Oct. 6, 2010
Earlier this year, I chatted a bit with would-be congressman Jon Golnik, first at the Mass. GOP Convention and then on the Greater Boston set. Based on our conversations -- and Golnik's early appearance on the National Republican Congressional Committee's radar -- I decided Golnik was a real threat to incumbent Democrat Niki Tsongas.
Then Golnik started making headlines for the wrong reasons -- including an old DUI and a spotty voting record during the aughts. Meanwhile, the 10th District's Jeff Perry started looking like the GOP congressional hopeful with the best chance in November. Despite Golnik's triumph in a hard-fought Republican primary, I kind of wrote his candidacy off.
But a interview I had with Golnik Tuesday after his appearance on The Emily Rooney Show reminded me why I had paid attention to him in the first place.
In many ways, Golnik fits right in with the nationwide group of young conservative candidates looking to put the House in Republican hands. He was the first candidate this year to be named a "Young Gun" by the National Republican Congressional Committee -- a designation which Perry now holds, too. His gripes with Democratic leadership toe his own party's line: "The buyouts, the takeovers, the runaway spending."
But we also identified at least one area -- regulation of the financial markets -- where he's not totally opposed to the Democratic point of view. "I am not a laissez-faire capitalist, I believe there needs to be some regulation," Golnik said. "I believe there should be regulation against the use of derivatives."
Golnik said he would have liked to see a one-page bill preventing companies from using the complicated financial instruments for speculative purposes.
We also touched on that stretch of bad PR. "I'm not perfect, I hadn't planned to run for office," he said. He said the DUI came during a period of personal difficulty, shortly after his brother was killed in a motorcycle accident. He said it was a "wake-up call" that hasn't happened since.
Golnik admits to voting infrequently during the 2000's. "I've always been very involved (politically), not only in voting but in volunterring, but after 2000 I got disillusioned," Golnik said. "What I should have done is what I'm doing now and jumped in feet first."
Both stories might lost him some voters -- but Golnik said he's not worries."We've got an awful lot of momentum."
See the full interview:
Greater Boston political reporter Adam Reilly can be reached at email@example.com