In the last decade, this region has become comfortable with having a state senator who paid close attention to local issues and didn’t always toe the party line, particularly when that line was contrary to his district’s needs. State Sen. Steve Baddour served this district well, and set a model for effectiveness.
We see that same independent streak in Kathleen O’Connor Ives. More than that, we see a candidate who has a firm grasp on the issues here in the tail end of the district, and a track record on the Newburyport City Council of listening to people, doing her homework and getting things done. For those reasons, we endorse O’Connor Ives for state Senate in the Nov. 6 election.
The Newburyport Democrat upset her party’s apple cart when she showed the audacity to run against the party’s heir apparent, former Methuen mayor Bill Manzi. To many people’s surprise -- particularly the region’s Democratic establishment -- she won a convincing victory in the primary. It demonstrated that she has a quiet tenacity and the smarts to run a strong campaign that connected with voters. She didn’t take anything for granted; she earned her win the hard way.
In the debates that have followed the primary, O’Connor Ives has performed well. Her months of campaigning have given her a good understanding of the diversity of this district, as well as the common bonds. She projects her positions and knowledge effectively.
The Senate district stretches up the Merrimack River through Haverhill and Methuen. It is rare that a candidate from our relatively sparsely-populated end of the district becomes our senator. We’ll have that if Connor Ives is elected, and that is to our advantage.
Her service on the City Council has been one of independent thought, thorough research of issues, and openmindedness. We see a person who is in politics for the right reasons -- to help citizens in need who might otherwise go unheard, and to try to improve the community she lives in. That’s what the district will get with O’Connor Ives.
We also like the pledge she has made -- to be a fulltime state senator. No other candidate in the race has made this pledge. Indeed, relatively few state lawmakers work fulltime in their legislative roles. Most have law practices or private sector jobs to augment their pay.
We think O’Connor Ives is well qualified to be our next state Senator, and we urge local voters to support her in the Nov. 6 election.