The observations of a 50 something with lots of experience in politics, government, life and learning.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Well, I've survived five percent of the campaign, and I'm still running. I suppose that's some kind of accomplishment. I've been written about in the press and probably talked about behind closed doors. I'm privy to the first, not to the second. Going to the different communities and meeting new people is still the most fun thing about the journey. Yesterday afternoon was Windsor, which sits on top of a mountain and offers some of the best food in the universe. In my work with elders, we always compete with one another to see who gets to do a presentation in Windsor, because they always have great lunches....INCLUDING WINE! Of course, at work we can't drink, and when you're a candidate you really can't drink, but it still makes for a very festive atmosphere! But the best part of the event was the fact that people were encouraged to bring their kids to this Sunday afternoon potluck buffet. They were all ages and some played outside, some sat inside, some were literally babes in arms (opportunity to kiss my SECOND baby of the campaign!) But it was a great example of how you can't teach kids about democracy unless they see adults going to meetings, voting, meeting candidates, working for something they believe in. I met a wonderful young woman who, it turns out, goes to Dartmouth, my son's alma mater, so that was very special. I sometimes wonder whether it makes any difference to someone that age, or younger, when they see a woman running for office. At the moment, that's really the only time I think about the gender thing. Mostly I'm driving in my car, planning, strategizing, brainstorming, organizing my thoughts, and it seems pretty irrelevant what my gender is. I'm running for office. I need to go and earn a living from 9 to 5. Time is precious and every contact counts. The funniest reactions I've gotten are from the volunteers in my program. They all ASSUME I'm going to win and write emails like "Gee, we'll miss you at SHINE, but you'll do a great job!" It doesn't seem to occur to them that I could have my head handed to me either in September or November! Which is why one loves to be in campaigns where the volunteers are wide-eyed, enthusiastic true believers. They will be the people to buoy you up when the going gets tough. And we KNOW the going will get tough.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I just got a nice note from Lynne (Left in Lowell) saying "there should be more bloggers in politics."

What an interesting confluence this is.....I started this blog because there was discussion in the editorial pages (it might have been in the blogosphere, but I was uninitiated at that point) about "women's voices" in the media. A college classmate and I were discussing it and I said "yeah, I should go back to writing op-eds and humor pieces....I'm not in elected office anymore and don't have to worry about people not being comfortable with a 'funny' Selectman." She said "Why don't you start a blog? Your voice will be heard outside the boundaries of Berkshire County."

That was less than a year ago. From that first post or two, I "met" this whole group of people, most of whom I've never laid eyes on, and we have debated, discussed, dissed and diced to our hearts' content. It's been glorious. They're smart, savvy and socially conscious -- my kind of people. In the isolation of a Berkshire winter, they provide warmth and sustenance until the crocuses come up.

Imagine my surprise then, on Monday night, when my husband and I are driving to a campaign event in Charlemont (and I can now tell you that it's pronounced like the ch in "church" not like the Sh sound in Charlemagne or Champagne!) and we hear my good friend Carrie Saldo on WAMC (poor kid started out covering Selectman's meetings in Williamstown for the North Adams Transcript and look where she is now! Berkshire Bureau staff on NPR!) that "while Margaret Ware couldn't be reached for comment, a message on her blog stated, "......"

And then some people actually went and looked at my blog! And friends like Michael DiChiara, filling in a colleague returning from vacation, directed her to my blog. It's awesome!

Now, there is only one drawback to this "bloggers in politics" thing. There will now be a certain professiona patina to my musings and pronouncements. The reality of a political campaign, and life in general, is that everything that is public (and even things you don't THINK are public) are grist for the mill. And voters wonder why their elected officials and candidates waffle! So the goal is to maintain the honesty of this vehicle and its ability to ask tough questions and get feedback without feeling like I have to measure my every word for fear it will be misinterpreted. There has to be a certain measure of goodwill in a campaign. Hopefully the other candidates and I will have it among ourselves. Certainly we hope that the voters cut us some slack. Print and broadcast media -- what thinkest thou?

Saturday, March 18, 2006


You may see a change of "voice" in this blog because I'm not a regular person anymore. I'm a candidate.

I'd say "let me be the first to announce my candidacy in the blogosphere" but my friend Bill Densmore scooped me on my own story. He spilled the beans on GreylockNews tonight, having attended a party my husband and his new law partner gave to celebrate their new relationship.

