By: Brian Genest – May, 2018
Congratulations to State Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut). She has accomplished something that few entrenched Democrat legislators in Massachusetts ever seem to do: draw two challengers for her seat, including one from her own party. Someone chill the champagne!
Here’s her problem: Colleen Garry has failed to deliver for Dracut and Tyngsborough. That’s one of the reasons she’s facing challenges from both sides of the aisle. Exhibit A: There have been so many Proposition 2 ½ override attempts in Dracut while Colleen Garry has been in office that most of us have lost count. If Dracut was getting enough of our tax dollars back from the state via aid for schools, public safety and other critical needs, the town wouldn’t have to keep trying to squeeze residents for even more property taxes to cover the shortfalls.
Enter Democrat challenger Sabrina Heisey, a member of the Dracut School Committee who’s running for state representative because she’s concerned about the Chapter 70 program, which provides state aid to public schools. Sabrina Heisey told the Lowell Sun that if Colleen Garry “was doing what she needed to do for education at the State House, then I wouldn’t need to challenge her.”
Republican Ray Leczynski, a political newcomer from a large and well-known farming family, is also a challenger for the seat. He’s running on a platform of two-party balance, fiscal discipline and government reform. (Full disclosure: He’s my wife’s cousin and my choice for state representative.) Ray Leczynski will face off against the winner of the Democrat primary – and there’s a strong possibility that it won’t be Colleen Garry. Someone open the champagne!
Have you seen the dozen Democrats running for Congress? This is a group of lefty lefties like you’ve rarely seen before, even for Massachusetts. These candidates are going to be a gigantic factor in the race for state representative, too: Their supporters will be out in full force for the September primary and, depending on the voter turnout, could help propel self-described “progressive” Sabrina Heisey to victory. If Colleen Garry isn’t afraid, she isn’t paying attention.
After all, for Beacon Hill politicians like Colleen Garry, there’s only two ways to run in any election: unopposed or scared. So Colleen Garry should be twice as frightened as usual – of her two challengers and her record, which they’ll be talking about with thousands of voters in the next several months.
That’s Colleen Garry’s biggest problem of all, regardless of her challenger: her voting record. For years, she’s tried to position herself as a “conservative” Democrat. There’s no phonier political folklore! Colleen Garry isn’t conservative on taxes, state spending, house leaders, term limits, political donations, following the rules, the death penalty or anything else. With Colleen Garry, the joke’s on taxpayers, conservative or otherwise.
Simply put, Colleen Garry has 24 years in office and absolutely zero pieces of signature legislation to her credit. (She’s been in the majority party the whole time, too.) What Colleen Garry does have is a strange knack for focusing on the wrong things. Her recent priorities include raising the fines for jaywalking and silencing free speech.
In case you missed it, Colleen Garry filed a bill to shred the First Amendment, silence her political opponents and make sure no one hurts her feelings. It backfired, big time. Colleen Garry caused an outcry of opposition, with the Lowell Sun, Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, Boston Herald and Boston Globe all coming out against her unconstitutional, anti-American and completely silly proposal.
Here’s the irony: Colleen Garry was fined $5,000 by the Office of Campaign and Political Finance for not keeping adequate campaign finance records for many years and now wants to amend the very law she violated. Clearly, Colleen Garry is a legislator who really knows how to work the system, for herself. Dracut and Tyngsborough deserve better!
Colleen Garry has had her chance – for more than two decades. This year, the voters will have a choice in the primary. And a second choice in the general election. It’s about time. Someone pour the champagne!
Brian Genest is a member of the Dracut Republican Town Committee. A marketing and communications expert with 20 years of success driving growth, maximizing ROI and boosting profits for consumer and high-tech brands, he has developed and executed strategic initiatives for a range of disruptive technologies, including robots, mobile commerce solutions and SaaS products. Earlier in his career, Genest worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for the Dracut Dispatch, Derry News and Billerica Minuteman.