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State Election Update: Feb 16, 2020

Attendees at Lowell Democratic Caucus

There is no City Council meeting this week due to school vacation so focus shifts to state politics today.

State Democratic Convention

While the 2020 Presidential election gets all of the attention these days, there will also be a state election this fall. All members of the state legislature – state senators and state representatives – will be on the ballot as will all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and some U.S. Senate seats.

One U.S. Senate seat up this fall is the one now held by Ed Markey who was elected to that office in 2013 after a long career in the House of Representatives. Markey is being challenged in the Democratic primary for that Senate seat by Congressman Joe Kennedy.

The outcome of that race will be decided at the State Primary which will be held on Tuesday, September 1, 2020. However, to even appear on the Democratic primary election ballot that day, both Markey and Kennedy will have to each get the support of at least 15% of the delegates who attend the Massachusetts State Democratic Party Convention which will be held on Saturday, May 30, 2020, at the UMass Lowell Tsongas Center here in Lowell. Besides getting the 15% to get on the ballot, if either of them wins a majority of the delegates, he would become the “endorsed” candidate of the State Democratic Party.

Most of the delegates to the State Democratic Convention are elected at caucuses held this month and next. Today was the Lowell Democratic caucus. It was held at Lowell High’s Freshman Academy and was very well attended. Each of the 11 wards in the city conducts its own caucus. Each ward has a quota of delegates which must be balanced by gender. My ward, Ward 8, elects two male delegates and two female delegates. In almost all wards there were more people nominated than there were delegate slots, so each Ward held an election in which all registered Democrats from that Ward who were present could vote.

Congressman Joe Kennedy

Prior to the nominations and voting, Congressman Kennedy addressed the crowd and then State Senator Ed Kennedy spoke on behalf of Senator Markey.

State Senator Ed Kennedy speaking in support of US Senator Ed Markey

Although people nominated to run for delegate do not have to expressly state who they will support at the convention, most do and those who are really committed to their candidate bring enough friends and neighbors to provide them with enough votes to win the election. I don’t know what the Markey v Kennedy delegate count was citywide, but in Ward 8, all four delegates elected were Kennedy supporters, I believe.

Besides the delegates elected at this Caucus, there are others eligible to be delegates by reason of the elected office they hold (such as members of the state legislature). Also, there are “add on” delegates from certain categories such as youth, elderly, disabled and minority. People seeking selection in these categories must petition the State Democratic Committee which makes its selections.

Massachusetts Presidential Primary

Massachusetts will also hold its Presidential Primary this year. It is on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Here are the candidates who will be on the Democratic ballot that day:

  • Deval Patrick, Massachusetts
  • Amy Kloburchar, Minnesota
  • Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts
  • Michael Bennet, Colorado
  • Michael Bloomberg, New York
  • Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii
  • Cory Booker, New Jersey
  • Julian Castro, Texas
  • Tom Steyer, California
  • Bernie Sanders, Vermont
  • Joseph Biden, Delaware
  • John Delaney, Maryland
  • Andrew Yang, New York
  • Pete Buttigieg, Indiana

The deadline for registering to vote or changing party affiliation for the Presidential Primary has also passed (it was February 12).

There will be “early voting” for the Presidential Primary. In Lowell, that will be available at the Election Office at City Hall (Room 34) from 8am to 5pm on Monday, February 24; Wednesday, February 26; and Thursday; February 27; and also on Tuesday, February 25 from 8am to 8pm and on Friday, February 28, from 8am to noon.

New Hampshire Presidential Primary

This past Tuesday, February 11, 2020, was the New Hampshire Presidential Primary. Believe it or not, there were 33 candidates on the Democratic ballot that day. Here are the top ten finishers and the number of votes each received:

  1. Bernie Sanders – 76,324
  2. Pete Buttigieg – 72,457
  3. Amy Klobuchar – 58,796
  4. Elizabeth Warren – 27,387
  5. Joe Biden – 24,921
  6. Tom Steyer – 10,727
  7. Tulsi Gabbard – 9,655
  8. Andrew Yang – 8,315
  9. Daval Patrick – 1,266
  10. Michael Bennet – 963

“Heart of Glass” by David Daniel

Heart of Glass

By David Daniel

Walking along the beach with Jasmyn, holding her hand, both bundled against the mid-February air, William found himself thinking of another time, another woman . . .

“Oh my God!” Lucinda had squealed. “Thank you!”

William blushed when she kissed him. “It’s only glass.” He’d been careful to pitch it between modesty and outright apology.

