This morning, I cast the 108th ballot in a special election for State Senator at the Dilboy VFW Post in Davis Square, Somerville. Despite a sprinkling rain and the low turnout, the streets outside my polling place were crawling with people holding signs — a wonderful sign of a vibrant local democracy. I got a flyer about keep a divestment measure off the November ballot and saw signs for each of the four candidates — Michael Callahan (Governor’s Councilor), Paul Casey (current state rep, who opposes gay marriage, which knocks him out of the running for me), Patricia Jehlen (current state rep), and Joe Mackey (former state rep).
I cast my ballot for Pat Jehlen. Each of the Democratic candidates (yes, so disclosed, I am a Massachusetts Democrat) in this special election strike me as well-qualified. I am voting for Rep. Jehlen primarily because she, or rather her team, has made the effort to connect with me. I have lived in her district, right on the Somerville/Cambridge line, for the last four or five years, and I’ve enjoyed getting her e-mails to constituents; on the one occasion I’ve contacted her staff they’ve been responsive to my issue; and during the past few frantic months of the campaign, a few door-knockers have rung our bell, including a friend from the political world, Christa Kelleher, a professor and long-time political activist. They hung a “get out the vote” flyer on my doorknob last night. None of the other candidates reached out nearly so successfully. I give Rep. Jehlen a lot of credit for doing the blocking-and-tackling of good old fashioned campaigning both during her term as State Rep and as candidate for the State Senate. (And, of course, her record on the issues is good, too. I like in particular her stances on education, health care, and the environment, on which she has been a leader for many years.)
Every Election Day rocks, on some level. This particular election is tinged with the sadness of the death of former State Senator Charles Shannon. What a privilege to be able to choose his successor in a well-contested election.