By Mary Kate Feeney
FRAMINGHAM – Going into the fall, one can feel the energy surrounding November’s midterm elections. A majority of my friends have participated in Early Voting. And in Framingham, they are not alone. In fact, 5449 people voted early in Framingham, which is another record for our community.
Out of those who voted, 60 percent were women. Surprisingly, 15 percent were under the age of 35, a traditionally low turnout demographic.
Here in Framingham we have seen record turnouts for our elections over the last two years, whether they be state, federal, or municipal elections.
Other than a contentious ballot question, our election this year is not exciting. The elected seats are either uncontested or a snooze.
So, what is it that is causing citizens to vote in record numbers?
Donald J. Trump.
Even in very blue Massachusetts where Democrats dominate, citizens are using their voting power to send a message to Washington, D.C., and President Trump.
Voters, and women especially, are fed up. I know I am.
Consequentially we are seeing an unprecedented number of early voters. Whether it’s a local seat for the State House or for the United States Senate, Trump’s actions and words have cast a shadow on our politics – local, state, and federal. It does not even matter whether those actions and words have any relevance to that local or state seat or to issues in the community.
It is my hope we continue to experience this high level of voting and engagement – regardless of who is in the White House. It is clear that voting – and not voting – has consequences. Next year we have our municipal elections in Framingham. That election will have more consequences for our daily life than any national election.
One of the best ways we can stand up against the chaos of our national government is to focus on our neighborhoods, not ignore them. We need Democrats, Republicans, and unenrolled voters, townies and recently settled folks, seniors, and young professionals, to engage and work with each other and leave their towns better for future generations. I cannot imagine a better way to show how great America truly is by having neighbors show D.C. what it means to have a government that is for and by the people.
Trump has changed the landscape of American politics – and not for the better. Taking a stand not only means attending protests, it means voting in local elections and voicing your opinion on issues facing your mayor, city council, selectmen or town meeting.
It is time to make politics local again.
But until then, please vote today, Tuesday November 6. See you at the polls.
Mary Kate Feeney, a lifelong resident of Pheasant Hill in Framingham, is a former aide to Governor Deval L. Patrick.