PROVINCETOWN — Two Republican candidates want to flip the Cape and Islands Senate seat and add to the three Republican-held seats — out of 40 — in the upper house of the Mass. legislature.
Chris Lauzon, who lives in Marstons Mills and works as an auto mechanic, told the Independent that housing is one of his priorities. The Cape needs “more creative housing solutions,” such as flexible zoning laws governing accessory dwelling units, he said.
“Priority should be given to local residents,” he added. Otherwise, Lauzon hypothesized, “inner-city” families could learn of available Cape housing, “displacing local Cape people.”
Lauzon said that a working-class perspective shapes his policy ideas, and his campaign website denounces the “destructive impacts of inflation, high taxes, and excessive regulation.” As a state senator, he hopes, he will “challenge the Beacon Hill insiders to lower taxes and eliminate harmful regulations that stifle productivity and devastate the economy.
“I’m a common working man just trying to raise my family,” he said.
Lauzon differs from Cyr on basic rights questions and said he would have voted against the recently passed bill to grant immigrants without documentation the right to obtain driver’s licenses.
But Lauzon said he has been able to find common ground with Democrats on some issues. When collecting signatures for his candidacy, he said, he encountered “adamant Democrats” who at first declined to sign his papers, but who changed their minds after discussing litter cleanup.
Democracy, Lauzon said, should “not be about party but about working together to find solutions.”
Lauzon does not have experience in public service. “I wasn’t involved in local politics in an official capacity prior to this campaign,” he said. “But there should always be a choice on a ballot.”
Though Lauzon said he voted for both Gov. Charlie Baker and former President Donald Trump, “I’m not a Baker Republican or Trump Republican,” he said. “I’m a Cape Cod Republican.”
A 2nd Republican Joins the Race
Daralyn Heywood, a private investigator, is running on a platform of free speech, substance abuse reform, and leadership, citing experience as a former lieutenant in the state police, she told the Independent.
“I wanted to be able to represent the people who feel like they don’t have a voice,” she said. “The government’s main job is to protect people, and I have been protecting people’s constitutional and civil rights for 25 years.”
Like Lauzon, she said her perspective is working class, which she thinks gives her a unique vantage point.
“No one gave me a house or a job,” she said. “I understand what it’s like to not have money.”
She said she “supports the gay community and people with gender dysphoria 100 percent” but doesn’t think elementary school teachers should discuss issues of sexuality with students.
On affordable housing, Heywood said, “Housing has to be done on a local level, working with towns on zoning.”
Comparing her brand of politics to that of Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, she said of the recent driver’s license bill, “I don’t understand why we are rewarding illegal immigrants with licenses. I see Democrats going towards communism,” she added.
Heywood said her service as the first female South Boston barracks station commander gave her leadership skills, and her “proven record of standing up in a room of opposing views” would make her a good state senator.
In an April 14 interview, Adam Lange, founder of the United Cape Patriots — a right-wing political organization that supports what Lange called “freedom defending and Constitution respecting candidates,” — declined to endorse either Lauzon or Heywood, citing his belief that there is “woke mob hate and property destruction that typically follows” such endorsements.
But “Julian Cyr is definitely a problem,” Lange added.
The Democratic Campaigns
State Sen. Julian Cyr, a native of Truro, is currently the assistant majority whip in the heavily Democratic Senate; chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery; and vice chair of the Joint Committee on Housing.
In a March 6 interview, Cyr pointed to Gov. Baker as the kind of leader who appeals to “Cape Cod’s strong tradition of Yankee Republicanism.”
Assessing his challengers, however, he said that, following national trends, Republicans on the Cape may have split into factions.
“This year is shaping up to be a tale of two Republican parties on Cape Cod,” Cyr said. “While establishment Republicans are focused on retaining seats, including the sheriff’s and district attorney’s seats, the more radical Trump element of the party is actively going out and recruiting candidates for races that are a lot tougher.”
Both Lauzon and Heywood said they had not been recruited by Lange’s group, and Heywood said she had not been contacted by Lange at all.
Regardless of the catalyst for this race, Cyr said the contest “gives Democrats an opening to have a robust, coordinated campaign.” What his party needs to do, he added, is “work collaboratively to turn out our base and persuade voters to support Democratic candidates up and down the ticket. This election is shaping up to be a much better year for Democrats on Cape Cod and the Islands than one would expect, given national trends,” he added.
More important, Cyr said, is that “competitive elections only strengthen representative democracy. I’ve never been a candidate who rests on his laurels.”