“It’s as good as a diamond, or a pearl. Better! It’s personal and one of a kind.”

“I know you like beach glass . . .” he’d said. And, holding hands, off they’d gone, walking into the warm summer darkness of the park.

Where was Lucinda now? And Janis, Bonnie, and Gwen . . . and so many others. Fiona and Faye. He didn’t know, but he smiled at the knowledge that he had shown all of them a little romance.

He hardly could have foreseen it all those years ago when he first came upon Valentine’s Cove. That was the name he gave it later, and he had thought of it from time to time in the decades since. He’d been barely seventeen, out with his friend Ken on Ken’s boat, fishing in Boston harbor. It was hot and the fish weren’t biting, so they anchored off one of the outer harbor islands and took a break. William donned a dive mask and snorkel and swam into the cove.

Which was where he found it.

The water was clear, aflicker with shimmering bands of sunlight, and he realized that what he had mistaken for a bottom of bright pebbles was actually something else. He dove and plucked up a handful and waded ashore. It was true. Sea glass. Even the steep slope of the beach was glass, thousands of pieces, all smoothed to a velvet softness. They tinkled and shushed under his bare feet as he walked.

Later he would come to understand that it was a phenomenon of the tides and currents that somehow swept up every glass bottle tossed into the harbor—and in those days there were a lot—and carried them into this tiny cove on the uninhabited island. Some of them inevitably broke on the rocks or simply filled with water and sank, and the unceasing action of the waves did their work. William gathered up handfuls, filled a pair of plastic bags.

There were pieces of glass an opaque creamy white, and ginger-ale-bottle green, beer-bottle brown, and the cobalt blue which he imagined came from medicine vials used back in the old days at the hospital for incurables on another island. There were also rarer colors—the pale pink glass (of the kind he’d given to Molly, his first true girlfriend), ruby red, even a burnt orange—which he’d once fashioned into a necklace by drilling holes in the smooth shards and passing a strand of silk string through and presented to Dineen, whom he had almost married.

And over the years he had found that beach glass was the perfect touch of romance to give girls, and then women: a small personal treasure from the sea, each such presentation prefaced by a brief tale of his having found it only the day before and plucked it with her in mind. It wouldn’t have been good policy to tell of Valentine’s Cove and the bags of glass.

And now, after a lifetime of romancing women, he had just about exhausted his supply of sea glass. Only a single piece remained. He could no longer remember where that cove, or even the island, was. Lately he had begun to study a map of the harbor, hoping it might jog a memory of that long-ago fishing trip, but there were a lot of islands, many coves. He would even have contacted the friend, except Ken had suffered a stroke and was living on the West Coast.

So what to do? Give away this last piece to Jasmyn? She was alluring, certainly: tall, ten years younger than his fifty. She was confident, knew her own mind. And had good hair.

But suppose it wasn’t Jasmyn he would want to stay with? What if he met someone new, more exotic and exciting, younger, with better hair, next week, next month, next year?

Romance enough for a lifetime . . . and after this he was out of glass. Maybe it was a sign. Jasmyn was a prize, after all. And tomorrow was Valentine’s Day—so everything had come full circle somehow. Dammit! He’d do it.

He stopped walking. With the hand not holding Jasmyn’s he reached into his coat pocket. His heart swelling with hope, he drew out the piece of silken-soft pale green glass. The very last one. “I found this and thought of you.”

She took it, frowning.

“Beach glass,” he said.

“Whatcha givin’ it to me for?”

“Well, the color, kind of like . . . your eyes.”

“What the hell?”

“It’s . . . unique, it’s . . .” He experienced a throb of panic. This was something new. “I found it for you.”

“There’s broken glass everywhere.”

“Yeah, but . . . but feel it. It’d take a hundred years for—”

“You bring me out here for this? If this is supposed to substitute for real jewelry, Billy boy, forget it!” And she drew back and flung piece of glass way out into the water, where William could only watch as it sank beneath the gray waves, romance sinking with it.

David Daniel, a frequent contributor to this site, is a prolific novelist and writer, and a former high school teacher.

