Friday, November 28, 2008

Dracut's Shady Past

In light of the arrest of Dianne Wilkerson and Chuck Turner, both of Boston, Warren Shaw reflects on three Dracut selectmen who did time in the 1970's for taking bribes. As this was before my time, this is the first I heard of these arrests but it is funny that Dracut earned the nickname "Somerville with trees" as a result.

Thankfully Dracut has turned itself around to the point that it is a model of municipal governance. Dracut is one of the few towns in the state to not experience budget pains so far because of shrewd spending and little fat.

That does not mean things could never change. In fact, Shaw highlights that in his lead and what he says sums up the very reason I started this blog:

The arrests of politicians in Boston these past weeks should be a reminder to people everywhere that they must pay attention to their government.

Current downward trends in voter participation make it all too easy for corrupt individuals to build powerful organizations that only need to control a small segment of the population to stay in office.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Remembering Sam

Fantastic column in yesterday's Boston Globe by Dan Shaughnessy on Dracut High's QB Matt Grimard. The article discusses Grimard's great season but more importantly, the death of his sister Samantha. Sam and a friend died in a car crash last year in Tyngsboro and despite this adversity, Matt continues to shine. He visits her grave before every game and wears a bracelet that says "RIP Sam."

You can see the whole column here, it is amazing.

Go Middies!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November 25 Board of Selectmen Meeting

I was not able to attend tonight's Board of Selectmen meeting in person but I did watch it on TV. The meeting only lasted about an hour but there is a lot to report back on.

The Town Manager reported two interesting items. One, the building owned by Exxon on Route 113 West has been torn down and they hope to sell the land within 12-18 months. This will be a good economic development opportunity for the town as the property has essentially been abandoned for years. In addition, CVS is building a new store at the corner of Arlington and Broadway. The Town Manager said he hopes the new site will be up within a year.

Selectman James O'Loughlin brought up the work on Canney Farm, the potential playground on Lakeview Avenue. There was some contaminated soil there but it will be taken care of without any issues. The work on the removal will be paid for by the property owner, Lowell City Councilor Alan Kazanjian. In addition, the Purchase and Sale Agreement, which has not been signed, has been extended to February. In response, Kazanjian's attorney sent a letter to the committee saying that this will be the final extension the town will receive on this project. O'Loughlin said he was very put off by the negative tone of the letter and it made him think that Kazanjian (or his attorney) felt the town was "dragging its feet." He said the town and committee have just been trying to be diligent with this project. Selectman Joseph DiRocco said that these matters take time and town projects can take years.

Selectman John Zimini asked the Town Manager to follow-up with U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas about potentially receiving federal funding for the necessary Town Hall renovations. Since Barack Obama is hoping to stimulate the economy with a sort of New Deal II, Zimini feels the time may be right to secure the illusive funding.

The only major issue was that the Town Manager found that towns can file a Home Rule petition to have retired police officers from town work on police details. The selectmen asked him to begin work on a draft. You may recall that Selectman Robert Cox had a run-in with a Tyngsboro cop working a detail in East Dracut earlier this month and he wondered why we can't have retired Dracut cops do the work.

All in all, a pretty basic meeting. I hope to attend the next one in person. I guess there were not anyone in the crowd except for one person so I would have been front and center. Always next time!

Dracut on 5

The East Dracut crime spree made it on Channel 5 last night. There was just a brief blurb about the wave of break-ins and the meeting to discuss it. I can't find anything on their website about it but there was nothing that we didn't already know.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Eagle Tribune on Wager

The Lawrence Eagle Tribune has a full story on the wager between the Dracut and Methuen Superintendents of Schools on this Thursday's game. One thing I didn't know is that the superintendent of the losing school not only has to wear the sweatshirt of the opposing team but has to walk through both cafeterias wearing it!

Dracut High AD Tim Woods said: "As a team that has experienced a lot of pressure over the season, pressure of going into Brockton stadium and taking them on, pressure of going into Everett stadium and taking them on, pressure of taking on St. John's Prep and undefeated Billerica (until Dracut beat them), I'd have to say the pressure of the superintendents' wager outweighs all of those."

See the article here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Meeting reports

As part of this blog, I hope to attend one public meeting a week and report back on it. I will always attend the Board of Selectmen meeting and provide a run down but I also hope to attend the smaller, relatively unknown committees and give the public a good cross section of the goings on in town.

