Informal public coffee chat at Fairway in Eastham
By Teresa Martin
Congressman Bill Keating, whose district has just been reconfigured to include Cape Cod through the South Coast to New Bedford and into part of Fall River, started today with a coffee chat at the popular Hole In One Donut Shop and Fairway Restaurant in Eastham.
Several dozen Cape Cod voters - plus a few from other parts of the district, including Canton - ignored the gray overcast skies of a November morning to join the Congressman and his wife. The group informally shared their views about topics from the very local to the very national in scope.
Keating listened as much as he talked and repeatedly expressed his connection to the region. He spent about an hour and a half in casual one-on-one and small group conversations over coffee and the restaurant's signature donuts.
Keating and his wife, Tevis, earlier this week said they would be moving full-time to their Bourne home, which they have owned and vacationed at for 17 years.
Like many other residents of the region, the couple said they bought their home with a long-term plan for living there permanently.
Despite local political speculation of who-will and who-won't run in the new district's election a year hence, Keating says his core focus needs to be on doing his job representing the district today.
He said we, as a region and a country, can't look away from issues that loom larger than any single one of us, citing the ongoing economic struggle and US debt issues as critical decision points for our future well-being.
However, his eyes did sparkle when asked about his involvement in ocean and maritime policy. With the new 9th Coastal District, that involvement will inevitably increase.
Energy, fisheries, environment, and a host of other common factors link most of the communities across the Cape and South Coast. Leveraging that maritime location, history, and strengths could be key to economic revival in the region.
From New Bedford port potential, to regional strengths at Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, to the historical links between Plymouth, the South Shore, Cape Cod and the sea, maritime policy infuses the new district.
But the 9th Congressional lies in the future. Right now, Keating is just enjoying the energy of a cup of coffee and the conversation of a host of Cape Codders in the 10th Congressional district of today.