State Senate election today
Only about 150 voters by 8:20.
Only about 150 voters by 8:20.
ATTLEBORO — With voter turnout expected to be on the low side for a special Senate election Tuesday, both parties brought out their big names over the weekend to push people to the polls.
The independent candidate in the district, Joe Shortsleeve of Medfield, doesn’t have a party to back him, so he relied on “flash mob” events across the district to gin up interest in the race.
Democrat Paul Feeney of Foxboro got help from a steady stream of party leaders, including U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy, Sen. Ed Markey and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Republican Jacob Ventura, who was endorsed by Gov. Charlie Baker last week, campaigned with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and party officials in Walpole Sunday.
Various turnout predictions say only about 15 percent of registered voters in the Bristol and Norfolk District will cast ballots Tuesday in the special election to replace former Sen. James Timilty, who resigned.
That means the election could be decided by only the most loyal of partisan voters.
Ventura and Feeney want as many of those loyalists from their party to turn out and used big-name leaders to motivate the base.
Shortsleeve, meanwhile, needs to attract independents and disaffected party members to the polls in a district that is 60 percent independent, or unenrolled.
“All I’ve got is the people. I don’t have a party,” Shortsleeve said.
Feeney most definitely has a party — the Democratic Party — and its leaders have gone all out for him.
Kennedy campaigned Friday, Markey on Saturday and Warren on Sunday.
Warren came to American Legion Post 312 in South Attleboro Sunday and told about 50 campaign volunteers that special elections are “tricky. It’s all going to be about turnout.”
She urged the volunteers to knock on as many doors as possible between now and Tuesday to get Feeney supporters to the polls.
Feeney, she said, has dedicated his life to helping working class families and they share the same middle class values.
She said Feeney is a clear alternative to the two other candidates who support President Donald Trump and his policies favoring “the thin slice at the top.”
Feeney said his concern for working people is reflected in his issues of improving health care, establishing a $15 minimum wage, and providing equal pay for equal work by women.
Ventura and Polito spent Sunday evening walking down Red Gate Road in Walpole, knocking on doors and encouraging citizens to vote in the election.
“Walpole is a very important town in this district and we’re trying to win it,” Ventura said. “I’ve been in almost every neighborhood in this town meeting with voters.”
Polito said thanks to his background, Ventura is an ideal candidate.
“He’s worked in the private sector and understands those interests,” she said. “To have his leadership when it comes to balancing budgets with fiscal discipline while being responsible is something that Governor Baker and I value.”
Shortsleeve said he and a band of supporters drove around the district over the weekend, holding “flash mob” events.
Word would be sent out on social media about where to meet up and supporters would show up at places with signs and wave to passing motorists.
“A whole bunch of people would just show up all at once,” he said, adding it was a high-energy event.
The special election involves a district that includes half of Attleboro, part of Sharon and all of Seekonk, Rehoboth, Norton, Mansfield, Foxboro, Walpole and Medfield.
Jim Hand may be reached at 508-236-0399 or email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TSCpolitic
Paul Feeney, Joe Shortsleeve, and Jacob Ventura (left to right)
Tuesday night the three candidates for our vacant State Senate seat held a two hour debate at the Medfield High School auditorium, run by Medfield TV. I participated as a panelist to ask questions. I really knew little about the candidates, so I welcomed the opportunity to learn about them and their positions. And in the process I learned for whom I will vote next Tuesday.
Paul Feeney is the Democrat, who described himself as someone who went directly from high school to the work force, as a telephone worker – for decades. I understood that he was active in union work seeking to preserve jobs, and that he ultimately recently worked on Senator Timilty’s staff. Along the way he was active in town matters in Foxborough, being chair of the selectmen, a coach, among other things.
Joe Shortsleeve lives in town and is running as an independent, because he says there is too much noise among the two political parties. Joe described himself to be politically in the center between the other two candidates, and as a self-described “fiscal conservative, liberal on social issues.” Joe said he had a 35 year career as a broadcast journalist, mainly with WBZ TV, where he was part of the I-Team.
Jacob Ventura is the Republican, an attorney, a former staffer for a State Representative, and has training and/or experience in business and/or finance. He has been endorsed by Governor Baker and our own Representative Shawn Dooley.
All three are bright and well spoken. Joe Shortsleeve has the most highly polished delivery, as one who has spoken a lot in his career. Paul Feeney delivered what I thought of as the most impassioned comments. Jacob Ventura spoke with the well reasoned, analytical thinking familiar to me as representative of his attorney training.
I will be happily be voting for Paul Feeney. I am a Democrat, but I will be voting based almost entirely on what I heard from him Tuesday night. First, he recounted having had much more experience in positions of responsibility, in his union, his town, and other organizations, than I heard about from of the other two. Second, he expressed a palpable passion for serving the people, and while I heard the other two say some similar things, I did not hear or feel the similar passion in their voices when they said it. Third, he promised a positive campaign, and delivered on that in the debate. Lastly, my question to the three had to do with what solutions they would suggest to our insufficient state budget monies (i.e. insufficient monies to fix our infrastructure and insufficient local aide to satisfy Medfield’s municipal needs), and he was the only one of the three willing to talk about the revenue side of the equation, versus the old saw about cutting spending and waste.
