Sometimes I run into sadness. From the Campaign trail, 8/15/18

Today John and I drove for several hours through Ward 4. We met some great folks who put up signs for me last winter when I was a state representative candidate. Everyone was delighted to see us again and quickly offered to put up my city council sign. John and I particularly enjoyed talking with the retired owners of Houle’s Taxi, a beloved part of Attleboro’s transportation history.

Campaigning brings me into touch, however briefly, with people’s lives. Sometimes I run into sadness. My final visit was with a senior couple who spoke with me at length inside their house last winter. They were wonderful and friendly. They worried about the escalating taxes on a fixed income and the looming difficulties of maintaining a nice home.

When I went to their door, I met the lady of the house. She was grieving and told me her husband had died two weeks ago. My heart dropped. I groped for the right words, expressed my sympathies and asked if there was anything I could do for her. She said, “Can you bring my husband back to me?”

Campaigning can be tedious, joyful, and sad all within a few short minutes. Thank you, Attleboro for letting me be a part of your life. Let’s help support each other in all of life’s moments.

Advertisements

Where the color blue prevailed. From the campaign trail, Monday 8/13/18

Wow!!! Volunteers John & David and I have put up 107 signs since Saturday, with more to go. We covered Ward 1 in South Attleboro, Ward 2 and 6 on both sides of Capron Park, down West Street, South Ave., County St., South Main St, Thurber, and sections of Oak Hill Ave. We have lots of work to do in other sections of our city but time still permits.

Our sign holders were delighted to receive a magnetic bumper sticker and a button. We found ourselves frequently sharing a yard with Jim Hawkins signs, where the color blue prevailed. We passed Tara Major (Jim Hawkins administrative asst.) putting up a big Hawkins sign on Rome Blvd. Dan and Monica on Rome Blvd. waved at us and asked for a matching sign on the other side of their lawn.

We were having so much fun, no one cared that it was raining most of the day.

Happiness prevailed throughout our visits. Children smiled, dogs even stopped barking once they realized we were welcomed at their homes. This is not my triumph. But rather, I am noticing that people are celebrating a new spirit in the city.

My supporters want better education, smaller classes, outreach to seniors, protection of our environment from possible pipelines and asphalt plants, more transparency within the city council, and cooperation between the city council and our mayor, Paul Heroux.

My supporters want to see Highland Country Club turned into a beautiful park for the entire city and open spaces protected for our enjoyment.

My supporters want Attleboro to grow into a city that cherishes and protects our human rights and where families can feel safe and secure. They want a city that takes care of struggling citizens, offering food and housing to those in need. Our citizens enjoy music in Capron Park, a wonderful zoo, and walking on trails in protected forests.

We love Attleboro and want to celebrate living here. More signs to put up tomorrow.

This is a campaign for the people of Attleboro.

Today we put up signs for the first time this campaign season.

We went to 39 homes in Ward 1A in South Attleboro and Ward 6A near Capron Park and Thacher Street.  John and David prepared all the signs, handed out magnetic bumper stickers and buttons, and accompanied me around the city.

I was struck by the happiness I saw on face after face. Most of the homeowners were delighted to see me. It was awesome, as though I was Santa Claus bringing them a sleigh full of presents. Many of the folks were glad to accept our buttons and magnetic bumper stickers, and show me where they wanted us to put up their signs. One lady on South Main Street even helped us put up my sign on her front yard fence. She was having fun.

This is a campaign for the people of Attleboro. Seniors need to be helped, valued and served. Children need the best possible education. Our library needs the resources to help all those who enter its premises.

This is a people’s campaign. This campaign is for good government that is transparent, just, and responsive. This is a campaign for a city council that echoes and expresses the voice and will of our people, young and old, wealthy and poor alike.

The byproducts of knocking on doors…

Today I met Susan on Ruggles Street. She knew my daughter 20 years ago when we lived in Foxboro. Her son, Aaron, was a friend of Kate. We exchanged an update of our adult children and had a great time.

This is one of the byproducts of knocking on doors. I run into people I haven’t seen for a long time and enjoy memories.

