BOSTON -- An op-ed from MassGOP Chairman Kirsten Hughes in today's edition of The Lowell Sun makes the case that voters are looking for an alternative to the Legislature's one-party rule, where multiple Democrat lawmakers are the subject of ongoing FBI investigations. Hughes makes the case that in 2018, Republican candidates are ready to stand for the honest and accountable government that voters deserve.
THE LOWELL SUN
By Kirsten Hughes
Here's a sad commentary about the state of the Democrat-controlled Legislature these days: It would be a big win for Democrats if they were able to make it through a month without one of their members being linked to an FBI investigation. It would certainly be an improvement over December, when two Democrats found themselves linked to federal probes due to allegations of abuse of power or worse. After a year where Democrat lawmakers seem to only make news for scandals and raising their own pay, voters are looking for an alternative vision -- one that stands for honesty and accountability, instead of the current status quo.
The warning signs were evident in 2015. That's when then-Senate President Stanley Rosenberg complained in an interview with The Boston Globe that state ethics rules were "way overreaching," and floated the idea that Beacon Hill should weaken them. In light of so many Democrat scandals of years past, it was a head-scratching stance for Rosenberg to take. Flash forward to 2017, and it makes more sense.
The scandal involving Rosenberg's husband, Bryon Hefner, is disturbing enough for the allegations of sexual misconduct. But just as troubling is the topic that the FBI is reportedly pursuing: the notion that Rosenberg's husband engaged in quid pro quo harassment by abusing the power of the office of the Senate President. Rosenberg insists that there was no abuse of power, and that he had no knowledge of the misconduct.
Given his history of scoffing at the need for ethical standards in government, voters should be forgiven if they don't buy his claims.
Rosenberg's standing wasn't helped when ex-Sen. Brian Joyce was arrested and indicted. A former top Rosenberg lieutenant, Joyce is embroiled in a massive corruption scandal that has federal prosecutors alleging he "ran his Senate office as a criminal enterprise." The most shocking details of the indictment -- bribes, kickbacks, and schemes to circumvent the law -- are enough to make voters want to clear house. But, even more troubling is that Democrats stood by Joyce even after the allegations surfaced. In fact, Rosenberg kept him on as the chair of a panel to "improve government performance."
Democrats have allowed a culture where such abuses of power are tolerated: They continued to support Rosenberg despite his calls for weaker ethics rules and his support of Joyce. The only way to fix this culture is greater balance and accountability in the Legislature. Republican candidates for the Senate and the House of Representatives are voters' best chance to challenge the stranglehold on power that Democrats use to protect corrupt colleagues like Joyce -- and usher in the accountability and balance the public deserves. That's a message voters of all stripes can embrace.
The public is ready to check the power of this trackless supermajority. Just this month, Republicans flipped a state Senate seat in Worcester County that had long been held by Democrats. With the 2018 election less than a year away, voters are yearning for better government -- and Republican candidates will be ready to offer it.