We here in Fitchburg do not need to look any further than our current sewer-separation project to see the challenges presented by federally unfunded mandates.
How much more can we take?
In a recent debate with her Republican challenger, Jon Golnik, Niki Tsongas was asked if we are better off than we were two years ago. She replied, "Absolutely better off than we were two years ago."
We are not sure who Rep. Tsongas is referring to as better off, but we do not believe she means residents of Fitchburg. How could she with unemployment still over 9 percent, wages down and hundreds of homes still in foreclosure?
Are those of us who are paying 60 percent higher sewer bills, higher taxes and seeing home values decline consistently "absolutely better off"?
Fitchburg's not alone. Unemployment in the whole region is above the state average -- this is what a recovery looks like to Rep. Tsongas?
We have been impressed by Jon Golnik, not only for his focus and ideas on empowering small businesses to grow and hire again, but also for the way he has run his campaign. He's been a visible presence in the city and surrounding towns -- not just at official events or fundraisers, but actually meeting the people, knocking on doors, speaking with city councilors, and talking to people directly to learn more about the real challenges we face.
With politicians refusing to work together in Washington, we are struck at how Golnik and his campaign reach out to all citizens. He campaigns in places Republicans do not typically go in order to meet traditionally Democratic voters, even opening a dedicated campaign office here in Fitchburg. He recognizes that politics is about addition and not about subtraction, and about reaching out to build coalitions. The Boston Globe perhaps captured it best when describing the type of campaign that Golnik is waging, writing that "Golnik distinguishes himself by running an upbeat race, largely rejecting the sour style of many Republican congressional candidates. ... Golnik's positions are refreshingly light on rigid ideology....He also speaks movingly of his own experience as 'Pell Grant kid' and the need to make college more affordable. ... Golnik shows promise as a consensus-builder, something that is badly needed in his party and in Congress."
We believe how a candidate campaigns reflects how he or she will govern, and while Rep. Tsongas feels free to vote 95 percent of the time with the leadership of her party, Golnik has shown he will listen to everyone regardless of ideology.
Golnik is the kind of goal-oriented representative with a "can do" attitude that we need more of in Congress. He doesn't have an ideological agenda beyond growing the economy and creating jobs. He recognizes the need to raise revenues but not by raising taxes on the working men and women of this district. He realizes the best way to increase revenues is to lower taxes, leaving more of our money with us so the economy can grow and businesses can hire.
Rep. Tsongas says Golnik's promise not to raise taxes on us during a weak economy makes him "irrelevant." We disagree. We believe it makes him our best choice for U.S. representative. Please join us in supporting Jon Golnik for Congress on Tuesday, Election Day.
MARCUS L. DINATALE
AND DEAN A. TRAN,
Fitchburg city councilors-at-large