What happens when politician works together for our local interest
We've heard much during this election cycle about who not to vote for, perhaps too much. As the election looms in a few short days, we continue to be inundated in our post office boxes, our TVs, computers, and car radios, with information on the past misdeeds and missteps, real or imagined, of the various candidates at all levels. While some of that information is relevant, as the character and choices of our candidates throughout their lives certainly does matter and contribute to my decision making, what a candidate stands for - the issues important to him or her and the positions on those issues - is where the tale is told.
Pundits and prognosticators around here have written before about the "Cape Cod Party," a generally undefined but nonetheless legitimate political philosophy, where issues like protection of our natural resources, recognition of our varied economy (tourism, scientific research, service and health care), and approaching policy decisions from a regional perspective are more important to our elected leaders than the letters "D" or "R" after their name.
We saw it years ago, when Cape Cod Party pioneers like Henri Rauschenbach and Tommy Cahir would work together on important issues simply because they were important issues for us as Cape Codders and Falmouthites, regardless of what party line they were supposed to tow. The cleanup of Otis was a great example. When I was working with Ernie Keating and Doug Karson on the MMR back in the early 90's, support for federal funding and community involvement was not a conservative or liberal issue, it was a Cape Cod issue, and what was best for the region, and those guys fought for it. So too, did our Congressman. Back then, it was Gerry Studds, and his trusted local aide-de-camp Mark Forest, who put in countless hours to build a better Cape Cod. Bill Delahunt followed in that tradition (and had the good sense to keep Mark on board), and was a true and tireless worker on behalf of issues important to Falmouthites.
So what of this election? Of any race on the ballot, the one to fill Rep. Delahunt's shoes is important and pivotal. The candidates position on the issues, from our local economy, to renewable energy (in general and Cape Wind specifically), to support of our senior citizens, will have a huge impact on our region and our community.
For me, the choice is obvious. One candidate understands these issues and has taken public stands on tough issues before. One candidate has the ability to transcend the tightly drawn party lines and represent us for us, not as a political category. That candidate is Bill Keating.
The nonsense level in this campaign has reached an almost unbearable level, but when you cut through it and look at the five candidates for the 10th Congressional District seat, none can stack up against Bill's career of representing people that need a voice. As Cape Codders and Falmouthites, we need that. Our issues are not the same as other parts of the district, and Bill has proven, through his words and deeds, to understand that. The fact that he has displayed the kind of courage it took to take on Billy Bulger bodes well for his ability to support the issues important to us on Capitol Hill. His previous designation as the "Environmental Legislator of the Year" is not a sound bite. It's a proven example of a successful public servant who knows what's important to his constituents and lives by that philosophy.
I've watched the debates. I've perused the websites. I've listened to the ads. After all that, I asked myself a simple question: who of the candidates has the ability to truly represent the "Cape Cod Party" and the issues important to Falmouth based on positions on the issues. It was Bill Keating.
So as you go to the polls on Tuesday, ask yourself that basic question. Try to get rid of the background noise of the negative ads on both sides of aisle and in between and make that simple judgment. When you do that, the choice is clear.
This column is reprinted from the Falmouth Enterprise.