Smith Democrats and Republicans Respond to Midterm Election Results

by_STEPHAN-SAVOIA-AP_via_nydailynews.com_.tif

Veronica Brown '17 Assistant News Editor

On Nov. 4, voters across the country headed to the polls for the midterm elections. Nationally, Republicans saw many victories, maintaining control over the U.S. House of Representatives and gaining control over the Senate.

Voters, including many Smith students, decided on a new Massachusetts governor as well as a number of other elected officials and ballot questions. Massachusetts had mixed partisan results, electing entirely Democrats to the House (Neal, McGovern, Tsongas, Kennedy, Clark, Moulton, Capuno, Lynch and Keating) and the Senate (Markey) but placing a Republican in the governor’s house.

At the end of a close race, Republican Charlie Baker won out over Democrat Martha Coakley in the election to replace Democrat Deval Patrick as the state’s governor. Baker will be the first Republican to hold the position since Mitt Romney left office in 2006.

Paige Christie ’15, President of the Smith College Republicans, said the organization is “looking forward to Baker’s initiatives to fix the parts of state government that are broken.” Christie cites Baker’s successful background in business as a hopeful sign for his tenure as governor.

After an early career in state government, Baker left governmental work to become CEO of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and later CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Associates. Baker hopes to bring some of his business success to his work as governor, listing on his website “economic growth and jobs” as the first issue he plans to tackle as governor.

Although Coakley did not win the governor’s seat, Rosamond Hayden, co-president of the Smith College Democrats, emphasizes that “it is important to remember that we had some historic victories here in Massachusetts, including the election of the first ever openly gay attorney general, Maura Healey,” a Democrat.Democrat Eric Lesser won a contentious battle for state senator of the 1st Hampden-Hampshire Senate District, which includes Smith’s campus.

Two ballot questions from the  election were approved. The Smith Democrats pride themselves on their work in support of question 4, which will give all workers access to earned paid sick time. Ballot question 1 was also approved, meaning the state gas tax will not automatically adjust according to inflation, but will remain at the current rate of 24 cents per gallon. Ballot question 2, which proposed deposits on bottled beverages, was overwhelmingly rejected, as was question 3, which would have stopped Massachusetts from opening three casinos and a slots parlor. With the end of midterm elections, both the Smith Democrats and Republicans hope to continue to support campus political involvement.