The Institute of Politics debate last Thursday between the candidates running for the state senate seat currently occupied by Thomas F. Birmingham ’72 underscored the strength of both the leading competitors in this hotly-contested race. Former Cambridge Mayor Anthony D. Galluccio and State Rep. Jarrett T. Barrios ’90 have similar policy priorities and are accomplished public servants, but Galluccio’s style of leadership should make him a more effective state senator. We are proud to endorse Galluccio for the Massachusetts State Senate.
As voters go to the polls tomorrow in the Democratic primary—which given the absence of Republican, Libertarian or Green Party candidates is tantamount to choosing the winner—they should remember Galluccio’s strong legacy of positive contributions to Cambridge. He is the person best equipped to represent them in a legislature that is confronting daunting challenges. As the housing crunch in Massachusetts worsens, as the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests will soon leave thousands of students without diplomas and as the economic situation remains difficult, Galluccio’s record shows he has the ability to confront these issues with skill and resolve.
In Cambridge’s municipal governing system, the mayor also chairs the city’s school committee. While in many past administrations mayors have taken this role to be largely ceremonial, Galluccio approached this opportunity for leadership with refreshing vigor. He brought significant reforms to the school department, including important changes in assignment policies that will increase socioeconomic diversity in classrooms as well as structural changes at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School that will strengthen the effectiveness of the “smaller learning communities” within the larger school.
As chair of the city council committee on housing, Galluccio has had hands-on experience dealing with the housing crunch in one of the cities under the greatest strain to maintain its affordability. He has been making a solid effort to combat the effects of gentrification. His approach—focusing city, state and federal resources to help create more units of affordable housing—is a creative strategy to a problem that can often be seen as a parochial concern. At the same time, his demand for accountability by local universities to help house their graduate student populations shows that he is keenly aware of the concerns of his constituents.
Galluccio, who is one of the most balanced voices on the city council, showed tremendous political aplomb during his time as mayor by balancing his obligation to his constituency with a commitment to a viable and positive working relationship with the University that did not, as can often be the case in Cambridge politics, boil down to shouting slogans in an attempt to pander to extremists. Galluccio gave honest and reasonable consideration to the University’s construction proposals and was open to creative solutions, as exemplified by his courageous stance as the only councillor who opposed a moratorium on any development in the Riverside neighborhood. His respect for the University’s contributions was exemplified in his selection of the ARCO Forum as the site for his state of the city address.
Galluccio has the ability to appeal to the entire district, which stretches from upper-crust Cambridge neighborhoods to the stinging poverty of some Chelsea areas. His working-class background has instilled in him a respect for those who struggle to make ends meet in our communities—his strong support of the living wage movement and his endorsement by several labor associations underscore his commitment to matters of fair pay.
Barrios has led a distinguished career in public service, and the election of an openly gay Latino man to the Massachusetts State Senate would be positive and unprecedented. But the fact that one of Cambridge’s two full-time state representative seats was lost under Barrios’ watch leaves us with concerns about his determination to fight for Cambridge’s crucial interests.
Anthony D. Galluccio, with his intelligence and skill in public policy coupled with his ability to build consensus and compromise among various groups, will make an effective state senator. During his time as mayor, Galluccio personally met with each eighth-grader in Cambridge to discuss their plans as they prepared to enter high school. It is our expectation that his genuine and passionate concern for his neighbors, and their future, will be the hallmark of his tenure in the state senate.