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Weld's Successful Record Merits His Re-election

William Weld, a moderate Republican and one-term governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is currently seeking to retain his office. His challenger, Mark Roosevelt, is a representative in the General Court of the Commonwealth. While Roosevelt has an impressive legislative record for a man of his age, we feel that Weld's largely successful record as governor merits his re-election.

When Weld moved into Dukakis' old Statehouse office in 1990, he inherited a state government whose poor fiscal management had earned it one of the poorest bond ratings in the nation. In his first two years in office, Weld performed a second "Massachusetts miracle" in spite of hard economic times. In order to affect this change, Weld slashed state government and skimmed off money from special state funds. While his unorthodox tactics may have ruffled feathers around the state, the results in terms of state solvency have been positive.

But more important than his fiscal reform efforts, Weld has worked to be bipartisan in his dealings with the legislature, which has been and will undoubtedly continue to be run by the Democrats. As governor, Weld has cooperated with Democratic legislators in crafting an economic reform bill in 1993 that allowed for an investment tax credit and a much-needed fund for businesses dealing in emerging technologies.

In 1992, Weld also supported the legislature's efforts to finally reform the state's out-dated judicial system and succeeded in passing a substantial court reform bill. Weld worked with legislators in crafting his own welfare reform proposal, which narrowly avoided passage this year, and may be passed later in a mildly altered form.

Ironically, Weld even worked with Rep. Mark Roosevelt when the latter was crafting and pushing his own education reform bill. While Roosevelt lost control of his bill and the legislature ended up with a pork-lined spending package, Weld did what he could to support the junior legislator's efforts. When the new legislature is sworn in next January, it will not have to deal with a fiery conservative governor bent on frustrating its every effort. Legislators can count on Weld to work with them to fashion reasonable compromises. Indeed, Weld is an example to other Republicans who should be tempted to follow his path-breaking, conciliatory approach.

For his part, candidate Roosevelt has promised that as governor he would do more than Weld on protecting the environment and providing for education. Given his advocacy of these thorny issues in the legislature, he might very well be expected to follow through on such promises. In his debates with Weld, Roosevelt has demonstrated a wonk's understanding of these and other social issues. On other points, however, the Roosevelt campaign has had difficulty staking out a position, especially regarding the economy and crime. One would think it would be hard for even Roosevelt to beat out Weld on these issues.

While we support Weld for re-election we feel that Roosevelt deserves a special commendation for the manner in which he has run his campaign. Roosevelt has operated as an underdog, always overshadowed by Weld's towering lead in the polls. Unlike other candidates in his position, however, Roosevelt has not attempted the cynical, negative smear tactics often used to bring down an opponent's lead. Indeed, it is Weld who has used negative advertisements on Roosevelt, sometimes misrepresenting Roosevelt's position on crime and social issues.

Though we commend Roosevelt for his issues-oriented, positive campaign style, we feel that Weld's record as governor has proven that he can work with the legislature to effectively run the state's government. For this he deserves re-election.