The following is an open letter sent to the Denver Post from a Massachusetts Resident.
“Marsha Mirkin, PhD is a Professor of Psychology at Lasell College in Massachusetts.
Romney in Mass. October 15, 2012
Wanted to share with you the column I sent to the Denver Post
(Colorado is a swing state and virtually tied),
Here I am, a resident of Massachusetts listening to my former Governor
speak convincingly and with seeming conviction at the Denver debate.
I was startled by my Déjà vu experience and by the assumptions held by
my out-of-town friends about Mr. Romney’s governorship. So, as an
editor and author of articles and texts about social and political
contexts, I wanted to reach out to my distant neighbors in Colorado
and share my understanding of Mr. Romney’s governorship and the
implications for the Presidency. Massachusetts is known as a liberal
state, but we often vote for Republican governors, and the three
governors who immediately preceded Mr. Romney were Republicans. Mr.
Romney was a one term governor who left office with a 31% approval
rating, the 3rd lowest in the entire country. What does our
experience in Massachusetts say to the country?
Mr. Romney claims to have experience reaching across the aisle. Maybe
he did do some reaching, but not much of it went toward the Democrats.
In his first two years of office, he vetoed legislation at more than
twice the rate of Republican predecessor Governor Weld. Governor
Romney had a record 800 vetoes (most of which were overturned,
sometimes unanimously). One example is when the legislature provided
a budget amendment to stop contracting with companies that outsource
state work to other countries. Governor Romney vetoed the provision.
This meant that he supported outsourcing jobs at the expense of U.S.
workers. He also started a huge campaign to unseat Democratic
legislators, but failed and ended up with even fewer Republican seats
than before he took office.
Governor Romney correctly claims that Massachusetts rose to #1 in
education-but it was based on former Governor Weld’s education reform
plan. Governor Romney moved in the opposite direction–he vetoed bills
that would have strengthened preschool education.
However, the issue is not so much how he voted, but that Mr. Romney
won the governorship by presenting himself in one way, as a social and
fiscal moderate (some saw him as a social progressive), and by the end
of his single term, he had acted in an entirely different way. He said
during his campaign that he favored stem cell research and then vetoed
a bill to fund it. He argued for a lower minimum wage than the state
legislature ended up passing (over his veto). He vetoed a bill funding
hate crimes prevention, and took back money approved by a former
Republican governor for a bullying prevention program. He denied all
requests for commutations and pardons, including one from a soldier
serving in Iraq whose was convicted at age 13 for a BB gun incident.
He vetoed emergency contraception. He raised many fees in my
state-even quadrupling the gasoline delivery fees.
Governor Romney certainly approved some pieces of legislation that I
did support but that does not change a major problem: Mr. Romney
re-created himself and changed his positions during the first
Presidential debate in your city because he must sound more moderate
in order to win the independent vote. After that, all bets are off. We
in Massachusetts know all about that. We elected a governor expecting
him to be one thing and then he did something totally different and
got on the national stage. He entered the governorship with a 61%
approval rating and left with an abysmal 31% and with many of us
scratching our heads and wondering whom we elected. The difference
between then and now is that you have Mr. Romney’s speeches and
positions from this past year and the contradictions during the
debate. You can get nonpartisan information from factcheck.org <http://factcheck.org/> . And,
you now know what he was like in Massachusetts. So, I hope the country
doesn’t have to go through what Massachusetts went through. Regardless
of your political beliefs, this constant turning into something we
didn’t vote for is no way to run a state, never mind a country.”