WHY TERRY SHOULD REPLACE KERRY
In the coming weeks, Senator John Kerry will be confirmed as the 68th Secretary of State and Governor Deval Patrick will be tasked with filling a vacant seat in the U.S. Senate.
Regardless of whoever Governor Patrick chooses to replace Kerry, Patrick’s coming decision is likely to be one of the most scrutinized during his tenure as Governor of Massachusetts.
Governor Patrick, however, can stem much of that scrutiny by upholding his responsibility to appoint a candidate who can best represent the interests of all Bay Staters on Capitol Hill.
A United States Senator is not just a name on a placard. It is a position that comes with the highest standards of ethical judgment and moral character. A U.S. Senator, despite their political affiliation, has an obligation to stay in touch with the ever- changing needs of their constituency.
As Governor Patrick probes the state for candidates that meet the qualifications listed above, Plymouth’s own Terry Murray should be added to the short list of potential appointees to replace John Kerry.
This is a KingstonJournal.com editorial. The views stated in this editorial reflect those held by the management staff of KingstonJournal.com.
Therese Murray has served as Kingston’s state senator since her election in 1992.
In 2007, Murray broke down a wall that had existed since 1780 when she became the first woman to serve as President of the Massachusetts Senate in history.
Since then, Murray has spent her time wisely as a champion for statewide campaign finance reform and reducing government bureaucracy. All the while, the Massachusetts Senate President has kept a visible profile in her district and remained an accessible artery of Beacon Hill to concerned citizens.
Murray has had her finger on the pulse of Massachusetts politics for the better part of two decades. She has been one of the loudest voices for the Bay State’s middle class citizens and served as a true ally of Governor Patrick for all things reform.
Compared to a field of far-removed candidates, Murray’s proven track record as a visionary and successful state legislator is in sharp contrast.
FAR FROM GENERIC…
A WBUR poll taken this week showed that former Senator Scott Brown holds an eight-point lead over a “generic Democrat.”
Indeed, the Democratic field of candidates to replace Kerry’s seat appears wide open. Even Michael Dukakis’ name was resurrected until he told WBZ-TV he wasn’t interested last Monday.
Brown, who has expressed a keen interest in returning to the U.S. Senate, might end up squaring off against a “generic Democrat” if latest Boston.com reports are true and Ted Kennedy Jr. is considering a run.
Kennedy Jr. lives out-of-state in New Haven, Connecticut.
According to Kennedy Jr.’s brother, disgraced former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s son would have to switch his residency to the famed Hyannisport Kennedy Compound to be an eligible candidate in Massachusetts.
Kennedy Jr. purchased the Hyannisport estate after his father’s death but kept his residency listed as Connecticut.
After Kennedy Jr., superstar Bostonian Ben Affleck, Ted Kennedy widow Vikki Kennedy and Congressman Stephen Lynch have all been mentioned as potentials.
Among the list of heavyweight names, only Terry Murray would have the record to back up the talk.
Among the list, only Terry Murray has been a consistent instrument of change and only Terry Murray remained inherently connected to the people who first elected her.
For 36 years, Murray has been a resident of Plymouth and lived amongst her constituents year round.
What Murray doesn’t have is a celebrity name. She isn’t a Kennedy and she isn’t Ben Affleck.
But, if Ted Kennedy Jr. and Ben Affleck deserve consideration simply because of their names, Murray deserves consideration simply because of her record.
THE MATH ADDS UP
The math adds up. Terry Murray could win a statewide election.
Murray is from a part of the state which hasn’t had a United States Senator since Daniel Webster became Secretary of State in 1850, which was the last time a resident of Plymouth County sat in the U.S. Senate.
That said; if Murray was appointed she would stand an excellent chance of beating Scott Brown in a special election.
When Brown was elected in 2010, it was the South Shore which swept him into office. Brown won every town between Boston and Provincetown two years ago with many towns, like Plympton and Middleborough, giving Brown nearly 70%.
In a popular-vote election, the surging “red tide” on the South Shore in 2010 proved to be fatal to Martha Coakley’s senate chamber dreams. Before the 2010 campaign, most South Shore voters had never even heard the name “Coakley.”
Coakley was from Berkshire County.
Therese Murray is from Plymouth and has represented some of the Bay State’s most conservative-leaning towns through the tenures of five governors, four of them being Republicans.
Through her rise in the Massachusetts Senate, Murray has garnered respect and praise like few others on Beacon Hill – and – as Elizabeth Warren prepares to take over the reins from Scott Brown, Terry Murray would be a perfect completing of the Massachusetts Senate Delegation.
If Murray was appointed, it would be the first time an all-woman Massachusetts delegation was sent to Capitol Hill. Massachusetts would join Califorina, New Hampshire and Washington State as the only states with all-female senate delegations.
A little over a month ago, Massachusetts was one of the few states that had never elected a female senator.
Murray’s record on health-care reform and bipartisan support would make her an invaluable asset to the White House during Barack Obama’s second term.
“THE PERFECT PERSON TO HELP”
According to a Gallup poll last week, Congress now has a dismal approval rating of 18%. As bleak as that number seems, it’s double the 9% approval rating a New York Times poll reported in mid-October.
One thing is certain, whoever Governor Patrick appoints to replace John Kerry will be entering an unpopular body in a country that is increasingly demanding action.
Perhaps it would be logical for Governor Patrick to consider the tools at our state’s disposal and, consider who has already succeeded in a similar situation.
When Terry Murray was first elected to the State Senate, Whitey Bulger’s brother was serving in the position she now holds.
For 18 years, Billy Bulger presided as Massachusetts Senate President until it was revealed in 1996 that he had communicated with his fugitive brother.
It wasn’t only the Massachusetts Senate that had problems.
During a 17-year stretch, three Speakers of the Massachusetts House of Representatives either resigned or were indicted after being connected to corruption. Charles Flaherty, Thomas Finneran and Salvatore DiMasi all left their posts shamed and disgraced.
In the wake of the scandals that plagued Beacon Hill in the 1990’s, Massachusetts citizens lost their confidence and trust in state politics.
Since the election of Deval Patrick and the beginning of Terry Murray’s term as Massachusetts Senate President, integrity has once again become a hallmark of the highest governmental bodies in our state.
Maybe the United States Senate could learn a thing or two from the way things are done in Massachusetts and maybe, just maybe, Terry Murray is the perfect person to help.
As we said, it’s worth adding her to the short list.
KingstonJournal.com would like to know your thoughts on who should replace John Kerry in the U.S. Senate! Share your comments and join the online discussion below. Would Therese Murray be a good choice for Governor Patrick?