SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 24, 2013

Anderson: Winslow the best kind of 'professional' politician

Barbara Anderson
The Salem News

---- — I just got an email from former governor Bill Weld, endorsing Gabriel Gomez for U.S. Senate.

“As a son of immigrants, a Navy SEAL and a successful businessman, Gabriel has a unique set of experiences and skills that will bring an outsider’s perspective to Washington D.C. ...

“We need a fiscal conservative who is talking about solutions for getting our economy back on track and moving the country forward. This primary has three excellent candidates, but Gabriel’s common-sense ideas and remarkable leadership make him the obvious choice for those that believe deeply in the need for a big-tent Republican Party ...”

Hi, Bill, how are ya ? Nice endorsement, now if only I could get the image out of my head of you standing under a “Republicans for Obama” banner in New Hampshire, endorsing Barack in 2008. Although you were a fine governor, forgive me for not trusting your judgment about national race candidates.

I’ve endorsed Dan Winslow for some of the same reasons: fiscal conservative, believes deeply in the need for a big-tent Republican Party. I admire Mr. Gomez’s résumé and will support him if he wins the primary, but I wish I’d had a chance to get to know him before being asked to vote for him for the vital position of United States senator in this critical election. When you mention his “solutions for getting the economy back on track,” I don’t know what they are: I’ve only heard his campaign mantra: “Term limits, balanced budget amendment, line-item veto.” I support these, too, but since they require constitutional amendments, they aren’t going to get the economy back on track until long after I’m dead, so I need more timely solutions.

He calls himself “an outsider,” perhaps to the point of having little idea of how the “inside” works?

Gomez attacks both Winslow and Michael Sullivan for being “professional politicians.” Maybe at some point in voter history, I’d have seen that as a negative, but right now, in this time of crisis, it sounds better than “amateur politician.” Do we want a professional or amateur fiscal conservative addressing the nation’s great problems?

Both Dan and Michael are poster boys for the way term limits is intended to work: They both served in one government position, then moved on to another, then another, accumulating valuable experience while not getting complacent in a permanent job.

Dan Winslow did have a permanent job as a district court judge, yet left it to become Gov. Romney’s chief legal counsel, where he worked on actual balanced budgets. Then he ran for office himself: not starting at the top, but becoming a state representative when his state rep moved up to fill Scott Brown’s Massachusetts state Senate position. His priorities, according to the Massachusetts Political Almanac, have been “jobs and the state economy, cutting taxes and wasteful spending while preserving core local services,” as well as “integrity and ethics in state government.”

He calls me with original ideas, like allowing taxpayers to apply their sales taxes to a reduction in their property taxes — an improvement over Deval Patrick’s 2006 campaign “property tax reduction” for which we are still awaiting details.

I even liked Winslow’s proposal for one new tax — on the $20 million left over in state politicians’ campaign funds after an election, which isn’t considered taxable income as they carry it forward to their next campaign. An added benefit is that it would remove some of the advantage incumbents have over challengers from their own or the other party.

Granted, these ideas aren’t becoming law either, because they’re being made within an overwhelmingly one-party legislature. In Washington, an idea person could have a real impact as the situation becomes more desperate.

Michael Sullivan was also a state legislator, before moving on to district attorney, U.S. attorney, and head of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau. Both he and Dan Winslow had 100 percent ratings with Citizens for Limited Taxation; both can be counted on to support fiscal responsibility in the U.S. Senate. I endorsed Dan as soon as he jumped into the race for the Senate seat when John Kerry was appointed secretary of state. I was hoping he’d be the only Republican candidate so he could focus on raising money and campaigning for a tough race against Congressman Ed Markey, who’s a poster boy for why term limits are needed, having stayed in that same safe spot for 36 years.

But alas, Republicans didn’t pull together even in a short time-frame election against a Democrat with a huge war chest, so two more candidates jumped in: Gabriel Gomez, from out of nowhere, supported by party regulars whom I’d have expected to support Dan because there was no reason not to, and Mike Sullivan, who was urged by social conservatives to run so they wouldn’t have to support a social moderate who might actually win. Given a choice among fiscal conservatives, I’ll go with the most knowledgeable one with whom I agree on choice and gay marriage. I hope other independents, who can vote in the Republican primary next Tuesday, will also vote for Dan Winslow for U.S. Senate.

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Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is a regular Salem News columnist.