Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dr. Jay Fleitman resigns from NoHo Board of Health to Focus On Race Against Democrat Richard Neal

The Daily Hampshire Gazette has reported that Dr. Jay Fleitman, GOP candidate for the 2nd Hampden Congressional District, has stepped down from his long-held position on the Board of Health. Fleittman, who practices pulmonary medicine, is a rarity in the City of Northampton, locally dubbed “NoHo”. The city is home to Smith College, and has a heavy liberal bent, yet Jay Fleitman is not only well received, but a respected member of the community despite being a Republican.

Flietman made his decision to run for against Neal early in the game (pre-Scott Brown), Neal, a 20 year veteran of Congress, had been unchallenged for decades, and has been confident in his position, enough so that he has not produced one piece of legislation. Like clockwork, Neal’s staff sends mailers out every two years to constituents warning about the evils of Republicans, and/or touting what he has accomplished in the district. One of the favorite Neal claims is that he has, time and again, “saved Westover Air Reserve Base”, which is one of the most strategic basis in the nation, and has been since World War Two. (A bit of Al Gorism can be found in Neal at times.) Perhaps the two biggest reasons to take a hard look at Flietman as an alternative to Neal are:

1) Neal has consistently voted with the Democrats in Congress, never crossing the aisle, regardless of the worth of a particular bill. His latest “Town Hall” on health care in August, was held in Worcester (which is part of the District, but far from the major cities of Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee). He defended the Congressional Brand of Health Care Reform over the objection of his constituents.

2) Most recently, disgraced Democrat Charles Rangel was forced to resign his Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rangel’s choice of replacement: Richard Neal. Neal did not get the nod from the House, rather the gavel went to a Michigan Democrat, but Neal intends, according to the several sources, to fight for the post, although he must first make it through the November elections. The reason one cites this aspect of Neal’s career is that a recommendation to a post by someone who is so corrupt, as a Democrat, that they are forced out, speaks volumes.

However, the question remains, will a Republican be able to oust long-term Democrat Congressional Representative in 2010. The answer is a resounding yes, with some caveats. The candidate must be able to connect to voters on several levels, be a populist, independent minded individual. Fleitman completes this profile admirably. In addition, his candidacy was announced pre-Scott Brown, which, in this mind, no matter which district, speaks volumes about the sincerity of the candidate and the will of the candidate to take on the “odds”.

This is not to say that the bevy of candidates coming forth from the woodwork to run across the Commonwealths districts are not worthy, it is just that decisions were made post-Scott Brown, the congressional districts analyzed ad nauseum in order to determine if a “Republican” win would be feasible. It also speaks volumes about courage and conviction of one’s principals and abilities. One must face the facts, Scott Brown was and remains Scott Brown, someone who at times distanced himself from the GOP, an independent minded thinker that did not run because he looked at the Commonwealth and past races and thought – I can do this because so and so won the race.

That’s one of the finer points about Jay Fleitman (among other candidates who are running in several other districts), he ran because he felt he needed to do something. He “manned-up” before it was a popular thing to do and looking at all the angles, he’s just independent enough to appeal to the voters of the Hampden 2nd in a big way. One can bet that residents of the 2nd Hampden may be treated to yet another postcard in 2010 from Richard Neal.

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