Friday, May 8, 2009
The hardest working man in (state) politics
State Senator Stan Rosenberg paid the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School a visit this morning to talk about all things education. Stan is the hardest working politician in the state and if the entire legislature were made up of folks like him we would not be in such a dire condition today.
He had a perfect quote in the Gazette today where he was describing “revenue enhancement” measures for cities and towns and how they could—if implemented--bring in $400 million, which he described as “not a ton of money.”
And at first I thought how could you say that about $400 million? But with state revenues off by $3 BILLION, it’s not too hard to understand.
I first met Stan back in 1991 when I was elected to Amherst Town Meeting with 5 write in votes (mine, my wife and three others). Back then the (usually elderly) constables would bring the locked ballot boxes to Town Hall from all the hinterlands of Amherst and sometimes the last one would not arrive until 9:30 PM or so (polls closed at 8:00) and the results had to be tabulated.
So I’m alone in the Town Clerks office around 9:00 PM waiting for the results of Precinct 7. In walks State Representative Stan Rosenberg. I introduce myself and say “what are you doing here?”. “I’m a political junkie , he replied.
A while later the Springfield Republican reporter who covered Amherst , Mike Plaisance, showed up for the results. He asked me how I felt about winning an election to Amherst Town Meeting? “Now I know how President Reagan felt after Grenada”, I replied tongue in cheek.
After all, the island of Grenada was no match for our military and I had just been elected with 5 votes (mine, my wife’s and three others)
But I was always impressed when everybody else--including the voters--had no interest in a local election (no major contests were on the ballot) our State Representative did. And I’ve watched Stan‘s career closely ever since. And he continues to earn the moniker “hardest working politician in the state.”
Naturally this morning I followed him out to his car and mentioned that Amherst’s share of the 4% local hotel/motel tax was down $40,000 because of the Lord Jeff Inn closing. So even if we raise it to 6% (which would have generated $60,000 last year) it will not help. BUT if the Umass Campus Center Hotel would START paying the tax—even at 4%--it could raise $75,000 or so.
“We’re working on,” Stan replied. And that is a good thing.