Tonight Gov Patrick came to Arlington’s Town Hall, as the weather was too difficult for the originally-scheduled outdoor meeting using the natural outdoor amphitheater of Robbins Farm Park.
More then 100 men all wearing blue and holding identical pre-printed signs stood silently in the rain. I tried to talk to a couple of them, to find out whether they were there about details at construction sites, or the Quinn Bill but each of the fellows I tried to talk told me they weren’t there to talk to anyone so I gave up trying to talk to them. So I don’t know for sure why they were there, and really they looked damp and miserable but weren’t particularly sympathetic as they wouldn’t talk to me. While their signs accused Gov. Patrick of being “anti-labor” that didn’t help me much, in terms of what caused them to stand in the cold rain for so long.
The hall filled up quite well. Arlington’s legislators were there [Garballey, Brownsberger, Kaufman, Donnelly – other legislators not all of whose names I wrote down,as were the Secretaries of Labor, Administration and Finance, and Public Safety and a few other notables including several town officials from Arlington]
What interested me the most were the following:
1. When asked about “shared parenting”, which I view as a children’s right’s issue – Gov. Patrick said he supports equal access to both parents for children as much as possible, and shared parenting in principle.
2. When asked about reforming the Criminal Record Offender Index [CORI], Gov. Patrick made clear this was something he intended to get done.
3. When asked about education, Gov. Patrick seemed pained by the impact of the economic downturn on his Readiness Project, and clear that to be in a position to prosper Massachusetts needs an educated citizenry. The Governor accepted position papers, and seemed sympathetic, but my sense was he wasn’t sure quite how to find the resources to do what he had hoped to do. If someone received a different impression, do let me know.
4. The Governor talked about rebuilding trust with voters, and how the pension reform done [for which he gave a great deal of credit to Rep. Kaufman] was a good start and that ethics reform was critical before seeking additional revenue from voters.
I thought our Governor was quick on his feet, well spoken, and accessible.