Hiller Instinct: Travaglini instinct
The Hiller Instinct: Hiller Instinct: Travaglini instinct
On Sunday at the St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, it was a joke. Massachusetts Speaker of the House, Salvatore DiMasi, said, "And my good friend Trav, he's on Casino Player. It says, 'Bobby Slots, gambling on a new career.'"
But if Trav is the winner, we're the losers, because he's quitting on us.
And we can't easily replace his experience or leadership skills at the state house.
Now, he'll trade the power he got from voters for money he'll get to influence votes.
Few would deny him the chance to earn big money and pay big tuition bills, but no one should miss the point: Travaglini is cashing in on the public's trust, and the public will be left with an empty account.
No, he's not the first, or the last. Just last week, Marty Meehan decided he'd rather be a Chancellor than a congressman at more than double the salary.
Again, it's understandable and it's legal, but we pay a price.
Congress is like a union: what counts most is seniority. And while Meehan will personally gain from his move to ULowell, the state will lose 14 years of seniority that can't be replaced.
What would you guess a seat on the armed services committee is worth in terms of generating local defense contracts and jobs?
So, good luck to soon-to-be former Congressman Meehan and President Travaglini, and thanks for weakening our stature in Washington and weakening the state Senate.
We've sure come a long way since 1960, when JFK spoke words that now sound naive and quaint: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
As a political reporter, I take no pleasure in this story.
More than ever, government needs the best people it can get, and Beacon Hill is now losing one of its best.
I'm Andy Hiller, and that's my Instinct.
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