Thursday, September 14, 2006

Send Your Aunt to the State House

Felons and threateners and oldsters. Oh, my!

If you're in the Suffolk Sixth, you must vote for Willie Mae Allen as State Representative to replace Shirley Owens-Hicks. Of the three classes of candidates, she only a senior citizen. You won't have to watch your wallet or lock your door on her account.

Amusingly enough, there has been some whining about this office being contested by only two Democrats, both in their 60s. Widow Allen is coming up on 70. She's a hot ticket. Not only is she certain to live out her two-year term, her head's in the right place.

As a disclaimer, we don't object to convicted felons who have served their sentences from becoming civil servants or running for office. In fact, that's what the justice and penal systems are supposed to do -- tweak folk into productive citizens.

However, her opponent, William Celester, pleaded guilty to taking over $30,000 from police funds as Newark, New Jersey, police director in 1996. To us, corruption in office is a far cry from a crime of passion.

Celester made the choice easy at the Wards 11 and 19 Democratic Party forum. He didn't show.

As the other candidates whose opponents punked out, Willie Mae got to speak in her behalf and answer the question the Dems prepared for both candidates.

She's energetic. She's squat. She has both a quick wit and a faster smile. She's everybody's favorite aunt.

Web Whine: Somebody needs to take a properly exposed picture of her and spiff up her Website.

The other entrant in this race, Wayne Wilson dropped out in late June when the state AFL-CIO endorsed Allen. He had already been put on probation for drunken driving. He had court orders to pay thousands in child support and to stay after from a senior-services agency after threatening to kill folks there.

In her aunty way, Allen said of others only, "I want to go up to Beacon Hill with a clean record." Of course, she'd be the only one.

She had some nice answers. Her solution to Boston's traffic problems -- "Don't buy a car." Does she support same-sex marriage -- absolutely. Whom people love and marry is their business and "Isn't it a pity we have to vote on this?"

She did not have a sophisticated platform as some legislative candidates do. She is no intellectual. However, she has the two essential qualifications:
  1. She has a great empathy and understanding of what people need to be productive and part of society.
  2. She has well developed morality and knows civil rights.
By background, she has long been a delegate to Democratic conventions. She is also the author of the add-on-delegate process that ensures minority participation.

We suspect that she would not concoct bills to introduce. However, we are damned sure that she'll come down on the right side of progressive causes. She'd be co-sponsoring fool. She could teach many 20-somethings about democracy and rights. Moreover, in legislative debates and caucuses, she's likely to cut to the essence of the matter at hand and clarify it. She's been around and she paid attention.

Finally, she was the candidate we saw at Doyle's when we went there after the forum for dinner. She and three women apparently with her campaign ate across the room from us. One the way out, we greeted her and found her as genuine and attentive as she appeared on stage. It didn't hurt that she has a real grip in a handshake. She's the real thing.

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Anonymous said...

As you say, Willie Mae Allen sounds like a great candidate with long experience. I am sad and disgusted, however, that your description of her was so dripping with patronage. You call her Auntie, and Widow Allen. Now, I haven't heard her speak so don't know how she presents herself, but something tells me she doesn't belittle herself and her accomplishments with descriptors like that. Her website mentions nothing about age, marriage status, or existence of nieces or nephews. You only finally get down to her bona fides at the end of your blog, after you've turned her into Auntie Bee. You mention that she is up against 2 criminals (both men). You don't patronize them with cutsey little tiddles. For them you call a spade a spade. I really hope this is just a case of you being so besotted with Ms. Allen that you forgot youself. I hope you will re-write your entry and take Ms. Allen as seriously as you would a man.

massmarrier said...

I'm sorry that it came across that way to you. I can understand your points.

The descriptions were right in line with her own depiction of herself. She refers to herself as the "Widow Allen" and grins. She tells tales of how voters and campaign workers say, "You're soooooo old."

She's not Aunt Bee. She's much more like my Aunt Eleanor, smart, savvy, funny, and a real go-getter.

You are right that I think well of her. She and I actually had a nice chat at the restaurant.

Her Website may not cite family or stress those details, but she sure does in person. Plus she does it all with wonderfully depreciating humor.

She really is a refreshing change from the puffy New England politicians. They so often stress their academic credentials and hold themselves well above hoi polloi.

Willie Mae Allen is not a Harvard grad and does not distance herself. She thinks she is perceptive, good-hearted plain folk and I agree. I think she'll do well as a state rep.

Again, I'm sorry the post offends you. I did try to convey the sense of her presence and remarks. She is fun and funny as well as moral and left-wing.

Anonymous said...

Oh, ok! If that is the way she portrays herself, then who am I to say? Thank you for the clarification. I hope she gets elected - I am one person who has benefitted from the add-on delegate system. I never knew who devized it. Thank you Willie Mae! And although I thoroughly understand the worry that not enough young people are getting involved in gov't, there's a lot to be said for availing ourselves of the talents of someone who has plenty of experience with politics and human nature both. Who knows, maybe she'll be the pied piper the MA Dems could so clearly use!

massmarrier said...

She really is a gem. I wish everyone could meet her.

It's a pity none of the other candidates showed. Celester has apparently been hiding. He publicizes his endorsements from old-line City Council types in flyers we got in the mail, but he won't face Willie Mae. That's probably smart. Her common sense and well-earned respect for civil rights would surely overwhelm the audience.

I'm pushing her.