Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Chat With Congressman Capuano

Last night I sat in on a call with Congressman Mike Capuano, who is running in the special election to fill the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Senator Ted Kennedy.

That seat is currently held by Senator Paul Kirk, who was appointed by Mass. Governor Deval Patrick. However, he holds the seat only until the special election, which is scheduled for January 19, 2010. The primaries for the Republican and Democratic parties are set for December 8.

I have been pretty busy volunteering for the local races in Boston this year, and I have not paid attention to the U.S. Senate race. However, I could not pass up the chance to speak to Congressman Capuano.

The call was arranged by Congressman Capuano's campaign, and it was a casual conversation with a few local bloggers. I was on one of those free conference call dial-ins, along with Mike Ball of "Marry in Massachusetts" (it was great to meet him), and an anonymous blogger from (He says he stays anonymous so as to not upset his boss.) Mike has posted his own entry based on the call.

One of my biggest issues federally is the Cape Wind project off the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. To summarize, a private developer wants to install windmills in the open water. I support the project. Numerous federally funded reports have proven the project will not impact the environment, shipping lanes, or anything else for that matter. Well, it will impact the site lines of many residents who live on the shores near the proposed site. Cutting to the end of the story, the windmills are not up yet.

Congressman Capuano said last night he supports Cape Wind. He said that given all the studies that have been done, he sees no reason for holding up the project. He noted that the project might change slightly (maybe there will be five or 10 less windmills), but it should move forward.

I also asked Congressman Capuano about Pakistan. This week, the White House has indicated it is focused on Al-Qaeda and not necessarily the Taliban (a position I support). For that reason, Al-Qaeda activity in Pakistan could be considered more important than meeting our objectives in Afghanistan.

Congressman Capuano said that the Pakistan government has recently stepped up to the plate and is doing what it needs to do to diminish the influence of Al-Qaeda in its country.

From a page-two perspective, the most interesting part of last night's call, in my opinion, was at the beginning. Congressman Capuano explained why he was running. As an analysis, it's fair to say he's not running because of the glamour of the Senate. He spoke as if House members and Senate members are pretty much the same and can accomplish similar things.

He noted that it would take a long time for him to achieve significant seniority in the House, and for that reason, he felt a move to the Senate would help him accomplish more effectively what he finds important.

I have not made up my mind yet in the U.S. Senate race, but I have to say Congressman Capuano has impressed me of late.

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