Foley had a very respectable and envious career. It is unfortunate that his career was cut short due to his medical condition...," Nicholas wrote. "The simple fact [is] that he is medically retired from one State agency and drawing a tax-free pension for that, and now looking for another taxpayer funded check.

"While many target his medical condition, I will not. To me the real concern is the public perception of drawing two salaries, earning more than the Governor, paid for from the taxpayer’s pockets."

Nicholas and Lew Evangelidis (R-Holden) will join the winner of the Bove-Foley race on the November 2 general election ballot.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday roundup: Deadline day

Today marked two important deadlines in the candidates' quest for their parties' nominations. First, today marked the last day a voter could register to vote or declare their enrollment in a political party. Secondly, August 25 also marked the last day candidates can receive campaign contributions and count them toward the July-August reporting period. The Telegram looks at the second:
In the 3rd Congressional District, U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester, has raised an estimated $250,000 since July 1, said campaign manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. Combined with money raised earlier in the year, the campaign will have nearly $1 million on hand, Mr. Augustus said.

As of June 30, Mr. McGovern had raised more than $1 million — far more than the Republicans challenging him had raised — and had nearly $823,000 on hand....

Mr. [Brian] Herr [of Hopkinton] and Mr. [Marty] Lamb [of Holliston] were the only Republican opponents to submit FEC reports for the reporting period that ended June 30. In that period, Mr. Herr had raised more than $66,000 with about $23,000 left on hand, and Mr. Lamb of Holliston had raised nearly $49,000 with about $21,000 on hand.

The other candidates, Robert J. Chipman of Plainville; Robert A. Delle, formerly of Westboro, who now lives in Paxton; and Michael P. Stopa of Holliston, lag in fundraising. They have yet to submit any financial reports.
Chipman, Delle, and Stopa also get the treatment from the liberal alt-weekly Boston Phoenix, which looks at right-wing candidates running for Congress and refers to the three candidates as part of "a swarm of dubious characters, with little experience in politics, whose questionable beliefs are only just beginning to come to light."

Lamb has been getting some mileage out of his Congressional barf bags. He gets a mention from Michelle Malkin, which is a pretty big get. (Perhaps just as surprising is the news that Malkin's staff follows Worcester Mag's Jeremy Shulkin).

Four of the five candidates are scheduled to debate in Hopkinton tomorrow night.

Middlesex and Worcester Senate District
Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) spoke out against a proposal to move the caseload from Marlborough District Court to facilities in Ayer and Concord.
Eldridge, who strongly opposes casino gambling, told the Lowell Sun that the failure to pass casino legislation will be a plus for Gov. Deval Patrick's reelection campaign.
Second Franklin House District
David Roulston (D-Greenfield) announced that he has received the endorsement of Sheriff Frederick McDonald.

CMassPolitics.com Exclusive: Bove and Foley trade blows on promotions, "questionable activities"

Scot Bove (D-Holden) and Tom Foley (D-Worcester), candidates for Worcester County Sheriff, exchanged sharp comments yesterday in response to an August 15 letter Foley posted on his Web site to supporters.

In the letter, Foley charged that many jail workers opposed his candidacy because they "don’t want to act professional. They want to continue with the old practice of promotions based upon who you know or who you donate to."

That accusation brought a strong response from Bove, who defended the promotion policies at the jail in an interview with CMassPolitics.com.

"With the union contract a few years ago, anyone who wants to get promoted has to pass an exam," Bove said. "If you don’t pass the independent exam, you don’t get promoted. It just goes to show how little he knows about the business."

Reached for comment last night, Foley countered that he is not convinced that the promotional process is working the way Bove described. "I am hearing from jail workers that it is not as cut and dried as [Bove] would make it out to be...."

"I know what it's like to be promoted through an exam process. Certainly Scot is not a product of that process."

In the letter to supporters, Foley also charged that jail workers were engaged in "questionable activities" in opposition to his campaign.

"Throughout this campaign I have become aware of some questionable activities by jail employees while being on the payroll that I will follow up on if I am elected," Foley wrote.

When asked about the charges, Bove, who has been an employee at the jail for 27 years, responded, "He needs to clarify that, because I don’t have a clue what he is talking about.

"He is making some outlandish accusations, I assume, to deflect some of the things that are going on with his campaign," Bove continued. "But if there is anything going on [at the jail], he certainly should make someone aware of it--which he hasn’t done--other than in a rambling letter he posted on his website."

Yesterday, Foley responded, "I stand by the comments in my letter. It is something I will address if I am elected."

Bove and Foley will face off in the September 14 primary. The winner will face Lew Evangelidis (R-Holden) and Keith Nicholas (U-Warren) in the November 2 general election.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday roundup: More missing votes in MA-05

The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune followed up their weekend expose of Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle) and his eight-and-a-half year absence from the voting booth with a look at the 2007 special election won by Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell). It turns out that Golnik wasn't the only Republican in the Fifth Congressional District race who missed that ballot:
There are four Republicans campaigning against incumbent Democrat Niki Tsongas in the 5th Congressional District, but only Tom Weaver can say he voted against her in 2007....

