New leadership needed in House

( – promoted by DD4RP)

  The  announcement by State Rep. Lewis Evangelidis  that he is seeking the

position of minority leader is exciting for the Republican Party, good for the

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and healthy for the concept of democracy.

    The current state of the political scene in Massachusetts is discouraging.  We see

scandal after scandal unfolding daily.  The crippling stranglehold special interests have

over our one party state government is clearly not in the best interests of the citizens.  We

see a perpetual perp walk of legislative leaders on the television.  Competition breeds

responsibility and accountability.  A strong and respected opposition party is good for all

the citizens of Massachusetts.

 The most glaring need for a visible minority opposition can be seen in the events

surrounding the 2004 and 2008 presidential election.  In 2004, with Sen. John Kerry likely

to become President, the state legislature stripped then Gov. Romney of his authority to

appoint an interim replacement for Sen. Kerry’s seat.   The Democratically controlled

legislature sounded the populist clarion that so much power concentrated in the hands of

the governor would deny the people of the Commonwealth the right  to chose Sen.

Kerry’s successor. So a special election would be called.  This charade, of course, was

done to preclude Gov. Romney his option to choose a member of the Republican Party,

which he surely would have done.  Just a few months ago, with Sen. Kerry a potential

nominee for the position of Secretary of State, the legislature floated the idea of returning

the very same power removed from Gov. Romney to Gov. Patrick.  There can only be one

of two reasons for such a reversal of thought.  Either the legislature has decided that the

voters are not now qualified to make an intelligent decision in a special election, or since Gov. Patrick would certainly choose a member of  his party to replace Sen. Kerry, it

would be advantageous to avoid an election where even the remotest chance of a win by a

Republican could exist. Clearly the latter is a far more logical explanation.  The unchecked

legislature once again carries on its own little fiefdom  with no regard or respect for the


 Just a few days ago, Sen. Kennedy surrendered his post as chairman of the Senate

Judiciary Committee.  His ill heath makes it a possibility he might not complete his term

which expires in 2012. Certainly the issue of his replacement could come up.  And if it

does, the strong money is on the legislature launching a pre-emptive strike and passing a

bill allowing Gov. Patrick to choose an interim senator

 Gov. Patrick stated a few days ago: “We are awash in cynicism in the Commonwealth”.

We should be.  The governor himself added 2000 employees to the state payroll.  A state

senator who resigned his position after multiple sexual harassment charges goes on a state

funded junket to the tune of almost $25,000. The Speaker of the House, Sal DiMasi has

billed his campaign for travel expenses, yet still collects his per diem allowance. The

legislature routinely rewards retroactive pension increases for the politically connected.

Even awarding benefits to those who opted out of the state funded program. Increases in

disability payments with no medical exam.  The list goes on and on. All at the taxpayer

expense.  Yes, Governor, we are awash in cynicism.  And rightfully so.

  Even sadder than the antics of this farce is the silent voice of the state Republican party.

The leadership of the Republican party is almost never seen on television and rarely seen in

print. Few people can identify the minority leader either in the State Senate or State House

of  Representatives. On November 20,2008  in television interview on NECN hosted by

Jim Braude, Rep. Lew Evangelidis and Rep. David Linsky (D. Natick) engaged in a

thoughtful and constructive discussion about issues facing the Commonwealth.  During

this discussion, Mr. Braude, who politically is just slightly to the right of Sen. Bernard

Sanders of Vermont, said : ” By the way, I don’t vote Republican very often, but having

16 Republican representatives out of 160 is not good for democracy.”  When Jim Braude

is more active in promoting the need for an active opposition than the current opposition

leadership, it’s a pretty good signal that the current Republican leadership needs some

fresh faces.

 Rep. Evangelidis has served his district well since 2002. In that election, he defeated an

incumbent Democrat, only the second time in a decade where a Republican candidate

defeated an incumbent Democrat. In 2006 he won reelection by a 70/30 margin over a

Democratic challenger in an overwhelmingly Democratic district. In 2008 no candidate

from the Democratic party challenged him.  This is unheard of in Massachusetts.  Rep.

Evangelidis has been tireless working for the district in obtaining funds for the cleanup of

the Wachusett oil spill, Wachusett Greenways, Rutland Hospital and a host of other

worthy projects.  He has spearheaded efforts to return lottery money to the towns, tighten

laws against sex offenders and drunk drivers, and streamline state government.  He has

been recognized for his legislative achievements by such diverse groups as

conservationists, sportsmen, and small business associations. His attendance for roll call

votes was a perfect 100%.

 To succeed in accomplishing these tasks requires skill, patience, hard work, a willingness

to listen, and a lot of common sense.  No one can question Rep. Evangelidis’  talents in

these characteristics.  He will bring a new vitality to the state Republican party.   It is clear that if the Republican party follows the same leadership it has now, it will get more of the same result, nothing. Change for the sake of change is hollow.  Change with the

expectation of progress is the change we need now.  The current leadership of the

Republican party should welcome this change and recognize that new blood would also

bring new life.  The phrase “transparency in government” is all the buzz these days.

Transparency is great,  invisibility isn’t.  A more effective government can be had if we

have a visible opposition party.  The purpose of an opposition party is to be in opposition.

It need not be obstructionist.  But it has to exist.

    Our founding fathers were wise enough to insist upon a system of political and judicial

checks and balances.  Crafting our constitution was a difficult and often contentious

process, but well worth the effort.  Democracy is well served by effective leadership and

openness in government.  The current Republican State Representatives will serve their

constituents, and all the citizens of this state, well by electing Rep. Lewis Evangelidis as

minority leader.

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