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Endorsement for State Rep.: Jim Stanton

October 18, 2010

This year, there is an interesting race for State Representative in the Twelfth Norfolk District, which includes Precincts 1, 2, 6 and 7 in Walpole. Incumbent Democrat John Rogers, who almost became Speaker of the House two years ago, is running against Walpole ZBA member Jim Stanton, a Republican. The race has been marked by some dirty politics, including an incident earlier this month when a number of Stanton’s campaign signs were stolen from people’s yards and then posted all over Stanton’s property early in the morning in an intimidating manner. A nasty letter was also sent to Stanton’s headquarters. Stanton’s family and his young daughters have been terrified of these incidents, and for good reason. Dirty politics like this is common place with an entrenched, career politician like Rogers. Rogers likely knew nothing about the incidents, but they serve as a reminder that career politicians running massive political operations tend to have a number of political operatives running around with little accountability for their actions.

Frankly, Stanton and Rogers are both reasonable candidates for the seat. On the issues that matter to Walpole residents, there are very few differences between the two candidates. Rogers has voted against party leadership numerous times. Rogers voted against the irresponsible sales tax increase last year, and has spoken out against cuts to local aid and prison mitigation money. Stanton, too, has said he will stand up for local aid and has criticized the higher sales tax.

But, issues aside, there are other differences between Rogers and Stanton. For example, Rogers is a career politician, who was elected to the House in 1992 and has since worked his way up the ranks to become House Majority Leader. Rogers will not leave the House until he is good and ready, which will likely be quite a while. On the other hand, Stanton has committed to taking voluntary term limits, and will only serve a maximum of four two-year terms. At a time when Beacon Hill has become increasingly out-of-touch with the priorities of Massachusetts residents, it really is time for some new representation in the State House. Rogers is part of the corrupt Beacon Hill culture that enables the very out-of-touch decisions we need to stop. Rogers has had repeated run-ins with unethical and corrupt behavior. For example, in 2007, The Boston Globe reported that Rogers had used $196,000 of his campaign funds to hire his former law partner, Philip F. Filosa, as a political consultant in an informal arrangement that did not include a fee schedule or even a written contract. The report prompted an in-depth investigation by the Massachusetts Office of Campaign & Political Finance into the finances of Rogers’ campaign. But when pressed by the Globe, Rogers refused to turn over records detailing the services his campaign committee had received for the payment, even as the Globe reported that “the monthly payments for political consulting services, which were often as high as $10,000, were far more generous than those other state lawmakers paid.” A year later, In 2008, Rogers was investigated by the OCPF for paying thousands from his campaign account to a friend and political adviser, Thomas Drummey, who then used the money to make mortgage payments on a Cape Cod vacation home that Rogers was a co-owner of. Rogers was eventually cleared of any major wrongdoing, and eventually paid the OCPF a sum of $30,000 as reimbursement for the expenses the agency had paid to conduct the investigation. But the OCPF determined that even still, Drummey had in fact used money from the campaign to pay the mortgage payments. While Rogers may not have personally done anything wrong, this investigation provokes questions about why one of Rogers’ political consultants was making payments for his house. These types of investigations in general, which have dogged Rogers during the past few years, are representative of the corrupt Beacon Hill culture that we have all come to abhor in the last few years.

A lot of 180 readers may be reluctant to support Stanton because he is, after all, a Republican. I don’t like Republicans either. But Stanton is not one to put partisan politics above common sense. Stanton is running for office because he wants to bring two-party governing to the State House, and serve as a counter balance to Democrats like Rogers who have controlled the state legislature for years and have become more and more corrupt. Rogers is part of the political establishment, and his ethical lapses prove it. Stanton will bring a fresh voice, along with reform and common sense back to the State House.

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