I am excited to be attending the Board of Selectmen this week. I have seen their meetings on TV of course but it will be nice to actually be there and watch it from beginning to end. I am used to municipal board meetings as I used to always attend the Board of Aldermen meetings in Melrose. I went to so many meetings that I used that as a reason as to why I should be hired to be their clerk when the job came open (I didn't get it).

Stay tuned.

2007 Annual Town Report

The Town Meeting was almost four weeks ago but I just got around to reading the annual report for 2007. It was in the proverbial pile of stuff I needed to sift through.

Anyway, it is pretty fascinating stuff if you are a government and public administration junkie like me. It is 200 pages long and is broken down into seven sections:

1. Letter from the Town Manager
2. Budget
3. List of Town Appointed and Elected Officers and Boards
4. Report of the Town Accountant
5. Report of the Treasurer
6. Town Clerk's Report of Town Meeting
7. Annual Reports of Boards, Departments and Commissions of the Town

There is nothing earth shattering in the report (as far as I can tell). Being relatively new to the town, it is a good lesson on the town's operations and the Who's Who of Dracut government. I would never have known that we had a Inspector of Slaughter and an official Dean Animal Remover!

Meetings this week

Monday, November 24
School Committee: 7:00pm, Dracut High School

Tuesday, November 25
Board of Selectman: 7:00pm, Parker Library
Dracut Housing Authority: 7:00pm, Dracut Housing Authority
Dracut Cultural Council: 6:30pm, Dracut Historical Society

Friendly wager

The superintendents of schools in Dracut and Methuen have made a friendly wager on Thursday's game: the superintendent of the losing district will wear the sweatshirt of the victor. Today's Column had the small story. It's not on-line yet but I will link to it when I see it there.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Comcast rates going up

Those of us who have Comcast for our cable found out this month that our rates are going up...again. My wife and I have analog cable (non-digital) and we pay $56.82 a month. This despite the fact that we have lost almost ten channels in the past couple of years. Now, this month they are taking away two more channels and INCREASING the price to $58.15.

I wonder if the town is ever going to open up cable competition in Dracut and allow Verizon Fios.

Shaw vs. Daigle

In his weekly Valley Dispatch column, Warren Shaw takes on Roger Daigle for getting the Lowell Sun all worked up about the health insurance he and Kathleen DiTillio receive from the town. He also faulted the Sun for placing a non-story (in his mind) on page one, calling the insurance a "perk", and for its misleading lead and headline (Interestingly enough, The Lowell Sun publishes the Valley Dispatch).

He wonders if Daigle (who he called a cowardly lion on his radio show last week) would take the insurance if he had qualified. But, Shaw says, he was voted out of office and never served long enough to qualify.

Shaw concludes:

There really is an honest discussion to be had here; too bad it got sidetracked by someone's political agenda, and the ignorance of name-calling.

The state law does provide for this benefit, and it is controversial with some. Stipends are traditionally low for these jobs and in Dracut those taking these positions get very little. None of them wants to serve for either the stipend or the insurance. They want to make their community better.

The real debate should be about what the value of these positions is and how they should be compensated. The notion that somehow by limiting our investment in the top level of government we will be better off makes little sense, and in the long run will lead to even fewer people being able to justify getting involved.

East Dracut Crime Spree

It seems that there has been a rash of break-ins in East Dracut over the past few months. People are leaving their car doors unlocked with valuable items inside: GPS systems, laptops, etc. I learned my lesson some years ago when I was living in South Boston. I left my work bag in my car over night and someone smashed the window and took it. Thankfully there was nothing in it but books and papers and they dumped it around the corner. I've never left anything in my car over night after that.

There will be a meeting about the break-ins this Monday at 6:30pm at the Dracut Police Station on Loon Hill Road.

Selectman Robert Cox thinks this may spawn some official neighborhood watch groups in town. Selectman John Zimini warns residents to be on the lookout for suspicious people in their neighborhood: "All it takes is a phone call. If you see someone in your neighborhood who probably doesn't belong there, he probably doesn't belong there."

See the article here.

Passing of a legend

He was before my time in Dracut but former Selectman, State Representative, Water Commissioner, and Sewer Commissioner Nick Lambros has passed away. Again, I didn't know Lambros but I did know about his theft of water from Lowell. But, according to the Lowell Sun and many town officials, despite this he will be best remembered for having "sewered" the town.

