Healey Calls for Kerry to Resign
Boston Globe – Healey calls for Kerry to resign
As part of a coordinated attack by the Bush campaign, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey called yesterday for US Senator John F. Kerry to resign immediately, saying that he had missed so many roll call votes in the Senate that he wasn’t representing the Commonwealth in the Senate.
Healey, Bush’s campaign co-chairwoman in Massachusetts, accused Kerry of having abandoned his duties in the Senate by missing 87 percent of the roll calls this year and 64 percent last year because he was campaigning for the presidency.
”John Kerry has left the people of Massachusetts underrepresented in one of the highest lawmaking bodies in the nation,” said Healey, speaking outside the governor’s State House office. An immediate Kerry resignation would clear the way for Governor Mitt Romney to appoint a Republican to the seat and bolster GOP strength in the Senate, where the Republicans rule by a razor-thin majority.
Kerry brushed aside the Republican attack, saying that his absenteeism in the Senate is a necessary part of his presidential campaign effort, which is aimed at ”serving the citizens of Massachusetts and the country in the proposals I’ve laid out.”
”I’m running to provide responsible leadership, and I intend to continue to do that,” said Kerry, who spoke to reporters at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport in Covington, Ky.
Massachusetts Democrats quickly accused Healey of holding a double standard for not applying her demands to George Bush’s run for the presidency in 2000 when he was frequently absent from his duties as Texas governor.
”Arguably, an incumbent governor has many more administrative responsibilities than an incumbent United State senator has,” said state Democratic Party chairman Philip Johnston.
Asked if George Bush should have resigned as governor of Texas in 2000, Healey stepped around the question.
”We’re talking about John Kerry’s current record representing the people of Massachusetts,” Healey said. ”My responsibility is toward them. I was elected to represent the people of Massachusetts, just as John Kerry was. John Kerry is not doing his job, and it’s incumbent on me to point out the fact that we would be better represented if he were to resign and allow that position to be filled by someone who can devote 100 percent of their time and energy to representing Massachusetts.”
Candidates running for higher office while still holding their current one always face this problem, although Kerry does seem to be carrying the absentee bit further than most. His Senate salary, while modest in the context of the Heinz fortune, amounts to an undeclared taxpayer donation to his campaign since he has essentially been paid to run for president. My preference would be for all candidates seeking election to an office other than the one they currently hold to do so as private citizens.
The residents of Massachusetts also face a concurrent problem: If Kerry wins, his Senate seat will be vacated and the governor, a Republican, will appoint a successor. Of course, a Kerry resignation would have that effect immediately but allow an election in November that would, presumably, lead to another Democrat taking the seat.