, Gloucester, MA


February 18, 2013

Editorial: Tarr deserves credit for tough call

We may never know exactly how close state Sen. Bruce Tarr came last week to diving headlong into a race for the vacant U.S. Senate seat. But his reasons make one thing clear – Cape Ann and all of Massachusetts should be grateful that he didn’t.

As noted in staff writer Marjorie Nesin’s Page 1 Saturday story, Tarr had given very serious thought to seeking the seat that had until last month been held by new Secretary of State John Kerry — to the point of speaking with state and national level political consultants, and preparing press releases with announcements declaring both that he was in and out of the U.S. Senate race, right up until the final announcement Thursday night.

But, even while facing other obstacles, Tarr noted that he had one overriding reason for staying out of the race; any campaign now would take his attention far away from key State House budget and tax reform talks, important criminal sentencing legislation and other issues for which he feels responsible to his current district’s voters, including all of those across Cape Ann.

Indeed, while Tarr’s style of reaching out for bipartisan talks and solutions is drastically needed in Washington, his role as Minority Leader gives him more clout to use that approach to get things done on Beacon Hill. And while he would have been able to keep his Senate seat while running for the federal post, he would have had to have stepped aside from his State House leadership role at a time when his legislative colleagues and state and Cape Ann voters need his leadership most.

It’s clear from the steps he had taken that Tarr now has his eyes on higher office. And with an outpouring of support that surprised even him after news broke that he was considering a U.S. Senate run, only time will tell if he’ll look to advance as early as 2014.

But for now, he clearly recognized that he has a job to do during an important time in the State House — and he deserves credit for making the right choice for the people he represents.

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