Keller @ Large: Will Lawmakers Listen To Us Before Casino Bill Vote?

By Jon Keller, WBZ

BOSTON (CBS) – It was an emotional weekend commemorating 9/11 and reliving the experience.

It prompted a lot of people on the air and online to raise and discuss some interesting questions, including: who are we as a people? What do we really stand for, and aspire to?

As the president pointed out in his speech to Congress the other night, those questions are at the heart of the policy decisions our government makes, and the values our politicians bring to bear on those decisions. So part of the answer to who we are has to be: we are what our representatives are, and what they do.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

With that in mind, the coming week and the weeks ahead will be very informative of who we are here in Massachusetts.

Coming up on Wednesday is the start of House debate on the casino bill hammered out by the governor, House Speaker, and Senate President, and the issue will be a real Rorschach test for the reps and senators. Do you look at the short-term windfall from bringing in casinos and see an obvious answer to the state’s money woes, or do you see a short-term score that could wind up costing more than it’s worth in lost lottery money, lost business, and lost souls?

Or, a third option, are you a mindless sheep who will do whatever your leadership tells you, even they’re telling you to jump off a cliff?

Speaking of which, I noticed Judge Wolf, when he sentenced former Speaker Sal DiMasi last week, was outraged at some legislators for downplaying DiMasi’s crimes in letters to the court. He called it: “an attitude that if somebody supports causes that you care about, some corruption is to be expected.”

Judge Wolf called that “pernicious,” and I agree. But what about Beacon Hill? Will they place ethics and the public’s real needs above expedience and loyalty to leadership when they vote on the casino bill?

Maybe this weekend got them all thinking hard about it.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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  • FireGuyFrank

    Since when have lawmakers on Beacon Hill ever listened to voters? I’m still waiting for the income tax rate to go to 5% as We The People voted — what was it now, ten years ago?

    The Legislature will only vote for that which benefits themselves — nothing else.

  • Stephen Stein

    I am wondering what constitutes “listening to the constituents” on this vote? Polls have consistently shown a slim majority favoring casino gambling, but against casinos in the respondents’ own towns.

    Personally I don’t favor the casino bill – I think casino gambling is harmful to the social fabric, and the bill looks like a giveaway to a select, connected few. I have communicated this view to my reps on Beacon Hill. But no casinos are planned for my district, and my view seems to be in the minority, so what do my reps’ votes say about their virtue?

  • TheoNa

    Given the choice between voting for the people or voting as told by their leadership, Beacon Hill politicians will always vote to ensure their extra pay for leading a committee.

  • tsal

    Oddly I cannot post to here from either my phone or iPad.

    I also wondered what it meant to listen to the voters.I haven’t really seen a clear majority one way or the other. I also don’t want casinos in MA. I applaud Patrick for not giving in before when it came to slots at the tracks. I do not want them at the tracks. I’ve see first hand the tragic damage to the animals at the track and am strongly opposed to the existence of the tracks in this state.

  • Tee Kay

    No. Lawmakers are for themselves, of the elite, and by big business.

  • justsayin'

    DiMasi got what he deserved for allowing the power of his office to rot his better judgement. Poor soul.

    • P.S.

      I feel sorry for Sal DiMasi’s family especially his wife who is battling breast cancer. What was DiMasi thinking? Obviously he wasn’t. Sad.

  • Nab71

    The Legislature will not listen until large numbers of them are voted out.

  • jaygee

    Was this really meant to be a serious question because I’ve been laughing since I read it? “Listen to the People”. really? When has that ever been the case. I remember when two-thirds of Mass. voters were in favor of capital punishment for 1st degree killers and voted for it but it still was rejected.
    The only difference between the Mafia and government is that one of them is “organized”.

    • a voter

      couldn’t have said it better myself!

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