Stacie Hargis statement on Gerry Nutter controversy

City Council candidate Stacie Hargis just sent the following statement and asked that I post it. Here it is:

“I’m personally disgusted. No women should be spoken about in that way, even in this one incident of misjudgment. As far as being qualified to ensure the process of democracy as the job requires, I think he will perform in a professional manner.”

The quote copied above was sent to the Sun after a request regarding the appointment of Gerry Nutter to the Election Commission on Friday. After receiving additional calls from the Sun this weekend to elaborate, I’m sharing my full statement below and thank you for this opportunity.

While at the time, the vote would have been a yes or no, now, after the fact that many are lambasting anyone who would have voted in favor of Nutter’s appointment as anti-feminist, this is not a simple yes or no.

The fact is that there was one set of misogynistic comments two years ago. This was not a systemic issue or one of many misogynistic rants. It was one comment on a blog of opinion. That one lapse in judgement, that was quickly apologized for and laid to rest two years ago has less to do with his ability to ensure the process of democracy as the job requires, in a professional manner. This is why I would have reasonably made the decision to look at his credentials in order to vote in favor of his appointment.

So there is the YES. I would have voted to confirm the appointment of Gerry Nutter to the Election Commission.

However, here is the NO.

NO, you can not use a veil of feminism and anti-misogynism to hide the real issue. Clearly this is not about feminism, this is about Bernie Lynch and professional government. If the real issue was how women are talked about and treated, why aren’t we talking about the comments themselves and what we can be doing to prevent this kind of use of language? Why aren’t we talking about how these kinds of comments translate into attitudes about real women in Lowell? Why aren’t we talking about how we approach issues affecting women, such as poverty and domestic violence, which disproportionately impact women?

Instead, this topic has turned into an isolation of yes or no votes to identify candidates as anti-women and political fodder as the election nears. This is turning into the same kind of coding as “pro-manager/anti-manager”, “from Lowell, for Lowell”, or even “new Lowell/old Lowell”.

I am offended that anyone would so dangerously play with women’s issues and make anyone who would have voted in favor of Nutter out to be anti-women in any way, shape, or form. As someone who has been a feminist since I understood what the word meant and worked very hard on many issues we face, I am insulted to think that an appointment of someone who made one mistake and made amends to that mistake two years ago would equate to being guilty of not demanding and fighting for equality for women.

I am a former board member of Mass NOW, serving over three years in that capacity. I agree that the women of Lowell deserve better and we should all be offended if anyone is leveraging this experience for their own political gains. If we want to have a conversation about women’s issues, then we should talk about the fact that 67% of households in poverty are women-headed households here in Lowell. If we want to talk about women’s issues, let’s talk about the fact that only 7 women have served on the City Council since the 1960’s. Additionally, women of color have had even less representation in positions of power in Lowell. Let’s change that.

Let’s stick to the real issues – public safety, business growth, education, jobs – this is the reason why I am running. Now is the time for fresh approaches to make Lowell an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. These are the issues that are the most important priority for us, let’s not get sidetracked.

Find out more about why Stacie Hargis is running for City Council here:

9 Responses to Stacie Hargis statement on Gerry Nutter controversy

  1. Victoria Fahlberg says:

    I have been outside of Lowell politics for years now and reluctant to get involved, but I feel that at this point I need to say something….. years ago I was on the City Life show. Apparently, it was the first time Gerry Nutter (or his wife) had seen me on the show. I have no idea what the conversation was, but I’m sure I was my usual outspoken, yet highly informed self. Soon after the program I started getting e-mails about Nutter’s blog (which I hadn’t even known existed at the time). He had seen me on the show and was wondering who the “bitch” was on the show. His wife walked into the room, saw me on the show, and also wondered who the “bitch” was, according to the blog. Gerry, can you pull up that archive so we can all see what you had to say about a strong, outspoken woman whom you had never seen before nor met? A woman, who at the time, had been working very hard to make the voting system fair and to increase voting. I was also working very hard to help highly at risk youth in our public school system remain in school. Yea, I was really a bitch of a person, wasn’t I? Then the public can decide whether two documented events, years apart, represent a pattern. I certainly know what I think. At the time, I ignored it all because to me, anyone who would make comments like that about anyone they’d only seen briefly on a show is the epitome of ignorance.

  2. Victoria Fahlberg says:

    And Stacie, if you want more women (and men) of color in positions of power in our city, then you need: 1) to change the voting system and 2) both the school department and the city need to stop hiring friends/relatives and start hiring people of color. Our whole city, but especially our school children and their parents, suffer from the lack of school employees they can relate to and with whom they can identify.

  3. Gordo Howe says:

    :Starts slow clap:

    I didn’t think I was going to vote this year for the first time since I came of age ten years ago, thanks for the rational discourse Stacy.

  4. Jack Mitchell says:

    Gerry sent the full post that Victoria cites, above. The rendition that Gerry provided is how I remember it, at the time. Why would I remember it? Because I discussed it with Victoria, who was aghast at such harsh words.
    Here is what Gerry provided, earlier today:
    Sunday Notes-Mothers Day May 9th 2010
    “Speaking of CITY LIFE, Victoria Fahlberg was on to discuss a variety of topics but was very curt and arrogant when dealing with the subject of the Greater Lowell Technical. When George Anthes pointed out that the voter elected the Representatives and they should have the right to do as they see fit , she was very curt and seemed annoyed. I have never met her and neither has my wife who said after listen from the other room “Who’s that witch. she’s rude”. ..”

    As with many of us that speak up, Victoria is not unique, we are branded, labeled and diminished. It is the routine pull-pull of political tug-o-war.

    Beanbag it ain’t.

  5. Bill Deignan says:

    You are a great candidate for city council in Lowell.
    The city of Lowell needs more courageous woman
    like yourself who want to confront the important issues
    like public safety, economic development and jobs.
    The Lowell City Council is underepresented, woman
    should have a positive voice on the council along with
    all people of color. We live in a diverse society.
    Stacie, You can win–Reach out and talk to people,
    and stress woman issues and you will top the ticket.
    I wish you the best..Bill Deignan