FROM OUR OCT. 2018 PRINTED EDITION
House Republican Reformers Deserve Re-Election – We Need Them to Maintain Sanity on Beacon Hill
by Ted Tripp
Sr. Political Reporter
In 2010, discontent around the country and even here in Massachusetts brought about the election of a group of Reform-Minded Republican legislators who, although small in numbers, wanted to change the paradigm of business-as-usual on Beacon Hill.
The election of these Reformers was helped along by the Tea Party movement, both nationally and in the Bay State. The Greater Boston Tea Party, the Merrimack Valley Tea Party, the Northborough Tea Party, the Waltham Tea Party, the Worcester Tea Party and others all played key roles in energizing the electorate to change bodies on Beacon Hill. While we were not as successful as other states in this endeavor, those newcomers that were elected and some that followed in their footsteps in later elections were able to build a solid foundation for common sense practices in a sea of liberal madness and spending insanity.
The Republican Reformers include Representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover), Representative Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica), Representative Shaunna O’Connell (R-Taunton), Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), Representative David DeCoste (R-Norwell), Representative Kevin Kuros (R-Uxbridge), Representative Nick Boldyga (R-Southwick), Representative Donnie Berthiaume (R-Spencer), Representative Joe McKenna (R-Webster), Representative Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk), Representative Peter Durant (R-Spencer), and Representative Lenny Mirra (R-West Newbury).
All but Geoff Diehl and Kevin Kuros are running for re-election this November. Diehl, of course, has stepped up to run for U.S. Senate against incumbent Senator Elizabeth Warren. We wish him well in bringing his brand of common sense reform to Washington.
This group of Republican Reformers has consistently filed legislation and/or budget amendments to support the little guy, the average taxpayer, the struggling small businessman, the home schooler, the person wronged by an over-reaching government.
Every legislative session, one or more of these Republican Reformers sponsor, cosponsor or sign-on to support a bill rolling back the sales and incomes taxes to their historic levels of 5%. Some, like Jim Lyons and Marc Lombardo, even try to sneak some of these tax rollback measures into the budget as amendments. Others like McKenna have tried to repeal the estate tax, and Berthiaume’s bill gives members of the Armed Forces an income tax exemption.
Shaunna O’Connell has focused much of her energy on tightening restrictions and eliminating fraud in the EBT card program and assuring that benefits go to legal residents. Lombardo has gone further and filed legislation to require proof of residency for all public benefits and withholding general state aid to cities and towns which declare themselves as sanctuaries for illegal aliens.
Some like Boldyga want drug tests before receiving state assistance. DeCoste wants to strengthen the rights of foster parents. Dooley wants speedier trials for the elderly. Durant has filed a bill to limit the salaries of executives at state-funded non-profits and Mirra wants to add protection for whistleblowers.
Representatives Jim Lyons and Marc Lombardo seem to make the most news. In 2012 the two legislators led an effort to hold up the passage of a supplemental state budget during an informal session until Governor Patrick’s administration promised to give Lyons a long-sought-after answer to how much the state spends annually on illegal aliens. Patrick caved, the budget was passed, and Lyons eventually got his numbers. Then in May of 2014 Lyons and Lombardo teamed up again, along with WRKO talk show host Jeff Kuhner, to hold a giant rally on the front steps of the State House to free Justina Pelletier. The 16-year-old from Connecticut was being held against her will by Children’s Hospital, Governor Deval Patrick’s Department of Children & Families, and the courts. Eventually, through many people’s efforts, including numerous Reformers, she was freed to go home to her family.
More recently, Lyons and other Reformers joined Jeff Kuhner again, this time for a rally in Salem to remove Judge Timothy Feeley from the bench for his dangerous low-bail policies and the release of arrested persons to commit new crimes. In July, just before the current legislative session ended, Lyons filed a bill of address directing Governor Charlie Baker to remove Feeley from his judgeship. All the Republicans in the House signed onto the measure except for Rep. James Kelcourse. Two Democrats even joined the Republicans for the removal of Feeley. Unfortunately, Governor Baker and the Governor’s Council failed to take action.
Lyons is also known for bringing Christmas back to the State House. This December will be the third year in a row that a crèche will sit in the Great Hall of Flags and people will be singing Christmas carols. Visitors will be able to enjoy the good cheer and refreshments as they mingle and take pleasure in this special time of year.
So we have a lot to be thankful for that this small band of Reform Republicans has our back on Beacon Hill. We cannot afford to lose them. Some have very difficult races this fall and well-funded opponents. The liberal establishment and Democrat machine would love to take out as many as they can in this group of Reformers. Democrats are pouring money and resources into many of these races from outside the districts to help their candidates.
If any of these Reform Republicans represent you, or your town, please do whatever you can to make sure they get re-elected. Volunteer some of your time and treasure to keep them in office. It’s more important than you will ever know.
If you live in a district that has no Republican running for state representative, consider supporting one of the Reformers we have listed here. A check, a drive to a nearby town to hold a sign, an offer to make phone calls from your home, offering to walk with the candidate on the weekend – all these efforts can help keep the reform effort alive on Beacon Hill.
Time to step up and make a difference. Contact information is listed below:
- Rep. Jim Lyons www.JimLyons.org RepJimLyons@gmail.com 978-886-9916
- Rep. Marc Lombardo www.marclombardo.com firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rep. Shaunna O’Connell www.shaunnaoconnell.com email@example.com 508-823-4417
- Rep. David DeCoste www.Citizensfordecoste.com
- Rep. Nick Boldyga http://nickboldyga.com/get-involved/
- Rep. Donnie Berthiaume www.donnieberthiaume.com
- Rep. Joe McKenna www.facebook.com/electjoemckenna McKennaforrep@gmail.com 774-230-5080
- Rep. Shawn Dooley www.repdooley.com
- Rep. Peter Durant http://repdurant.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org 617-722-2060
- Rep. Lenny Mirra https://lennymirra.com/ Lenny@LennyMirra.com 978-888-5212