Hendricks Must Prove Himself Quickly [OPINION]
It appears Democrat Chris Hendricks will be the new State Representative from the 11th Bristol District. At a time when the political landscape is changing at the speed of light, Hendricks will have a lot to prove in a short amount of time.
For years, folks in these parts have complained about their representation on Beacon Hill, but have had little recourse because deeply entrenched politicians have had a lock on their positions and have faced little or no serious opposition. Until now, you could just show up for work, and as long as you were a nice guy, re-election was assured.
As Bob Dylan so eloquently put it more than fifty years ago, "the times they are a-changin'."
Outgoing 11th District State Rep. Robert Koczera was stunned by his defeat at the hands of Hendricks this week. Or maybe not. Perhaps Koczera just didn't believe that a 30-year incumbent could be tossed out on his keister. He was. Koczera got lazy. He was flying beneath the radar and was simply coasting his way through to retirement. The voters had other ideas.
Koczera was not the only entrenched incumbent to get whacked this week. Just ask 10-term U.S. Representative Michael Capuano or State Reps. Byron Rushing, the Assistant Majority Leader, and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jeffrey Sanchez, both Democrats who got bounced by primary opponents.
Just simply being an incumbent Democrat in Massachusetts isn't enough anymore. Voters want results. Whether you are far right or left of center, the natives are restless and are prepared to change things up.
Representative-elect Hendricks needs to know that his very small margin of victory was as much about the people's desire for change as it was about him. Perhaps more. Hendricks has some good ideas on education, but his thoughts about immigration are scary, and I do not believe they represent the views of the majority of the folks in our area.
Hendricks is going to have to be flexible and willing to listen to the constituents who elected him, or I suspect his time in Boston will be short lived.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.