^ Mario Umana, iconic voice for an iconic Senate District, way back when.
—- —- —- —-
Does anyone want the State Senate seat — First Suffolk and Middlesex — that will become vacant sometime next month ? The seat that once claimed as its voice Mario Umana, Bob Travaglini, Mike LoPresti Sr and Jr ?
So far the list of possibles is growing large enough to fill Spinelli’s, yet of actual applicants, none.
Not sure I’ve ever seen a situation like this, much less in an emblematic Senate District such as ours. One can easily see a classified ad blazing in the newspaper :
“on offer : one State Senate seat with a prestigious history, original and unrenovated, all applicants considered. Ready for occupancy in the Spring. Apply at Boston City Hall during normal working hours.”
The list of coy aspirants grows : Joe Boncore, Jessica Giannino, Dan Rizzo, Lydia Edwards, Max Tassinari, Jay Livingstone, Aaron Michlewitz, Ed Deveau, Ernani DeAraujo, Philip Frattaroli. Adrian Madaro ? He isn’t saying. I’m not sure the list hasn’t a long way to grow. Why not Paul Rogers ? Jason Aluia ? Pat Moscaritolo ? Veronica Robles ? Daniel Cordon ? Carlos Rosales ? Francisco Urena ? Frank Conte ? Mary Ellen Welch or Evelyn Morash ? Phil Giffee ? Alice Christopher ? Margaret Farmer ? Celeste Myers ? All well qualified, all admirable activists.
And Cambridge, several precincts of which stand within the district : surely there must be six or seven activists in Cambridgeport ready to rock and roll ?
Only three names seem not to be on offer : Winthrop School Committeeman Tino Capobianco, who tells me he has decided not to run, Joe Ruggiero, who has said the same, and District Councillor Sal LaMattina, who would take a pay cut if he were to move from Council to the Senate and who proclaims himself a city-issues guy. But hey — their deferral is YOUR OPPORTUNITY, dear reader.
You know what ? Maybe I should run. I know the District as well as anyone, and for a much longer time than most (back to 1969), I’m Team Baker, I need a paycheck, my roots in Eastie go back 120 years. (I don’t live in the District yet, but the rules say only that a State Senator must live in the District on election day.)
I’m kidding, of course; I enjoy far too much being an operative to ever do anything as crazy as being a candidate. In fact, I’m all in for Adrian Madaro — if he runs. If not ? I’ll probably have 65 hopefuls calling me up to seek my support. This could get very interesting.
The word I get all day long is “everybody is waiting on Aaron.” That’s Aaron Michlewitz, who represents the North End, Chinatown, Leather District, and much of the South End, the seat held previously by Sal DiMasi. Michlewitz is universally respected as a nice guy (by me too). Supposedly Michlewitz is “struggling with the decision” to run, knowing that victory would mean giving up a powerful House committee chairmanship (Financial Services) leading perhaps — according to one observer — to being House Speaker; giving all that up to become … a freshman Senator ?
Really ? If Michlewitz is on a path to becoming House Speaker, his decision is no “struggle” at all : he doesn’t run.
So why is he taking long to figure out his future ? I dunno.
And why are the obvious other candidates waiting ? The answer is money. By the most recent OCPF report, Michlewitz has $ 177,254.70 on hand, while Adrain Madaro reports $ 16,745.15 and Jay Livingstone claims $ 35,072.05. Michlewitz’s dollar advantage is larger still : his District includes some of Boston’s highest-income census tracks, while Madaro’s East Boston remains essentially a working class community; the political money in it c0mes chiefly from Massport circles. There’s also Michlewitz’s committee chairmanship and four-term experience versus Madaro the special election freshman.
Money talks and effluent walks. It is unfair, perhaps, to Michlewitz to decry the possibility that a District designed to elect an East Boston person, and which has done so for eons of time, might be purchased from Downtown; but that’s right now the prospect that has so many aspirants hesitating to plunge and others reluctant even to aspire. I hope that that will change.
Meanwhile, an historic, iconic State Senate seat goes on offer, unclaimed.
—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere