I caught a portion of today’s Lowell City Council inaugural ceremony on LTC. Things started shortly after 10 am from the Council Chamber with the Lowell High JROTC Color Guard posting the colors and the Lowell High chorus singing the National Anthem. Rev. Paul Ouellette of St Patrick’s Church then offered an invocation and Superior Court Associate Justice Jack Lu (a Tewksbury native) then administered the oath of office to the nine councilors-elect.
The first order of business was to elect a mayor. Councilors were called one-by-one – they sit in alphabetical order – and each announced the name of his or her candidate. Here’s how it went:
- Kevin Broderick voted for Patrick Murphy
- Rodney Elliott voted for himself
- Ed Kennedy voted for Rodney Elliott
- Marty Lorrey voted for Patrick Murphy
- Bill Martin voted for Patrick Murphy
- Joe Mendonca voted for Rodney Elliott
- Rita Mercier voted for Rodney Elliott
- Patrick Murphy voted for himself
- Vesna Nuon voted for Patrick Murphy
The count: Patrick Murphy five votes; Rodney Elliott four votes. City Clerk Michael Geary then invited Murphy’s parents to escort their son to the front of the room where Judge Lu administered the mayoral oath. As Mayor Murphy mounted the rostrum, Councilor Elliott moved to make the vote for Murphy unanimous. His motion passed on a voice vote without opposition.
Mayor Murphy began his remarks by thanking all the former mayors who were in attendance, a group that included Brendan Fleming, Ed Early, Brian Martin, Bud Caulfield and Eileen Donoghue. He also thanked and recognized his colleagues, Rita Mercier and Bill Martin, both former mayors themselves. He also expressed his appreciation to his predecessor, Jim Milinazzo, who was not in attendance. State Representatives Kevin Murphy and Tom Golden were in attendance and were recognized.
Murphy then gave a thoughtful, substance-packed speech of reasonable length. While he touched on many things, some stood out for me: He said we in government should strive to use technology to make government more efficient but we should always guard against losing the human touch. He specifically advocated more early childhood education, especially in reading. He said new funding was always welcome, but what we need most of all are creativity, time and energy, “not by a few, but by many.” He said the council “need not be unified in thought” but should be unified in doing what is best for the city and should always be open to new ideas.
After his remarks, Murphy’s first act as mayor was to preside over the election of a Vice Chair. Joe Mendonca was elected unanimously. Right after that, a young woman from Lowell High School named Princess Chan, who recently won second prize in a recent Kerouac Poetry Contest at Lowell High School and who has read at a recent UTEC Youth Forum, recited an “inaugural poem” titled “Autumn #17”. I believe it was the first time in at least fifty years that a poem was recited at a council inauguration. It’s too bad it didn’t happen sooner, because it was a wonderful way to conclude the ceremony.
UPDATE: Jack on Left in Lowell has posted the full text of Mayor Murphy’s inaugural remarks.