Letter: Selectman Rooney endorsement of Representative Dykema

[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to mysouthborough@gmail.com.]

To the Editor:

It is with extreme honor and without any hesitation that I write to endorse Representative Carolyn Dykema’s reelection to the Massachusetts State House of Representatives. I base my recommendation on my direct knowledge of Representative Dykema’s tireless efforts on behalf of the Town of Southborough, a Town I have the privilege of sitting on many boards and committees, including as a member of the Board of Selectmen.

Having never personally interacted with state politicians prior to my election to the Board of Selectman, I viewed such politicians with skepticism, believing that their primary interest was personal, with only a secondary, passing obligation to the electorate. My view was immediately dispelled when I first met Representative Dykema. I witnessed how responsive Representative Dykema was to our Town, how genuine and sincere she cared for residents, and how she has always been available to discuss a local issue for as long as necessary. She is a constant supporter of Southborough’s Board of Selectmen, and has advanced Town causes through the Legislature whenever asked. She is a constant at many, many events involving our Town seniors and veterans, causing me to wonder in amazement if her day is longer than 24 hours.

One of the most important qualities of a leader is the ability to listen. This is a quality that is very difficult to learn, but one that is innate to Representative Dykema. When speaking to Representative Dykema her listening is acute, and her willingness to help is evidenced in her person and actions. She understands that leadership is a characteristic that does not necessary flow from a title. Instead it is a title reserved to those who earn it through hard work and commitment. She consistently makes sure issues do not disappear into the administrative equivalent of an astronomical black hole, by resisting the temptation to kick the can down the road. Representative Dykema always follows through on any promise to get back with information, and offers suggestions to make improvements to our town government. If a return phone call is needed, the phone rings; if a meeting is required, her calendar is made available; if her presence is required, her early arrival and late departure is a guarantee.

Being a representative of the people is a very, very difficult job. Anyone who disputes this has not had the privilege of doing so. It is inevitable in that representation that positions taken and votes made will not always be fully representative of the entire electorate, for Utopia does not exist in Southborough or elsewhere. Yet, even when Representative Dykema votes in a way that may not be consistent with a resident’s point of view, she is always available to take the requisite time to listen, understand, and then fully explain why she voted the way she did. She does not portend to sit as a Philosopher King, imposing her own views insulated from the people. On the contrary, she listens, does her homework, understands, builds consensus, acts and then listens some more. No greater testament to an ideal representative can be given.

In this age of party politics one is immediately covered with feathers when “your” party is scoped in the cross-hairs on a sensitive, controversial issue. Such a herd grouping or mentality makes for easy campaign fodder and seems to forever tie you to a platform regardless of your personal commitment. For better or worse, that is the nature of our democracy. And while that may be a legitimate basis for a voter to consider when darkening the circle on the ballot sheet, equally and indeed I would suggest, even more important, is the issue of the candidates true representative actions. For when Representative Dykema is measured by a personal yardstick that includes honesty, integrity, sincerity, reliability, and allegiance, the circle next to her name should be black as a judge’s robe.

Based upon my first-hand personal knowledge of working directly with our State Legislature for the past five years, if the voters in the Eighth Middlesex District want an ally who truly listens to them, a person who understands the consequences of increased taxes, who understands the problems with the reduction in the quantity and quality of municipal services, a person who will take whatever time is needed to be a true representative regardless of the perceived importance of the issue, Representative Dykema should and needs to be sent back to Boston to work for us.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter of endorsement.

John Rooney
[Member, Board of Selectmen]

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Neil Rossen
9 years ago

I’m surprised that a Selectman is taking an overtly political position. Has Mr. Rooney interviewed Trisha Vanaria? If not, on what comparable basis does he make his judgement. I understand that Dykema has stood for increasing gas and other taxes. And is 100% for Common Core. I could go on. Am I mistaken? Please correct me.
Is she more honest and the rest than the alternative candidate? Please comment.

Dan Frank
9 years ago
Reply to  Neil Rossen

I believe that you may be referencing a series of mailers that residents have gotten from a supposedly non-partisan group, Mass Fiscal Alliance. The group’s finance chair is Jim Rappaport, the former Chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party. The group is a 501C3 whose purpose is to be educational in nature, but their role in the election has been to target a handful of House Representatives, like Carolyn Dykema.

To your other points, my understanding is that the Massachusetts Board of Education voted to slow down any transition to Common Core so they can measure it against the MCAS exam and the PARCC tests. Ms Dykema has also urged a go-slow approach, to make sure that if the Common Core standards are implemented they align with the Massachusetts standards. She is also opposed to the PARCC, just like Ms. Vanaria.

