Why I am voting for the Frugal "Nice Man"

Why I am voting for the “Frugal” Nice Man

Let me begin by saying what I am writing is from my heart and from my experiences and not as a spokesperson from the campaign.  I have been shy to compose this piece about my feeling about Mitt Romney and the election but here goes:

 I am self-described 56 year old woman who is pro-choice, pro gay marriage, a Jew from Brooklyn, (yes we can be Republicans even though I heard once it was a rule that you had to  be a Jew and a Democrat—or else) a mother, a wife, a lawyer, a policy  nerd, a party planner, fashionista, Fantasy baseball lover, and super cheap.

So I guess you are asking yourself what’s up with this nice man stuff. Well,  I have a dear friend who worked in Hollywood for a megastar and she taught  me that you never ever say the real name in public of the person you are working for if they are well known. You never know what big ears are listening in.  She also confirmed that you can’t keep a job in Hollywood if you tell anyone you are a Republican so even though she is a big R and loves loves loves the Dick Cheney and the Karl Rove she tells people she doesn’t follow politics. But that is another story.

So the first time  I went to say the name “Governor Romney” at the local politico haunt in Boston, I decided his name would forever be “the nice man”. 

But why the moniker “the nice man?” That is easy. Mitt Romney is one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life and trust me I have lived in many places and met lots of people. I never heard him say an unkind thing about anyone or deliberately hurt another soul.

I was one of three members of  his policy team during the Gubernatorial campaign and was asked to join the administration when he won as a Senior Policy Advisor and then Deputy General Counsel of Administration and Finance (Massachusetts’ version of OMB) 

I saw him hurt when others were hurting and a genuine caring about the suffering of others.  For example, our administration moved the homeless out of hotels, created a palliative care program for dying children, increased spending for money for the Greater Boston Food Bank, and housed, fed and clothed evacuees from Katrina,

(Sorry big D’s you can’t pin unkind, cruel, mean horrible on this man as you try to do for all Republicans) I know it we are either stupid (Bush Reagan)or mean (Dole).  No one will ever call this man stupid so this summer  the Democrats tried to pin the other  negative Republican trait on him and when the American people saw the nice man in the debates that meme crumbled real fast.

I saw up close the love and devotion he has for his “sweetheart” Ann, his sons, their wives and his grandchildren. I met the Governor when I was divorced and thought to myself that  the marriage he and Ann and my dear friends the Weinerts have are the two that I wanted to to emulate if I ever married again. Yes I did marry again but you will have to get to the end of this to find out about it.


Now to the frugal part.  I hate wasting money on stuff. I like to spend it but only when it makes sense and I can get some benefit other than the benefit of just spending. I live to be considered as "cheap" as the nice man and enjoy being compared to him on that account.

When we got to the statehouse there was one thing that was clear. Government is all about the inputs. How much money did you spend? That is what the lobbyists want, the legislators want,  that is what the stakeholders want. This year you spent more than the last year. Good Job!! Hooray. But there is almost never any information or data on the results part. What was the output for all that money that you spent? No one in government really cares about that. No one bothered to examine it.

We did. We began a benchmarking program where we looked at both the inputs and the outputs  and figured out how we could be more results oriented so we spend money well.  As I always say “Data will set you free”.

We also started to examine how operational money in government was spent and if there was a better way to do things.

For example, we stopped printing thousands of copies of the Governor’s proposed budget. We put it online and saved money.

We stopped financing state police vehicles that stay on the road for about 5 years with 30 year bond money. (Could you imagine continuing to pay interest on your mortgage for your house  for 25 years  even though the house was no longer inhabitable?- that is what we were in effect doing).

We stopped the government from running ice skating rinks, golf courses, state motor pool, maintaining surplus state office property and saved money.  We created partnerships with the private sector that actually had expertise. We signed long term capital leases with the leasee making the improvements and sold off property that was not being used anymore. We contracted with a major car rental company so the state no longer had to buy new cars, maintain these cars, have insurance on cars and have state employees be car rental agents.

And one of my old time favorites, we negotiated with the union (something no other Governor had attempted to do ) to stop having State police administer road tests to pimply faced 16 year olds and employed less expensive civilians to do the job as is done in virtually every other state.

That is how the nice man thinks. He thinks about how not to waste money. Even a little money.  The Governor needed some charts for a presentation.  I created them and brought in a copy for him to review and he said he needed 25 made. I said they would look better printed in color and without hesitating he said to be no that would cost more and that black/white would be fine.  I walked out of his office and thought to myself “of course that was the answer --he is so cheap.”

For me and millions of Americans who are looking for the best value for their hard earned tax money this mind-set is what I want in the person at the top.  I don’t care how much money he and Mrs. Romney have or spend on anything it is their money. But I want someone in the White House who will do a better job protecting all of our taxpayer’s money.

And finally, why I will always have a special place in my heart for Mitt Romney. If he had not run for office in 2002 I would not have met my best friend and the man of my dreams, his dear friend and colleague KK.  So it was only fitting that in December 2006, the Governor, in front of our family, and our dearest friends including Mrs. Romney, performed our marriage ceremony, a nice Jewish girl and his old friend  the WASP, under a Chupah made from my father’s prayer shawl. And as my new husband stepped on the glass beneath his feet Mitt Romney shouted Mazel Tov.

I have been truly blessed for over a decade to know this man and work with him.  And as I go to vote on Election Day, I know deep in my heart, that we will be a very lucky nation if next Tuesday we elect the nice man as our 45th President.


Risa Kaplan







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