If there are any surprises lurking in the 16th Suffolk state representative race, then Chelsea’s Todd Taylor is ready to claim them and take on the role of spoiler.
Taylor, 46, has lived in Chelsea for the last 14 years, and makes his home on Nichols Street with his wife, Regina, and two young children, Alanna and Finn. When he’s not busy with family, he’s running his own business – a business where he started as an employee on the lowest rung and for which he now owns.
However, for the past few years he’s noticed some troubling sings on Beacon Hill, and the Republican candidate says he is ready to make a real run for the seat and give people in the district another choice – a break from the normal Democratic politics that sustains the most lopsided State Legislature in the nation.
“We need to change that,” he said. “One party rule is not good. We’ve seen that time and time again…It’s frustrating because I think I’m only the second Republican in this district that’s run since the 1970s. People really need a choice. It’s important for the people to have another voice and not to have to just go with what is handed to them by the party in control. If you just keep on going with the same old things, you’ll never get anywhere.”
While some Republican campaigns in the area have been an exercise in futility, Taylor said he is serious about running and he believes he has a shot if people keep an open mind and hear him out.
“This is a serious campaign; it’s not just a token campaign,” he said. “I intend to win this race. Scott Brown won by 10 points in this district. The numbers are very encouraging to me and I’ve looked carefully at them. If Scott Brown can win the district by 10, I think there’s a real chance I can win over the voters and win the race.”
Taylor added that he will be holding a kick-off celebration this coming Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 7-9 p.m. at the Casa Lucia Function Hall in Revere.
Beyond his run for state rep, Taylor has a fascinating story – a story that has shaped the cornerstones of his campaign.
An academic who grew up in Arizona and came to Boston for advanced studies in the Soviet Union at Brandeis University, Taylor soon realized academia wasn’t a good fit for him. To make ends meet, he signed on with a temp worker agency as a bartender.
Now he owns the company.
“I worked my way up in that company and became a manager and general manager and then I bought the company,” he said. “I own the company now and operate it. I worked as a temp worker. I know what it is to go out and work for $13 bucks an hour. It’s made a difference in my perspective on things. I get it. I’m just a regular guy who is frustrated with the way things are going. I think I can go to Beacon Hill and make a difference with common sense.”
That said, Taylor wants to bring to Beacon Hill the sense of a small business owner with business-friendly ideas, but also the experience of a person who has worked in the trenches as a temp for years.
“I think as a business person I often see how people in government don’t get what we do,” he said. “I think we really need a lot more business friendly people in government.”
However, one of the cornerstones of his campaign is advocating for charter schools. He said his kids attend the Brooke School in East Boston and he sees that, despite being a public school, the charter is under pressure because the state has a cap on the number of students that can attend such schools. Currently, those schools often have to hold lotteries to see who gets in and they also have trouble expanding programs to include high school.
That, he said, should change and he said he believes charters and public schools can work side by side.
“It provides a fabulous alternative and opportunity for kids to get a real solid education and it gives them a way to get out of getting stuck with a bad school,” he said. “The Brooke is trying to expand with a high school, but they’re blocked by this cap on seats. I support public schools, absolutely. We have to, but these charter schools with a positive track record should be allowed to flourish and not restrained…You shouldn’t have to be lucky in a lottery to try to get what you think would be a better education.”
So far, Taylor said he has been doing a lot of door knocking and canvassing the district in Chelsea and Revere. The response he’s gotten, despite being a Republican, has been very strong, he said.
“I understand that I’m the underdog, but I’ve gotten very encouraging responses from people when I’ve been out going door-to-door,” he said. “We need to change our direction and the political culture. I think I’m the one who can do that.”
Taylor, likely, will be the lone Republican on the ballot, so he will not face an opponent in the March 4 primary – unlike his Democratic opponents. He will face the Democratic winner on April 1.
For more information on his kick-off, contact Michael Cowett at (617) 866-0802.
ON THE BALLOT
State Rep candidates for the 16th Suffolk District had until the end of Wednesday, Jan. 29, to turn in their signatures, but the ballot appeared to be mostly set by mid-day.
One surprise was Chelsea resident Todd Taylor, who will be running as a Republican and indicated Tuesday that he had the signatures to be on the April 1 final ballot.
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side – where most of the favorites currently lie – the Secretary of State’s Office confirmed that both RoseLee Vincent and Linda Rosa, both of Revere, had been officially certified.
Vincent has been active over the past few weeks around Revere and spoke to a large gathering of her campaign volunteers at the St. George last Saturday. She will hold a kick-off even at the Casa Lucia on Thursday, Feb. 6.
Rosa has also been active across the district, appearing at Council meetings and stumping for support from Chelsea’s Prattville to the Point of Pines. Her support in the Revere Beach areas seems to be gathering steam. She said she will announce a kick-off celebration soon.
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s Josh Monahan indicated that he had the signatures to qualify for the ballot as a Democrat. He has also been active at several local events, pressing the flesh around Chelsea and taking careful notes at last Monday’s Revere City Council meeting.
The field will be solid by the end of today, Thursday, Jan. 30.