Sunday, January 23, 2011

"One of the last of the good guys."

From yesterday's Boston Globe, a report on the end of an era in Massachusetts politics:
“It’s over for us, Sal. The whole thing is over for our generation,’’ Francine Gannon told Sal Tecce as they watched their friend, retired state Auditor A. Joseph DeNucci, leaving a pomp-filled tribute in the House chamber yesterday.

Tecce worked with DeNucci in the State House when they were pages all those years ago. Gannon’s family supported DeNucci for decades. They were among the many old friends, lawmakers, aides, and political supporters who see DeNucci’s retirement as not just the end of a lengthy political career but also the end of an era.

DeNucci, a State House fixture for decades, represented an old-school brand of politics, built on personal loyalties, that is now under attack. Former attorney general Francis X. Bellotti, who served as master of ceremonies for the celebration, said he sees this as “a time of great cynicism, when many politicians take polls to find out what they believe.’’

“We live in an environment that makes it very difficult, extremely difficult, if not impossible, for there to ever be another Joe DeNucci,’’ said Bellotti, a longtime friend who offered an elegiac tribute to DeNucci. “This is not just the passing of an era. It’s the passing of one of the last of the good guys, one of the last of the giants.’’

And DeNucci, said Bellotti and other speakers, was one of a kind. A professional boxer from Newton, he came to the State House as a page and worked his way up to serve in elective office, first in the House for 10 years and then for six terms as state auditor.
To read the rest, click here. The tributes offered above are richly deserved: a good man and an outstanding public servant, Joe DeNucci represented the best in Massachusetts politics. Always humble and personally unassuming, Auditor DeNucci worked hard to make state government more efficient and accountable, uncovering corruption and seeking to ensure that public funds were well spent. An old-school, pro-life Democrat who won respect and support from people across the political and ideological spectrum, Joe DeNucci never forgot that public service is about helping real people with real problems and giving a voice to the powerless.

I met Joe DeNucci a couple of times when I was a State House intern, and I once had the honor of introducing him when he came to speak to the assembled interns about his work as state auditor. While I don't remember much of what he said that day, I can say that I was always proud to have Joe DeNucci as one of my elected officials. His service to the Commonwealth made Massachusetts a better place, and I regret that we probably won't see his like again. AMDG.


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