Weaver voted for Ogonowski, but all three of his opponents in the upcoming Sept. 14 primary — Sam Meas of Haverhill, Bob Shapiro of Andover and Jon Golnik of Carlisle — did not cast ballots.

"Jon's got to answer where he was. So does Sam. So does Bob," said Weaver, a Westford resident. "I can make the statement that I've been running against Niki Tsongas since 2007 based on that. ... I cast a ballot against her. I can say it and no one else can."
The revelation could be particularly damaging to Meas, who has aggressively criticized Golnik for his voting lapse. Yesterday, Meas posted a YouTube video titled "Golnik -- A Voting Record" calling out Golnik for his absence at the polls. This afternoon, the video has been pulled from the server and replaced with another, slightly milder version.


Second Congressional District
Tom Wesley (R-Hopedale) has taken his campaign to Singapore, where he recorded his latest video update.

13th Worcester House District
The Telegram has more on the decision of Bruce Card (U-Worcester) to drop out of the race and endorse Paul Franco (R-Worcester). Red Mass Group posted the Franco press release.

Second Franklin House District
In a press release, Lee Chauvette (D-Athol) urged caution on the development of a virtual K-8 school and a proposed big box development in the district.

Third Congressional District
Finally, Marty Lamb (R-Holliston) has the solution for people sick of politics.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Legislative roundup: One candidate in, one candidate out

A couple of unenrolled candidates for the State House lead the round up of legislative campaign news today. One candidate in the 13th Worcester District bowed out of the race today, while a candidate in the Second Franklin District jumped back into the ring after dropping out a couple of weeks ago.

13th Worcester House District
First, to Worcester, where Worcester Magazine reports that Bruce Card (U-Worcester) is ending his campaign and endorsing Paul Franco (R-Worcester):
At a press conference today, [Card] added that he’s endorsing Paul Franco, the race’s lone Republican. Card said Franco’s attention to fiscal responsibility, intentions of “restoring integrity to Beacon Hill” and “goals of reviving the economy” mirrored his own platforms.
Franco has posted video of the event, held in a local restaurant. The maudlin music accompanying Card's speech gives new meaning to the term "swan song."

Second Franklin House District
Genevieve Fraser (U-Orange), who had dropped out of the race last month due to health issues, posted a note to her supporters that she has re-thought that position and will continue her campaign after all:
After months of heavy campaigning, including one session that lasted for over 12 hours in direct sunlight, I experienced a variety of symptoms that sent me scrambling to doctors for tests. Since then, the symptoms have cleared...but I now observe the warning and cover-up, and limit exposure to sunlight.

I look forward to resuming campaign activities and providing an independent voice regarding the many issues that face voters in the district.
Fraser had previously endorsed Roxanne Wedegartner (D-Greenfield) when she withdrew from the race.

Worcester and Middlesex Senate District
The Boston Globe suggests that Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster) is an example of a Democrat who is "tacking to the right" this election cycle. Their reasoning? Flanagan attended a Tea Party Forum in June.

Flanagan's bill to closely track prescription use to keep patients from shopping for doctors who will give them painkillers was signed Friday by Gov. Deval Patrick.

Ninth Worcester House District
Timothy Dodd (D-Westborough) attended the reopening of a Jiffy Lube in town. He was joined by fellow Selectman (and Middlesex and Worcester Senate candidate) George Thompson (R-Westborough) as well as Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Worcester).

Shaun Sutner of the Telegram continues his look at the voting patterns of challengers. Today he notes that Dodd was a Republican until July 2009, voting in every Republican primary this decade except for the Special Election ballot last December.

Rep. George Peterson (R-Grafton) accepted a copy of the U.S. Constitution from the Constitution Ride Across America.

Second Worcester House District
Rich Bastien (R-Gardner) posted an item to Red Mass Group criticizing Gov. Patrick for not signing the casino bill and allowing Wonderland Park to close.

Patrick Gerry (D-Gardner) won the endorsement of the MassEquality Political Action Committee.

Sixth Worcester House District
Peter Durant (R-Spencer) released a new web video calling for voters to send the state "in a new direction."

37th Middlesex House District
Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker stumped for Kurt Hayes (R-Boxboro) at a gathering of GOP women in Lunenburg.

First Middlesex House District
The Pepperell Republican Town Committee wants everyone to know that whoever was campaigning for Sheila Harrington (R-Groton) in the PRTC's name was doing so without its permission.

NARAL has posted it's list of endorsed candidates. Jesse Reich (D-Ayer) is the only Central Mass. candidate in a contested primary to receive an endorsement.

