A Polite Farewell to Niki Tsongas

Last week I wrote about the political reasons for Niki Tsongas’ decision to not seek re-election in the 3rd district now let me say a few things about her.

It’s been my experience that people in general like her. My local paper the Sentinel and Enterprise which I quoted yesterday had quite few things to say on the subject. This comment from Fitchburg Mayor Steve DiNatale was typical

“She’s one of the few people in such a powerful position that I’ve known in my years of public service that you can phone up and get a response,” said Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale. “We’re going to miss that.”

I can vouch for this. I interviewed Tsongas for the first time during the Fitchburg 4th of July Parade when Fitchburg was removed from the 1st district and moved to the 3rd when Massachusetts lost yet another seat in congress.

and I covered her regularly. In the four years that she was my rep I covered her campaigns, her debates and events. She was always polite and always took the time to invite me to cover events when she was in the area even though she knew I was opposed to her. This piece from my Examiner.com days puts it well (via the wayback machine):

She also commented on the various scandals, saying we must learn from Benghazi and stating bluntly “IRS must be unquestionably A-political” but when questioned on an independent counsel ducked instead praising the President for being public and active in his efforts to increase transparency.

While one might question her definition of transparency on the part of the White House there is no question of her own. She took more than a dozen questions from different voters, invited others to leave recorded messages. Asked several poll questions to get feedback from all people on the call and not only didn’t exclude people who disagreed her she proactively called them to be invited to the event.

That willingness to engage can’t but help in 2014 which promises to be a tougher election than the last. Agree or disagree on issues one can’t help but note the first job of a Representative is to treat the voters you represent properly.

Don’t get me wrong she was a savvy pol and this was reflected in easy wins in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Perhaps if she was in a less competitive district she might have been tougher on conservative media but even if she always voted against me she was never afraid to hear the opinions of her political opponents nor was she one to demonize us.

Put simply, the only bad words I have to say about Niki Tsongas concern her voting record. She is a lady who respected the people she represented and in an age when Maxine Waters is the face of the Democrat Party and the left is literally gunning for Republicans, that respect is going to be missed.  The Democrat Party is poorer for their loss of her.