Many people have chosen to forgive him for the theft of water and his former colleague Mike Blatus refers to it as his "problem." State Rep. Colleen Garry perhaps sums it up the best: "He was a gentlemen. Certainly everybody has their ups and downs in a political career ... but all-in-all he did his best for the people of Dracut and I think he got a lot accomplished."

See the full article here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dracut football

Dracut High football coach Patrick Murphy left the school last year to take the reigns at my alma mater, Saint Anselm College. Murphy had a good run in Dracut and wanted the challenge of building the program at Saint Anselm (they won their first game in 3 years under Murphy).

Now, the team he left behind continues to thrive. The Globe has a nice article on their preparations for the Thanksgiving game as well as their playoff game against Acton-Boxborough on December 2.

Another threat in Dracut

There was another threatening note left in the bathroom of Lakeview Junior High this week. The note was a hoax and they realized this immediately but they still had to respond. The kids of the school had to wait outside for 45 minutes while police searched the building.

The Sun reports that a 12 year old boy admitted to leaving the note. Spencer Mullin, the Superintendent of Schools, said the boy is "troubled" and discipline is being considered.

Parking Ban

The town put a notice in the Lowell Sun yesterday that on street parking is now banned in Dracut between the hours of 12am and 6am from December 1-March 15. The fine is only $15.

You can see the notice here.

Shout out to Greemont Ave. School

It has been a quiet week in Dracut so I am sorry for the lack of posts.

Although this really isn't about politics, I thought I'd mention the shout out the kids at the Greemont Avenue School got from NECN's weatherman Matt Noyes. See it below:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Meetings this week

November 17 (Updated: School Committe is not meeting this week, thanks to Shawn for the heads up!)
School Site Council: 3:00pm, Lakeview Junior High School
Affordable Housing Partnership: 5:30pm, Dracut Historical Society

November 18
Community Preservation Committee: 7:00pm, Harmony Hall

November 19
Conservation Commission: 7:15pm, Harmony Hall
Historical Commission: 7:00pm, Historical Society Building

November 20
Sewer Commission Meeting: 6:00pm, Dracut High School

Tsongas in Boston

U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas was in Boston yesterday showing her support for same-sex marriage at a rally at City Hall Plaza. I also caught part of her remarks on Channel 7 last night.

Interestingly enough, the only other federal official there was U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano of Somerville. I wonder if the others were staying away because of a potential special election to fill John Kerry's seat. Did they not want to upset the apple cart?

John Zimini gets a new career

The Boston Globe today reports that Selectman John Zimini will be performing in a production of "Oliver!" at Merrimack College. The best part is that his daughter Alyssa is also in the play. You can see the whole article here (with a picture) but it is short enough that I've posted it below also. Good luck Selectman!

ALL IN THE FAMILY: As a selectman in his hometown of Dracut, John Zimini is used to being in the public eye. Next week, however, he'll be taking center stage in a different role: as an actor in the Pentucket Players' production of "Oliver!"

Zimini is one of several parents who will be performing alongside their children in the production. Zimini plays Mr. Bumble, the caretaker of the orphans' workhouse. His daughter, 17-year-old Alyssa, is an ensemble member.

The part of Mr. Bumble is a familiar one to Zimini, who held the role as a teenager before reprising it a few years later in a community theater production.
And about nine years ago, he directed Alyssa and his younger daughter, Kasie, in a production of "Oliver Twist" in Nashua.

Although his schedule is more demanding today than ever, Zimini said he couldn't pass up the chance to act alongside his college-bound daughter.
"I guess I'm typecast," joked Zimini, "but it helps that I know the part and all the lines so well."

While he has always enjoyed acting, Zimini said he takes special pleasure in watching Alyssa gain confidence, meet new people, and develop as an actress and person.
And while Kasie isn't performing this time, the production is still a family affair since she and her mother, Kristin Zimini, will work concessions.

"It's beyond a great experience," Zimini added. "In today's hurry-up world, we very rarely get to be involved with our kids. Even if they play sports, parents usually have to watch from the sidelines. I'm very proud of both my daughters, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity."

Dracut High

The Lowell Sun today highlights the reasons Dracut residents voted to spend $450,000 on a feasibility study for a new or renovated high school. The building is over 50 years old and according to the article, is in dire need of a face lift. Plus, it is becoming more and more out of date in a rapidly changing world.

