LETTER: 'The November Alternative'

Jim Gammill, an independent candidate for state representative in the 24th Middlesex District, writes that if he is elected in November, he will remain an independent representative, caucusing with neither party.

The following is a Letter to the Editor from Jim Gammill, an independent candidate for state representative in the 24th Middlesex District.

My name is Jim Gammill, and I am looking forward to for the 24th Middlesex District since I'll be facing the eventual nominee on the November ballot.

I won't be on the September partisan primary ballots since I am unenrolled from either party. I changed my registration at the end of 2009 in response to the increasingly partisan political environment. It didn't seem like a radical step -- in fact, half of all registered voters in Massachusetts are unenrolled. In these times, it feels like the right place for me.

However, what seems like a natural step for a voter is sometimes regarded as an unusual step for a candidate. Not one of the 160 state house districts elected an unenrolled or independent candidate in 2010, and that is usually the case, election after election. Unenrolled or independent voters usually have no real choice other than partisan choices.

This year will be different for the voters in the 24th Middlesex District. Not only will I run as an unenrolled candidate, I will remain an independent representative in the state house if elected, caucusing with neither party.

Some people ask why would I not caucus with the Democrats, who are both the majority party and also the party with which I was actively engaged for 35 years. My answer has two parts.

First, too much of the legislature's business is already conducted behind closed doors. Important matters of state should be debated openly, as we do in virtually all of our local government and civic organizations. Party caucuses have their place and purpose, but no legislator should be disenfranchised by a closed system. Moreover, the public should see the substantive work of governing through legislation. I'm willing to make these points by foregoing party affiliation.

Second, I am running to serve, period. I am the best qualified of all five candidates by a clear margin, with extensive experience in business, government, politics, and non-profit management. There are many pressing issues that need the strong financial sensibility that I can provide.  "Put me where I can help" is what I'll say to the leadership, and I'm confident that some committee chair will take me up on my offer.

Running for office, particularly as an independent, is not easy. But so far I am thoroughly enjoying it, going door to door and asking you what's most important for your state representative to know. I am getting wonderful encouragement from many of you who know the legislature will be better off with at least one unenrolled representative.

Jim Gammill and open innovative government -- that's your alternative this fall. It's your vote in November that really counts this year.

Jim Gammill

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