Andover voters will go to the polls today, Thursday, Sept. 6, to select their parties’ candidates for the general election in November.
Thursday is an unusual day for holding elections, which most often occur on Tuesdays. The originally selected date for the Massachusetts primary was Tuesday, Sept. 18, but that conflicts with the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah. This will be the first Thursday primary in Massachusetts since 1988. The fact that it occurs on the first day of school may provide some problems for voters arriving at the polls during the early morning and afternoon, when buses are picking up high school students.
Despite the unusual day, there are plenty of reasons to get out and vote in the primary Sept. 6. There are contests to choose a Republican challenger for 3rd District Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who still represents most of Andover after redistricting earlier this year. Democrats also will chose their candidates in the general election for Governor’s Council and Register of Deeds.
But the local election of most interest will decide which member of the GOP will face Democratic incumbent Barry Finegold to be Andover’s next state senator. The Republicans running for state senate are current state Rep. Paul Adams and current Selectman Alex Vispoli.
We support Alex Vispoli, who has shown an ability to challenge government growth, tackle long-term projects, offer specific solutions, listen to residents and work with people of different opinions.
The main thrust of Vispoli’s campaign has been that Massachusetts and the Merrimack Valley must be better places for people to do business. Vispoli says he will support efforts to help the state be more supportive of businesses to help stop the brain drain that is seeing college graduates leave Massachusetts for jobs elsewhere. As a selectman he has shown that he will focus on helping businesses. He’s been intimately involved in the minutia of inching forward with the plan to bring another Interstate-93 interchange to Andover, a once-in-a-generation project that would open up hundreds of acres to development right by the highway and expand Andover’s business tax base. As selectman, he also has helped create the town’s Economic Development Council, which has provided a greater connection between town government and local business leaders, in an effort to help preserve, grow and recruit companies to Andover.
Like his primary opponent, Vispoli is interested in common Republican initiatives such as rolling back state taxes to 5 percent and creating better controls on the use of Electronic Benefit Transfer cards. A selectman since 2004, Vispoli has shown he will stick with issues to help reduce government giveaways. While progress hasn’t been as swift as we would like, Vispoli and fellow selectman Mary Lyman have been at the forefront of efforts to reduce perks such as free cars for town department heads, and he has pushed for greater regionalization and consolidation.
During the campaign he has offered specific solutions to problems he has identified. He not only says that state campaigns need stricter rules, but offers solutions such as eliminating cash donations and providing full disclosure of who is paying for advertising on everything from campaign literature to automated phone calls. He not only calls for better government but proposes specific solutions such as ending the state legislature’s exemption from open meeting and public records laws, and prohibiting the passage of controversial items at informal sessions. He would end the practice of sneaking through bills with little public debate by requiring that bills be available in print and online for 72 hours before they can be voted on.
Vispoli has shown an ability to work with those across the aisle, a must for getting anything done in Massachusetts. He helped recreate the Saturday morning coffee and doughnuts session at Old Town Hall because he recognized that this opportunity - once supported by the former Andover Bank - helped link residents with their local elected officials. He remains a regular at these coffees, hearing from residents of all political stripes about local issues.
Vispoli is an approachable, straight-shooting politician with business experience who is interested in responsibly reducing government and making Massachusetts a better place for its job producers. That’s what the state needs, and that’s what Andover needs from its state senator.