Along the same vein, on Wednesday I knocked on Claudia’s door on Melody Lane. We used to perform together with Norton Singers back in the 90’s. Claudia was the accompanist before my wife, Jan, took over the position. Claudia was interested in how Jan was doing. I reported she still accompanies Norton Singers spring shows (Scarlet Pimpernel in 2018) and performs in the orchestra while I am on stage every June. It was great catching up with each other.

We all weave through our lives and intersect with terrific people as we go. Going on the trail this summer is fun. I never know who is going to open a door. We talk a little local politics and then catch up on our families.

Then he said, “I don’t like politicians.”

I met a man who drove home while I was at his front door today. He looked concerned so I went over to his parked car. He didn’t look comfortable while I told him I am running for city council. Then he said, “I don’t like politicians.”

I understood him. Politicians can be threatening to some people, they can appear fake, powerful, slick, manipulative, corrupt, liars, or worse. I found myself saying, “I am not a career politician. I have no ambitions beyond this position. I don’t like many politicians either.” Then he smiled a bit.

I really don’t see myself as a politician. I see myself as a social worker, working for the good of people. I envision weighing each city council vote to see how I can have the most positive effect on our city. I won’t get into a political war with other councilors. To me, getting in a battle is pointless and negative. I will seek ways to do something positive. Each vote will be answering an inner question.

How can I be helpful?

I am not a power-monger. As a councillor, I will be open and accountable to the public and give my reasons for votes. I don’t want anyone guessing why I voted yes or no.

I also believe in term limits so I can’t stay in office too long… maybe six years, eight max. I don’t want to get powerful. The idea of seeking power is repugnant to me. But I do plan to help Attleboro and our citizens. That is why I’m running.

On the trail: Sunday, August 5th

I met a lot of happy people today on Fairway Drive and Bernt St. Most of them are delighted to live in Attleboro. I found 100% agreement with building the new high school and purchasing the Highland Country Club. No one shut the door in my face, which makes it a good day. One lady challenged me to find state funds to pay for an outreach worker with the Council on Aging/Senior Center to visit our older senior population. Maybe we CAN find state funding. But everyone agrees visiting elderly seniors who live alone is a very important priority.

It’s tough seeing your friends and family begin to leave our world. Seniors absolutely love having visitors so they can talk about the old days in Attleboro. We’ve met several World War II vets pushing or past 95 years old. What a pleasure it was to meet those gentlemen. We really ought to provide some visits to these folks.

I had a heavy discussion with a couple on Berndt Drive. I discovered that two people with difficult health issues in their golden years of semi-retirement have to pay enormous health insurance costs. The 73 year-old husband has medicare but still pays a fortune per month in medications to deal with cancer, and his wife has at least $1000 per month costs with the Mass Health Connector, plus additional costs around co-pays, medications, etc. Both of them worked in good jobs all their lives, own a nice home in Attleboro, yet struggle just to make ends meet. This occurs at the very time they were deciding to retire. All I could do was listen, sympathize, and wish them my best. I really feel for them.

Going on the trail is a privilege and a pleasure. I meet so many really fine people.

Regards,
ty

REAL LIFE IN GOVERNMENT

Saturday, August 4th – Today, after the rain, I met someone who once played an important role in our city. This is an abridged version of the story:
Not so long ago, the school committee didn’t have enough money in the budget to meet the request of the teacher’s union. The school committee figured out a fiscal compromise. If the teachers could accept level funding for an additional six weeks beyond the end of their contract, they could then save the jobs of 8 teachers. After mid-August the teachers would then get their raise.
    But
The union turned down the school committee’s offer. The budget was too tight and eight teachers were laid off. The teachers did not even get to vote on the compromise offer.
     Both of my wives were teachers. On one occasion we had to make a similar decision. Accept level funding or see other teachers get laid off. We decided it was best to live at the same income for a while so other teachers and their families could have a job. The teachers union took a poll of all the teachers and they accepted the compromise. No one was laid off.
     If I were on the city council I would not want to see qualified teachers/city employees laid off. But in a tight financial year it might mean employees are offered less to save jobs.
 I hope it never comes to this. But compromises are sometimes necessary to keep our city solvent and people working.
I hope to have a happy story tomorrow.
Ty, on the trail.