With midterm elections less than a week away and many of the local races neck-in-neck, candidates will cross party lines wooing voters and influential voting blocs.
Massachusetts is a Democratic stronghold with the LGBTQ voting bloc being one of its strongest constituents. Republicans who want us to glance their way must be compelling—especially with a party still wrestling with its LGBTQ problem.
“I am a Reform Republican running for Governor’s Councilor in the Sixth Councilor District,” Vincent Lawrence Dixon, a Winchester resident, told me as we sat and chatted for a good while on the balcony level of the Harvard Coop.
Not quite certain of what Dixon meant by his term “Reform Republican” I asked him to expound:
“I mean a positive progressive in the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt and other thoughtful, constructive Republicans. And by that I mean where government is dynamic, needing to be monitored but normally siding with people as with the style of an honest referee,” Dixon explained.
I had to ask Dixon why reference Roosevelt—a president so removed and mostly unknown to a younger generation.
“I consistently point to Teddy Roosevelt, our Original Progressive President. There is a consistent Republican tradition, of course, especially strongly Northeast Republican, that I speak unambiguously to which includes rights for women, the vote for young people, and same-sex rights.”
Vince, as folks around town call him, has always been a man of the people, like Theodore Roosevelt—our nation’s 26th president—was. So many people know Vince or know of him—especially in Cambridge—because he’s the owner of Cambridge Advantage Tours, a tour and information center in the heart of Harvard Square.
“I’ve given tours for several thousands of people, from dozens of states, provinces, countries, nations, individuals and groups, from empty nesters, to senior citizens, including among others, teachers, students, business people,” Vince proudly shared.
“Legal Reform for a Change” is the title of Vince’s campaign focus.
Vince wants to do what many Americans are now begging to be done with the death of Trayvon Martin, and the continued troubling images coming out of Ferguson- “to revitalize and improve our legal system, law enforcement culture, and their accountability.”
Key proposals of his “Legal Reform for a Change” campaign include:
Term renewal process, for all judges and selected officials, every ten years.
A more coherent emphasis on drug rehabilitation, and drug education, in court proceedings, and beyond in our educational systems.
Reform of sentencing guidelines, restoring reasonable discretion of judges, with required written explanations.
Continued monitoring and reforms of the troubled parole, and probation, systems.
Evaluation of additional legal reforms, with specific citizen input processes.”
Long before President Obama evolved toward supporting marriage equality in 2012, Vince spoke up a decade sooner explaining his passion for our civil rights.
“Recent court decisions, DOMA and Prop 8 decisions further highlight the need for clearly equal rights for every person in the United States. These decisions have continues to clarify due process expanded by Massachusetts SJC in Goodridge that found for same-sex marriage rights…. Recognizing same-sex marriage surely has not done any real harm to society, contrary to the sincere beliefs of its opponents.””
Growing up during the tumultuous 1960’s opened Vince eyes to economic, racial and legal inequalities. I told Vince that in the 60’s the Republican Party wasn’t kind to neither African Americans nor LGBTQ Americans. However, Vince believing that the true spirit of the GOP is represented as the Party of Lincoln shared with me that one of his great political heroes was Edward William Brooke III, now 95. Brooke was a Massachusetts Republican and the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate, since Reconstruction. Vince last saw his hero at the 2006 Massachusetts State Republican Convention.
And his favorite minister was the deceased Rev. Peter Gomes who was a lifelong Republican until Deval Patrick ran for governor. We met many years ago when he regularly attended morning prayers with his mother, who has now passed on, at The Memorial Church at Harvard. Vince attended morning prayers for over two decades.
Vince is a man of many talents and passions, and singing is one of them. This bass voice singers has sung his heart out performing with the Cambridge Community Chorus from 1990- 2008, Komitas Choral Society performing Armenian music, and the Swedenborg Church Choir.
The Sixth Councilor District Vince is running in stretches from Beacon Hill, Back Bay, through Charlestown, along the coast of Lynn, Swampscott and Marblehead, and also included Somerville and Cambridge. Vince depicts his run for office as a grass-roots working-class progressive Massachusetts-style Republican.
“There is a lot more in my head, and in my heart, as I build an important, and unique candidacy, that can eventually lead to an important discussion about our judicial, law enforcement, and legal systems. With the proper and thoughtful efforts needed, we can create a movement for updating reform. This is the subject matter that I bring to the table.”