|Party unity: Given the current state of our party within the Commonwealth, we need above all to become more united. I do not believe, however, that unity requires uniformity: we must find room for Republicans of all stripes. We must remember, as Ronald Reagan and so many others have known, that those who are with us 80% of the time are our friends and allies. Those who agree with us 60% or 70% of the time aren't our enemies, either: winning coalitions are, by definition, broad enough to include a majority (or at least a strong plurality). This is a particular concern for me both as the youngest member of the state committee, and because I represent a district that, even for Massachusetts, is heavily Democratic: our focus must be on convincing those who do not already agree with us, especially younger voters whose political habits are just being shaped. On all ends of the spectrum, we must stop trying to write those who disagree with us out of the party.
I find myself bemused by recent implications that Rick will impose a "litmus test" on our party. I doubt I'd satisfy anyone's litmus test: for instance, I've publicly stated my support for gay marriage, but I'm equally proud to say publicly that I'm pro-life. I suspect that several of our problems stem from valid feelings among activists of many stripes that they have not been treated fairly, and that their views cannot even be heard. I know that it is one of Rick's foremost commitments to bring people from all parts of our party together, and to foster the exchange of ideas for returning our party to relevance at all levels of government. I fear that those who complain of imaginary "litmus tests" are unlikely candidates for promoting the sort of unity that will be essential to our future success.
Moreover, the list of Rick's endorsements demonstrates that he has support from those with a wide range of views. As I write this, 25 members of the state committee (including me) and seven of our thirty-three elected state legislators have publicly endorsed Rick. I know that some consider themselves moderate, and others further to the right; some are social conservatives, and some are not; some are even libertarians. Many would disagree sharply among themselves on some issues. We all, however, agree that Rick is the best choice to become our next chairman.
Vision: I ran for state committee in large part because I thought -- as I still do -- that our focus had become too narrow. Devoting all or almost all of our efforts to statewide elections for major offices has not only robbed us of continuity and stability, it has also failed: we have neither a Republican governor nor enough Republican members in either house of the General Court to demand a roll-call vote (though we're quite close in the House!), much less sustain a veto.
I believe that Rick is most committed to working from the "ground up" and thereby leading us back to relevance at every level of government. I know how well he knows Massachusetts politics at a town-by-town, district-by-district level, and I know he understands how imperative such an approach is. Indeed, it is just this approach that enabled Scott Brown to be the first Republican elected to the US Senate from Massachusetts in 37 years: we are all familiar with the story of how, beginning as a town official, he worked his way up to serve in both houses of the legislature and then in Congress. I am confident that electing Rick to serve as chairman will enable numerous others to follow similar, if not identical paths, and thereby increase the number of Republicans elected throughout our Commonwealth.
As I said in my opening paragraph, there are myriad other reasons to support Rick: the executive ability suggested by his career in business, the commitment he has demonstrated to Massachusetts there, and his record of support for candidates at all levels all come to mind. Again, however, I consider party unity and vision to be the most important factors, and I strongly believe that Rick is the best choice on both counts.
The writer is the state committeeman from the Middlesex and Suffolk District