The new 9th Congressional District, encompassing a relatively small, but populated swath of Greater Fall River, may hold the opportunity for the type of change that voters seem to crave but rarely realize.
With no incumbent currently occupying the 9th, the heir-apparent has been U.S. Rep. William Keating, a former Norfolk County District Attorney who was elected in 2010 as a Quincy resident to represent the 10th District. Facing a primary challenge from U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch in what became the 8th District, Keating earlier this year packed up for a family summer home in Bourne to run in the 9th, arguably a politically opportunistic move.
But if expediency is the hallmark of the Democrat in this race, both the Republican — Plymouth’s Christopher Sheldon — and Independent candidate and Fall River resident Daniel Botelho demonstrate a refreshing lack of the politics-as-usual mindset.
Both self-described fiscal conservatives with backgrounds in finance, they agreed on most points during a recent Editorial Board endorsement meeting, which Keating repeatedly refused to participate in.
Sheldon, however, seemed to lack an understanding of Greater Fall River, grouping the city with New Bedford’s interests, rather than recognizing Fall River’s unique identity, challenges and opportunities. Botelho, a lifelong Fall River resident, has personal knowledge of the challenges facing our city and region, an advantage he’s smart enough to often underscore.
Articulate and polished with some interesting ideas, Sheldon tends to stick to the Republican orthodoxy. Botelho, a bit rougher around the edges, offers a more energized approach. As an independent, Botelho pointed out, he would be able to work more effectively with leaders of both parties to represent the district’s interests. In many ways, Botelho is the embodiment of the “people’s candidate.”
Botelho said he has “a score to settle” regarding trade policies that deep-sixed his parents’ garment industry business. He is earnest and passionate about his desire to be part of the solution, and he is clearly not afraid to speak his mind. Botelho is determined to be a strong advocate for SouthCoast interests and challenge the status quo, while the other candidates seem much more likely to serve as rubber stamps for their respective parties and merely parachute in for photo ops.
While the U.S. Congress is a giant leap for Botelho to take in his first run for public office, he gives voice to the frustrated masses wearied of career politicians and broken partisan politics. Instead of complaining about it, Botelho jumped into the 9th Congressional District race in order to change it.
I am the underdog in this election but have been and will continue to work hard to raise awareness on the issues that I believe to be important to our new district. Nationally, the economy and unemployment are on everyone’s mind. Here in our new district more so then in other parts of our State we have been hit especial hard by the closing of companies like Quaker Fabric. The Fishing Industry once a source of great pride for the opportunity to make a good honest living has been ravaged by over regulation; our proud fleet now sits rusting at the docks. These are not just statistics, but matters of fact; cities and towns in our district have a much higher unemployment rate compared to our other areas of the state.
My plan is to advocate for drastic taxation reform to stream line the tax code, more specifically I will support HR 25 the FairTax a national consumption tax similar to that of what our country was founded on. In our regulatory environment I advocate for a level playing field for all. Too often large conglomerate or industrial entities have unfair advantages that are extended to them because of mere scale. Although I believe in the economic principle of economies of scale, I do not believe regulation should be geared to bar entry or discourage the small entrepreneur.
I will work especially hard on these two areas which touch all facets of the industries across our country and are crucial to bring jobs back to our area. The second stage of the plan would be to then champion our state and district to bring firms back to our area. To highlight the existing infrastructure and plans that are already in play to extend commuter rail service connecting Fall River and New Bedford to Boston. Adding and expanding to our current freight rail system which will expand upon rail shipping across our district and state. Fall River has the second deepest port which could receive goods and ship goods to and from our entire district and can be a crucial player in our district’s economic growth.
Additionally, the people of our district have the drive and the ambition to get back to work and earn a living The Universities and Community Colleges in and around our district position us well to be marketable to potential employers who need skilled labor. By forming partnerships & coops between educational institutions and private business we could tap into an engine that drove our country towards great innovation. Our district, with its many educational institutions, could help firms be the leaders in innovation and it can all happen right here in our newly redistricted ninth congressional district.
If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of then please join us on this campaign, we could use your help.
Independent Candidate for U.S. Congress
District 9 Massachusetts