In the midst of the big national story on Tuesday's election results, there is a much more local - and revealing - story that played itself out in races for the Massachusetts state legislature. You may recall that I wrote in this space after the primary election in September about the victory of Democrat Mary Keefe in the 15th Worcester district. Keefe ran in a hotly contested primary election for an open House seat 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. Despite being attacked relentlessly by every other candidate in the race, Keefe won her primary by 9 points.
The general election on Tuesday has provided us with a similar story. Rep. Jim O'Day (D-West Boylston) is the House sponsor of "An Act to Invest in our Communities," and he faced a Republican challenger who made O'Day's leadership on this bill the very basis of his campaign. The Republican attacked O'Day relentlessly on this issue through billboards, newspaper advertisements and mailings. It was quite the bombardment.
The result: Rep. O'Day won his race by over 30 points!
While I am of course delighted that Rep. O'Day defended his seat, I think that both of these races prove a wider point. Voters in Massachusetts 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 both to Rep. Jim O'Day and to Rep-Elect Mary Keefe!