GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

February 23, 2013

A note of gratitude to Sen. Kerry|The Mayor's Desk: A note of gratitude to Sen. Kerry

I want to thank Sen. John Kerry for his service particularly to Gloucester and to congratulate him on his appointment as Secretary of State.

In doing so, I want to share some personal experiences that I have had the great fortune to have had with the senator.

I first met Sen. Kerry upon taking office as mayor in 2008. He came to officially welcome me into office, and offer his assistance in any way possible. During that meeting in City Hall, one month into my first term, I naively asked Sen. Kerry how I might go about testifying on the federal budget in Washington, D.C.

I thought for sure there was a way for members of the public to comment on the annual federal budget. After all, when we have a budget hearing in Gloucester, sometimes hundreds of people show up and tell you exactly what they think. As a newly elected mayor, I was eager to carry a message to Washington, D.C. about their spending priorities.

Turns out, there is no method for the public to testify about the federal budget as its winds its way through Congress. Sensing my disappointment, Senator Kerry explained that testimony can be solicited upon invitation, and that he would find a way to allow me to testify in Washington, D.C.

Sure enough, on April 16, 2008, on behalf of the city of Gloucester I testified in front of a Senate committee and that testimony is forever captured in the Congressional Record for the 110th Congress (2007-2008) in the Library of Congress.

In 2009, I headed back to Washington, D.C., to participate in the “United We Fish” rally, and had a private meeting with Sen. Kerry in his office. My impression was that he was not fully engaged in the current fishing issues, and I could see that his understanding needed to be contemporized, and had all of five minutes to explain the complex challenges facing the industry.

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