Gloucester Political Update
Thursday's paper brought the news of one candidate dropping out. Douglas MacArthur won't be running for an at-large seat on the City Council. This leaves six candidates for the four spots, with only two incumbents among the group. Otherwise, the candidate list hasn't changed, and there are only races in three of the five council districts. At the moment, the only preliminaries will be for Ward 1 Council and for Mayor.
The School Committee race hasn't gotten much press lately. As I noted before, the progressive side of Gloucester was in search of a candidate. It got to the point a week ago that your correspondent took out papers to run. Fortunately for my sanity, we've got someone to step forward; once he's a confimed candidate, I'll let him talk about the race.
Gloucester's Sidewalk Bazaar (why does everyone pronounce it Bizarre?) was last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and there was a fair political presence mixed in with the retailers, community organizations, food stands, and entertainment on Main Street. I spent some time at the booths of the Democratic City Committee and my church. One observation: people don't talk much about politics when it is very hot. They want to get their shopping done and get out of the sun.
More importantly, the single-most important issue that came up in listening to the folks who came to our booth is health care. People believe that the system doesn't work for them. While health care reform has always been a major issue of mine, I think that we're approaching a spot where the public officials who address health care effectively have a real opportunity. More importantly, this is a real grass-roots opening to change the system. If people come together, they can really push something through. That's why I like the work going on around the ballot initiative for next fall. The petition drive that will go on this fall will start to build a coalition to address the problem, either through the legislature or through the ballot box.