Editorial: McGovern wants to help the less fortunate and to make America good again

  • U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester, speaks during a town hall meeting at First Churches of Northampton, Sept. 15, 2018. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Published: 10/26/2018 8:25:48 AM

There are two basic reasons to vote on Nov. 6 to return Jim McGovern to Congress. One makes sense if you feel there needs to be a check on the current president and a GOP-controlled Congress that seems to acquiesce to his every whim. The other reason should appeal to those who care about improving the plight of the region’s farmers and people living on the edge.

​​​​​​McGovern, an unabashed liberal who faces his first re-election challenge in years, says if he wins a 12th term and Democrats regain control of Congress, he will likely be named chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, where he would go from doing “damage control” under current GOP leadership to playing a role on virtually every bill moving through the House.

He says he would use that clout to improve the lot of people in our region because he believes in the power of government to help.

The Worcester Democrat, who is now the ranking member of the House Rules Committee and the Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Nutrition, says one of his main focuses has been the issue of income inequality and the growing gap between rich and poor.

“We’ve got to be focused on getting people jobs that provide livable wages, where they could lead a secure life,” he said in a recent interview. “The majority of people on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) who are able to work actually do work, but they’re working in a job that doesn’t pay a livable wage with adequate benefits including retirement security. And we need to make sure health care protections stay in place,” he added, pointing to Republican attempts to essentially eliminate coverage to people with pre-existing conditions — despite what they are starting to say at rallies.

McGovern, who represents a large swath of western Massachusetts, including Northampton, Amherst, Hadley Hatfield, Belchertown and many Franklin and Worcester County towns, says fighting hunger in this country and overseas has been among his chief passions.

And on this issue, we’ve seen him walk the walk, quite literally — as he participates in the annual two-day Monte’s March fundraiser from Springfield to Greenfield. Since 2010, when the event started, Monte’s March has raised nearly $600,000 for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, providing approximately 1,800,000 meals to our neighbors in need.

While hobbled by GOP control of Congress, McGovern still fights against attempts to cut funding for food assistance like SNAP food stamps.

Curiously for an incumbent, McGovern casts himself as an agent for change, because he wants to break the GOP monopoly in government. “I want Democrats to regain control of the House so we can actually hold this administration accountable,” he has said.

“So much of what comes out of the White House and the Republican leadership in Congress I find offensive,” he said. “We have a president who acts like a bully, who makes fun of women, who makes fun of a woman who says she was the victim of a sexual assault. He has just demeaned the presidency so much. He says he wants to ‘make America great again.’ I’ve always thought America was a great country. What we need is to make America good again. That’s what this election is about.”

McGovern’s opponent this time around sounds like a reasonable person and moderate Republican.

A first-time candidate for office, Tracy Lovvorn, a Grafton physical therapist who owns her own practice, says she got a taste for government’s ability to “do good things” when she blew the whistle on Medicare fraud she saw in a past job.

She says she is tired of polarized politics and promises to work for solutions on issues like immigration. And while we think the nation does need more moderation, Lovvorn is an unproven and extremely inexperienced politician who would likely just be swallowed up by an increasingly polarized Republican Party that is leaning hard right. This would prevent her from affecting any moderating influence she might hope to exert. Perhaps in a different time.

No, we think right now the country needs more checks on a wildcard presidency and compliant GOP, and we need someone with a proven track record of fighting to help the less privileged and less wealthy among us.

That would be Jim McGovern.




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