I was driving to my home from the Commonwealth’s First Cambodian New Year celebration with one thought, that being that I had heard of Bud Caulfield’s claim that friends were asking him to run for State Representative. I have been asked the same thing by many well-intentioned persons. It occurred to me, however, that me (myself), my wife, and my children seemed to be the only persons living in the district that were not running for Rady Mom’s seat. Let us be serious, the numbers of people running would eclipse those initial Republican debates. City Manager Murphy was not far off in his St. Patrick’s Day joke that one table was taken by State Representative hopefuls.
Now, I do not want to disparage Bud Caulfield. He was my son’s championship Little League team Coach thirty some years ago. He also was one of two City Councilors who supported my sister-in-law Niki Tsongas’ candidacy for Congress in 2007. Rita Mercier was the other one, and I have a soft spot for both of those people, because there was no way of knowing that they would come in first and second in their next Council election. Finally, he was my pick for the person I would support to be City Councilor in 2009, Bud met me in a parking lot last week and let loose with some vituperative generalizations about Rady Mom’s not coming to the City Council meeting that centered on the son of the Cambodian Prime Minister’s desire to come to Lowell.
The day before – Monday – I had cornered Rady Mom in a diner and told him that, if he supported the father of that man, who was allegedly responsible for the deaths of millions, that I could not support him. I explained that no voter could be corralled into supporting him if he backed that man. I talked about the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, the Greek/Turkish genocide, and the execution of the American Native American. I told Rady that we did not have a great deal of patience for genocide, and that, in the Native American case, we had perpetrated our own bloodbath using shoddy documents to cover our tracks.
Rady quickly made it clear that he did not believe in that murderous technique in his native Cambodia, and certainly was not on the side of those who wanted this man to come to Lowell. I believed him. I had asked one of his opponents for some information on what I needed to know. It was clear that there was no love lost between the followers of the Pol Pot regime and the democratic group. Rady Mom convinced me of that during our conversation.
Rady’s opponent told me about that evening’s rally at the City Council. When, as Bud Caulfield had told me, Rady did not go, choosing WCAP instead of grandstanding at the meeting, I recognized that Rady would not generally choose the easiest way out. That way, in my opinion, was to go to the City Council meeting. It would have been wise of him to go, but his personal values were that, I believe, there was greater honor in handling it on the radio, which he did the next morning.
Did I agree with his assessment?
No,I told him that I wished he had gone to the podium the night before. But I recognized that it was his decision. When Bud got strident about his claim that Rady made a mistake, I just listened and absorbed.
A fellow State Representative told me in a show that Rady was trying very hard in his first year to be a good representative. I believe that this is true. I also believe that he has accomplished a great deal in his first year as a State Reprsentative, largely through his willingness to integrate himself into Lowell’s famous “Delivery System.” There is 250 Million in funds for the Courthouse, as well as 1.7 million in funds to fix up Cupples Square, were two projects he worked on. He works well with many members of the House of Representatives. I saw that today when I watched his New Year’s celebration. He is full of energy, loves his job, and has no reason, despite what Bud or others might think, to lose it. That fellow State Representative is right, he has put in many hours to taking care of his clients. He likes to say, which is true, he represents 6.5 million people. That is the population of Massachusetts. Wouldn’t it be nice if all Massachusetts representatives saw themselves as responsible for every child, every adult, and every elderly person in the state every day that he is in the office?
I would do things slightly differently if I was in his shoes. But they are good shoes, well used and meticulously cared for, just like his district is. Go down to the State House tomorrow and get yourleftover sandwich from today, a free tour of the State House, and time with your State Representative. I guarantee that seeing him in action will impress you as much as it does me.