From the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts –
BOSTON, MA — Advocates for modernizing Massachusetts’ elections showed up in force for a hearing on Beacon Hill today, held by the Joint Committee on Election Laws. The hearing was in support of the Automatic Voter Registration bill, which would establish a system for eligible citizens in Massachusetts to automatically register to vote when they interact with a state agency like the registry of motor vehicles. The legislation, introduced by Sen. Cynthia Creem and Rep. Peter Kocot, has popular support in both houses; with 80 House co-sponsors and 22 Senate sponsors as of hearing time.
More than twenty leaders from the labor movement, universities, environmental groups, political organizations, civil rights and good government advocacy organizations testified on behalf of the legislation, while dozens of supporters looked on. Many spoke of how automatic voter registration ensures that all eligible citizens in Massachusetts have the opportunity to participate in elections.
“By passing automatic voter registration, Massachusetts can lead the way towards giving all citizens a voice in their government,” said Pam Wilmot, Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts. “The system would give the nearly 700,000 eligible citizens that are not registered to vote an opportunity to have their voices heard through our election process. At the same time, Automatic Voter Registration would update and modernize our election system by increasing the accuracy, security, and efficiency of the process.”
Eight states and the District of Columbia have already passed automatic voter registration, all in a bipartisan manner: Oregon, California, West Virginia, Alaska, Vermont, Colorado, Georgia, and Connecticut. In Oregon, the first state to implement Automatic Voter Registration, 230,000 voters registered in its first six months and more than 500,000 inaccurate registrations were updated. About 100,000 (97,000) voters participated in the 2016 election because of the reform.
Representatives from several other leading citizen organizations testified for the bill, including Nancy Brumback, Legislative Action Chair of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. “The League strongly supports automatic voter registration as the next logical step in the modernization of the electoral process here in Massachusetts,” she said. “AVR will improve the accuracy of voter rolls, create a more efficient and reliable voting system, help control the costs of voter registration over time, and improve the voting process on Election Day.”
Cheryl Clyburn Crawford of MassVOTE said, “Automatic voter registration is a step in the right direction to removing one of the barriers that disproportionately affects our most disenfranchised communities. It is our strong belief that automatic voter registration in Massachusetts will increase voter participation and turnout while continuing to modernize our electoral process.”
“…Our Commonwealth must set an example on voting rights for the nation to follow,” said Congressman Joe Kennedy in written testimony submitted to the Committee. “We need to prove how strong a system can be when it is inclusive, progressive and fair. The rollout of early voting in 2016 was an enormous success, with over one million residents casting early ballots. Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) must come next.”
“This is a bipartisan, common sense, 21st century bill which will make voter registration more accessible, more secure and less costly in the Commonwealth,” said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG. “We have Republican and Democrat supporters in the Legislature here, the Republican Governor of Illinois indicated that he would sign similar bill into law that passed the legislature unanimously a few weeks ago, and in a time of hyper-partisanship in this country we’re inspired to call for this bill’s passage.”
Advocacy organizations behind the effort, including Common Cause Massachusetts, MassVOTE, the Massachusetts Voter Table, Progressive Massachusetts, MASSPIRG, League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice have worked together for many years to promote voting access and reform. They see automatic voter registration as a continuation of earlier efforts in the state, like early voting, to improve access to the ballot. Early voting was a resounding success; In its first debut, over one million voters cast their ballots early in October 2016, accounting for over 22% of registered voters and 35% of those that voted.
The Medfield Press reports that the $1m. bond to provide working monies for the Affordable Housing Trust passed yesterday – the article is linked to here – http://medfield.wickedlocal.com/news/20170605/medfield-passes-affordable-housing-override
Medfield voters easily passed a tax override in Monday’s special election, with 904 votes for and 180 against.
The Town of Medfield has an election next Monday on the Proposition 2 1/2 override we already voted on positively at the annual town meeting (ATM). We have an election Monday because proposition 2 1/2 overrides have to pass at both a town meeting and by a ballot.
I had two residents ask at my office hours this morning what the election Monday was about, so hence this explanation.
The $1m. bond the election seeks to fund provides monies to the newly created Affordable Housing Trust, and those monies can be used by the Affordable Housing Trust to assist future affordable housing projects in town to get completed.
The one example where those monies could already have assisted the town, if we had had the monies available, was to bridge a funding gap for a community mental health center that was looking to buy a house in town in which to site a group home, but their finances were about $100,000 short of the price at which a suitable house recently sold. If the Affordable Housing Trust had then existed and had available monies to assist, it may have offered to provide funds to bridge the financial gap. That group home would have netted the town five affordable units (SHI), as each bed in a group home counts as one SHI.
The $1m. that a positive outcome in the election Monday funds will provided the needed flexibility to make some affordable housing projects actually happen that the town will want. To keep the town in a safe harbor the town needs to build twenty-one SHI per year for the next eight years, as we are short about 160 SHI to be at 10%. We also need to build extras, as a new higher number of units in town will result from the 2020 census, on which the Department of Housing and Community Development will base our new 10% safe harbor number.
That $1m. can also pay a staff person that the town needs to have working on developing affordable housing, if we want to get to the 10% safe harbor that will allow the town to say no to unfriendly 40B’s. Hiring a staff person will save us money over continuing to pay our current affordable housing consultants.
Below is a flyer about the election from the hugely active Dale Street neighborhood group that mobilized around the Mega-B –