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

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Everyone, these days, has an opinion.....I spent this last week being interviewed by endorsing groups. It is a bit of an intimidating experience, because there is one of you and nine or a dozen of them sitting around a table asking you the answers to questions where there's probably a "right" answer but you don't know what it is! Or, you know what it is, but everyone they're interviewing is giving the "right" answer so how do you distinguish yourself? I had four of these interviews face to face in Beantown and one by phone. One group has already reported in and, while they thought I was charming, (I mean, who couldn't love me?) they are backing the candidate with a pre-existing voting record. This actually doesn't surprise me. It may happen again. All I can do is show up and give it my best shot. ON THE OTHER HAND, Blog Comments just rated my blog a FIVE STAR!!!!! Top of the Heap! So take THAT all you other blogger candidates (of which there are few.....) Off to buck up my self-esteem and convince the insiders that I can, believe it or not, win. I am going to win. It's just not the conventional wisdom right now.

Friday, June 16, 2006


In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that my kickoff day could be so much fun! At the beginning of the week, to be perfectly frank, I was beginning to get a knot in my stomach. What if no one showed up? What if it rained all day? I spent Wednesday a.m. getting some advice from two of my most media-savvy friends and they not only gave me good observations about my speech but also put my head into a different psychic space. So hats off first to Judy and Cathy for a job well done! First thing Thursday a.m. I was again putting finishing touches on my remarks.....wonder what the effect is that it now doesn't match what's in the press kits but that's someone else's problem. Get to Spring Street (our first stop) at 8:20 and there doesn't seem to be a soul in sight except the inestimable Joe Engwer. He assures me that numbers of people are sitting over at Tunnel City waiting for the action....and indeed they are. I looked quite cheery in my Senator suit and Kim had brought a red lapel flower with a red white and blue ribbon attached for what Myra would call a "splash of red." We ended up having 40 people on Spring Street and what a wonderful sendoff! The most poignant moment came when my friend Jean Donati said "Nadine would have been SO proud of you!" Nadine Kalt died way to early of lymphoma and was a friend, mentor and Mount Holyoke alum. There were MHC alums around all day and so her presence was felt. I'm not sure the people in each crowd realized how MUCH it meant to me to be able to look out at their faces.....supportive and inspiring. Quick stop at the office for additional editing and on to North Adams Regional Hospital. NARH had been kind enough to let us use the new portico as a backdrop and it was a wonderful event. The most special moment was seeing a dear friend who will be undergoing chemo (at the age of 40 no less....) just emerging from the hospital where she'd had a port put in. She looked gorgeous even though she'd just been through a surgical procedure and it did my heart enormous amounts of good to see her. And one of "my elders" happened to be waiting for her ride home and she grabbed a bunch of buttons to take back to her friends. The stop at an AARP luncheon will be left for the book......lunch at Cafe Reva was delicious -- have you EVER had eggplant fries? They're to die for.....and then on to Stockbridge for a TERRIFIC press conference including Carrie Saldo of WAMC who's been my friend and reporter since her days as a cub on The Transcript. (By the time we got home someone had already heard Carrie's piece on the radio...!) The elders asked great questions and we had a good time. No one believed that my campaign chair, Peter Marchetti, HAD REALLY MADE THE ITALIAN COOKIES WE BROUGHT. They all accused him of stopping at Morningside Bakery. You can imagine how good they were if people thought they were from Morningside, the home of Champagne Cake, the official cake of Elder Services. So we are posting his recipe on the website just to prove he made them! We will also be posting some random photos from the day. And the brochures are in! So when people say "do you have any literature?" (I'm usually deaccessioning my life, so I don't WANT more literature. But some people actually won't take MY WORD for it that I'm wonderful. They want it in print.....) I can actually hand them something! It was hard to pull myself away from Heaton Court but we got up to Pittsfield and did our last press conference right on North Street complete with three of the major league hitters of the Berkshire press corps -- Joel Librizzi, Jack Dew and Larry Kratka. As I said later in my remarks at the party, I've been to dozens of these events......BUT THEYVE NEVER BEEN ABOUT ME! The party at Zucchini's couldn't have been better. The venue had been chosen weeks before Joe joined the campaign. On first hearing the plan, he said "YOU NEVER HAVE YOUR KICKOFF OUTSIDE YOUR HOME BASE!" He said if 50 people showed he'd be thrilled. Try double that number. We had Stockbridge, Mt. Washington, Adams, Pittsfield, Lenox, Lanesborough to name a few and of course a WONDERFUL Williamstown contingent. It will not surprise you that I was in bed by 9PM. Which is why I'm up at 3AM posting to this blog. It was a wonderful moment in time. Would that all my campaign experiences lived up to June 15, 2006! Happy Birthday Uncle Bob...!

