New Bedford Needs a Susan Collins Moment [OPINION]
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) recently delivered a "profile in courage" moment when, under tremendous pressure from political opponents and the media, she defended her support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and her belief that Americans are innocent until proven guilty.
Collins' position was unpopular in some circles and resulted in her receiving death and other threats. She didn't back down. That's courageous.
I am hoping the spirit of Susan Collins is infectious, and that some local elected official will have the courage to stand up and speak out against the re-election of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) while there is still chance. Watching what is happening to our fishing industry and knowing that our congressional delegation is doing virtually nothing to assist is frustrating.
What is more frustrating, though, is watching our local elected officials remain silent about it, and in the case of New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, actually endorse Warren for re-election for no other reason than she is a fellow Democrat.
Members of the City Council, elected by the citizens, have stated publicly and on background that Warren and U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) have flat out ignored correspondence from the council regarding fishing and other matters. Ignored as in not responded, or even acknowledged that they received the correspondence.
Veteran Councilor Brian Gomes will ask his colleagues again this week to send yet another letter to the delegation, the fourth, seeking "immediate assistance" in convincing NOAA to "release and reissue" fishing licenses seized from Carlos Rafael, so that local fishermen can get back to work and so that those licenses are not lost to the Port of New Bedford and reissued elsewhere--if at all.
Elizabeth Warren has done nothing of substance on behalf of New Bedford or its fishing industry, and is now asking for another term. Warren has already indicated that if elected to a second term, she will immediately launch a bid for the White House, which for all intents and purposes would leave Massachusetts short one senator for at least two years.
Someone locally has to have the courage to stand up for the best interest of New Bedford and its fishing industry and just say no to Warren. Brian? Ian? Linda? Naomi? Joe? Debora? Scott? Who has the courage to stand up and have a Susan Collins moment?
Warren's opponent Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) has already put together a fishing advisory panel that includes several members from New Bedford. That is more than Warren and Markey have done for the industry in their combined tenures in the Senate.
Will New Bedford politicians have the courage and conviction to put the city's interests ahead of party affiliation, or will they just continue to go along to get along?
Leadership takes courage. Who has the courage to lead?
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.