HICKEY: Elections and leaders


This originally ran on The Foxboro Reporter's website

By Robert Hickey

Before we get into the May madness of local election season, now is high time to take a second to look at some elected folks who, at least in the early stages, appear to be in the right place at the right time.

This past week, three elected leaders who speak their mind, make things happen and do not accept excuses from the establishment have risen to the title of "leader."

Who are these bastions of hope, slayers of the establishment and purveyors of hope that there are good people at the highest levels of government? For my money they would be Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

First, Baker has stood up to the challenges, made a few mistakes and owned up to them unapologetically. How often do you find a straightforward kind of guy who does his own talking instead of hiding behind a press spokesman?

Snow? Baker didn't mince words. Transportation system broken? He didn't hold back. The head of the agency unhappily resigns? Thousands of commuters didn't have the luxury of quitting their nice salaries, so boo hoo. But they did have someone in their corner against the MBTA and Keolis brass; a leader. They, and we, have Baker.

Want more? How about a social agenda that goes against his national marching orders, as Baker supports gay marriage despite the moans and groans of the Republican party. In case you missed it, Baker led the Massachusetts delegation in signing on to a pro-gay-marriage amicus brief to the US Supreme Court (J. O'Sullivan, Boston Globe, 3/5/15).

I am a proud Reagan Republican but here is a news flash to the holier-than-thou GOP honchos: Times have changed and now is the time to be done with make-believe issues. Our collective understanding Thomas Jefferson's opening paragraph of our own Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal" means now that all men means people, period, or so we should know.

Some still try to define "collective" as all EXCEPT a this or a that. Aren't we evolved enough as a society, and don't we look with scorn at backwards nations and people who hate for the sake of hating, who destroy artifacts in the name of religion, to be better than cherry picking the definition of "All men" when we continue to tolerate the same bigotry in our own backyard?

Bless Baker for taking a stand and showing leadership. His announced support of gay marriage is the right thing to do and it is refreshing to see a political leader go forward, damn the torpedoes.

Torpedoes may lay all around as Healey does the same from the other side of the political aisle on the same topic, making the obvious decision to make the Massachusetts voice a unified one.

But even more shocking is, with her party so wicked entrenched, she is going after the establishment in pledging to ensure sunshine laws regarding public records are enforced, something former AG Martha Coakley wouldn't do in all her years in the office, what is her motivation? None, it appears except

It is the right thing to do. A strong leader makes strong decisions and, when push comes to shove, isn't afraid to fight forward against the odds by simply knowing they are on the right side of the issue.

Good for Healey for not only doing the right thing, but doing it publicly by putting all in State government on notice that they will be held accountable for failure to provide information as directed by the law is simply good government. What a win for citizens! Healey shows what? Leadership.

Speaking of providing information, who on earth would have thought the Mayor of Boston would have the power to cause a former governor to give up what many view as a post-office political perk?

While it was well documented how Baker is not using former Governor Duvall Patrick's luxury suite, aka his Statehouse office, on a daily basis, Walsh went a step further by calling out Patrick, who has now given up his $7,500 daily stipend ( as reported in the 3/20/15 Boston Globe) for promoting the Boston 2024 Olympic bid.

This is news, particularly in the day when former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton receives hundreds of thousands of dollars a POP to "speak" raises barely an eyebrow in the American mainstream. Clinton? Please. Patrick? Busted. Walsh? Leader.

So let's bring it home to the local level. Thanks and congratulations to all who are running for elected office or seeking appointment, new or continued to our myriad of town boards and committees. While I'm just a grumpy columnist and no spokesman for anyone, I know our Town cannot run without your hard work, time, effort and good intentions. Thank you.

That said, let's remember that true leadership is not simply getting elected or appointed, but is earned by standing up against those who do wrong with courage and conviction, not simply toeing the party line and letting the establishment roll along.

A greater lesson here to be learned from Baker, Healy and Walsh is that change can occur if we can put partisan politics aside and listen, follow the law and lead.

In Foxboro, who will step up to be our real leaders? Let the elections begin!

Return to News