Ethan Flaherty asks for your vote to ‘make a difference’

To the Editor,

Today is National Make a Difference Day. It’s one of the themes of my campaign to serve as your State Representative. I’d like to go over a few ways I’ll make a difference as your State Rep, and why I am the best choice for the job.

After reading this, reviewing my website (EthanForWestfield.com), or chatting with me in person or online, I hope you will decide to Make a Difference and cast your VOTE for me as your next Westfield State Representative.

Hopefully you know by now that I am running as an Independent candidate against two partisan candidates: Mr. Pease for the Republicans, and Mr. Garlo for the Democrats. None of the candidates are incumbents, and none have prior experience as a representative. This is an unusual election in that sense, and it’s a perfect opportunity for an Independent candidate to be elected. It could be many many years before there is no incumbent again, and we don’t have that much time to make a non-partisan difference, and reverse current trends. From the start of this campaign, I have discussed the need for less partisan behavior in our Representative form of government. All of our elected representatives should be working for us. I am the only person in this race that can honestly say that I will work both respectfully and collaboratively with all of my colleagues in Boston – without persuasion from parties or interest groups. That’s a big difference. Both of my opponents are fine gentlemen, but as party candidates, many of their actions and positions are and will be controlled by their party leadership and platforms.

Think about some of the hot topics: taxes, roads, budgets, gun ownership and restrictions, wages, benefits, immigration, healthcare, constitutional rights vs. government powers, etc.. Mr. Pease and Mr. Garlo align themselves very well with their party’s (sometimes rather extreme) platforms. I have a more blended approach, and take positions that are important to you, your family, our local businesses, and our local government. I encourage you to look through some of my positions on these topics or talk to me about them. I have large support from common sense people on both sides who are tired of polar opposite representation, and want someone who will “do the work to work for everyone”.

I have also refused to solicit funds from special interest groups or participate in their “endorsement” activities. Again, I feel this job is to represent you – not the special interests. As you have probably heard by now, the Republicans are dealing with some contention over the activity of a PAC (as an aside, I support Mr. Pease on that matter). On the Democratic side, the candidate is promoting all of the endorsements he’s received from labor unions. Big surprise, right?

Here’s some inside scoop… The questionnaire from the Massachusetts Teacher’s Union had six pages of questions, without one single question regarding improving our educational standards. None of the answers they were looking for would help taxpayers. It was all about protecting jobs, wages, and benefits. Improving education and helping taxpayers are two of my biggest priorities. There was not one question about Special Education nor about improving schools in a way that would reduce the demand for Charter Schools. Having choice, options, and competition in schooling was presented with a negative spin. We have lots of fantastic teachers and I support them. I’d like to see fantastic teachers rewarded for their performance. The “years of service” model for compensation is not only a form of age discrimination, but ensures earnings has no connection to performance. All of the teachers should be helping to steer the conversations about improving schools and how best to deliver the required Free and Appropriate Public Education. Instead, at least when looking for candidates to support, it’s all about money – not the education of our kids.

Similarly with the AFL/CIO questionnaire, there were many pages of philosophy, and about ten pages of questions. There were no questions about how the government labor unions help taxpayers, improve efficiency, lower costs, or improve customer service. It was all about finding the candidates who will support their union objectives. I support the rights of Unions, but unlike the private sector where union and non-union companies compete, in the government sector there is no competition. This results in us paying twice as much for construction jobs, and it is not in our best interests as taxpayers. I would like to see fair and open competition for government employment and contracts. That can make a difference for all of us.

I have been working hard throughout this campaign. You probably have seen me holding signs, you should have received at least one mailer from me, and may have seen my posts on social media. I have enjoyed talking with hundreds of residents and business owners, and I am very familiar with how to best address all the important issues. If you review my website, check out my social media, or watch the recent debate (www.e4w.cc/forum2), I think you will see that I take pride in having an issue and service driven campaign. If you’ve followed my sign holding events or my social media posts, you’ll see that I have respectfully supported peaceful demonstrations while bringing together people from the various sides by using common sense to address the problems. I have supported our LGBTQ community, and our local businesses who are struggling during COVID. I have consistently been a voice for those who need representation just as bad, but may not be able to vote, such as first generation Americans and young people. This is a tangible difference.

On a more personal note, I’m doing all of this while working 30 hours a week and attending college full time. I have been going to college since I was 16, and taking classes in the breaks so that I can serve full time as a representative starting in January, while staying on track to finish my triple major.

Right now, in Massachusetts, there is a huge majority for the Democrats in the State House. One more typical democrat will simply not make a difference. The over fifty crowd is already well represented too. It is young people who are being taxed, thrown into massive debt, and pushed into a highly unpopular party system, without any say in the matter. It truly is a taxation without representation situation. My generation needs to step it up and come to the table in a respectful manner to address the world we are being left with. I am working hard to ensure that we do this in a reasonable way. I am the candidate that can both represent Westfield, and the younger generation. That’s a difference.

On the topic of my age, I think if you read my positions, watch the recent debate, or talk with me, you will find that I am committed to having the most comprehensive positions and understanding, in order to truly be the best person for the job. I understand the issues and am prepared to serve our community. I take particular pride in responding to every person thoroughly and compassionately, and guarantee that anyone who has talked with all the candidates will vouch for me on the customer service front.

Fifty-nine percent of Westfield voters are not affiliated with the Democrats or Republicans. Like me, fifty-seven percent are Independents. Together, we Independents, with help from our friends in the Democrat and Republican parties, can Make a Difference.

You can read many of my positions online at www.EthanForWestfield.com/issues and you can see some extra details on my media page at www.EthanForWestfield.com/media.

I hope as you vote in the coming days that you will consider which candidate can truly make a difference. If you review my website, social media, or watch the candidate forum (www.e4W.cc/forum2), I hope you will come to the conclusion that I am that person, and that I can best represent you in Boston and serve you here at home.

Now it’s your turn to Make a Difference. I am respectfully asking for your VOTE in the November 3rd election.

Thank you,

Ethan Flaherty

Independent Candidate for Westfield State Representative

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