Editor's note: Several readers have submitted letters outlining their reasons for voting for candidates running in this year's election. Those letters are below. If you would like to send a letter outlining why you will be voting for a particular candidate, email it to [email protected]. Be sure to including your name, your address and your telephone number.
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To the Editor:
Leo Finn was a beloved son, brother, husband, father, and member of the South Shore and Cape communities. Early last year Leo was diagnosed with aggressive bile duct cancer. After chemotherapy stopped working, his last hope was a National Institutes of Health clinical trial. A few days before the potentially life-saving trial was supposed to begin, the federal government shut down.
Media soon covered Leo's story after he and his wife Kim brought attention to the tangible affects of the shutdown. Upon hearing about Leo, Congressman Keating immediately reached out to our family and asked how he could help. He took the time to do his homework about the stalled clinical trials and contacted the NIH. Within a few days, Congressman Keating had uncovered a way to reinstate the furloughed workers so that not only Leo's trial could go forward, but clinical trials across the country could begin.
Leo lost his fight with cancer in March, and the loss our family feels cannot adequately be expressed in words. But we were immensely proud that Leo was able to elevate the plight of people across the country whose clinical trials were also stalled due to the shutdown. This led to Congressman Keating taking up the cause, which allowed many others to continue their care.
We haven't previously communicated our support for Congressman Keating, but wanted to show it in advance of Election Day. You don't always know your federal representatives, but Congressman Keating's work on behalf of Leo has put Members of Congress in a whole new light. He stayed in touch with Leo, Kim and their children throughout the entire trial and Leo's illness. He often attended events to support Leo and his family. But perhaps more tellingly, he has stayed in touch since Leo passed.
Nowadays, people see and expect a lot of lip service from their elected officials. But that wasn't Congressman Keating. He took action. Many officials knew Leo's story, but Congressman Keating was the only one to take the lead and do something about it.
For our family, this is beyond just a vote to keep a representative in office. On November 4th, you will have a choice to re-elect a man who truly cares about his constituents and will go above and beyond for them. We are asking you to support Congressman Bill Keating on Election Day.
The Finn Family
Kingston, Pocasset, & Buzzards Bay, MA
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To the Editor (originally sent to the candidate and shared with permission):
I am not a Republican, Democrat, or a Tea Party member. I am not a member of ANY organized party. I am a 35 year resident of North Harwich and a lifelong, 5th generation resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
At times I have been involved in local politics in Harwich when I felt an additional voice was needed and at times I have felt the need to contact the people that are elected to represent me.
I have attempted to contact Senator Wolfe three times in the last 4 years on three different Senate votes in an effort to learn more and fine what his stand was on the issues. The Senator, who was sworn to represent all voters in the district, could not take the time to respond to any of my questions or requests to speak to him. My contact was ignored.
Now, to explain, The Senator lives less than a mile from me and could easily pop over to see what he could do. He could call, he could e mail, he could send a letter. He did none of those things. I am a small business owner in Harwich and have concerns which are ignored. I have no idea why so I speculate.
I have never been a registered Democrat, I have never contributed to his campaign, I have never attended his fund raisers so I guess as a working man who he is supposed to represent, I do not count enough to warrant the courtesy of a response to my concerns.
This is the representation I want to see changed. I want to see new representation that will answer to the voters rather than the party line. I do NOT want an empty suit on Beacon Hill doing what he or she can to further their own agenda. I want someone that will represent ALL residents of their district.
I will be voting for you in this election in hopes you are that person.
This can be shared if you feel the word needs to get out.
Thank you for what you are trying to do,
Gary M, Sinclair
North Harwich, MA
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To the Editor:
After years of head-shaking headlines and asking why no one runs against Michael O’Keefe, we have an excellent candidate, Richard Barry. I worked with Rick as a Town Councilor and know he’s someone who rolls up his sleeves and solves problems.
