Carlisle businessman Jon Golnik ran a spirited campaign against Representative Niki Tsongas in 2010, and deserves another chance at the Republican nomination to represent the Merrimack Valley in Congress.
Golnik distinguished himself in 2010 by running an upbeat race, largely rejecting the sour style many Republican congressional candidates embraced that year. On the campaign trail this time, Golnik’s positions are refreshingly light on rigid ideology. He promises to vote to repeal Obamacare and cut corporate tax rates, but says he considers the Ryan budget only a good starting point and would not vote for it in its current form. He also speaks movingly of his own experience as “Pell Grant kid” and the need to make college more affordable. Though he has not held elected office before, Golnik shows promise as a consensus-builder, something that is badly needed in his party and in Congress.
Unlike in the last election when he emerged from a crowded field, this year Golnik faces only one opponent for the GOP nod, Westford businessman Tom Weaver. A Naval Academy graduate and nuclear engineer, Weaver is sincere in his conservative beliefs, but vague about what he would do if elected to Congress. His calls to abolish the Department of Education and turn over Pell Grants and the National Park Service to the states sound more like ideological prescriptions than well-considered plans.
Despite a relatively conservative electorate, the GOP’s nominee in the newly configued Third Congressional District will have a tough time dislodging Tsongas, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Republicans should pick their best-prepared candidate in the primary on Thursday, Sept. 6, and in this race that is Jon Golnik.