2nd District State Rep. Atsalis' Challenger Brian Mannal: 'New Blood is Good for Politics'
Second District State Rep. democratic candidate Brian Mannal said he wants to be the person to represent the people, create a "revolution" in politics and bring fresh perspective to incumbent Demetrius Atsalis' seat.
Over a cup of coffee at Nirvana in Barnstable Village, I spoke with democrat candidate for State Representative Brian Mannal last Thursday.
If you want to know what type of man is running against the 14-year incumbent Demetrius Atsalis, then this anecdotal story sums up his passion.
With roots in politics in Boston, Mannal went out to Columbus, Ohio after marrying. While in Ohio, as man hungry for political experience, he began his first personal campaign when looking for a foothold in local politics. There, he persistently campaigned for his career.
The story Mannal relayed about how he grew inroads was really outstanding - in the sense that he was not discouraged and humble.
Mannal said for weeks he would rotate three suits and bring his resume to the same people over, and over and over until finally he made a connection who was willing to link him to a opportunity.
For his efforts, Mannal was offered an opportunity to manage volunteers and fundraising for the first George W. Bush presidential campaign.
With that opprounity under his belt, he began a career working for the state of Ohio.
Mannal spent serious time working in Ohio working on workforce development and economics. This experience is a driving force in his ideas for making the Cape, and Massachusetts, better through policy.
What does Mannal say he will do differently for Barnstable than the 14-year incumbent Demetrius Atsalis?
For starters, he said he wants to change how politics are approached.
What Mannal said he'd do differently:
- Being State Rep. would be a full-time job for him and he would be there for every vote and not vote with party, but principals and what makes sense for our community and Massachusetts.
- Open discussion and debate about the issues at hand - not just politics or personal agendas
- Focus on real issues, not projects that don't help the community as a whole - e.g. Exit 6 1/2 on Route 6 - Mannal believes this deters people from Main Street and makes it easy for people to get in and out of Hyannis from other areas of the Cape and will be a Big Box Store destination
- He'd like to see other road projects prioritized - e.g. He noted how well the roundabout at the youth center has improved traffic flow down Bearse's Way
- Strike out on his own for issues, policy decisions that may go against the mainstream, but compromise when it is necessary
- Be focused on driving economic growth and workforce development at the local level, with small business owners
- Focus on policy that grows industries, specifically tourism on the Cape
- Not endorse corporations as people and push for stricter financial regulations on campaigns
- Push for transparency in government including freedom of information via the web
- Push for social justice
- Push for accountability and reform where needed e.g. EBT and programs that are abused
Mannal wants a revolution in the sense that things need to change for a healthy democracy. And revolution is needed for a natural evolution of ideas. New blood, as in a new person, can bring fresh insight to the role, he said.
I must say, Mannal's gusto and excitement around being part of the political process - not just another cog in the machine - was refreshing. Mannal said he has a common sense approach where he believes the government officials are - and should be - accountable as people and in their official roles.
If you want to learn more about Mannal's life and experience, you can read his bio on his candidacy website. One thing you won't read on his website is that he is a family man who moved to the Cape to raise his family and be near his parents, Mannal lives with his wife and two children in Centerville.