Friday, December 04, 2009

Endorsement: Congressman Mike Capuano

Making a pick in a Democratic primary is hard. All of the candidates, in general, share my opinions on almost all of the key issues. Take Cape Wind. While I loved the late Senator Kennedy dearly, he and I disagreed on Cape Wind. I love the project, think it's a model of what we should support moving forward, and think construction on the offshore wind farm should begin right away. Senator Kennedy disagreed with me.

But that's not an issue in the upcoming primary, which will pick the Democrat vying for Senator Kennedy' s seat. All of the candidates support Cape Wind.

When candidates agree on the issues, the race is about personalities, and one's pick is, by definition, personal. Political journalist R.D. Sahl summarized this race quite appropriately earlier this week. Mike Capuano, he said, is too hot; Martha Coakley, too cold; Alan Khezei, too wonky; and Steve Pagliuca, too rich.

It would appear, in my case, that I like it hot. I am voting for Congressman Mike Capuano this coming Tuesday, December 8, in the Massachusetts special Democratic primary for the United States Senate.

Congressman Capuano has reached out to me the most in this race. I received two phone calls at home inviting me to live town hall conference calls with him. In one case I got to ask him a question. I was invited to a special conference call for Boston bloggers, and I ended up writing about my conversation.

But that attention is not the reason he's got my vote. I like a lot of what the Congressman has said:

-- He's levelheaded about Afghanistan and Pakistan. Congressman Capuano disagrees with the President's decision to send additional troops to Afghanistan, as do all the candidates. But the Congressman has actually been to the region. He speaks with an authority on the topic that his opponents cannot match. He also has a sophisticated understanding of the reality inside Pakistan. As a Senator, he will be looked to for leadership on the issue.

-- He doesn't apologize for his principles. Calling him hot might be a bit of hyperbole, but the point is clear. Congressman Capuano stands for what he believes in. He's passionate. He's not afraid to break a sweat or have a hair out of place in pursuit of his goals. I like it when my politicians look like they are working hard. Capuano is working the hardest in this race, in my opinion.

-- He understands how Capitol Hill works. Legislation is a process. Congress moves slowly. While my U.S. Senator should hold steadfast to their core beliefs, Senator Kennedy's biggest achievements came from compromise. And compromise requires an understanding of the ins and outs of Washington. Congressman Capuano has been there and will be able to make an impact from day one. Some of the statements made by his opponents lead me to believe they don't understand the process as well as they should.

I can't believe Tuesday is the primary. The predicted low turnout brings into the question the concept of these special elections. Think about it-- a very small group of voters who bother to go to the polls on Tuesday will be picking the potential next United States Senator, and that Senator will likely hold the seat for a very long time. After careful consideration, Congressman Capuano is my pick. Regardless of who you choose, get out and vote!

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