You heard it here first: Daniel A. Wolf (D – Harwich), state senator of the Cape & Islands district, will run for re-election in 2012.
Sen. Wolf made that official this week during a phone interview with the Enterprise (by which I mean me). He’s had a good first year in office, and if he can keep it up through 2012 he will be a tough man to beat.
Who is Ronald Beaty Jr. and why is he so interested in county government all of a sudden?
We might find out more as the local election cycle powers up, but for now Beaty is a good reason to scratch your head and say “Huh?”
The West Barnstable man has become a man of letters, so to speak, over the past month, speaking out about Barnstable County government issues. Earlier this month he wrote to the Enterprise exhorting a special commission charged with studying and, if appropriate, submitting recommendations for changes to the county governmental structure to leave things as they were.
Okay, so far, so benign. Then Beaty wrote a second letter berating the same county officials he had previously praised for failing to fill the very minor position of county clerk. The post has been vacant since Scott Nickerson, who is also the county clerk of courts, resigned to focus on his court duties (and, perhaps, in response to a noteworthy bungle in his office regarding five candidates for the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates, whose nomination paperwork was not processed properly).
The county clerk has few responsibilities, but Beaty called the vacancy a “major problem” and the need to fill it an “urgent matter.” Okay, maybe overstating things here, but nothing controversial.
Then I got a copy of an e-mail that I present in its entirety:
It seems a bit “ironic” that County Commissioner Bill Doherty should advise and encourage a man with “my background” to run for election next year for one of the Barnstable County Commissioner seats. After all, a little over 20 years ago (1991) I was arrested, convicted and sentenced by federal authorities for threatening various elected public officials, including the President of the United States. I will have to reflect long and hard about Bill Doherty’s proposal. I shall seek advice, feedback and counsel from family, friends, and the public at large before any firm decision can be made. Perhaps after twenty years, it is also about time that I finally ask for formal “forgiveness” from the federal government as well. With that in mind, I will be seeking a Presidential pardon from President Barack Obama relative to the previously mentioned legal issues…
First of all, what’s up with all the unnecessary quotation marks?
Second, here’s the deal: Beaty filed a letter of interest for a vacancy on the Barnstable County Human Rights Commission. Bill Doherty, sitting chairman of the county commissioners, saw it and (according to copies of e-mails Beaty received from Doherty and sent to me for some reason) remarked:
Now that I read your resume I must tell you that I have a greater reason to support the possibility of your candidacy for public office…The fact that you have a background in civil rights issues and want to continue that by joining the HRC says to me you already have two of the qualifications for public office (in my opinion) Intelligence and a good heart. The third is an ability to work hard. Think about it if not the county the town there is so much need for new and younger people at all levels.
There’s no indication that Doherty was aware of Beaty’s criminal background, which is this: according to several stories I found online (including two Beaty himself provided links to), in 1991 Beaty was convicted of sending threatening letters to President George H. W. Bush, Ted Kennedy, and then-State Senator Lois Pines (he also made threats against his then-wife, but he doesn’t mention those in his e-mail) and spent time in prison for it. As you can see, Beaty is not hiding this fact.
In Beaty we have, in a microcosm, a lot of the challenges that have become so commonplace in politics. Here is a man who was convicted of some pretty serious crimes, but did his time and has by all accounts stayed out of trouble for a considerable period of time. What has greater weight: the severity of his acts, or the life he has led since? Is 20 years enough time to erase what is either a terrible lapse in judgment or a sign of an unstable and violence-prone personality?
As is too often the case, partisan politics could play a role. To use the late Ted Kennedy as a somewhat ironic example, his foes never forgave him for Chappaquiddick, while his supporters were quick to dismiss that dark chapter in Kennedy’s life as ancient history. Right now, Newt Gingrich’s boosters are turning a blind eye to his infidelity, but a lot of those same people would wag a damning finger at Bill Clinton for his sexual shenanigans.
One thing’s for sure: if this guy runs, I’m going to have some interesting things to write about next year.
Tom Conroy, we hardly knew ye.
The Democratic candidate for US Senate has withdrawn from the race, citing (and boy, have we seen a lot of this lately) his inability to compete against front-runner and candidate apparent Elizabeth Warren, who has a ton of money and the party’s blessing.
Those same factors have previously shoved Setti Warren and Alan Khazei out of the race prematurely — by which I mean LONG before any of us pesky voters get our say on the matter.
Speaking of early dropouts, Thomas Hodgson, Bristol County sheriff, announced this week he is not going to run for Congress after all. Sheriff Hodgson had been toying with the idea of running in the Fourth or Ninth District, also known as, respectively, Barney Frank’s (D) soon-to-be-former district and William R. Keating’s (D) soon-to-be-new district, but decided to stay put.