Ashland voters chose a mix of incumbents and newcomers Tuesday, sending a message the City Council in particular should heed. At the state level, the Democrats’ new supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature may not carry the message they appear to.
In Ashland, incumbent Councilor Michael Morris was shown the door in Position 2, as challenger Tonya Graham seized 61 percent of the vote, a clear signal that voters want new blood. In the Position 3 race, challenger Julie Akins took 55 percent in a three-way race including incumbent Jackie Bachman. Incumbents Stefani Seffinger and Stephen Jensen held on to their seats.
The city’s budget was a point of contention, and Morris and Bachman represented the status quo, for good or ill. Budget Committee members and residents have complained about raising fees to cover expenses they say the city cannot afford.
The winners should take that to heart and listen carefully when the budget process resumes next year.
Meanwhile, Jeff Golden’s victory in the race for Senate District 3, coupled with House seats flipping upstate, gives Democrats a three-fifths supermajority in both legislative chambers, meaning Democrats can raise taxes without a single Republican vote.
That may seem like a good thing to those who want to see government do more for schools, health care and other services. But it’s a power the majority party should use sparingly.
Wise legislative leaders know this. They also know that any tax increase enacted by the Legislature can be overturned by the people.