As far as the gas tax, any revenue from that tax can only be used for transportation improvements and infrastructure. The gas tax wasn’t raised for 20 years until 2013, which meant the state is deep in the hole for improvements to structurally deficient bridges, mass transit and road repairs. Right now, the tax will raise the gas tax about a half-cent in 2015 or about an average of $5 for the year. If Question 1 is approved, the state will lose an estimated $1 billion over 10 years that would go to road and rail improvements. No one likes taxes, but I hope we can agree that fixing bridges and roads is a good thing.

By the way, the information in the Mass Fiscal Alliance mailer says Ms. Dykema is against veterans. As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee she’s been dedicated to helping veterans. She has been instrumental in funding special programs that provide an 18-month, supervised treatment program for veterans involved with the courts. This assists vets that struggle with post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. On her website there’s a lot of other legislation and committees that Ms. Dykema has worked on that I think demonstrate her honesty and value as our state representative.

Frank Crowell
9 years ago
Reply to  Dan Frank

No increase in taxes should be allowed without a straight up and down vote by our elected representatives. The indexing of gas taxes is just a lazy way for legislators to get out of doing their jobs. Ms Dykema’s support of indexing taxes speaks volumes on her overall view of taxes. What’s next indexing income taxes to inflation?

I am sure Ms Dykema will win. The next time around I hope the letter of recommenation has a tangible list of accomplishments – ones that actually benefit the average family in Massachusetts.

Kelly Roney
9 years ago
Reply to  Frank Crowell

Income taxes are a percentage, and thus they are already indexed to inflation. Incomes go up, receipts go up. Sales taxes, too. Property taxes, as well.

Then there are legislator salaries, which are also indexed to inflation!

The legislature had a bipartisan report that recommended an 11 cent increase, but they came back with something more moderate, 3 cents plus indexing – a very minor expense, earmarked for its purpose. You’ll pay an extra $1 per month due to the 3 cent increase and then. Indexing would add at most $5 more per year, more likely $2, given a decade of low inflation.

Roads and bridges don’t come free, and ours are definitely in need of work that we don’t want to borrow to do.

Frank Crowell
9 years ago
Reply to  Kelly Roney

To summarize: Since other taxes are index to inflation and legislator’s salaries are index to inflation, I should accept the indexing of gas taxes. Well, thanks for setting me straight…………….I have seen the light…………….I should have started drinking the Kool-Aid much earlier in life. Please tell the Democrat Town Committee that I prefer grape flavor. I can hardly wait for election day.

Al Hamilton
9 years ago
Reply to  Kelly Roney

Roads and bridges are not free. Leaving aside the question of whether we are buying them efficiently (we are not) the real question is why the legislature is avoiding their responsibility.

There is a huge difference between the two indexing schemes. A tax is basically calculated as a (tax rate) X (The thing that is taxable). In the cases cited, sales tax and income tax the tax rates are fixed and the thing that is taxable (sales or income) rises and falls with inflation and the economy. If the legislature wants more of your money they have to vote to change the tax rate.

This proposal is a completely different animal it would make the tax rate change with inflation. This avoids the whole messy business of a legislator actually having to vote to raise taxes. They can just shrug their shoulders and say “Oh Well”.

If the legislature wants more money for roads, bridges (and their friends) they they should have to go on record and vote to take more of our money. We elect these folks to do the hard work of governing and should not let them set taxes on “cruise control”

The automatic indexing of tax rates is an abomination and should be crushed. Vote Yes on 1 and require our legislators to do their job.

Neil Rossen
9 years ago
Reply to  Dan Frank

I appreciate your input, but we’ll have to differ there. Don’t raise gas tax. REDUCE (!!) government expenditure and generous pensions to pay for the roads. Dykema and her party can’t think along those lines. Government is good and more government is better. Time for change.

9 years ago

“Right now, the tax will raise the gas tax about a half-cent in 2015 or about an average of $5 for the year. If Question 1 is approved, the state will lose an estimated $1 billion over 10 years that would go to road and rail improvements.”

I don’t understand how that is true. Question 1 requires the Legislature to vote for additional tax increases – not simply put increases on auto-pilot. There is no reason for the loss of revenue if our Representatives go on record continue to support the increases. Fixing roads and bridges are a good thing, but I don’t agree with the current method of an automatic increase.

9 years ago

Based on the reasoning of some, maybe the income tax rate should automatically increase and why stop there, how about he sales tax rate too ? The automatic tax increase is an abomination. One has to seriously question anyone in the legislature who voted for it.

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