Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Curious Emile Goguen: Part 1

Perhaps it is a cautionary tale for each of us. A somewhat good-hearted appliance-repairman soils his legacy through unrelenting mean-spiritedness. A second career of public service will likely bear the brand of division and spite. At the best, folk will say he aged badly, hence the caution.

Picture if you will Emile J. Goguen, a graduate of the New England Air Conditioning and Technical School. He is a disabled Korean War vet. He had a career in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He became a Fitchburg city councilor for 24 years. Along the way, inspired by recovering alcoholics on his staff, he bought a building 11 years ago to convert to a shelter for manic depressives and drug addicts.

In 1991, he won election as Representative to the State House, where he still serves. He sits on Joint Ways and Means, House Ways and Means and Elderly Affairs (where he is co-chair), and Local Affairs and Regional Government committees. He was a major player in keeping his town'’s hospital open.

That’s not exactly sainthood, except for funding the shelter, but he sounds pretty good, eh?

There is a big wrinkle in his fine garments, however. No matter what else Goguen does or says, he’'ll surely be known primarily as the crackpot, homophobe who tried his damnedest to get the pro-same-sex voting Massachusetts Supreme Court justices thrown off the bench.

Details to follow.

Part two of the series is here.

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