Brother Paul Feeney will soon be
the newest member of the Massachusetts State Senate after the Boston Local 2222
member and Verizon central office technician handily defeated his two opponents
in the Oct. 17 special election.
|Boston Local 2222 member Paul Feeney, center, campaigning with Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy, right. Feeney's victory puts an ally for working people in the Massachusetts state Senate.
“We couldn’t be prouder of Paul,” said Local 2222 Business Manager Myles Calvey, who is also a member of the International Executive Council. “He worked so hard for this, and his IBEW brothers and sisters and the labor community here got behind him 100 percent.”
His win marks the second election victory for IBEW members in New England this year, joining Manchester Local 2320 Brother Kevin Cavanaugh, who won a state Senate seat in neighboring New Hampshire in July.
“I’ve said it before, but no one represents the interests of IBEW families better than IBEW members,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson, “and Brothers Paul and Kevin and the Second District are setting a great example for all of us. I hope we’ll see more of our members running for office – and winning – in the near future.”
Feeney says he couldn’t have won without the tremendous support of the labor community in Massachusetts. “The IBEW locals, the state AFL-CIO, active members, retirees, they all came together and helped me spread the message that working people deserve a strong voice in the Massachusetts state Senate,” Feeney said. “This election was about working class values – good healthcare, education, a living wage – and the voters listened and backed my vision for our state. I’m thrilled to win, but I’m even more excited to get to work for everyone in the district, whether they voted for me or not.”
Calvey said Feeney’s campaign stuck to the high road, even when the other side deployed some dirty tactics – including demeaning mail pieces and misleading robocalls – in the campaign’s final weeks. “Paul is a guy who wants to make change, and that starts with running a clean campaign. He did this the right way, with hard work, a strong message and grassroots support. He deserves all the credit.”
“This was a great victory for labor in Massachusetts,” said Boston Local 103 Business Manager Lou Antonellis, whose members knocked on doors, made phone calls and distributed literature across the suburban district south of the city. “It’s easy to be cynical about politics these days – whether it’s Republicans or Democrats – but our members got behind Paul Feeney without question. He’s the real deal, and he’ll be a champion for working people in the statehouse.”
Business agent Frank Aikens led Local 103’s effort, helping to send more than 100 volunteers wherever they were most needed. “It was a 24/7 job in the last few weeks, and every one of them helped put Paul over the top,” Antonellis said.
“We really appreciate the help from all over the Massachusetts labor community, IBEW and otherwise,” Calvey said. “I’ve known Paul Feeney a long time, and he’s going to be a great senator. I guarantee he’ll wake up every day thinking about how he can help make life better for working people.”
Calvey said he hopes Feeney will get to work soon on at least one issue that’s particularly irritating to IBEW members in the telecommunications industry – double poles. “They’re supposed to take down old utility poles when new ones are installed,” Calvey said, “but the 30-day deadline is ignored because the companies don’t want to spend the money. Now we’ve got 157,000 of them all over Massachusetts.” Having an ally in office, he hopes, will get the state to step up enforcement.
Feeney expects to be sworn into the full-time position sometime this week, but he warned that, because he won in a special election, he’ll be coming back for help sooner than many of his Senate colleagues.
“We’ve got to do this again in November 2018,” he said of his re-election. Joking to supporters, Feeney said they should stop and pick up his campaign signs on their way home and make sure to take good care of them. “We’re going to need them again real soon.”