I Won't Be Coming to Your Door

Not too long ago, a columnist for the Improper Bostonian pointed out that a lot of good things are happening on Beacon Hill--it's just that nobody's telling you about them.

As a former newspaper reporter and broadcaster, a member of the media, I know it's a lot easier, and a lot more fun, to dig up the dirt on someone than praise them for good deeds or even for just going to work every day.

I liked the columnist, Craig Sandler, co-owner of the state house news service, because he pointed out (as few others have) that legislators and their staff are "typically hard at work, dealing with local issues. They're well-informed, well-meaning, and they back it up by coming through and helping the people they're paid to help."

Thank you Craig, thank you. Keep going!

"Most of the people at the State House, elected and non-elected, spend a substantial amount of their time working their butts off trying to do the right thing, and succeeding a lot of the time. Their constituents like them; they care about important issues," Craig continued.

Tell me more.

"The priorities and agenda of news coverage give an illusion that the worthwhile and noble have disappeared from public service. But that's wrong. Hard work and intelligence abound, every day, every moment. it just fails to make print or air."

Couldn't have said it better myself, Craig. You're becoming my best friend.

"The press conducts a campaign of negativity against politics that convinces people politics isn't worthy of their time."

So, what do voters want in their politicians. A recent Associated Press survey shows that honesty is the most important thing. Honesty above compassion, leadership skills, and philosophy of government. Yes sirree, Bob, as they say. One third of Americans say that honesty is the most important quality.

What else to voters want? Sixteen percent want a candidate "who cares about people like you." Then, leadership skills at fifteen percent, and having a vision got 13 percent. Ten percent said the most important thing was a candidate's willingness to stand up for beliefs. Another eight want someone who shares the voter's view of government.

The most important issues? Education, followed by the economy, moral values and social security and medicare. Then, health care, and taxes.

What should you do? First, be sure to vote this fall. Let those of us who are running know you support us, or our opponents. That was the number one piece of advice in a Boston Globe column.

The Globe's other advice? Speak up--write or call your local politicians and let them know what you like and dislike. See the good in them--we're generally doing our best. Demand leadership. But don't expect perfection.

We aren't superhuman. We're just like you. With families and pets and mortgages, and a job that puts us in the public eye.

It was just six years ago that I first ran for office. And I haven't regretted it. Of course, I'm glad I won. And I've gained added respect for my opponents in 1994 for also stepping forward, offering to serve for you in the legislature.

It's time to say thank you, again. This year is my fourth campaign, and I say "campaign" although I am running unopposed. I still want to ask you for your vote at the polls. And, yes, you'll see a few lawn signs, some bumper stickers and a billboard, too. By now, you know what I stand for. The votes I've taken. The services I've offered. So I won't do a hard sell.

I just ask you to vote.

Believe it or not, fewer than half of the country's eligible voters voted in the 1996 presidential election! I hope you go to the polls this fall to make your choices. You can make a difference.

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