To the Editor:
We support Barbara L'Italien for a lot of reasons -- her work ethic, her solution-oriented approach to legislating, and her tremendous accomplishments during eight years as one of Andover's state respresentatives. But after two years of stalemate and partisan rancor, perhaps the biggest reason we plan to vote for Barbara is because of her willingness to reach across the aisle and her history of finding bipartisan solutions.
Barbara was first elected in 2002, entering the Statehouse as a Democrat just as Mitt Romney began his tenure as a Republican governor. From the beginning, Barbara made it clear that party politics was not her style. At considerable risk to her own political future, Barbara stood up against Tom Finneran as one of the very few Democrats unwilling to rubber-stamp Another Finneran term as Speaker. At the same time, she established good relations with the Romney administration, an important reason why Barbara was so successful so early in her career at getting legislation passed that made a difference in her constituents' lives. This bipartisan approach won her no political favors from Mr. Finneran, but they established Barbara as a leiglstor to be taken seriously.
Her colleagues took note. After only three terms, Barbara was promoted over many long-time legislators to become Vice Chairman of the critical House Ways & Means Committee. In that position, Barbara played a huge role in passing a balanced budget at a time when the Commonwealth's finances were disarray. Working with colleagues from both parties, Barbara found a balanced solution that included painful spending cuts coupled with difficult but necessary revenue increases. Barbara was never under illusion that either the spending cuts or the revenue increases would be popular -- but she just as when she stood up to Tom Finneran to do the right thing, again she stood up to criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike in order to bring sanity and restraint to the state budget.
It's easy for a politician to seek refuge in the extreme wing of his party, to demonize colleagues from the opposing party, and to declare fealty to abstract principles like never raising taxes or never working across the aisle. But governing is serious business, one that requires our elected representatives to stand up to their own party and to be willing to work with their opponents. Throughout her career, Barbara has exemplified the very best qualities that we hope from our state representatives. We hope that you will join us in voting for Barbara L'Italien on election day.
Bob and Annie Gilbert
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