Congressional Roundup: Golnik's DNV

In basketball, a player who suits up but does not appear in the game is shown in the box score as a "DNP" (Did Not Play). According to a report this weekend in the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, Third Congressional District candidate Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle) has been quite the bench warmer, as he did not vote at all from November, 2008 to March, 2009:
"It's one of those things you're certainly not proud of and wish you could change," Golnik said of his voting record. "I fell into a trap and I got disillusioned. I got frustrated...."

"I was an activist. And then I stopped," Golnik wrote on his campaign website under the header "My Political Journey." "What happened to a young activist like me and a lot of others after 2000 that made me make the active decision not to vote? It wasn't because I didn't care. I felt that I upheld my end and that my party didn't uphold its end. I felt betrayed. I believe Republicans lost their way after Bush's 2000 election."
Not only is Golnik being criticized for his DNV (Did Not Vote), an area blogger and strong supporter of Sam Meas (R-Haverhill) is suggesting that the fire that destroyed Golnik's headquarters may have been started by the candidate (or one of his supporters). The Lowell Sun reports:
Mike Farquhar, who writes on the blog rabidrepublicanblog.com, asked "Could this be a narcissist's criminal bid for attention?"

"Maybe it's just my suspicious nature, but with three honorable candidates in this race, and one proven liar ... could this be a self-inflicted wound?" Farquhar wrote.

The Golnik camp was appalled.

"Thirty-six hours after the fire that destroyed the Golnik office, we are fully functional and not focused on ridiculous accusations from anonymous people and blogs," said campaign spokeswoman Alicia Preston.
As you can imagine, Meas has distanced himself from Farquhar, saying he "doesn't condone anything Mike has said."

Elsewhere in the races for Congress...

Third Congressional District
Michael Stopa (R-Holliston) gets the full treatment from the Telegram today. To sum up:
“I am frustrated by the condescending stubbornness of the Obama administration, and I am scared by the complete cluelessness of what to do about it,” he says bluntly.
Martin Lamb (R-Holliston) got to be part of The Hark Stolz Experience. Unfortunately you won't be able to get the full experience, as only the first segment of the show has been published.

Audio of Brian Herr's (R-Hopkinton) radio ad has also been posted to You Tube.

In talking about the effort to restore cuts to food stamp programs, Rep. James McGovern (D-Worcester) said "Let's not rob Peter to pay Paul." Any old saying that reminds me of former Red Sox G.M. Lou Gorman warms my heart.

McGovern also attended the reopening of a Jiffy Lube in Westborough to laud the company's charitable efforts. He was joined by current Selectmen Timothy Dodd (D-Westborough), who is running in the Ninth Worcester House District, and George Thompson (R-Westborough), who is campaigning for the Middlesex and Worcester Senate seat.

First Congressional District
Bill Gunn (R-Ware) will be out of the district and in Washington, DC this week to fulfill his community service obligations. According to a press release, Gunn was arrested on March 21 and charged with disruption of congress for yelling "Kill the Bill" from the House gallery during debate on the Affordable Care Act. Gunn was subsequently sentenced to 40 hours of community service, to be completed this week at the Greater Capital Area Food Bank.

Last week, Gunn appeared on the "Politically Speaking" show on Fitchburg Access Television.

Michael Engel (U-Southampton) announced that he has accepted an invitation to debate Gunn at a Tea Party event in the coming weeks. No definitive date has been set.

August 23-29 Political Calendar

Here is a list of upcoming events, as posted in the local press or forwarded directly to CMassPolitics.com:

Monday, August 23
6:00 pm -- 13th Worcester House District candidate Joff Smith (D-Worcester) will be at a meet and greet at El Basha Restaurant, 256 Park Ave., Worcester.

Tuesday, August 24
7:00 pm -- The Pepperell Business Association is hosting an evening to meet Candidates for State Representative in the First Middlesex House District at the Pepperell VFW, 55 Leighton St., Pepperell.

7:00 pm -- 37th Middlesex House District candidate Kurt Hayes (R-Boxborough) will hold a public Town Hall-style forum to talk with local voters at the Harvard Town Hall.

7:00 pm -- Keith Nicholas (U-Warren), candidate for Worcester County Sheriff, will attend a reception at Owen O'Leary's, 50 Turnpike Rd., Southborough.

Wednesday, August 25
6:00 pm -- Marty Lamb (R-Holliston), candidate for Congress in the Third Congressional District, will hold a fundraiser with former Mass. GOP Chairman Jim Rappaport at The Celtic Tavern, 45 Belmont St., Northboro.

6:00 pm -- Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle), Fifth Congressional District candidate, will attend a reception at 577 Main St., Hudson.

Thursday, August 26
6:00 pm -- 11th Worcester House District candidate Matt Beaton (R-Shrewsbury) will host an ice cream social at campaign headquarters at 15 Maple Ave., Shrewsbury.

6:30 pm -- Jay Fleitman (R-Northampton), candidate for Congress in the Second Congressional District, will attend an Italian buffet dinner-fundraiser in the Oak Room of the Pilsudski Polish American Citizen’s Club, 18 Ballard Court, Southbridge.

