EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 9, 2012

Letter: Getting inspired to participate in the election

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

Seven weeks ago, as I was walking into my local Market Basket to shop, a gentleman was standing out front by the entrance handing out flyers. He greeted me warmly and announced, “My name is Shaun Toohey and I am running for state Senate.” Before I knew it and as he continued to greet others, I got engaged in a 20-minute conversation with him.

He listened intently about my solutions to the economy as I railed, “Let’s bring back manufacturing and create real jobs; let’s stop borrowing from China and make our own savings bonds more attractive to buy.” We spoke proudly about our respective families and our deep commitment, involvement and passion for making sure our young people get a quality education.

Here it is seven weeks later and Mr. Toohey won a primary and will be on November’s ballot competing for Steven Baddour’s vacated Senate seat. Here it is seven weeks later with the election a month away and I realized something important. Most people I talk to have been and probably will continue to remain disconnected from government, forgetting the basic fundamental principal that “we the people” are still the government. I think it is because very few people who are running for office truly are inspiring us to pay attention and get involved. Shaun Toohey made me realize that despite what disagreements we may have, he genuinely listened to me, and I have to believe that if one of my opinions on a specific issue or bill that could become law was being voiced by many of his constituents, he would fight on our behalf. The principle of representative government lives within this man. Just that one thought has inspired me to pay attention and get involved.

Mr. Toohey, good luck in the general election. Win or lose, thank you for your passion and restoring my faith that one day we may have a true representative government working the way it is supposed to work. Thank you for inspiring me to get involved again.

Neil Westerman