My Friend

I did not know who Rady Mom was in the Democratic Primary two years ago, and I did not vote for him in the Primary Election. I noticed that he won with a relatively thin edge. I think he got in the five hundreds of votes, just enough to give him the plurality that he needed in the crowded field. I did not believe it was a strong finish and I did not pursue him to help him in his candidacy. I was not going to help anyone in the race, although some of them were friends.

One of them, a member of my church, showed me his shoes. He went through, I believe, four pairs of shoes going to every house he could. He really gave it his best effort and I voted for him.

After the election, I was called by Rady’s Campaign Manager who was a good and very old friend. He wanted me to meet this new phenomonum. I was reluctant. I had no plan to be involved in the General Election. My sister-in-law, Niki Tsongas, needed help and that was where my loyalties lay. But, I did go to talk to the Campaign Manager, and I learned about an impeccably honest candidate who was invigorated by contact with individual voters. He was being challenged by a member of an Independent Party. His foe was an independent.

I am a Democrat, and I stick to Democratic candidates. There is one issue I disagree with liberal Democrats on, but basically I agree with the party platform. So I agreed to meet Mr. Mom, a man whose name elicits all sorts of images and some jokes. He poked fun at himself more than anyone. So I met him at a friend’s house. I listened to him, was impressed with his knowledge of the situation in the state, especially in Boston. After meeting him, I must say that there was an immediate friendship. I really liked his knowledge, his demeanor, and the fact that he did not take himself seriously.

We did not have a great deal of time to solidify any new friendship. We had between the beginning of September, and all of October. November would be the hurdle.

He ran a very aggressive personal campaign. He went to every house, no matter if the people in it had not voted for him in the Primary Election. Everyone he met was greeted with a strong handshake, and a “What can I do to help you out?” I had a cane and had difficulty going on the walks. But I did it once in awhile. The more he campaigned the more invigorated he became. I had read that John F. Kennedy got strengthened by contact with the crowds; the person who noticed it was none other than Eleanor Roosevelt. It appeared to me that Rady was the same way, he got more determined with every hand he shook.

I helped out as much as I could. I was basically an observer, and I liked what I saw. I still do.

Rady got elected, and I was standing next to him when State Representative Tom Golden pinned his lapel pin on him. I have many lapel pins, but this one was special and could only be worn by persons who won election to the State House.

In his first two years, he took every call I made to him. He has a very easy telephone number, handmade for a State Representative. Sometimes he would be whispering, “Jim, I’m on the floor of the House, I will call you back.” He always called back. I trusted him to put my concerns on his list of things to do. But, there was one thing I never heard from him, and still have not heard. That is frustration with people who have been against him. He never complains.

His record is why I am voting for him this year. He never says “I” because he seems to agree with the coaches who tell their players that there is no “I” in “Team.”

Rady is a team player. He never says he did something, he says his compatriots, Tom Golden and David Nangle, deserve the credit for this improvement or this bill before the House.

This is a list of what he has helped accomplish.

* He worked with the Lowell Delegation to get 4.7 Million dollars for the initial phase of the Hamilton Canal Project.

* He worked with the Delegation to get the funds for the new Court House. That is approximately 200 Million dollars.

* He got the money to revamp Cupples Square. While his team of the three State Representatives helped him, this was largely because of his close relationship with the Republican Governor. He got 1.7 million and the Square will never be the same.

* He cosigned an amendment to the budget protecting the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Youth Build. These are two programs that directly support arts funding in Lowell, as well as youth diversion and skill development projects.

* He authored a bill making the law that says that when you shoot into a building you are guilty of a misdemeanor, not a felony. He wants it to be a felony. If someone shot into my home, I would like to have that a felony.

* He worked for Police Training, Early Childhood Education, and other youth programs.

* He fought to protect what are called Shannon Grant funds which is a program that directly funds gang crime reduction and prevention programs for Opiate usage.

* He went to the Japanese and Taiwanese Consulates to make them more conscious of Lowell. He is hoping for closer ties to those two governments which will hopefully lead to closer business opportunities for Lowell businesses with these countries.

* He increased his influence to get the Hamilton Canal project started. That one is still being worked on.

No other State Representative in his first term has done more than Rady Mom, I believe. If you live in his district, call him with complaints or kudos. He will call you back. His Legislative Aide is Joe Larocque at 617-722-2460. Ask for Joe or Rady. Either will call you back. If you are having difficulty with your taxes, call Joe, he can point you in the right direction. Sometimes, that person is Rady. He will call you back. And, that is what I am most impressed with. He has never not called me back on any issue.

I have one bill I want him to pass. That is to put the word “Historic” over every sign that says “Concord River” because people do not always relate the Concord River that flows through Lowell with the historic river that has the Concord Bridge over it. Not a big order, but Rady tells me he is working on it. I look forward to his being successful.

In the last election, Rady Mom had 63% of the vote in the General Election. That means that a large number of nonCambodians voted for him. I anticipate that he will do well this time too. It is unfortunate that there is a split in the Cambodian vote. As angry as I get about it, I have never heard Rady say one bad word about it. I never will. That is why I am voting for Rady Mom. I have an opinion show, and that is my opinion.

I have an obligation to get the people running against Rady on my show, and I will so that you can make up your own minds. But, mine is already made up. Rady measured up to my strident and stringent expectations for him. Listen to him speak and you, I am sure, will come to the same opinion that I did. Here is a representative who takes his job seriously. I am pleased that he is my friend and my State Representative.