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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Editorial: Mitt, Like it or Not, Must Deal with Finneran!

The voters of Massachusetts have spoken, and Mitt Romney will be the next Governor of the Commonwealth. But whether you moan or cheer upon hearing that fact, many citizens believe that Romney’s power must be filtered through the Massachusetts Speaker of the House, Thomas Finneran.

Finneran’s power over the state legislature is legendary. It has been argued that Finneran rewards supporters and punishes opponents; he is widely accused of supporting the elimination of term limits for Speaker of the House (his own position, effectively making him “Speaker for Life”). Finneran also clearly controls the legislative process, as seen in his attempts to block Clean Elections funding-which eventually required court intervention to finance.

The Speaker wields immense power, rivaling that of the governor, yet is elected by the relatively few people from various precincts in the city of Boston and precinct three in the town of Milton.

Finneran’s abuse of power is so legendary that many candidates for the state legislature ran primarily on “anti-Finneran” platforms, vowing to fight against Finneran and his underhanded tactics. Also, there was a ballot question in many precincts that instructed representatives to vote against Finneran as Speaker of the House.

“If there’s a sizable group of people who are going to run another candidate, it’s likely I would be with them,” said Rep. Doug Petersen (D-Marblehead), according to an article in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette on November 08, 2002. “But if I’m the only person out there, given the speaker’s penchant for punishment, I don’t want to unwisely harm my district for the sake of a symbolic vote.”

The article continued, “Petersen was one of at least 15 Democratic lawmakers instructed by voters Tuesday in a non-binding local advisory question to oppose Finneran’s bid for another term as speaker.”

There is even a website dedicated to bringing down Finneran-http://www.overthrowfinneran.org-which states, “Democracy is in crisis in Massachusetts. The state legislature has ceased to represent the people of the Commonwealth. The cause is concentration of power within leadership, particularly House Speaker Thomas Finneran. … the legislature must remove Finneran as speaker and put in place rules that foster open debate, share authority, and allow democracy to work.”

One of the early tests for Romney will be Clean Elections, which Finneran believes is a “waste of money” and would like to repeal. According to the Boston Globe article, November 8, “Romney has not committed to vetoing a repeal, but he reiterated his wish yesterday that Clean Elections be maintained by placing surcharges on all campaign donations in Massachusetts.”

So, while nobody at The Mass Media voted for Mitt, we wish him luck in dealing with Finneran.