What Is This Election About?

Read Anna’s column fact checking Rep. Barber on transparency

While incumbent Rep. Barber and I agree on many issues, we fundamentally disagree on the issue of corruption in the State House. This is the central difference between us. Corruption is why the State House cannot pass the progressive legislation we all care about. Transparency fights corruption.  It allows us to hold our elected officials accountable. Compare my advocacy for good governance, transparency, and reducing the power of the Speaker to how Rep. Barber has voted. We need and deserve a State Rep who will fight the current system, not vote to make it worse.

Anna Callahan

Christine Barber

I support term limits for the Speaker

1/29/15: Voted to end term limits for the Speaker (H2015, Amdt 40)

I support having chairs and co-chairs be elected by the House instead of appointed by the Speaker

1/26/17: Voted to increase the Speaker’s pay and the pay of his chosen chairs and co-chairs (H58)

I support allowing legislators and constituents at least 72 hours to read a bill before a floor vote

1/30/19: Voted against allowing legislators 72 hours to read a bill before a floor vote (H2019, Amdt 1)

I support allowing legislators and constituents more than 30 minutes to read an amendment before a vote

1/30/19: Voted against allowing legislators 30 minutes to read an amendment before a vote (H2019, Amdt 2)

I support rule changes that make all votes, including committee votes and testimony public, and allowing at least 24 hours to read bills in committee

1/30/19: Voted against making committee votes and testimony public, and allowing committee members 24 hours to read a bill (H2019, Amdt 3)

I support putting all votes online so constituents can easily find them

1/30/19: Voted against requiring committee roll call votes to be posted on the Clerks’ websites (as is current practice in the MA State Senate) (H2019, Amdt 11)

2/26/20: I have signed the Voters Deserve To Know Pledge

Has refused to sign the Voters Deserve To Know Pledge

I support providing legislators more than 2 hours to read legislation before voting on it as a committee

7/29/2020: Voted to provide legislators at least 2 hours to read legislation before voting on it as a committee (H4910, Amdt 2)

I will use my platform as an elected official to call attention to the corruption in the State House

Anna Callahan

I support term limits for the Speaker

I support having chairs and co-chairs be elected by the House instead of appointed by the Speaker

I support allowing legislators and constituents at least 72 hours to read a bill before a floor vote

I support allowing legislators and constituents more than 30 minutes to read an amendment before a vote

I support rule changes that make all votes, including committee votes and testimony public, and allowing at least 24 hours to read bills in committee

I support putting all votes online so constituents can easily find them

2/26/20: I have signed the Voters Deserve To Know Pledge

I support allowing legislators at least 2 hours to read amendments before a vote

I will use my platform as an elected official to call attention to the corruption in the State House

Christine Barber

1/29/15: Voted to end term limits for the Speaker (H2015, Amdt 40)

1/26/17: Voted to increase the Speaker’s pay and the pay of his chosen chairs and co-chairs (H58)

1/30/19: Voted against allowing legislators 72 hours to read a bill before a floor vote (H2019, Amdt 1)

1/30/19: Voted against allowing legislators 30 minutes to read an amendment before a vote (H2019, Amdt 2)

1/30/19: Voted against making committee votes and testimony public, and allowing committee members 24 hours to read a bill (H2019, Amdt 3)

1/30/19: Voted against requiring committee roll call votes to be posted on the Clerks’ websites (as is current practice in the MA State Senate) (H2019, Amdt 11)

Has refused to sign the Voters Deserve To Know Pledge

7/29/2020: Voted to allow legislators 2 hours to read amendments before a vote

The Massachusetts State House has the worst concentration of power and the worst transparency of any state house in the country. On most bills, there is no way for us to know how our state reps are voting — their votes are secret. Decisions about which bills will move forward are made in backroom deals, where a very small number of people decide what legislation will die in committee without a trace. The concentration of power in the hands of the Speaker is the reason why Massachusetts is unable to pass popular legislation like committing to 100% renewables, the Safe Communities Act, and election-day registration.

On this issue, Rep. Barber’s voting record is clear. Time and time again, she has voted against transparency; time and time again, she has voted to increase the power in the hands of the Speaker. Less than two months before the September 1 primary, Rep. Barber cast a single vote in favor of transparency, but her action is too little, too late. We need a leader with a longstanding and unwavering stance on this issue that is so foundational to the functioning of our democracy.

This election is about good government. This election is about whether our state reps’ votes are secret. This election is about whether we as constituents have time to organize around legislation before state reps vote on it. This election is fundamentally about the concentration of power in the hands of the Speaker of the House that prevents us from passing the common-sense progressive policies the people of Massachusetts want, need, and deserve.