Thankfully, a two hour debate was all the time I needed to determine what's going to happen next Tuesday in the Watertown Democratic Primary race for State Representative. It seems the informal polling that is counting yard signs has been quite accurate; Jon Hecht not only is the most visible candidate across Watertown, but he commanded the debate last night.
Hecht is one of four candidates running for the office. His opponents include Julia Fahey, an SEIU attorney who has received the endorsements of many local unions and politicians, Stephen Corbett, a former hospital administrator and local businessman, and Josh Weisbuch, a former Clinton White House intern and technology consultant. Hecht is the current Town Councilor of Watertown and serves as a member on a handful of local advisory panels and commissions.
Unlike higher offices where sitting politicians like Senator John Kerry seem to lose touch with voters of their home state quickly as they become consumed by the forces of Washington, experience and comfort with the roles and responsibilities of the State Legislature is a valuable commodity in local elections. Jon Hecht seemed to know the power players in Massachusetts politics, he was familiar with recent pieces of legislation, and skillfully answered the moderator's questions while also keeping the ball in his court. Sitting next to the obviously unseasoned Weisbuch who frequently dismissed questions about the Mass Pike, nurse staffing levels, and casino gambling as being "red herrings" that distracted voters from larger issues, Hecht supplied the crowd with the answers they wanted time and again.
This coming Tuesday I will cast my vote for Jon Hecht and help to send an experienced public servant to the State House.