One of the exciting stories to come out of the Massachusetts primary election last week was the victory of Mary Keefe (pictured at right) in the 15th Worcester district. This was a hotly contested primary election to replace former Representative Vincent Pedone, with five Democrats vying for the nomination. Of those five only one, Mary Keefe, ran as an unapologetic supporter of "An Act to Invest in Our Communities," which would raise $1.4 billion in new revenue in a way that holds down increases for low- and middle-income families.
Ms. Keefe's reasons for supporting this bill were simple. Throughout the course of her campaign she knocked on doors all over the 15th Worcester district, and heard from constituents about street lights that didn't get fixed, potholes that didn't get filled, public schools with no enrichment programs, and too many children in each classroom. Ms. Keefe pointed out - correctly - that the city of Worcester has lost more than 40% of its local aid in the last decade due to budget cuts. That is over $35 million annually that Worcester no longer has to pay for roads and bridges, police and fire, and schools. The people living in the 15th Worcester district have directly felt the impact of those cuts.
So when candidate Mary Keefe came to their doors and offered them a solution that could increase local aid to Worcester and other communities throughout the Commonwealth, and would do so in a way that asked more of the people who have more, voters supported Ms. Keefe in droves. Despite her opposition running against her on the issue of taxes, Mary Keefe won the 5-way primary on Election Day by 9 points!
Ms. Keefe's victory demonstrates that voters care about their communities and about the services that state and local government provide. Schools, roads, bridges, public safety, parks and libraries are all critical to our quality of life, and voters know it. When presented with a fair and reasonable solution to the funding problems that are causing our cities and towns to continually decimate these critical services, voters like that solution.
Congratulations to Ms. Keefe and to the voters of the 15th Worcester district, who voted to invest in their community!