O’Keefe touts his “professionalism,” but he’s put campaign donors and friends ahead of us for twelve years. Favors for Joe Vaudo (Joe's Lobster) recently made headlines making it hard for O’Keefe to use new evidence to bring further charges against Vaudo for receiving stolen and possibly contaminated oysters. A few years ago, O’Keefe was investigated by the Federal government for tipping off bookies, one of whom donated to his campaign two years later.
His attitude about women made headlines when, during the Christa Worthington murder investigation, the Attorney General investigated him for sharing information about an ongoing investigation, eventually assigning an ADA from Plymouth County to the case. We later learned that O'Keefe shared that information, with a wink and a swagger, with a woman who published a book that included quotes of his sexually degrading remarks about the victim in that case.
O’Keefe won’t tell people in the district how he spent over one million dollars confiscated from convicted drug dealers and didn’t use the portions of those funds available for drug prevention and neighborhood crime programs. While he’s been in office drug crimes and drug use reached epidemic proportions, yet during debates he repeatedly said drugs are a societal problem, not something he should address. I guess he had better use for that money, forfeited from profits of the drug sales that have created so many problems for our society.
Let’s retire O’Keefe and bring new energy to the District Attorney’s office.
On Nov 4, vote for Richard Barry, he'll make changes that will benefit all of us, not just a privileged few.
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To the Editor:
My 3 year old daughter Abigail was diagnosed at 10 months of age with Leigh's Disease, the most severe form of Mitochondrial Disease. Leigh's Disease is progressive, currently has no cure, treatment is supportive and life expectancy is usually within two years of diagnosis.
Last year, Abby was in the final stages of enrollment with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a very promising drug study, EPI-743. We were then informed that the government shutdown would impede any further testing and the enrollment would be indefinitely delayed. When Congressman Bill Keating found out, he called us personally to see what he could do. From this moment on, the Congressman not only kept us in the loop, he was able to get key NIH staff unfurloughed so that clinical trials could continue and, specifically, so we could receive updates on the NIH EPI-743 trial.
My family and I were extremely impressed by the Congressman's efforts to educate himself on Mitochondrial Disease through participation in the Congressional Mitochondrial Disease Caucus as well as discussions with NIH, affording him the opportunity to offer support for our family as we cope with our daughter Abigail's Leigh's Disease diagnosis.
The manufacturer of EPI-743 was conducting a parallel study and on the heels of the NIH study coming to a halt, Abby was thankfully accepted into the manufacturer’s study. EPI-743 has changed Abby's quality of life tremendously. Congressman Keating and his aides reach out regularly to inquire about Abby's health and get updates on how she is responding to the drug trial. They share in our excitement as we detail the milestones we never thought Abby would meet.
As we embrace the hope EPI-743 brings us if approved by the FDA, until then we rely heavily on the study and vitamin supplements, aka Mito-Cocktails. We reached out to Congressman Keating to see if he would offer his support behind Massachusetts House Bill 977, An Act Providing Care and Treatment of Patients with Mitochondrial Disease presented by Representative Scibak. Without hesitation, the Congressman sent a letter to Representative Scibak offering his backing on the bill. My wife was at the State House on March 7, 2014 to testify on behalf of HB977 and was overjoyed when the Congressman's letter was read to the Joint Finance Committee members. Although the bill was tabled for a later date, knowing we have our Congressman fighting with us only inspires us to keep trying for Abby and all the other Mito families relying on these much needed vitamins cocktails.
We have only had positive experiences with the Congressman. It is humbling to receive a call from Congressman Keating himself to check in on Abby and see how she enjoyed her Christmas and holidays. His genuine interest in her health, milestones and challenges has restored our faith in government. Congressman Keating has proven he is there for us countless times and we do not doubt he will continue to be a strong support in the future. Please consider U.S Congressman Keating for re-election on November 4th. He has proven he is willing to fight for his constituents.
Gregory MacCurtain and Family