Why run as an independent?

"How many independents are there in the State House?" is a question some voters ask me. Many times their eyebrows raise when I answer "zero".

I clearly like to do things differently. I have a strong reason for why I am running as an independent, and an even better plan for my time in office.

The story is simple: I unenrolled from the Democratic party at the end of 2009 when I saw both parties, especially at the national level, take partisanship to an extreme that prevents the system from working effectively. In both parties, shouting the party line has become more important than listening and learning. Moreover, each party is increasingly dominated by its wing, reducing the influence of both liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. It's not working for me.

As a candidate for State Rep, running unenrolled from both parties is liberating. I can embrace my approach to governing and politics -- focusing on the core functions of government, not trying to mandate through legislation the finer details of business and local government, avoiding costly commitments to special interests of all stripes, and making sure that the least advantaged members of our Commonwealth are not ignored or forgotten -- without concern when these views fail party litmus tests.

The more I campaign in the district, the more people I find who share my attitude and respect my willingness to consider the better parts of each party's positions and views. While each of you may have a different preferred blend of positions, you also recognize the inherent strength in considering all options and viewpoints.

In the State House, I will work hard to prove that I can be a good colleague to all members. There is no shortage of work to do, and I know that I will find colleagues that will value the unique experience and expertise I can bring to the challenges we all face. I have always found that a service-oriented attitude together with hard work will be well-received, and I will be happy to throw my lot in with those of you who share that attitude.

My independent status will have advantages as well. I can serve as a key portal to expand the flow of information in and out of the legislative process. Those of you who have chosen not to play the traditional political games of access will become more engaged in the process if you think I can represent your views fairly and without bias. And by being one of only 200 legislators, I will be in a position to offer new insights to the district and general public about the policies under consideration and the process by which they are developed.

This is the time to try a new approach. If we don't, we'll be stuck with the same situation once again.

This is the essence of why I am running now -- to be open and innovative about how we approach our government, especially at the State House. Given all we know about the current state of our politics and government, let's try something different this year.