7:00 pm -- 37th Middlesex House District candidate Kurt Hayes (R-Boxborough) will hold a public Town Hall-style forum to talk with local voters at the Sargent Memorial Library in Boxborough.

7:00 pm -- Worcester County Sheriff candidate Tom Foley (D-Worcester) will appear on the Politcally Speaking Show on Fitchburg Access Television.

Saturday, August 28
4:00 pm -- Republican candidates from the Fifth Congressional District, Middlesex and Worcester House District, and area House districts are scheduled to attend the Shirley Republican Town Committee's Olde Fashioned Cigar and Scotch Event at the Devens Grill, at 4 Ryans Way in Devens.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

40% of GOP candidates in MA-03 say Obama is Muslim

Apparently the Third Congressional District is as Amreican as hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. A recent Time magazine poll suggested that 40% of Republicans nationwide believe that President Barack Obama is Muslim. An Attleboro Sun-Chronicle canvass of Republican candidates challenging Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Worcester) found that two of the five GOP challengers believe the same. The roundup:

Robert Chipman (R-Plainville): "I believe that - that he is a Muslim...Coming from an international background, there is no mistake that he leans into the Muslim faith."
Robert Delle (R-Paxton): "There is no doubt about it. Obama is a Muslim."
Michael Stopa (R-Holliston): "I actually don't think Barack Obama is a Muslim. I think he is a nonbeliever...I think he's sympathetic to anybody who is opposed to America and American values."
Martin Lamb (R-Hopkinton) "said he is uninterested in Obama's religion."
Brian Herr (R-Hopkinton) was not quoted in the story.

So the final tally is 40% of GOP candidates in MA-03 say Obama is a Muslim, 20% say he is an athiest, 20% do not care, and 20% did not comment.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bill Gunn clarifies remarks on Islamic Center

On Tuesday, The Sentinel and Enterprise wrote that First Congressional District challenger Bill Gunn (R-Ware) suggested that building a "pork factory" would be an appropriate response to the planned Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan a few blocks from Ground Zero:
Gunn went on to say that if the developers don't accept an offer to relocate the mosque, protesters should "make their lives miserable." He even suggested allowing businesses that would be objectionable to Muslims -- such as a pork factory -- to locate nearby.
You will note that the Sentinel did not quote Gunn directly. Following my note on the piece in Wednesday's CMassPolitics.com Gunn posted a comment to the entry, putting the discussion into a fuller context:
My comment that someone should open a pork factory next door was a use of humor to illustrate that there are ways to oppose the building of this mosque without trampling on the Constitution. The people that want to build this mosque have a Constitutional right to do so, but those that are offended by the gesture have the right to voice their displeasure through protest, peaceful assembly and other methods to include the purchase of adjoining properties and the free use of those properties as they see fit.
I have verified with the Gunn campaign that the comment posted to Wednesday's entry, and reposted here without edit, is from the candidate.

Friday Roundup: Lamb's voting record in question

Unless something breaks this afternoon, this will be the last update of a busy week of campaigning. Let's start in the Third Congressional District, where Martin Lamb (R-Holliston) got the full treatment from the Telegram this morning. Lamb told reporter Priyanka Dayal that he'd finally had enough:
I got sick and tired of yelling at the TV and preaching to all of my friends and family and decided it was just time to get off my couch and take some action,” he said, explaining why he is running for Congress.
The report also claims that "In previous elections, Mr. Lamb says he has almost always voted Republican, but he conceded he didn’t vote for Ronald Reagan the first time Mr. Reagan ran for president." That does not jive with an earlier Telegram report. Last month, Shaun Sutner reported that Lamb "voted as a Democrat in state and presidential primary elections in 2006, 2004 and 2000."

The earlier story also reported that Lamb "said he has since 1976 voted for Republicans for president in the general election." That would contradict the statement in today's paper that Lamb did not vote for Reagan in his first run for president, unless Lamb was referencing Reagan's primary run in 1976, when Lamb would have been 19 years old.

Elsewhere in the district, Michael Stopa (R-Holliston) has been touting some of his one-liners from the GOP debate Wednesday in Shrewsbury:
"Later, [Stopa] got the biggest laugh of the night when he said that Massachusetts, unlike Arizona, doesn't have to worry about protecting its borders except perhaps with Rhode Island...To make sure "Patches" Kennedy doesn't sneak in."
I'm not sure Stopa will be the next host of Saturday Night Live, but apparently he does have a knack for radio, as he was featured on WCRN-AM's Mike Wade Show last Saturday.

The incumbent was also making news Thursday. Rep. James McGovern (D-Worcester) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Newton) announced that they will file a provision in Congress to ban the construction of a liquid natural gas terminal proposed for Fall River.

