In November, the voters of Massachusetts have a real chance to make a bold choice to move our Commonwealth forward, or to move backward and face the future’s challenges with the failed policies of the past. In the spirit of progress and bold leadership, the College Democrats of Massachusetts have declared the state federation's unequivocal support for the repeal of the casino law, for YES on question three, the ballot measure that decides the fate of the law legalizing casinos in the Commonwealth.
Endorsement for ballot question three was called for a vote on Sunday, Sept. 14th by the College Democrats of Massachusetts’ Elected Board. “At first, we were hesitant to take an official stance on this issue because of its divisiveness within the Democratic Party,” says CDM Vice President Chelsea Carrier, “However, we were compelled to get the word out about the corrosiveness of casinos in communities, and as young activists, to take a stance that we would like to see more politicians have as well."
To the College Democrats and thousands of people here in Massachusetts, casinos in the state is a situation in which only the house can win, while the Commonwealth and its people will decidedly be the losers. Massachusetts is locked in a life or death battle with opiate addiction, a problem that casinos only make worse with gambling addiction, drug addiction and alcoholism that would further beset our already besieged communities. Our amazing workers and resilient unemployed may be eager for jobs, but too many of the jobs offered by casinos are not worthy of our incredible work force. Casinos would place further economic pressure on our workers with high turnover work that pays far below a healthy, living wage. One need only look at the shuttered palatial casinos in Atlantic City to see that even the meagre work can dry up at any time when the company callously chooses to cut their losses.
We follow the lead of our progressive champion, Senator Elizabeth Warren, who after seeing families go broke from addiction and the other ills inflicted by casinos declared that “based on 25 years of work I've done with these families, I just can't support it.” The threat to families is enormous, as is the threat to crucial state revenue. An already stressed system would find itself contending with increased poverty and addiction all while the casinos would almost certainly cannibalize the vital revenue from the state lottery. Furthermore, the College Democrats of Massachusetts are determined to support healthy communities, and thus cannot support a measure that would cost communities and local businesses “one job per slot machine,” as Dr. Don Berwick has said. Because of the financial cost, the civic cost, and most importantly the human cost, the College Democrats of Massachusetts say NO to casinos and YES to repeal on question three.
However vehement our opposition, Democrats remain committed to and respectful of democracy. Unfortunately, this puts us at odds with Republican Charlie Baker, who has followed the restrictive and anti-democratic path of his brethren across the country as they pass restrictive voter ID laws and play a criminal game of obstruction in the U.S. Senate. Recently, the Republican Baker declared that he would proceed undaunted with casino projects if elected governor, even in the face of a successful repeal effort on question three. For these reasons, and so many more, the College Democrats of Massachusetts urge the Commonwealth to vote YES on three and NO on Republican Charlie Baker this November.