Troy Clarkson

Although the race for President of the United States has captured much of the attention in advance of Tuesday’s election, several other races will have an equally profound impact on our lives and our livelihoods.

Local elected officials—selectmen, county commissioners, and our state delegation of two members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and one member of the Massachusetts Senate—are actually the elected officials who make decisions that most immediately impact us, and paying attention to those races is of profound import for that reason. What they do impacts who we are. That’s why I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the county commissioners race and endorsed Mark Forest for that position. His experience, commitment and temperament are just what we need at the regional level right now.

Our two state representatives, David Vieira and Dylan Fernandes, are both running unopposed. That is a testament to their unwavering commitment to their districts and to the bread and butter of success at that level, constituent service. Their cooperation and collaboration on behalf of Falmouth is a model that should resonate all the way to Washington. David is a Republican, Dylan a Democrat, but on issues most important to our community—preserving our precious environment, supporting water quality, and encouraging a vibrant local economy—they are in synch and in partnership.

The race for state Senate is contested. The incumbent, Susan (Su) Moran, was elected in a very competitive race earlier this year to fill the seat left vacant by former Senator Vinny deMacedo. Like the bipartisan approach of David and Dylan, Vinny’s ability to work closely with his fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle was a hallmark of his long and successful elected career. He had a human and humble relationship-based approach to serving that allowed him to focus on the solutions that meant something to the people he served, not the political issues that meant more to the pundits than the people.

Since emerging victorious in her effort to fill those bipartite shoes, Su has stayed true to that commitment, working in a topsy-turvy COVID-19 environment but nonetheless forging relationships, making progress, and working to bring millions of dollars in grants and state construction dollars to her district. Her affable and engaging approach quickly allowed her to work closely with senators from both parties; Su has emerged as a senator on Beacon Hill whose voice will be heard and respected. That matters when it comes to fighting for funding for the issues that are critical to our future.

I endorsed Su in the primary for the same reasons I continue to support her now. She has the experience and the reliability to get the job done. She was my friend before she was my senator, but that gives me greater insight into the kind of person she is and why she will continue to serve with honor and integrity. She has an uncommon and fierce inner strength that allows her to rise above the petty partisanship that defines much of our politics today and focus solely on her commitment to improving the lives of everyone she serves, both those who support her and those who don’t. She doesn’t see party lines. She sees lifelines, and knows that a good senator, working with good representatives, can be a lifeline to the towns she serves.

As a cancer survivor and a parent who has lost an adult child, Su knows struggle. She knows dark days, doubt, and sadness. But she also knows triumph. She knows perseverance. And she knows success—how to achieve it and how to maintain it. Those qualities are not red or blue. Those qualities are tried and true. Those qualities inform her work every day and they are what keeps her positive and upbeat, attributes that are sorely needed in politics today.

Sadly, her opponent in the race has not emulated those same attributes, sowing division and negativity, tagging her with false and tired labels that serve only to divide us. Those tactics are for yesterday’s politics. Su understands that and is only looking forward—beyond the sound bites and slogans—and on to the issues that matter.

In a recent discussion, she identified continuing to support vigilance with the COVID-19 pandemic and providing support to communities and small businesses to address both the public health and economic issues related to the pandemic, as top priorities. She also identified providing job training and transition support for those who lost employment during the pandemic, and supporting housing reform that encourages development in walkable village centers, both thoughtful proposals that demonstrate a depth of understanding of the issues that face the six towns in the district that comes from her longtime service on the Falmouth Select Board. She also supports insurance reform in substance use treatment and has pledged to take a fresh look at how long-term treatment is funded, a critical step in creating more access to a proven life-saving tool for those living with substance use disorder.

There are many things in our current political environment on which to lament. Having Su Moran as our senator is not one of them. In her, we have a champion for progress, a champion for solutions, and a champion for Falmouth.

Susan Moran has earned her title as our state senator, and she has earned the privilege to keep it.

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