See the article here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Warren's Take

In his weekly Valley Dispatch column, Warren Shaw gives his analysis on last week's town meeting and election. Regarding the high school feasibility study, he questions whether or not we should be looking at a new (or remodeled) high school given the town's existing debt and the fact that town hall is still under a federal mandate to get up to code to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act.

You can see his thoughts here.

Ogonowski says no to state GOP

The Massachusetts GOP is looking for a new chairman but don't expect Jim Ogonowski to take the job. I am not sure how his name came up but he had the following to say to Jeremy Jacobs over at PolitickerMA.com:
"Somebody that runs for the party chairman has to be well connected in the state, they have to know the people with money on a very knowledgeable basis," he said. "They have to know how to run a winning campaign. It has to be someone that has a proven record of running or winning campaigns - we don't have a track record of winning in Massachusetts. It has to be someone who knows how to recruit good candidates and someone who can unite the party. I don't meet all of those criteria."

Shaw and Ashe on Health Benefits

I had a conference this morning over in Salem and about five minutes before I got there, I remembered that Warren Shaw's Saturday morning talk show was on 980 WCAP. I never get a chance to listen because I don't typically have the radio on that time of day. But, I caught the final five minutes of the 7:00 hour with Shaw and his producer Shawn Ashe (also of Dracut Forum) discussing yesterday's Lowell Sun's health care article.

The only thing I heard was Shaw indicating that Roger Daigle had not called in to defend calling Shaw and Kathleen DiTillio "bloodsuckers" in the Sun article. Shaw called Daigle a cowardly lion in response.

Thankfully Shawn has a great rundown of the discussion as well as over 20 minutes of audio of today's show! You can see it all here, it's great stuff.

Friday, November 14, 2008

New police officers

Little behind on this one but Dracut has recently hired five new police officers. They all attended the Lowell Police Academy and graduated on October 23. One of the new cops is Joseph Cox who I believe is the son of Selectman Bob Cox.

Congrats to all!

The article is here.

Dracut vs. Tewksbury

The Lowell Sun will be streaming coverage of tomorrow's game between Dracut and Tewksbury. You can see the game here.

Health Benefits for Selectmen

The Lowell Sun has a pretty big article today on Dracut elected officials who are on the town's health insurance program. Former Selectman Warren Shaw, who served on the board for over twenty years, and Kathleen DiTillio, widow of former Selectmen Jack DiTillio, both receive health insurance through the town. Both Shaw and DiTillio say they are eligible for the insurance and DiTillio does pay $3,800 a year in premiums. Shaw of course operates Shaw Farm whereas DiTillio moved to Florida after her husband passed away in 2005.


The article quotes Roger Daigle who many know as one of the talking heads on "Inside Dracut Politics" who says, "They're all bloodsuckers in my book. It galls me how these people make up their own rules. The law says they may be eligible, not that they are eligible. They're supposed to work 20 hours a week and the benefits are supposed to end when their term of office expires. No elected official works 20 hours a week. They pick and choose what part of the law suits them."


Calling Shaw and DiTillio bloodsuckers is over the top but anyone who has seen his show and read his comments on a certain blog know Daigle has made a career on being caustic and inflammatory.


In addition to Shaw and DiTillio, the article points out that four of the five selectmen are on the town's insurance. The only one who doesn't is Jim O'Loughlin who is a state employee so he gets it through them. Joe DiRocco gets it as a retired fire fighter, John Zimini through his wife, a school employee, and Robert Cox and George Malliaros have opted for the insurance (Cox owns Coyle's Tavern and Malliaros is a local attorney).


It is an interesting story, you can see it all here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Niki Tsongas in Dracut

U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas was in Dracut on Veteran's Day and spoke at Veterans Memorial Park on Broadway. There was no coverage of her talk in the Sun, just a picture. Did anyone hear any news of what she had to say?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lowell Sun and Dracut Pols

My wife and I moved to Dracut in 2005 when we got married. Growing up in Melrose, I knew very little about Dracut and the surrounding area. I was so clueless that to get to Route 3 from my home in Dracut, I used to drive down the VFW Highway, past Saints Medical Center, through downtown Lowell, and then onto the Connector. I had no idea I just had to go past UMass Lowell's North Campus, cross the bridge, and drive a little ways to the Connector.

Thus, when the Lowell Sun called me shortly after I moved to Dracut, I jumped at the chance to subscribe to the paper. It really helped me learn the people, places, and things of Dracut and Greater Lowell. I still subscribe to the paper and enjoy reading it every night.