First Congressional District
Rep. John Olver (D-Amherst) was in Pittsfield to announce a $1.25 million grant to aid the completion of the Streetscape Project.

Second Congressional District
Tom Wesley (R-Hopedale) spoke Wednesday night at a Tea Party forum in Holden. The former Navy aviator told the crowd that "I didn't blink with the Russians and I'm not going to blink with Nancy Pelosi."

First Worcester House District
Worcester County Sheriff
House candidate Kim Ferguson (R-Holden) and Sheriff candidate Lew Evangelidis (R-Holden) also spoke at the Tea Party event.

11th Worcester House District
Kevin Byrne (D-Shrewsbury) formally kicked off his campaign Wednesday night.

18th Worcester District
Rep. Jennifer Callahan (D-Sutton) and challenger Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) each weighed in on Bellingham's restrictive lawn sign ordinance.

Foley v. Telegram

Worcester County Sheriff Candidate Thomas Foley (D-Worcester) has reacted forcefully to the Telegram's reporting last week of his disability pension. In a nearly 1,300-word letter to supporters that he posted to his Web site earlier this week, Foley accused Telegram reporter Shaun Sutner of treating his campaign unfairly and charged that his opponents were engaging in unfair campaign tactics.

First, his comments about Sutner and the Telegram:
In December, when Sean Sutner first wrote an article in the T&G about our candidacy he wrote about the pension as if it was a new revelation. I spoke to him at the time and told him that it had been openly spoken about and vetted in the Boston newspapers. I told him this was no new revelation even though he proceeded to write it as one and inferred [sic] that I was trying to hide it. During this conversation I expressed my opinion that I felt he was being unfair in some stories he was writing about local police. Apparently he didn’t like that as I have never received a fair, substantive analysis of my candidacy since.

...To [Telegram columnist] Diane Williamson’s credit she took the time and effort to research this subject and found that I was telling the truth. It was Sean Sutner who once again lost credibility. Sean Sutner has little credibility with the law enforcement community. 
Sutner responded Wednesday on his ElectionNet blog:
I was mistaken in my story last November in which I reported that there was no mention of a heart disability or the tax-free $112,000 pension when Foley, now 56, stepped down in 2004, saying that he was being muscled by a troopers' union that was trying to undermine him.

What I should have said was “scant” mention.

A check of the major newspaper stories of the time, including The Boston Globe, Boston Herald and the Telegram & Gazette, shows one mention that Foley had put in for a disability retirement....

So, in effect, my story last November did reveal the disability pension for the first time in a long time, and for the first time ever in the T&G, the biggest media outlet in Central Massachusetts, Foley's home region.
Both sides of the dispute have merit. Foley is understandably frustrated that the issue continues to overshadow his campaign. As far as he is concerned, he has addressed the issue years ago and would like to focus on those issues that he feels are important. For Foley, the discussion of the issue now, nearly six years after he left the State Police, must seem tedious and unnecessary.

But Sutner is also correct that while the question had been posed years ago, it had not been discussed in Central Mass. In fact, the question of Foley's disability and pension would not be an issue now, except that he is running for office.

And even if the issue had been discussed in the Telegram years ago, candidates for office must understand that their work history is fair game for the press, regardless of how old or worn out that history may seem to the candidate. (One can look at the difficulty Jeff Perry, candidate for Congress in the 10th District, is having over allegations stemming from his police work nearly two decades ago as another example.) Just because it's old news to the candidate doesn't mean it is old news to those who are considering for whom to cast a vote.

Perhaps more germane to the campaign itself is Foley's charge that employees at the jail--who he implies are Bove supporters, although he does not explicitly say so--are engaged in dirty tricks. He also ties Sutner's work to these opponents:
...I will apply that same persistence and high expectations if I am elected to Sheriff because it is our job, the public expects it and because it is the right thing to do. It is for this reason that some who work at the jail are launching these negative attacks.

There is a group working there that doesn‘t want change. They don’t want to be held accountable. They don’t want to act professional [sic]. They want to continue with the old practice of promotions based upon who you know or who you donate to...Throughout this campaign I have become aware of some questionable activities by jail employees while being on the payroll that I will follow up on if I am elected. Last night many of our signs were destroyed (including one supporter’s sign destroyed and tires slashed) and Sutner wrote another jilted article. It makes you wonder what kind of people we are dealing with here; hiding behind anonymous unfounded allegations and late night cowardly acts. Please do not respond to the negative campaigning and unprofessional activities we are seeing and will continue to see.
Foley's charge that jail workers "don't want to be held accountable. They don't want to act professional [sic]." and that they may be tied to dirty tricks could become explosive in the last three-and-a-half weeks of the campaign.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

State House Roundup: Prickly debate in 13th Worcester

The six candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 13th Worcester District squared off in a 90-minute debate yesterday at Anna Maria. From the looks of the Telegram photo, the event was a greuling one for the participants. According to the report the dialogue became testy at times, with more than one tart exchange between dueling candidates:
The most heated exchanges came at the end of the session. Ms. [Gina] DiBaro, assistant district attorney in the Worcester district attorney's office on a leave of absence to run for the seat, asked Mr. [Mike] Perotto, who spent 14 years on the Worcester City Council, if he would support a move toward making state legislators part time.

