Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Knuuttila's Supermarket Sweep

The final push in the race for state senate began last night as Jennifer Flanagan and Brian Knuuttila squared off in a debate in Gardner. Apparently Knuuttila decided it was time for the tried and true tactic of turning the debate into an episode The Price is Right. From the Telegram and Gazette:

Mr. Knuuttila, 50, also challenged Ms. Flanagan, 32, on her “real world” experience, noting she had been working in the Statehouse since she was 19 years old. He said a well-rounded legislator would have experience beyond Beacon Hill.

“What is the price of a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs?” Mr. Knuuttila asked. “Do you know?”
The Sentinel and Enterprise (note to the editor: paragraphs are a wonderful thing, look into them) had it a little different--quoting Knuuttila as asking about “a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread”--but essentially the point was the same…Flanagan might be out of touch because she’s been working at the state house for most of her adult life.

What a bunch of hooey! Perhaps Knuuttila was looking back at his near decade in the house and knows just how out of touch a rep can get, but working on Beacon Hill is quite a bit different than a Senator or President going to Washington and having his or her staff do all of the shopping, cooking, cleaning, whatever.

Unfortunately I wasn’t there to hear Flanagan’s response, but I can tell you how I’d have responded if he’d asked me that question:
I paid $1.79 for a dozen eggs, $3.29 for a half-gallon of organic milk for my son, and $3.29 for a loaf of bread at Market Basket Sunday. In fact, I was a little disappointed that they weren’t having a two-for-five special on the bread because I was going to get an extra loaf to throw in the freezer if they were on sale.

But being a senator is about more than that. Do you know what a school district has to pay to hire a nurse? Or how much an uninsured resident has to pay each month for the state’s health care plan? Or what it will cost to repair the dams that are crumbling in Sterling?

Well I do, and while I can’t do anything about the cost of bread or milk or eggs, I fight for our district everyday on those and a hundred more issues. That’s what the people of the district are deciding, not who’s best at playing Supermarket Sweep.
OK, so I wouldn’t have added the last sentence about Supermarket Sweep; that would have been a gratuitous shot to take in a debate. But I’d have tried to turn it around to show that not only do I have an excellent grasp of the sort of trivia that comes up in a “gotcha” gimmick of a question, but that I also have an excellent grasp of issues that I can actually do something about.

Who knows…maybe the question will come up again.

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