I know the Sun feels that it has a quasi mission to be a player in Lowell and I appreciate that. As a result, they have good relationships with the power players in Lowell and other towns.

I don't mind that but I was perplexed when I first read that Dracut Selectman James O'Loughlin wrote a weekly "Remember When" piece in Monday's paper. For those who don't read the paper, every Monday O'Loughlin looks back at headlines from editions of the Lowell Sun from 50, 25, and 10 years ago. It is a neat feature but is it appropriate for a local politician, someone whom the newspaper covers, to write for the same paper? Granted it is a non-political piece but I never heard of a politician writing for a newspaper. Perhaps O'Loughlin doesn't get paid but it does seem a little funny.

I have nothing against O'Loughlin. He is a hard working, extremely dedicated public servant. I often see him at Church with his wife and my wife knows his daughter through her work in Youth Ministry. I am just raising the question.

The second thing I noticed today was that Dracut Selectman George Malliaros is featured in a section of lowellsun.com called "Ask the Expert." Malliaros is an attorney and people can ask him questions about legal matters. The feature also has a prominent ad featuring Malliaros and his law practice. Again, is it appropriate for a sitting politician to be part of a newspaper's on-line feature? Like O'Loughlin, I like Malliaros and have nothing against him but I just found it interesting.

I don't mean to smear or criticize O'Loughlin, Malliaros, or the Sun. Perhaps it is all completely harmless. I like all three but I thought I'd throw my thoughts out there.

DiMasi's Party

Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi is under a lot of fire right now for allegedly helping his friends get sweetheart contracts with the state or rewarding those who have helped his buddies. Whether or not these stories are true is one thing but people are beginning to distance themselves from him.

Last week on Election Night, DiMasi had a party at the Fairmont Copley Plaza and, according to the Herald, was desperate for people to attend. He even called Dracut State Rep. Colleen Garry three times to ask her if she was coming. Garry is one of the only conservative Democrats in the House and for the very liberal DiMasi to court her shows he needed bodies. The article said:

In a poignant reminder of the unpleasant effect an ethics probe can have on one’s social life, House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, who is currently being pummeled by investigations, seemed to be desperate for attendees at his election party at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, according to several House pols.

Even reps who aren’t considered close to DiMasi were asked to attend.
DiMasi’s office called Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut) three times to see whether she could make it to the event, but she had previous plans.

“I think he wanted to show that he is a strong leader and I think that, especially these days with a lot of people under fire, he wanted to show he has support,” Garry said.

Chilling discovery

A dead body was found in car on the Lowell/Dracut line on Mammoth Road last night. The cause of death is unknown and it may of course be natural but this is the second time this year that a body was found in this area. Earlier this year, a Lowell man killed his girlfriend and dumped her body in the dumpster of an apartment complex in this area.

I live close to this area so it kind of gives me the chills. Hopefully this is just an accident with no foul play.

See the Sun's coverage here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

All politics is local

The main reason I started this blog was to get the people of Dracut engaged in their town's government and political scene. Whether or not I will succeed is one thing but it is nice to see that some folks over at Red Mass Group also see the need for people to start focusing on local issues once again. Of course they are looking at it as a way to cultivate future elected officials for their party but I am glad we are seeing a shift away from the national scene to the state and local level.

See their thoughts here.

Dracut Access TV

When I lived in Melrose, I was pretty active with the local cable access channel (MMTV). They have high quality and varied television shows and it was amazing how many people actually watched the shows. It is a real force in Melrose.

Dracut Access TV has gone through a lot of changes over the past few years and is working real hard to increase the programs and the quality of production. I hope they accomplish this. DATV can be a great voice in the community and a huge resource.

I think they will get there because they recently hired a great new director, Steve Russo. He is wasting little time: they had a very sleek new website with the schedule, videos, staff bios, etc. They're also hoping to add more content over the next few months.

Check out their new website here and consider joining them - let's get the conversation started!

Meetings this week

Here is a run down of town meetings for this week:

Monday, November 10
Affordable Housing Partnership: 5:30pm, Historical Society Building

Wednesday, November 12
Library Trustees Meeting: 4:30pm, Library
Agricultural Commission: 7:00pm, Harmony Hall
Planning Board: 7:00pm, Harmony Hall

Thursday, November 13
Board of Appeals: 7:00pm, Harmony Hall
Open Space Committee: 6:00pm, Central Fire Station

Friday, November 14
Economic Development: 2:00pm, Selectmen's Chambers

More on 113 Work

Dennis Shaughnessey has more today on the impact of the work being done on 113. It seems that the businesses that are out that way are seeing a major decrease in business and revenue because of the detours. Thankfully there are not many businesses that require customer traffic- by my guess there are three: a pizza shop, a restaurant, and a liquor store (and they're all in the same plaza). Brox Farm is also down that way and may see an impact but the article does not mention them. There are a number of commercial businesses on that stretch but nothing like a walk-in type establishment.