Mr. Perotto did not support such an effort.

“You get what you pay for, Gina,” Mr. Perotto said. He said people need to be paid for the work they're doing.

Ms. DiBaro said states such as New Hampshire and New Jersey use part-time legislators, but Mr. Perotto cut in.

“They have no roads; they have no schools,” Mr. Perotto said, as the audience started clapping and chiming in.
In another exchange, Worcester City Councilor Joff Smith defended his vote to raise his councilor's salary by nearly double in response to a question from John Mahoney (D-Worcester). Smith reminded Mahoney and the audience that Mahoney had run and lost a recent campaign for councilor.

Not discussed last night (or at least not mentioned in the article) was the attendance of retiring Rep. Bob Spellane (D-Worcester). Shaun Sutner reported that Spellane missed 52% of the votes cast in the House this year. Two other retiring representatives, Chris Donelan (D-Orange) in the Second Frankliin District and Bob Rice (D-Gardner) also missed around 10% of the votes cast. It will be interesting to see if attendance at the State House becomes an issue in the last few weeks of the Democratic Primaries for those three seats.

Second Franklin House District
Speaking of the Second Franklin, video of the Tuesday debate in Greenfield has been posted to the Greenfield Community Television Web site.

37th Middlesex House District
Kurt Hayes (R-Boxboro) will be hosting an open forum at the Thayer Memorial Library in Lancaster tonight at 7:00 p.m.

Worcester and Middlesex Senate District
Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster) recently touted her bill to "establish the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association as a Regional Tourism Council."

Thursday Congressional Roundup: Immigration dominates debate

Four of the five challengers for the Third Congressional District seat held by Rep. James McGovern (D-Worcester) squared off last night in a Shrewsbury debate. The forum, sponsored by the Shrewsbury League of Women Voters, gave Brian Herr (R-Hopkinton), Michael Stopa (R-Holliston), Martin Lamb (R-Holliston), and Robert Delle (R-Paxton) a chance to differentiate themselves from each other, however slightly. One area where there was both some consensus and disagreement was on immigration policy, as reported in the Telegram:
Though they all oppose amnesty, the candidates differed somewhat in their views on illegal immigration. Mr. Herr and Mr. Lamb both said the borders need to be secured, with the help of the U.S. military. They said existing laws need to be enforced to make the country unattractive to illegal immigrants.

Mr. Lamb went a step further, saying employers should be fined or charged for hiring illegal immigrants. He also believes citizenship should not be a birthright for children born to illegal immigrants.

Mr. Stopa voiced strong support for Arizona's new immigration law and said other states should be allowed to pass such laws. “I think we should send 12 million illegal aliens back to their home countries,” he said.

As a lawyer, Mr. Delle said, he has represented hundreds of illegal immigrants.

He said the illegal immigration problem has been overstated, and that people who live in the country illegally are not stealing jobs that citizens and legal residents would want.
Delle, who has lived in Westboro, Wayland, and now Paxton in the last year, also remarked that he was the best candidate because he doesn't "need a GPS to get around here." The article doesn't mention if the remark was serious or self-deprecating, but if he was joking about his frequent moves...well, that's funny.

While the Republicans were slugging it out, McGovern was discussing food stamp policy and other subjects on the Callie Crossley show on WGBH-FM.
Fifth Congressional District
The four Republicans hoping to replace Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) faced off in a debate Tuesday in Chelmsford.
Just hours after the Tuesday debate, the campaign headquarters of Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle) were destroyed in a Westford blaze. Golnik told The Boston Globe that the fire will not slow down his campaign. In fact, Congressional Quarterly reported yesterday that Golnik has turned the loss into a fundraising pitch.
First Congressional District
Michael Engel (U-Southampton) asks on his blog if anyone has seen Rep. John Olver (D-Amherst) recently, illustrating his query with a photoshop of the incumbent on the side of a milk carton.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday Congressional Roundup: Out like a Lamb

Tuesday was a busy day on the campaign trail in the Third Congressional District, with many of the candidates out on the campaign trail. Michael Lamb (R-Holliston) made a stop in Fall River, where he criticized Rep. James McGovern (D-Worcester) for allowing the federal deficit to rise. From the Herald News:
“Each taxpayer in this country now owes $118,000 to pay off the national debt,” Lamb said.

“Unfortunately, that figure is growing every day. For more than a decade our incumbent has failed to control spending....”
“If your income is cut by 20 percent what do you do? You cut your spending by 20 percent,” Lamb said. “That’s what government needs to do and they’re not doing it. As a father of two daughters, I want to make sure we don’t leave a mountain of debt to the next generation.”
McGovern was in Marlborough, where he toured local businesses with leaders from the civic and business communities.

