‘Representative McGonagle, Can I Ask You a Question?’ ‘NO!’

Thus far in this 2018 election cycle in Everett, state Rep. Joseph McGonagle could be accurately described as unavailable and unresponsive. After an interesting, rainy Saturday afternoon in Everett Square, we can add petty and rude to the list.

The McGonagle campaign scrambled to assemble a group of people holding signs for the incumbent when it learned a competitor had organized a free-ice cream, meet-and-greet for the square. That’s to be expected in politics even this early in the campaign. What’s not expected is for McGonagle’s sign holders—and McGonagle himself—to actually stand in front of table set up by Democratic challenger Gerly Adrien, blocking her sign holders’ access to passing traffic. Things got worse from there.

State Rep. Joe McGonagle (back to the camera) camps out in front of sign holders for Democratic challenger Gerly Adrien in Everett Square.

The Everett Stimulus approached Rep. McGonagle with the intention of asking him about his legislative record—specifically, what legislative achievement is he most proud of as he campaigns for reelection?

After introducing myself and telling him I am the author of The Everett Stimulus, McGonagle said, “The Everett Stimulus? I’ve never heard of that. What is that?” When I explained it was a webpage covering politics in Everett including city council meetings and the like, he asked, “What credibility does this website have? Is it credible?” I gave him a 15-second rundown of my 25 years of experience as a journalist, in government, in politics, and as the former communications director for the Senate Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly, he dismissed me with, “Yeah, that’s Connecticut.” He turned his back to me and walked away.

Still wanting to get my question answered, I waited until he came back to his supporters. I asked him, “Representative, can I ask you just one question?” He brushed right past me with a loud and clear, “NO!

McGonagle no doubt is still smarting from Friday’s edition of The Everett Stimulus in which I called out his refusal to debate his two opponents, his unavailability to answer even the simplest questions, and his unethical door-to-door campaign tactics. Can’t say that I blame him. He is used to just getting over on people, doing and saying whatver he wants and hoping people don’t know any better. Those days are over. And that is so, Joe.

Just how worried is McGonagle about his reelection chances? Well, rushing to assemble a group of sign holders just because his opponent is holding a meet-and-greet, and then standing in front of them—including the kids getting the free ice cream—speaks volumes. (And by the way, the McGonagle campaign also promised hot dogs for people stopping by, but there wasn’t nary a frank to be found.)

McGonagle is right to be worried. He is facing the young, hard-campaigning, Adrien who simultaneously works as finance and grants manager for Boston University’s Medical Center’s Hematology and Oncology section, owns a small business, and is pursuing her MBA at BU (McGonagle seems to resent Adrien’s impressive education credentials). The third candidate on the Sept. 4th primary ballot is Stephen “Stat” Smith, the former state rep. who spent time in the big house for voter fraud.

Instead of getting snippy with me, McGonagle would be best served by: 1. Debating his two opponents. It is the responsibility of any incumbent to meet the other candidates of his party in a public forum. If he can’t defend his record, he shouldn’t be reelected; 2. Start making himself available to constituents and reporters to answer their concerns and their questions. Hiding behind press releases and an Everett city councilor who is running your campaign is kind of pathetic; and 3. Stop telling immigrant voters that he’ll  fix Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for their families and friends. You have no power to impact the federal TPS program and besides, you have resisted every legislative effort to help the immigrant community in Everett.

Rep. McGonagle, there is a sizable faction of newly engaged voters in Everett that wants to know about your legislative record (or lack thereof), wants to learn about your position on issues such as “safe communities,” and won’t stand for your unavailability.

And oh, can I still ask you just one question?

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