Dukakis still advocating for fellow Democrats
By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Michael Dukakis, the former Massachusetts governor, now nearly 80 years old, is decades removed from running for political office himself. Yet he still does his part for the state's Democratic Party, actively canvassing for candidates who he believes in. And what's more, he enjoys every minute of it.
Accompanied by his wife, Kitty, the commonwealth's elder statesman spoke on the trials and travails of political life at the July 16 meeting of the Westborough Democratic Town Committee held at Tatnuck Bookseller. At times reflective, pragmatic, and self-deprecating, Dukakis spoke before the approximately 60 people in attendance.
He was blunt in his assessment of his failed 1988 presidential run.
“I listened to the people who thought they knew what it took to run successfully,” he said.
What he should have done, he said, was target specific precincts with an organized grassroots campaign to reach the voters.
That strategy was integral to the recent successful campaigns of Gov. Deval Patrick and U.S. senatorial candidates Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey. Dukakis not only offered counsel to the candidates, he and his wife also actively campaigned for them, including going door to door canvassing.
“We enjoy it,” he said of meeting the voters in person. “It's fun.”
He also praised Warren and Markey.
“They are worthy successors to Ted Kennedy and John Kerry,” he said.
“I still miss Ted every day and I believe John Kerry will go down as one of the greatest secretary of states ever,” he added.
Dukakis stressed that the country must “stop buying into the red and blue stuff.”
Every state, he said, has “decent working Americans and their families.”
And nearly 100 million of those Americans, he said, were dealing with the hardship of “poor or no health care” coverage.
Dukakis and his wife also paid tribute to the late Fr. Jack and Nancy Lawton, well-known Westborough residents who were killed in a car accident in 1991. Jack Lawton served as campaign manager for Dukakis when he ran for lieutenant governor in 1971. Nancy Lawton was active in Democratic politics for many years, including serving as chair of the Westborough Democratic Town Committee. At the time, Jack Lawton was the rector at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. Earlier in the day, the Dukakises paid a visit to view the memorial plaque that is placed at Lawton's Way, the street named after the couple, and met with their adult children.
“It was quite emotional,” Dukakis said, of being back in Westborough and reminiscing about his friends. “Losing them was so tragic.”
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