Rob Eno: Ryan Fattman - The Mass GOP’s Next Generation of Leadership
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
“Maybe what it [the MassGOP] needs are more ‘Fattman Republicans’” – Jeff Jacoby
Never has someone been more right about what the party I call home, the Massachusetts Republican Party, needs to move forward and grow.
Fattman, at a mere 28 years old, got a higher percentage of the vote in his district than any other contested Republican garnered statewide. Seventy percent of the voters of his district decided that he deserved re-election. This was despite the fact that he had a Democratic chairman of the Webster Board of Selectmen as his opponent. Fattman outperformed Mitt Romney by about 15 percent district wide, and outperformed Scott Brown by about 5 percent. The Democratic Machine tried their “war on women” tactics on Fattman, but the people of his district knew him, because he knocked on, according to his count, 8,251 doors. They weren’t buying it.
Fattman provides a model for other aspiring Republican politicians, not just because of his age, but because he achieved his electoral success the old fashioned way. He worked his way up the ladder. At the age of 21, Fattman became the youngest member of the Board of Selectmen in Sutton’s history. He won his seat by beating an 18-year Democratic incumbent, who took office when Ryan was just three years old. Three years later, at 24, the voters of Sutton sent him back for another term.
Two years after that, as he tells it, he sat his long-time girlfriend down and told her he had an important question to ask her. Rather than the question she was expecting, he asked if she was OK with him running for State Representative. Luckily for the Commonwealth, she was. He embarked on an underfunded campaign, where the 8-year popular Democratic incumbent outspent him 3 to 1. What Ryan didn’t have in dollars, he more than made up for in work ethic. Ryan knocked on 7,000 doors, spreading his message of fiscal responsibility and government reform across the district. He won that campaign. And some months after the campaign, asked his now fiancée the question she though he was going to ask those months earlier.
Over his first two years as a Representative, Fattman became an outspoken critic of the status quo on Beacon Hill. Telling a Boston newspaper, on his first day as Representative, how he left the chamber in disgust as the Democratic Machine saluted three indicted, and soon to be three convicted former Speakers of the House. He followed that up by bucking both his party and the Democratic Machine on votes where he wouldn’t compromise his principles, including being one of only seven votes against price-controls in healthcare.
Because of his outspokenness, the Democratic Machine rearranged his State Representative district so that three quarters of it was new. That didn’t stop Fattman from spreading his message of personal liberty and economic freedom, and meeting the voters of the new district. Spending a night with Ryan in Webster, a few short weeks ago, I was impressed how everybody in a town that he did not yet represent, seemed to know Ryan already, and were ready to vote for him. Keep in mind, this was the town where Ryan’s opponent was the chair of the Board of Selectman. Ryan won this town 61 percent to 39 percent. He also finished the election with over $60,000 in the bank.
Ryan is one of the new breed of young full spectrum conservatives who won election in 2010 and survived a re-election challenge in 2012. He joins Keiko Orrall, Marc Lombardo, and Nick Boldyga as a new generation of young conservative leaders in this state.
It is unclear what Ryan Fattman’s next move is, but it’s worth noting that he has represented all or part of 8 of the 11 towns that make up the State Senate district currently held by Dick Moore. Whatever he chooses to do next, Fattman is a name to watch both in Central Massachusetts and the Commonwealth. Who knows, someday it might be Governor Fattman.
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