, Newburyport, MA

April 14, 2014

Why I no longer support O'Connor-Ives

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

This past Saturday I received an email from the campaign of Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives asking for my support in 2014. You’d think this would be an easy call, since I worked on her election campaign in 2012 along with quite a few other people who, like myself, consider themselves Progressive Democrats. It probably would have been an easy call if not for a Nov. 26, 2013 article in the Daily News entitled “Minimum wage hike gets mixed reviews.” The article, like a bucket of cold water over the head, exposed her votes against raising the minimum wage. The article also described her several failed amendment attempts to gut the law as well as the Republican-esque job-killing rationale she used as a defense. In a year when the national Democratic Party has specifically decided to focus on raising the minimum wage to get supporters to the polls, Senator O’Connor-Ives believed joining with all the Senate Republicans to vote against raising it in Massachusetts was the right thing to do.

After reading about her minimum wage votes, I decided to do some research. I started with the unintelligible labyrinth that is the Massachusetts Legislature’s website and eventually ended up at the Blue Mass Group and Red Mass Group websites. There I found links to both progressive and conservative “scorecard” sites. Much to my dismay, I found the website currently gives Senator O’Connor Ives the lowest overall rating in the Senate at 2 for 16 or 12.5 percent. Just as disturbing, the conservative folks give her the second highest overall rating among all statehouse Democrats at 78 percent and, with regard to the minimum wage related votes, she got a 4 for 4 or 100 percent rating.

As a registered Democrat, I’ve attended Democratic functions over the past couple of years. At several of these functions I’ve heard Senator O’Connor Ives referred to as a progressive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Senator O’Connor Ives is, at best, a corporate Democrat. On bread-and-butter money issues, her voting record is that of a Republican. She unflinchingly tried to throw the working poor under the bus, knowing full well she would lose, just to show businesses she’s on their side because she sees them as far more important constituents. She knows on which side her campaign donation bread is buttered.

So, to answer the question posed in the email: No, I will not be supporting Senator O’Connor Ives in 2014 and I sincerely hope someone who embraces progressive values will mount a primary challenge against her. I also won’t vote for her in the general election because I honestly don’t see a downside to her losing. At least if a Republican won, they wouldn’t control any Senate committees as the chair. Queue the O’Connor Ives public relations machine outrage.

Joe Teixeira