The good news is that the work will be done this week (but will resume in the spring). I guess it is part of a project expanding sewer lines.

Selectmen Bob Cox, the owner of one of the establishments, is pretty heated. He says he is losing $3,000 a week. Perhaps this will be beneficial for future projects since a selectman was personally impacted, he can offer some insight on the impact of public work projects on regular people.

See the article here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

First town meeting

I have lived in Dracut for over three years but I have never been to town meeting. Since I have gotten excited about local politics and government lately, I decided to finally attend the November meeting last Monday, November 3.

The meeting was held at Dracut High School and was packed with parents and town employees. There were not many matters to discuss and the meeting was over within 45 minutes. The only real issue to come up was whether or not the town should pay $450,000 for a feasibility study to see what should be done about the high school. I guess it is pretty old and tired and could use a face lift (or complete reconstruction) and this study will help the town decide which path to take.

The vote passed pretty quickly and without much discussion. The School Committee decided to free up some cash to make the study's cost an easier pill for voters to swallow.

Dennis Shaughnessey, Dracut's main man over at the Lowell Sun, has the complete story here.

Use of police officers

Selectmen Chair Bob Cox had a sort of run-in with a Tyngsboro police officer...while driving in Dracut. As we all know, Route 113 (at the Methuen end) is undergoing some major work with a lot of detouring and restrictions. Cox was trying to get to his business (Coyle's Tavern) but a Tyngsboro cop working the detail told him to go around.

It seems that Dracut's selectmen want retired Dracut police to work details if an active Dracut cop is not available but cannot do so for liability reasons. This incident with one of Tyngsboro's finest did not sit well with Cox (who ironically was running late for his son's swearing-in as a Dracut cop). The story, in today's Lowell Sun, is here, but here is a good quote:
"There is no reason for this (Tyngsboro officer) to treat me like this. There's no reason for him to treat anyone like this," Cox said. "And there's no reason our town should be paying out-of-town cops when we have completely healthy retired officers right here in town."

Why this blog

When I was a junior in high school, I decided to take an American Government class. I did so because I needed to take an elective – I had absolutely no interest in government or politics. In fact, I hated Social Studies all together. My real interest was French and I dreamed about becoming a French teacher. That all changed by the end of my junior year. I now loved politics and the machinations of government. There was no question I would be a Politics major when I enrolled in college.

My first choice was George Washington University in Washington, DC. I didn’t get accepted so I decided to attend Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. I was there during the 1996 presidential campaign so I was able to meet or see most of the candidates running for office. It was an incredible experience.

After I graduated from college, I volunteered for a political campaign in Melrose, MA. My hope was that if my guy was elected, I would go and work for him at the State House or he would help me get a job in government. Well, he won but I never did get a job. With no other options, I settled for a job in the financial services sector.

I did stay active in politics, focusing on the political life of Melrose. I attended the Board of Aldermen meetings and I volunteered for local campaigns. With this, I developed a real fascination for local government and politics. In college, my focus was national politics but I now saw the role and importance of local government.

I ended up moving out of Melrose and kind of lost interest in politics all together. I still followed it and listened to talk radio but I was only a passive observer, only getting excited around election time.

Now, thanks to the 2008 presidential race, my passion for politics has been reenergized. I have a very active blog on national and state politics (Dracut Musings) and I have now decided to devote time to another blog on local government and politics. Dracut Musings kind of evolved into a political blog over time. My real goal was to have an outlet to write about my family, daily life, religion, Dracut etc. But after a few weeks, it became more of a blog on politics with very little focus on Dracut.

Because I feel too little attention is paid to local government, I have created this blog to provide some focus on the political scene in Dracut. I really have no idea how this blog will evolve. I certainly have my ideas but we will wait and see. Dracut Musings is more of a partisan blog, I admit that. This blog will be more even handed and will be more of a resource for residents and politicos.

Thanks for taking the time to read this (if you still are). Please check back often, I think this will be a lot of fun.