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Well, you didn't think I was going to post to this blog and NOT mention the WHEN straw poll, did you? Yes, I I am going to enjoy my 15 minutes of fame. There will be setbacks in this campaign and when they happen I will have needed to enjoy the peak moments to get me through the troughs. (Have I mixed enough metaphors here? ) This time the order of candidate answers was varied so we got fewer "me too" answers. I think the most interesting question was "What have you done in your life to reach out to people who were different from you?" Really makes you stop and think, which hopefully is what these sessions do. If we all just repeat our stump speech, none of us will learn much. People are always asking "How is it going?" I tell them it's going well, and I actually believe what I'm telling them! What I recognize is that I get energy from meeting people and experiencing their participation in the process. There really isn't anything like Democracy to make your heart go pitty pat. I also had my first standout with my friend Alice at a local Post Office. It was fun meeting people and, again, some really good questions. The problem, of course, is I tell people what I think, rather than waffling. And so you can see this funny look come over their faces like "that's not what I wanted you to tell me...." and they wander off. People CLAIM they want to hear it from the horse's mouth. And they probably do. But anymore we don't have a tradition of respecting that on some issues, reasonable people will disagree. Question is: Is there a group of voters out there who are willing to cast their vote for a candidate with integrity, who's willing to listen to differences of opinion and who is willing to be honest about where she's standing at the moment? We'll see.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


I was thinking of doing two for the Convention and one for my 35th college reunion, but there is a theme that ties them both together. This was a wonderful, if exhausting, weekend, but what a kick! Started off with a telephone interview with Planned Parenthood and then on to a terrific coffee given by Stephanie Beling, MHC '57. Interesting people with good questions and a very supportive feeling in the room. After a dynamite haircut from Susan Burns in Lee, I was off to the Convention. As if I needed to be reminded of how much I love politics, people there kept saying "Margie, aren't you tired?" And at the time I really wasn't. Even though I had schlepped two tons of puzzle books to the convention floor in 110% humidity, the minute I started chatting with the delegation my feet didn't hurt anymore (ok, so I took off my shoes....) and I felt energized. The rumored rules changes didn't materialize but it was interesting to see how many people turned out for Friday night. Special thanks to Rep. Chris Speranzo for the Guinness (sp?) and to Auditor Joe DeNucci for the only food I had all evening. I guess Martha Coakley and Tim Cahill were responsible for the food too, but they had left by the time I got there....or in the case of Martha, we got to connect as she walked out the door with the world's BEST CAMPAIGN MANAGER (other than Joe Engwer...) Dennis Newman. And the amazing Joe Shannon, manager in training. Next day dawned bright and early and breakfast was even more fun because Cam Kerry was staying at our hotel and I got to meet my first lobbyist, who, as it turns out, has mental health as part of her portfolio, a subject in which I am schooled having worked at N Berkshire MH in the 80's. Back over to the Convention hall and things were already hopping. Checking in, signing one's name, making sure that the i's were dotted and the t's were crossed. We had the BEST delegation. Nice people. Many were first time attendees and their enthusiasm and energy did a lot to make the weekend a success. Also saw our former State Rep. Tom Lussier who now lives in DC during the week, fairly close to David Ware and the future Jenny Ware. Mayors Claire Higgins and Michael Bissonnette rounded out the cast of greats and near greats, not to mention Steve Grossman. The moment I knew that the ballots had been certified I booked it out of the DCU Center (sorry Tim had my support but I figured you could get that endorsement on the second ballot without me....) into literally POURING rain to South Hadley and the 35th reunion of the Class of 1971. They had put my posters up in Chapin Auditorium (the parade was cancelled for rain) and hopefully SOME of the audience lived in one of the 48 communities in the BHF district. My classmates were great wanting to hear about the convention and the campaign and I returned home with several hundred dollars in contributions from uncommon women...... Two of the people there were friends from freshman year (now called "first year") in college and said "Margie, we always knew this was what you were meant to do." It literally brought tears to my eyes. It's pretty hard to impress people who were classmates of Pulitzer Prize-winner Wendy Wasserstein....we're an amazing group of people....and so their love and support were all the more appreciated. Back home and collapsing. BUSY WEEK this week with a WHEN forum and standouts and parties.