As summer slides into fall some of us feel a twinge of regret over tasks left undone, weeds flourishing in the garden, books not read or just the end of a warm, sunny season.
But fall brings its own sense of newness and possibilities. Perhaps it’s the echo of childhood when fall meant starting a new school year or just the dry, cool breeze relieving us from soggy humidity.
And fall offers choices about our future and about taking new directions or staying the course. Massachusetts' election for governor and attorney general epitomizes that choice.
Two of the three candidates for governor hold statewide office and have been part of our political structure for a long time. Treasurer Steve Grossman became chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party in 1991 and Attorney General Martha Coakley first ran for Middlesex District Attorney in 1997.
The third candidate is a doctor, an entrepreneur and a leader. Voters who choose Don Berwick on September 9th will be choosing a new path for Massachusetts, one that follows Abraham Lincoln’s belief, “Let the people know the facts and the country will be safe.”
One of the facts Berwick is letting us know about is that state spending on health care has risen to 44% of the budget and cuts into every other major line item, including education, roads, and aid to cities and towns.
But the breath of fresh air Berwick brings goes beyond sharing facts to a solution rooted in knowledge, experience, and international success in improving healthcare systems.
Berwick also stands alone against casinos in Massachusetts. He’s the one candidate disclosing the track record of what happens to communities after casinos arrive. Our dollars travel into the pockets of wealthy casino owners and crime, drunk driving, alcoholism, bankruptcy and local business failures come to stay. But jobs do not.
He knows that Massachusetts can create lasting jobs that pay a living wage and support families and communities. Compared to casinos, that’s a breath of fresh air.
The race for attorney general is also a choice between yesterday’s office holder and tomorrow’s leader. Warren Tolman held office on Beacon Hill from 1991-98. He is widely known and has run for statewide office twice before.
His opponent, Maura Healey, has led the AG’s civil rights, consumer protection, fair labor, and environmental protection bureaus but hasn’t run office. Like Berwick, she brings experience, vision and the habit of telling the whole truth.
She, too, has called out the bad things that casino gambling would bring to the good people of Massachusetts. Her voice brings fresh perspectives and possibilities to what she calls the people’s lawyer.
The time for apple picking is upon us and so is the choice between status quo candidates and ones who will blaze a new fruitful path. For me, fresh candidates with good ideas and solid experience are as refreshing as the cooling breezes of fall.