Brian Herr (R-Hopkinton) announced that he has cut a radio ad. According to the campaign, the ad will air locally on WCRN-AM during the Peter Blute and Howie Carr shows.

The four candidates for the Republican nomination were scheduled to debate earlier this evening in Shrewsbury.

Fifth Congressional District
A fire tore through the campaign headquarters of Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle). No word yet on the cause of the blaze. Earlier this afternoon, Golnik posted a YouTube update of the damage.

Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) spoke with Callie Crossley of WGBH-FM radio Monday about the campaign.

The Boston Globe looks at "wacky, jarring, and sometimes tasteless videos for the Web," including the decidedly not tasteless offering from Tom Weaver (R-Westford).

Second Congressional District
The Reminder profiles Jay Fleitman (R-Northampton). He called the Affordable Care Act "a jobs bill for China and India."

Columnist Maureen Turner of The Valley Advocate analyzes the campaign of Tom Wesley (R-Hopedale).

Candidates weigh in on Islamic Cultural Center, one wants to build "pork factory"

Congressional candidates in the Fifth and First Districts weighed in yesterday on a controversial local real estate project that has caused quite a bit discussion recently. Of course, the project isn't in Lowell or Lawrence or some other municipality where their opinions might carry some weight; rather the discussion yesterday centered on plans to build an Islamic cultural center a few blocks north of the former site of the World Trade Center in New York.

But since the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" is the cultural issue du jour, the candidates spoke with the Sentinel and Enterprise. One, Bill Gunn (R-Belchertown) is so incensed he wants to make sausages next to the Islamic Center in an effort to antagonize organizers:
Gunn went on to say that if the developers don't accept an offer to relocate the mosque, protesters should "make their lives miserable." He even suggested allowing businesses that would be objectionable to Muslims -- such as a pork factory -- to locate nearby.
I have a hard time believing that a major-party candidate would suggest building factories not as a way to create jobs, but in order to attempt to antagonize a religious group. But there you go.

The other candidates:

First Congressional District
Michael Engel (U-Southampton): "It's obviously not a good idea, but I don't share all the hysteria."
John Olver (D-Amherst) did not comment.

Fifth Congressional District
Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle): "an unwarranted provocation and abuse of our freedoms."
Sam Meas (R-Haverhill): "I think it's insensitive."
Robert Shapiro (R-Andover): "height of insensitivity."
Tom Weaver (R-Westford): "Build it in Flushing."
Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell): "it would not be inappropriate for them to...reconsider their decision."

Wednesday State House Roundup: Debate days

Now that we are within a month of the primary, debate season has begun. We start in Ayer, where the Ayer Democratic Town Committee hosted a debate between the three Democrats vying for the First Middlesex District nomination. While Jane Moriss (D-Groton), Jesse Reich (D-Ayer), and Tony Saboliauskas (D-Pepperell) agreed on many issues they split over the proposed repeal of the affordable housing law known as 40B. From the Sentinel and Enterprise:
Saboliauskas, the lone supporter of the proposed repeal of the three candidates, said the well-intended law has been abused by developers over and over, failing to generate enough much affordable housing in many communities.

But both Morriss and [Reich] said they would not support a repeal of the law because creation of affordable housing is important.

The law should not go away "until we have reached a point where everyone in the commonwealth has a roof over their head," Morriss said.
13th Worcester House District
Shaun Sutner of the Telegram devotes most of his Tuesday ElectionNet column to the race. On the Republican side, he notes that Paul Franco (R-Worcester) just recently registered as a Republican and pulled a Democratic ballot in eight of the past 10 primaries going back to 1998.

Sutner also reminds readers that the Democratic candidates are debating tonight at Anna Maria College. He points out that two of the three moderators have ties either one of the candidates or the current office holder.

Second Franklin House District
The three candidates for the Democratic nomination faced off last night in Greenfield. Greenfield Community Television will broadcast the debate Friday afternoon at 5:00.

Fifth Worcester House District
Rep. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) is calling for disclosure forms of government officials to be made available online.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday Roundup: Harrington's new idea

This week, sister publications Lowell Sun and Sentinel and Enterprise are profiling candidates for the First Middlesex House seat being vacated by Robert Hargraves (R-Groton). Two Republicans are vying for the nomination, and one of them, Sheila Harrington (R-Groton) is advancing a proposal that I've not seen before:
GROTON -- For many workers, landing a competitive job in Massachusetts means they may not be able to work in the same field, should they ever resign or get laid off.

That's because, says Sheila Harrington, many employers ask workers to sign a contract that prohibits them from seeking a similar job elsewhere or starting a business in which the skills and knowledge they acquired on the job might come in handy. The Bay State court is known for enforcing the contractual agreement -- so much so that skilled professionals are afraid to use their talents outside the corporate shadows, Harrington says.

