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Local politics - candidate endorsements

Cambridge is represented by six state representatives (only one is exclusively cambridge) and two have opposition in the Democratic Primary on Sept 14. In one district, the incumbent, Paul Demakis is retiring (he is very progressive, and voted the right way in the Same Sex Marriage votes) and both of the challengers are also progressive. There is no Republican challenger (in this district about 5% of the voters are registered R).

In the other district (26 Middlesex) and mine and rsc's as well, the incumbent is Tim Toomey. He is rather somewhat conservative, but did vote the right way on SameSex marriage. He strongly anti-abortion and said even if the Catholic Church (he's a member, his brother is a priest) came out in support abortion he wouldn't. His challenger is Avi Green a serious progressive who I am supported (donation and yard sign). I first met Avi 6 yrs? ago when he was campaign manager for Jarrett Barrios' first election.

A few weeks ago I got a Toomey fund raising request with notable supporters such as Barney Frank, Alice Wolf (another Cambridge State rep and honorary lesbian - appointed when she was Mayor), and Sue Hyde - a NGLTF organizer. Quell shock! But I understand why - Toomey was on the fence on the SameSex marriage and these people presumably pressured him to vote with a promise for support. Toomey was worried - in the last election he was challenged by a Green Party candidate (Paul Lachelier) who got 35% of the vote so Toomey has been getting to be more progressive recently.

I know Toomey best in his other persona as a Cambridge City Councillor. His most recent bad vote was against a Cambridge smoking ban for businesses (which passed 7-2) in 2003. A few years ago when I was lobbying for the Cambridge Public Library to be in Central Square he finally consented to meet with us. He said he'd vote for Central Square but didn't think we had the votes. 1 1/2 weeks later the City Council voted 5-4 against Central Square and he was one of the 5! Personally although I have no evidence, I think he intended to vote that way even when he talked with us but didn't want to confront us. Others of the 5 were able to explain their positions or indecision before the vote since we met with all 9 councillors at least once.

The Cambridge Lavender Alliance (the GLBT political activist group for Cambridge) does local candidate endorsements every year. I chaired this year's meeting and we voted to endorse Avi Green. See this Letter to Cambridge Chronicle I wrote that was published this week for more detail.

The SameSex marriage vote (there were 3 of them) included complex strategy such that many people switched sides in some votes as part of the strategy. Toomey was one of the 10 people who voted No on the amendment on all three votes thus not playing the strategy game. My first thought was that he wasn't smart enough to follow the strategy which was supported by his bright red facial sunburn at the endorsement meeting signifying to me that he wasn't smart enough to use sun screen. (OK, I'm probably overdoing it). He explained that he thought it would be hard to explain an inconsistent vote to his supporters. Not once in the endorsement meeting did he use the word Gay or GLBT or say anything much to support us except that he thought he deserved our endorsement for his votes.

If he wins the primary and wins the election (there is a Republican challenger (who also supports SameSex marriage!)) I'm sure he'll vote against the amendment again when the Leg takes it up again - he has to worry about future progressive challengers. I certainly hope Avi wins because he will be a far superior legislator who will advocate for GLBT causes, abortion rights, and other progressive matters. Also Toomey is a Finneran team player (Finneran is the speaker of the house, a very conservative democrat, and a power/control freak who wouldn't let Domestic Partnership matters come before the house for the past few years).

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