Person of the Year: Grace Ross
by Thomas E. Kilduff
December 28, 2006
On Friday, December 1, Green/Rainbow party candidate whisked into a Beacon Hill cafí, clad in a blue ensemble and wrapped in one of her signature scarves. Her life since her uphill gubernatorial run, in which she garnered two percent of the Bay State vote, is “definitely slower,” but to any apolitical earthling, still dizzyingly chaotic.
“After this I am attending a Massachusetts Climate Action Network meeting, a Rosa Parks Rally in Worcester, a World AIDS talk at Emerson, a CityLife Annual Meeting and a Harvard Gay and Lesbian alumni holiday party,” she said.
Ross is flush with her local celebrity status and during the course of our conversation, a woman gave her the thumbs-up through the cafí window.
“The universal respect thing out there is a kind of power of its own,” Ross said, adding, “Patrick got the office and I got mine, which was an understanding of how I can best create change.”
This out and open lesbian is one of the best-known queer people in the state.ï»¿ In Newsweekly chose Grace Ross for woman of the year. She brought thoughtful, reflective answers to questions on a campaign trail that was for her thoughtful answers and well-researched answers on the campaign trail. Also in times of turbulence throughout the campaign, Ross really was grace under fire.
To start, her lieutenant governor candidate, Wendy Van Horne, dropped out of the race in late August, and was replaced by Martina Robinson. The ticket seemed to be on fickle ground. Ross was also at a formidable disadvantage with her finances. She had told In Newsweekly in July of 2006 that “I haven’t raised a lot of money, it’s somewhere in the thousands.”
But the event that garnered the most media attention was her graceful response to the late-campaign playground insults by WRKO shock jock, John DiPietro, who poked fun at her weight and her sexuality. DiPietro was quickly fired for his comments.
“DiPietro called me personally the night of the insult and apologized,” Ross said, “I found the insult generally offensive, like a kid on the playing field. But the real apology should be for all gay and lesbian folks and anyone who has decent values.” She called his firing a turning point for Massachusetts.
And then there are the kudos due for her behavior in one of the dirtiest campaigns in state history.
“We’re always told that the end of a campaign involves mudslinging, but I stepped in and turned things around by pulling Healey and Patrick out of the mud and there’s quite a general consensus that agrees with this.”
For her future, Ross is coy, but alludes to a possible Worcester (her hometown) city council run. ?
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