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Tom Finneran: Thank You Governor Cellucci

Friday, December 14, 2012


Paul Cellucci, proud son of Hudson, Massachusetts, is on my mind. I want to thank him. And I want to wish him and his family a blessed and merry Christmas. So here goes---“Governor, thank you and Merry Christmas”.
Paul Cellucci—State Representative, State Senator, Lt. Governor, Governor,  and U.S. Ambassador to Canada—was and is a politician. Paul Cellucci was and is a good and gentle man. The two of course are not mutually exclusive, a fact that might escape some people.

My thanks  to the Governor are for many things—his friendship, his leadership, his example, and his inspiration.

I have known the Governor for about 34 years. He’s a Republican and a very sensible guy. I’m a Democrat and rarely if ever sensible. We always got along, talked easily about many things, loved the blessings of our families, and enjoyed the challenge of public office. Friendships blossom out of such conversations and I was always happy to see him earn success.
His leadership cut across the breadth of public matters—jobs, economic development, education, health care, state finances, transportation, etc. Some of the best years in Massachusetts’ history occurred while Paul Cellucci was Governor or Lieutenant Governor . He was a hands-on leader who never let high office go to his head. As noted, he is a most sensible man.

Earlier this week there was a report that Massachusetts’ students tested very well in math and science against their international peers, while beating every other state in the nation. It is a very encouraging report, showing continued Massachusetts multi-year supremacy over all other states. Paul Cellucci was a key player in the development of the state’s approach to education, its consistent funding, and its insistence on testing and accountability. He took lots of heat for his stand on some of these issues. He deserves much praise.

“Cellucc” always had the gift of awareness. Not everyone in public life has it. “Cellucc” has it in spades and I would guess that it springs from his upbringing. His working class family bore challenges and setbacks, earned its successes, and appreciated the American dream. That type of family experience breeds a keen awareness of the plights that others face. It’s little wonder that he obsessed about jobs and the economy. That’s what alert and aware Governors do, because jobs are the oxygen supply for the American dream. And he took that healthy obsession about jobs and economic opportunity to his post as U.S. Ambassador to Canada.

Smart man, that Paul Cellucci. He knew that Canada is our largest trading partner. He knew that there was a special and historic relationship between the States and Canada. He nurtured that relationship and people on both sides of that very long and peaceful border benefitted from his efforts.
Of late, Paul has taken the lead on a road which we all walk, in a “race” that no one wants to win……it’s the road and the race of life. You’ve heard of ALS and you’ve probably heard that Governor Cellucci is battling it.

It’s an insidious and debilitating disease with no known cure.
I suspect that most of us would crumble upon receiving such news. One can’t help but think of unfinished matters, of our spouse, our children, and our grandchildren. We might likely sink into self-pity, cursing our fate and fuming at the unfairness of it all. We might do all those things and more and who could blame us for that?

Naturally, Paul Cellucci chose a different course. I told you that he’s sensible, smart, and aware. Yes he’s worried about Jan, his beautiful, brilliant, and strong wife. And of course he’d love much more time with his daughters and his grandchildren. Those are the dreams we all have, particularly after a lifetime of singular effort and achievement. But Paul is thinking of others too—other families who have been stricken, and of doctors and researchers who are determined to find a cure for this frightful disease.

Thus the Governor’s most recent public act has been to team up with UMass Medical School to facilitate and expand their research efforts. He has lent his good name to fundraising efforts and in doing that, he has given us inspiration, hope, and example.
In about two more weeks, as we share the joy of the Christmas season with family, friends, and neighbors, think of a good man, Paul Cellucci. And think of our good fortune-- that we can see the spirit of Christmas in all his good and continuing works.
Governor, thank you, and Merry Christmas.

You can help Governor Cellucci win his most important campaign by giving to the UMass ALS Champion Fund. Go to UMassALS.com


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