Thursday, October 19, 2006

The governor's race here in Massachusetts is heating up with daily press events and a slew of negative ads. What's a voter to do if he or she is undecided? That was my point of the following piece. Unfortunately, politics is a religion. Either you have the faith or you don't and too many people feel that to question their own status quo could result in finding out they are wrong.

And people hate to be wrong.

Hey what do I know? I voted for Mitt Romney thinking a political outsider who was an expert in job growth would be good for the state. Guess what? I was wrong.

That didn't hurt a bit.

The war of words in the gubernatorial race is getting more intense and three of the candidates seem to be trying to one-up each other.

Let me share with you excerpts from press releases I've received.

First, let me say I received several e-mails a day from the campaigns of Kerry Healey and Deval Patrick. Interestingly, I've never received anything from Grace Ross or Christy Mihos.

Here are two, both dated Oct. 4:

"Democratic Candidate for Governor Deval Patrick today was joined by public safety and law enforcement officials from across the Commonwealth who gathered to express their support for the Patrick/Murray ticket. The officials, part of a growing group of police officers and other law enforcement officials, praised Patrick's public safety plan, and pledged to work with him to fight crime and violence in Massachusetts...

"'Our response to crime must above all be firm. I see 1,000 new officers on the streets to restore community patrol ranks. Because prevention is the best and cheapest form of public protection, I will also implement proven prevention strategies, working together with youth workers, parents, civic leaders, schools and churches. We need to be tough on crime, and smart about crime, too,'" said Patrick...

"In the last 18 months, Patrick has received endorsements from several Massachusetts law enforcement and public safety officials and groups, including former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral, Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley, several sheriffs and district attorneys as well as the International Brotherhood of Police Officers and the International Brotherhood of Corrections Officers."

Okay, now here is the one I received from the Healey-Hillman campaign:

"Kerry Healey and Reed Hillman are the team Massachusetts can trust to be tough on crime and protect families, the State Police Association of Massachusetts and a broad coalition of law enforcement officials said today in endorsing the gubernatorial ticket.

"John Coflesky, president of State Police Association of Massachusetts, said Healey has been a leader and a champion of laws that crack down on sex offenders, drunk drivers and gangs, making Massachusetts' streets safer. Healey's leadership on Melanie's Law and tougher sex offender laws is evidence that she has what it takes to hold the Legislature accountable and pass tough anti-crime legislation.

"'Kerry Healey has refused to accept half-measures and Band-Aids, and pushed the Legislature until they got the bills right,' Coflesky said...

"Healey recently signed a new law mandating sex offenders be registered before being released from prison and extending the statute of limitations for prosecuting child rapists. Last week, she and running mate Reed Hillman called for dangerous Level 2 offenders to have their identities posted on the Internet, as is the current law for Level 3 offenders.

"Hillman spent 25 years with the State Police, with his final three years as Superintendent.

"Kerry Healey and Reed Hillman's extensive background in public safety and their priorities moving forward stand in stark contrast to Deval Patrick, who has been called 'soft on crime' by Attorney General Tom Reilly. Patrick supports restricting the content of criminal history reports available to employers and wants to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens."

Now who is the best when it comes to supporting public safety and fighting crime? Patrick has been a prosecutor with the Department of Justice, but also a defense attorney. He's being endorsed by Democrats and groups traditionally aligned with Democrats. There are few surprises there.

Healey has had expertise as a researcher on crime and Hillman was a State Trooper for 25 years. The endorsement from the State Police Association is as obvious as those supporting Patrick.

So on this issue who do you choose? That's the challenge. Voters must cut through the rhetoric to look at substance and try to discern the truth that works for them.

©2006 by Gordon Michael Dobbs. My words alone.

No comments: