With new lead­ers, hope is in the air

Boston Herald - - OPINION - Joyce FERRIABOUGH BOLLING Joyce Ferriabough Bolling is a me­dia and po­lit­i­cal strate­gist and com­mu­ni­ca­tions spe­cial­ist.

To me, the midterm elec­tions amounted to a “wash” in many ways. De­spite a few bright lights, the midterms un­der­scored the se­ri­ous di­vide in our coun­try. But they also re­flect the op­por­tu­nity that those newly elected have for change and new ideas. We should cel­e­brate that the House will re­flect the ac­tual makeup of our na­tion — and that is a good thing. The ush­er­ing in of 110 women (in­clud­ing Mas­sachusetts’ long over­due first woman of color, Con­gress­woman Ayanna Press­ley) is his­tory-mak­ing. Even mu­sic busi­ness im­pre­sario P Diddy tipped his hat in a tweet to the stand­out in­com­ing women of the House, among them Deb Haa­land and Sharice Davids, the first Na­tive Amer­i­can women elected to Congress, and Rashida Tlaib and Il­han Omar, the first Mus­lim women elected to Congress. The Repub­li­cans also added to their num­bers in the Se­nate, ex­pand­ing their ma­jor­ity. Many rea­sons are at­trib­uted to their win, among them the Ka­vanaugh hear­ings, but more than a few can be chalked up to Trump stump­ing for them in ar­eas where he did well. Con­grat­u­la­tions are also in or­der here in Mas­sachusetts. Ku­dos to the Mass. Women’s Po­lit­i­cal Cau­cus un­der the lead­er­ship of Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Lau­rie Martinelli and Pres­i­dent Gail Jack­son Blount, who made di­ver­sity a hall­mark of their mis­sion. Many in our home state were be­moan­ing the lack of di­ver­sity in our own House. Women made his­tory on Bea­con Hill, win­ning a record 46 seats in the House, in­clud­ing Tram Nguyen, the first Viet­namese-Amer­i­can woman state rep. Ku­dos to my girl Rachael Rollins, the first woman of color to serve as Suf­folk Dis­trict At­tor­ney, win­ning 80 per­cent of the vote — an un­de­ni­able man­date for change. On the na­tional front, even though I have is­sues with Emily’s List around di­ver­sity of sup­port and spread­ing re­sources to sup­port more women of color, the or­ga­ni­za­tion was re­lent­less and mas­sively suc­cess­ful in its ef­forts to flip the House. I am so proud of black women across the na­tion who crafted their own cam­paign vic­to­ries that made room for all women — open­ing the doors of po­lit­i­cal op­por­tu­nity. I must con­fess that I have been a “time to clean House” pro­po­nent, es­pe­cially with the “breath of fresh air” and the lived ex­pe­ri­ences that these new and young tal­ented con­gres­sional new­bies bring to the ta­ble. But I have to pay homage to House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, who was of­ten beaten down and blood­ied and used mer­ci­lessly as the Repub­li­cans’ scape­goat. Pelosi turned out in the end to be Won­der Woman. She was a su­pe­rior ar­chi­tect of the House’s win with her fo­cus on health care. I do re­main sus­pi­cious of Pres­i­dent Trump’s con­grat­u­la­tions to her and won­der whether his plan might be to keep her as a punch­ing bag for the next half of his term. But with Pelosi, the Dems seem to be in good hands. Ac­co­lades aside, now the work be­gins. Like ev­ery­one, I’m look­ing for ac­tion — and not just be­cause ac­tion speaks louder than words — but be­cause you don’t need def­i­ni­tions and plat­i­tudes to get the work done, you need a strat­egy and a plan that you stick to. Folks are tired of so much fo­cus on ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences. We need to fo­cus on bi­par­ti­san sup­port to get things done. Our na­tion de­serves bet­ter than we are now get­ting. Pres­i­dent Trump has al­ready sig­naled his will­ing­ness on ar­eas that both par­ties can work to­gether on for the ben­e­fit of ev­ery­one. Health care was a ma­jor is­sue of the midterms. Trump has said he wants to rein in the cost of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. I know fam­i­lies who have gone bank­rupt or amassed se­ri­ous debt to af­ford the high cost of fight­ing chronic dis­eases like can­cer. In­fra­struc­ture also seems like a good place to come to­gether. But there are also tough is­sues with ma­jor dif­fer­ences of opin­ion that must be tack­led. Wed­nes­day night, there was yet an­other mass shoot­ing. It’s not just that the cur­rent cli­mate lacks ci­vil­ity or that peo­ple with men­tal health is­sues are slip­ping through the cracks. We have to take safety pre­cau­tions, stop­ping short of mak­ing our places of wor­ship and schools into armed camps. But the pri­or­ity for our Congress must be to find ways to come to a con­sen­sus over ways to stop gun vi­o­lence. Mas­sachusetts’ gun laws are a good ex­am­ple to em­u­late. There’s a lot to do, but with the new Congress, I am cau­tiously op­ti­mistic.

CHRISTO­PHER EVANS / BOS­TON HER­ALD

CHANG­ING OF THE GUARD: Suf­folk Dis­trict At­tor­ney­elect Rachael Rollins speaks dur­ing an elec­tion night party at the Fair­mont Co­p­ley Plaza ho­tel.

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