Should Mass. politicians hail from the Commonwealth?


( -- Many Massachusetts leaders are not actually from the Commonwealth. From the governor to the Senate, most aren't even New England natives.

Governor Deval Patrick hails from Chicago. Senators Elizabeth Warren and William "Mo" Cowan are from Oklahoma and North Carolina respectively. Gabriel Gomez, who just announced he will run for the state's special election Senate seat is from Los Angeles.

Massachusetts residents are torn about whether or not it matters for those running the state government to be from here.

"They should have their roots here," Rocco Leo, a Woburn business owner said. "I think they should know the area, know the people from the area. I think it really makes a big difference."

Woburn resident Jesse Katsopolis agreed saying, "The voters would appreciate someone from Massachusetts." He says it gives them more credibility.

Still, others believe it doesn't matter as long as they do the right thing and are good at their job.

Despite where they're from, many politicians try hard to prove they know what it's like to be a Massachusetts native.

Former Senator Scott Brown tried to capitalize on his born and bred roots, even putting out a video titled, "He's One of Us." Warren beat him handedly by eight points.

The changing population of the state could be one reason politicians don't need to have previously called Massachusetts home.

Jason Dyck, Associate Professor of political science at UMASS Lowell, says attributes like where a person is from, or what they sound like matter more in primaries instead of general elections.

"There are a lot of people that come to Massachusetts," he said. "Boston is an intellectual hub in the country, and I think because of that we maybe have a little bit less sense of place here than maybe we thought existed here 20, 30 or 40 years ago."

In the race for John Kerry's Senate seat, both Congressman Stephen Lynch and Ed Markey are battling it out for the Democratic primary. The Republican field is still shaping up, but so far it includes State Rep. Dan Winslow and Cohasset businessman Gabriel Gomez.

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