I’ve had a few people ask me for my ballot recommendations this fall, likely because I usually post them for local elections. National elections are great in terms of information available – all the candidates have websites, you get a copy of your ballot in advance and there’s usually plenty of information available. So there’s much less need for information to help people make a decision. That said, there are a few races and ballot questions I’m particularly passionate about. This election means a tremendous amount in the eyes of the world, the nation and our local community. We are asking and answering big questions: are we pulling in on ourselves and shriveling our welcome and our courage to declare that only a small number of humans actually count as people? Or are we courageously and generously setting an example of the world we’d want our kids & grandkids to inherit – even if those beloved children aren’t white/straight/Christian/born in the USA? Because many beloved children are not those things, even today.
So with no further big-picturing, here’s how I cast my ballot (which I already did – yay early voting!)
State Representative – Mike Day
This is a surprisingly strongly contested election here. I have been watching Mike Day’s work for some time, and I’m extremely impressed with his accomplishments and activities. He’s worked with Stoneham leaders to expand bus service, fought to protect victims of human trafficking and done a ton of unglamorous but extremely necessary work around affordable housing. I really like what he’s doing for the state, and for our communities. When I cast my vote for him, it was very much a vote FOR him and not one against his opponent.
That said, I would strongly urge voting against Caroline Colarusso. I’m very disappointed with what I’ve seen from her as a member of the Stoneham Board of Selectpersons. As a few examples, despite proclaiming fiscal responsibility, she championed and got passed a bill that temporarily cut water fees. This led to a deficit which decimated our reserves, and caused a last minute emergency major rate hike when we were about to be unable to pay our next bill. That’s hardly fiscal conservatism – it’s more like fiscal malfeasance. She then led an initiative to repeat the same exact path with our trash fee. If it had passed it would have lowered Stoneham’s bond rating, making repairing/replacing our high school (urgently needed!) far more difficult, if not impossible. If she’d been successful, not only would water be coming through the roof the high school, we wouldn’t have been able to maintain the pipes to drain it away.
There is another thing that really bothered me. This spring, Caroline asked for a meeting with me, her constituent. In that meeting I asked for her clarification on an issue that’s been very ambiguous. I asked if she would vote for or against a bill rescinding gay marriage. She point blank refused to answer me. I couldn’t believe it. So I asked her again. By the time the meeting was over – to neither of our satisfactions I’m sure – she’d refused to answer my yes or no question twenty times. I would far more respect a principled stand I disagreed with, than this determined refusal to tell me her position.
So: YES to Mike Day. NO to Caroline Colarusso.
YES on 3
This ballot petition removes gender identity as a protected class. It’s only a teeny tiny bit about letting people use the correct bathroom. It’s mostly about being able to use gender identity as a reason to deny people access to places and services. And there would be no recourse. You wouldn’t be able to sue, or appeal if you were kicked out a library for not looking womanly enough. If someone thinks you don’t look enough like a woman and they think you should, they can discriminate against you as much as they want – freely and without constraint. Short-haired women of the world, beware!
In all seriousness, hospitals are included in this bill. This makes it legal for a hospital to refuse to treat someone because they don’t think they look enough like their supposed gender. That is life-threatening to transgender and non-binary people. Even if you’re not super comfortable with people who are trans, are you willing to strike down a law that requires hospitals to treat people, regardless of gender identity? I am most definitely not.
If you really want to tackle sexual assault there are a bunch of better ways. Let’s focus on processing rape kits, prosecuting sexual assault aggressively and making sure rapists are caught and convicted. This is not a bathroom bill – this is a right to make life difficult for people you don’t like bill. (You can read the full text here.)
Jason Lewis for State Senate
As I said in the primary, Jason has a great platform and accomplishments to back him up. I particularly appreciate his work in strengthening oversight. I was happy to cast a vote for him, and look forward to seeing what he can accomplish with another term.