Joseph Valentine Kopycinski, ‘Renaissance Man’

Legendary Lowell Sun newspaperman Charles G. Sampas called Joseph V. Kopycinski “tireless” in his work on behalf of his school and city, according to Archivist Tony Sampas of the  UMass Lowell Libraries. Tony brought to our attention an impressive page on the UML website recognizing a “Renaissance Man,” one of the key figures in the reappraisal of Lowell’s place in history during the 1970s. We’re pleased to direct the spotlight on this community leader. UML Librarian Ellen Keane designed the link to the rare books in the Kopycinski Collection. Library assistant Zachary Narjarian Najafi worked with Tony to design the new LibGuide. Based on Tony’s research we learned that Joseph grew up on Branch Street in the Highlands neighborhood, one of five children of immigrant parents. His mother was from Lithuania. His father, also Joseph, was a carpenter and painter in the city during the Great Depression of the 1930s.—PM

Joseph V. Kopycinski, 1967, Lowell Technological Institute yearbook

From the UML web page: “Joseph Valentine Kopycinski (1923-1987) served as Lowell Technological Institute Librarian through the 1950s and 1960s, culminating with the position of “University Librarian” as LTI and Lowell State Teachers College merged in 1975. Kopycinski grew up in Lowell and following his graduation from Lowell High served with the U.S. Army 334th Infantry Regiment, 84th Infantry Division in the European theater during World War II. He earned his BS in Textile Chemistry from LTI in 1948, followed by an MS in 1950, and attained a Masters in Library Science from Simmons College in 1960. During his time at LTI and the University of Lowell he introduced the first equally funded women’s sports team, began, molded, and coached the varsity bowling program for twenty seasons (1965-1985), helped found the Athletic Hall of Fame, and was inducted into it posthumously. He also served as Secretary for the Alternate Bridge League at LTI and was Faculty Advisor to the Audio-Visual Society. The 1967 LTI yearbook, The Pickout, is dedicated to Kopycinski, and describes the man as “giving all his time and energy to all Lowell Tech students.”

“Aavid student of Lowell and Middlesex County history, Kopycinski recognized the value that early Lowell mill records would have for scholars and oversaw LTI’s acquisition of the Locks and Canals Collection. These books and records proved to be the cornerstones of what would become UMass Lowell Libraries’ Special Collections, now located at Lowell National Historical Park’s Mogan Cultural Center. According to a 1961 Lowell Sun interview, Kopycinski cited the Locks and Canals Collection as representing “the most comprehensive record of life in early Lowell in existence.” In the Greater Lowell community, Kopycinski was a member of the Chelmsford Historical Commission and served on the board of directors of the Middlesex Canal Association. He also belonged to the Lowell Area Council on Interlibrary Networks and was a charter member of the Chelmsford-Westford Knights of Columbus. Meanwhile, almost as an alter ego, Kopycinski pursued his passion for Western Americana through his membership in the New York Posse of the Westerners society and by amassing a variegated collection of Western books. Lowell Sun news editor Charles G. Sampas came to write of him in an August 23, 1973, column, “Tireless is the word for Professor Joe Kopycinski.”

“The Joseph Valentine Kopycinski Collection, referred to as The JVK Rare Book Collection, is composed of over eight hundred volumesThe books include Greek and Roman classics, with strong holdings in American history and theology as well as rare editions of poetry ranging from Robert Burns to Robert Creeley. One of the highlights of the JVK Collection is a set of Hough’s fourteen volume “American Woods” (1903-1928). Housed in clasped slipcases, these books contain the exhaustive dendrological nomenclature of the day while the “pages” are composed of actual wood specimens of over 1,000 American trees, thinly sliced in transverse, radial, and tangential sections so that every page of each edition is a one of a kind. The Collection also includes Kopycinski’s American West Collection, yet to be cataloged.”

“It’s Time to Vote Up or Shut Up” by George Chigas

It’s Time to Vote Up or Shut Up

By George Chigas

As much as we like to rail against “he who must not be named,” it’s ultimately not his fault. He’s just doing what a [noun of orange hue] would normally do in his situation.

If the zookeeper decides to put the hungry lion in the same cage as defenseless fawns, would we blame the lion for devouring the tasty morsels the first chance he gets? Or would we blame the zookeeper for putting him there in the first place?

Same logic applies here. The blame falls first and foremost on the electorate for either taking the bait and voting for or, alternatively, staying home and choosing not to vote at all.

For the former, the “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice…” rule would apply.

To the latter following their admission of dereliction of duty, the goodly deacon would say, “Go and sin no more…”

The turnout in Iowa (the app debacle notwithstanding) was not what it should’ve been (by most accounts less than in 2016), which would mean that members of the latter group have apparently not learned their lesson and are willing to let the bloody “lion” continue another four more years. There’s only one way to keep this lion in his proper cage. Vote. Vote. Vote.

George Chigas, Ph.D., is Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of World Languages & Cultures at UMass Lowell.

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