Troy's take: Election selections
Armed with my trusty Falmouth Factchecker and some research on the candidates, here are some thoughts on a few of the upcoming local choices in the election on Nov. 4:
Question 1 - This binding referendum, which would eliminate the personal income tax in Massachusetts, is being supported by many who speak to the need to "send a message" to the lawmakers and budget breakers on Beacon Hill. The problem with this effort is that causing a 40 percent reduction in the state budget would not send a message; it would cripple our state government and its ability to support our local government with state aid.
In Falmouth, we rely on nearly $7 million in state aid to fund the basic responsibilities of our town: public safety, education, and public works. Passage of Question 1 would surely result in a death knell for local aid and a catastrophic reduction in local services. If Question 1 supporters want to send a message to legislators that ignored the previous non-binding referendum on the income tax, they should vote them out. A yes vote would simply punish those who need the most basic of government services to satisfy the talk radio frenzy of criticism that is Question 1. Vote no.
Register of Probate - When Sheriff Jim Cummings was first elected, voters were faced with choosing between two respected and accomplished public servants - Cummings and long time State Rep. Tom Cahir. Cummings made the case to voters, though, that the Sheriff's job was a law enforcement position, which matched his experience, and not simply a management post. That point resonated and Cummings was elected. In the race for Barnstable County Register of Probate, a similar argument can be made. Long time State Rep. Eric Turkington is facing current Assistant Register and probate attorney Anastasia Welsh Perrino. While Rep. Turkington can point to two decades of honorable service as an elected official, he just can't match Welsh Perrino's resume for spending her days dealing with the complex and sensitive issues of the probate court.
During the campaign, as Welsh Perrino has been touting her plans to update the technology in the Register's office and has introduced her version of an office website, Turkington has simply relied on his name recognition and has failed to do what he was always able to do as a legislator: make the argument for supporting his cause, which in this case is himself. Vote for Anastasia Welsh Perrino.
Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket seat - In running for the probate seat, Rep. Turkington is vacating his seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, one he has held for 20 years. The bevy of political unknowns vying to replace him include Vineyarders Daniel Larkosh and Jacob Ferreira, Nantucketer Tim Madden, and Falmouth's Melissa Freitag. Larkosh is the lone Democrat, while the others are all unenrolled.
Ferreira is the most intriguing candidate. As a Coast Guard Reserve officer and small business entrepreneur, he has shown an energy and enthusiasm missing in many local races today. His youth and idealism are a welcome refreshment in today's political climate - I have a feeling his is a name we will be hearing in a positive light for some time.
This endorsement, though, belongs to Melissa Freitag. As a professor of comparative politics at 4C's, she teaches students on a daily basis the meaning of compromise and the give and take that defines Beacon Hill success. She (along with Ferreira) offers a sincerity and authenticity that is rare in politics today. She is also bright, well spoken, and offers a perspective on Falmouth issues that cannot be met by the other candidates. She has discussed bringing a green perspective to the 40B housing law, and has a wealth of local government and finance experience with a stint on the Finance Committee in Orleans and the Historical Commission in Falmouth, among others. She knows what issues are important to Falmouth people, and most of all, is willing to listen.
The other two candidates, Larkosh and Madden, have been virtually invisible during the campaign. Madden touts his relationships on Beacon Hill as a legislative liaison, but does not offer the endorsement of any legislators. Larkosh is the Democratic nominee but has treated Falmouth like the plague, avoiding even the televised Channel 13 debate.
Melissa Freitag has worked hard in getting her message to the people of Falmouth and deserves a vote on Nov. 4.
This column is reprtinted from the Falmouth Bulletin.