A truly representative State Representative

by Berkshire Greens
Comment on Berkshire Eagle op-ed 7 Oct 2011. A letter published the day before by Pam Malumphy, an opponent of Mark Miller's, told voters about the GRP's promoting of clean elections, instant run-off voting, and marijuana legalization. GRP State Committee Representative Darlene Baisley sent the following letter to the editor, which Berkshire Greens also published as an online comment.

Berkshire Greens would like to thank Pam Malumphy for pointing out that the Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) reflects the opinion of the majority of voters in Berkshire County. Although she is running against our party's candidate, Mark Miller, she deserves credit for reminding the electorate that the GRP supports public campaign financing, a fairer voting system, and reform of the state's drug laws.

Whenever the voters of our county -- and Western Massachusetts as a whole -- have had the opportunity to vote on these issues, they have come down firmly on the same side as the GRP. For example, voters in Berkshire County approved the public campaign financing law (Clean Elections) in an overwhelming 3:1 landslide. The only reason that law is no longer in effect is that the Democrats in the Legislature repealed it. Like Berkshire County voters, the GRP supports Clean Elections.

Similarly, on marijuana law reform, the GRP is in line with the values and principles of Berkshire County. In response to a 2008 ballot question asking whether Massachusetts should regulate and tax marijuana the same way as alcohol, 60% of Berkshire County voters said yes. A few years earlier, voters in Mark Miller's district, the Third Berkshire, voted 2:1 in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

Voters in our county have not yet had the chance to vote one way or the other on instant runoff voting (IRV) but whenever the question has appeared on the ballot elsewhere in Western Massachusetts at least two-thirds of the voters said yes to the measure. There is no reason to think that voters in this county would feel differently. After all, the reform would simply require that candidates would have to obtain a majority of the votes (not simply a plurality) in order to win an election. That is in line with the common-sense, fair-minded values that Berkshire County (and the GRP) stands for.

As with Clean Elections, fairer voting, and drug-law reform, the GRP reflects Berkshire County opinion on health care. Alone among the candidates, Mark Miller supports truly universal public health care (single-payer). So do the voters. Only last year, voters in two Berkshire districts voted 2:1 in favor of single-payer health care. Even though the Massachusetts Democratic Party has endorsed this policy, Mark Miller's Democratic opponent claims it would threaten the medical profession. But nurses don’t think so. The Massachusetts Nurses Association supports both universal public health care and Mark's candidacy. What about doctors? The Massachusetts Medical Society’s 2011 annual survey asked practicing physicians to choose from four distinct health-care reforms. And guess what? The option receiving the highest number of votes was single-payer.

We in the GRP are proud to have Mark Miller as our candidate, and proud to know that if the voters of the Third Berkshire District elect him they can count on him being a genuinely representative State Representative.