I was sorry to confuse the situation by announcing to the gathered guests that I was running for State Senator, but we have only a few weeks to collect signatures on nomination papers, so one can't be a shrinking violet.

What is this you say? State Senator? Yes, folks, it's true. Our incumbent State Senator, Andrea Nuciforo, announced today that he is not running for re-election. My personal prediction is that the race will attract ten candidates.

It took me thirty seconds to decide.

Unfortunately, that was at 4PM and my husband's party started at 5PM. I called him at 4:45 to let him know his life was about to change. He was very gracious about it....!
I also had to tell my boss I was running and call two friends. So I was late to the party. But candidates are always late, right?

Anyhow, I secured the endorsements of two Republicans and a handful of hometown pals which was very encouraging. Most encouraging was the reaction of my kids, who now live in DC and LA. The primary is a few days after my son's wedding, so we'll have a busy summer.

Politics has been my lifelong passion. It feeds my soul and I have thought a lot about whether I might some day run for higher office. It seemed like a moot point because the higher offices were all held by good friends of mine. ( I should point out that "higher" in this case refers to the fact that I was formerly a Selectman in Williamstown for nine years. ) I enjoyed my time in that role and saw the effects that State decisions had on a small community. I think I have something to contribute from that perspective, as well as from the perspective of a parent, a human services employee, and a concerned citizen.

This will be an interesting race. For the sake of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin district, I hope the best person wins.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Well, after the 2004 election, I vowed not to spend any $ in a red state. I took a vacation to San Diego (albeit a red part of a blue state!) and licked my wounds.

But of course my son lives in VA, so if we want to go visit, we have to cross the border. After that it's a slippery slope to fun and sun in the winter. First it was a trip to Naples (FL, not Italy...) and Palm Beach. I was visiting Democrats so I thought that that ameliorated things a bit. And besides, I was recovering from advising people on Medicare D, which the R's dreamed up. And my daughter was busy in CA, so I was forced to go to FL....I'm a Democrat and can't afford not to vacation where I don't have friends.

Now we're seeing the Carolinas. And a bit of Georgia. I have yet to see a bumper sticker or lawn sign for a D candidate. If they are Dems, they probably don't advertise it I guess. I did see a Linda Lovelace for Governor as a Republican....could it be the same? Maybe the South is more interesting than I give it credit for.

I can't believe that the entire city of New Orleans didn't decamp to Savannah. What a gorgeous city! And if you want to eat like a queen, go to Alligator Soul. For a real southern experience, there's Mrs. Wilke's, which has twenty dishes on the table family style. Vegetarians could get more than enough to eat! Now we're in Charleston and my husband FINALLY gets to see Ft. Sumter after all these years. He was studying for an antitrust exam the last time we were here and had to eschew tourism.

I'm sure you all want to know how the dogs are doing. Well, in point of fact, they're great. Savannah is a particularly dog-friendly city (drinking fountains with places for dogs and a restaurant on River St. that had out a dog water dish with a slice of lemon!) and Charleston is too. Our friends Virg and Shane live outside the city limits of Asheville in Buncombe (as in "that's pure buncombe") County and they had the run of the hills which pleased them no end. Tomorrow we are on to Richmond, then DC, then home. We have decided not to burn and pillage as we make our way north. We feel it is more appropriate to eat them out of house and home and wear T shirts that say "Free DC" or "1992 Democratic National Convention" as sort of subliminal advertising.

But in the midst of this one observation. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY WHEN YOUNG MEN BURN DOWN CHURCHES AS A "JOKE?" Remember that this happened in "family values" land -- Alabama. I know I will raise the ire of my friends when I say we need to be teaching values and character in the schools but obviously people aren't getting it at home! There was a wonderful op-ed in the USA Today of all things from an AP history teacher at TC Williams H.S. in Alexandria VA (TC is the alma mater of my daughter-in-law to-be, BTW...) about how one of the reasons h.s. students are failing is because many of them have no work ethic. And that parents are enabling this behavior by always agreeing with their kid and not backing up the teacher. It was a bold observation and I commend him for it. And, as a former substitute teacher in a high school NOT in the inner city, I can tell you it resonated with me.

We "progressives" have been remiss about not wanting to speak out about values clarity. Understanding values and ethics is one of the things that keeps a free society free and underpins democracy. It's how you learn it's NOT OK TO STEAL elections.

Or as Fastow said "I thought I was being a team player for Enron." Yeah, right.