To the editor: I strongly disagree with The Sun Chronicle's Feb. 8 characterization insinuated in its headline that I flip-flopped on the term limits for the speaker. I wrote in this newspaper on Aug. 30, 2010 that I do not support legislative branch term limits. I also wrote that in the Fall River Herald News on Aug. 17, 2010, Attleboro Patch on Oct. 25, 2011 and in the Taunton Daily Gazette Nov. 2, 2011.
I wrote in two of the articles that I mentioned above that I support term limits for executive branches such as mayor, governor and president, the first two of which in Attleboro and Massachusetts are non-existent.
Moreover, The Sun Chronicle misquoted me. My example of President Johnson being eligible for two full terms is different than what I voted on, and this was a point I made prior to knowledge that we were going to lift the term limits altogether. My rationale for lifting the term limits altogether had nothing to do with the LBJ example. We are talking about different situations so I have a different rationale. My rationale for lifting term limits altogether was a reflection of what I had previously written in this newspaper, which was based in part on the research on the matter, not a reaction to someone else's wrongdoing.
Let's say that hypothetically speaking that I supported term limits in the legislative branch and I voted against the speaker's rule change. Every representative in the nation at the state and federal levels knows that when they go against the speaker, they undermine what they can do for their district. Consequently, I acted in the best interest of my district by being consistent with my beliefs about term limits. Sometimes a representative has to act as a delegate, other times a trustee. In this situation I acted as a trustee.
This change in the rules is much ado about nothing. No harm has been done. Unlike some past speakers, the current speaker has not been indicted or convicted of anything. He has only been speaker for six years, half the time our current mayor has been in office who does not have term limits. If he starts to act against the interests of our district and our state, I will reconsider my support his leadership role in the House.
My position on term limits has been clear, well documented and consistent. We may disagree on the need for term limits, and that is fair and to be expected at times on any number of issues, but I did not flip-flop or cave to any pressure.
State Rep. Paul Heroux, D-Attleboro
Term limit vote disappointing
To the editor: I applaud The Sun Chronicle for its editorial in Sunday's paper condemning Speaker DeLeo's reversal of term limits for speaker in Massachusetts and Rep. Heroux's support of the leadership on this matter.
I expressed my personal disappointment with Mr. Heroux directly. I encourage those who share the same view as The Sun Chronicle to do the same.
There were 11 Democrats who had the courage not to support the speaker. Their constituents should be proud that they sent people of good conscience to represent them on Beacon Hill.
Next up on the legislative docket: Obscene raises for the leadership. It just never gets old here in the commonwealth.
Neil Finn, Attleboro