Tomorrow, it's your turn.
The last several months have been dominated by the candidates for local and statewide office. Much has been made lately of the poisonous nature of political advertising, dirty campaigning and the increasingly personal attacks that risk turning voters away from the poll altogether.
Look beyond the rancor, however, and a different picture emerges. It has been a long time since there were so many strongly contested races on the North Shore and across Massachusetts.
And there have been plenty of opportunities for voters to get to know the candidates, from informal coffees to community forums to local debates. The candidates for governor debated 16 times this year. From Beverly and Danvers to Marblehead and Swampscott, there has been an open exchange of ideas.
We agree with Endicott College President Richard Wylie, who wrote on these pages Saturday:
"Each of us must learn to listen and think critically if we are to change the course of politics in this country. It starts with becoming involved. It continues with a search for the facts. It ends with a decision to support candidates who espouse honesty, integrity and accountability and put public service above their own personal gain."
Here's who has earned endorsement from The Salem News:
For Congress, we endorse incumbent John Tierney of Salem, whose campaign — and reputation in the district — was wounded earlier this month when his wife, Patrice Tierney, pleaded guilty to four counts of aiding and abetting in the filing of her brother's false tax returns. Tierney should have paid closer attention to his wife's business dealings with her brother, Robert Eremian. But there is absolutely no evidence that either Tierney or his wife profited from those activities.
Tierney has represented the district well for seven terms. Tierney's district office in Peabody Square has a strong reputation for constituent service and he has worked hard on behalf of the local fishing industry and General Electric's jet aircraft operations in Lynn, to name two constituencies.
For governor, we support Swampscott resident Charlie Baker. The former Weld administration official, town selectman and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO has shown he can get the job done in the public and private sectors. The state sorely needs his brand of fiscal responsibility.
After a failed bid for U.S. Senate, Attorney General Martha Coakley has recommitted herself to the state's top law enforcement post. She has earned another term. So has Secretary of State William Galvin.
Steve Grossman's business experience as head of a family-owned business give the Democrat the edge in the race for treasurer.
For auditor, our choice is Mary Z. Connaugton, a certified public accountant who was a dogged taxpayer advocate on the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority's board of directors.
We are recommending a No vote on ballot Question 3, which would roll the sales tax back from 6.25 percent to 3 percent. A rollback is needed but this cut is simply too deep. We are recommending a Yes vote on Question 1, which would repeal the sales tax on alcohol, which is already subject to an excise tax. We urge voters to vote No on Question 2, which would repeal the state affordable housing law known as Chapter 40B. The law, which allows developers to bypass local zoning in those communities where less than 10 percent of the housing stock is deemed affordable, needs fine-tuning, not repeal.
Voters in the 7th (Salem) and 8th (Marblehead, Swampscott) state representative districts will be asked to weigh in on the question of legalizing the sale of marijuana to adults. We recommend a No vote.
We support incumbent Frank Cousins for Essex County sheriff, whose work has made him one of the highest ranking and most respected Republicans in the state.
We believe it is time for widespread change in the Legislature. That's why we are supporting House candidates Brett Schetzsle in Beverly, Kate Kozitza in Marblehead and Swampscott and Dan Bennett in the district that includes Danvers, Topsfield and one precinct in Peabody.
In the race for the state Senate seat that includes Marblehead and Swampscott, we are supporting newcomer Christopher Dent, a Marine veteran.
Of the incumbents, we favor state Rep. Joyce Spiliotis of Peabody, a moderate to conservative on most social and fiscal issues, and Senate Majority Leader Fred Berry, also of Peabody, the driving force behind several major North Shore projects, including the new regional vocational school and Salem's new court complex.