Harrington believes limiting the scope the non-compete clause and the range of workers to whom such contracts may be applied is crucial to creating more jobs in Massachusetts.

"If you want to stimulate more jobs in Massachusetts, you have to be more creative" than simply rolling back the sales tax, Harrington says.
I'm skeptical that there are that many people still out of work because of non-compete clauses. Even so, it's refreshing to see a candidate talk about something different than taxes, casinos, and immigration for a change.

While I don't think reporter Hiroko Sato meant the profiles of Harrington and Connie Sullivan (R-Ayer) to be contrasting pieces, it looks like Harrington is taking a veiled shot at Sullivan when the profiles are read one after the other:
AYER -- Discouraging Massachusetts consumers from crossing the state border is one of Cornelius "Connie" Sullivan's economic stimulus strategies.

Lowering the sales tax would help create many more jobs in the state, and that's evident from how stores were hiring people for the tax-free weekend, Sullivan says....

He supports rolling back the sales tax to 5 percent -- or as low as 3 percent if voters are willing to. That would require the state to scale back on spending, but the state government has "plenty of fat" to trim anyway, he says...
Presumably, the Sun and Sentinel will be looking at the Democratic candidates on the days to come.

On to other things...

Second Franklin House District
The four candidates for the Democratic nomination will face off in a forum at 6:00 pm at the Greenfield Community Television studios. GCT is pretty good about posting their events online, and we will post a link on CMassPolitics.com once it becomes available.

Lee Chauvette (D-Athol) was interviewed by Athol author James Joseph Brown.

Second Congressional District
Jay Fleitman (R-Northampton) tells the Telegram that the federal stimulus was "a disaster," the Gulf oil spill was "handled horribly," and that Afghanistan is "an abject mess."
Fifth Congressional District
Sam Meas (R-Haverhill) gave a wide-ranging interview to the Haverhill Gazette. He said the number one reason he is running is:
First, there is a huge lack of choice in Massachusetts. There is one dominant party, and many are running unopposed. It is the antithesis to democracy. We've spent $1 trillion on two wars trying to give them the freedom of choice, but we do not have it here. To me, that's important. If Republicans were the dominant party, I'd say the same thing.
Third Congressional District
The Boston Globe reports that James McGovern (D-Worcester) co-authored a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking her to protect food stamp funding in a proposed child nutrition bill.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday roundup: Pension talk still driving sheriff's race

If a small snapshot is any indication, the political talk around Worcester  is still centered on the Worcester County Sheriff's race, where discussion of Governor's Councilor Tom Foley (D-Worcester) and his disability pension continues as we begin a new week. The topic was discussed this morning on WCRN-AM's The Midday Report with Hank Stolz. While there is no podcast of the show available, most of the callers sounded like they were more apt to blame Foley for running for office while collecting disability than to blame the odd pension system that would allow him to collect while being sheriff (should he be elected).

For better or worse (depends, I suppose, or which candidate you support), today marks the fifth day of discussion of Foley's disability pension. Dianne Williamson broke the ice in the Telegram with a column on Thursday, followed by notes from Shaun Sutner on Telegram.com on Friday and in the print edition on Sunday.

Coincidentally, Foley's supporters have come out in force over the weekend. Whether in response to the stories or because of the calendar (yesterday was 30 days before primary election day), Foley lawn signs have been sprouting like clover in this area. This morning I drove through Clinton on my way to 495 and counted 24 Foley signs in the 2.6 miles between the Lancaster town line to the west and the Berlin town line to the east.

Speaking of the Telegram, if you are trying to access the stories lined above and find yourself banging your head against the (fire)wall, it's because the T&G has begun charging non-subscribers for online access to most locally-produced articles. I have an on-line account and will continue to include links to the Telegram in my stories, but how much access you, the reader, will have is anyone's guess.

On to a very short roundup...

Third Congressional District
The Telegram keeps up its profiles of Congressional candidates, this time checking in on Brian Herr (R-Hopkinton). Herr briefly outlined some of his positions:
Like his opponents in the primary, Mr. Herr wants to cut government spending. He supports unemployment benefits in this “scary time,” but doesn't support borrowing money to extend benefits. He believes the government should provide services for vulnerable populations such as people with disabilities, as long as cuts are made elsewhere.

Schools, he contends, are best run at the local level, so he wonders why the country needs a U.S. Department of Education with a budget in the tens of billions of dollars.

He slammed a bill Congress passed last week to restore public jobs as more unnecessary spending.

He believes spending cuts need to come before new tax cuts.
Herr also claims to have more than 4,000 Facebook friends.

Fifth Congressional District
Sam Meas (R-Haverhill) has added former Haverhill Mayor Mike Sullivan as an advisor. He is also apparently "Bad to the Bone."

Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Senate District
Fifth Worcester House District
Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) and Rep. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) spearheaded a bill to allow the Worcester County 4-H Club to lease land from the state for the next 25 years.

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