Jacqueline O'Neill, the University's associate vice president for state and community relations, said yesterday she has no plans to run for the House seat that her father-in-law will vacate next year, despite a report in last Sunday's Boston Globe that family and friends are urging her to.
House Speaker Thomas P.(Tip) O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass,) will retire from his influential position next year after 34 years as a representative from Massachusetts' eighth district.
Although the community affairs officer said that "everyone with the remotest interest in politics" seems to be considering joining the race, she denied that she was one of them.
O'Neill, who has been involved in community affairs at Harvard for eight years, did not rule out the possibility of political involvement, however.
"If a good candidate emerges, I'd be inclined to give them my support," said Mrs. O'Neill, whom The Globe called "an excellent campaigner."
And without throwing in her own name, she added, "I think a woman candidate would be one of the most attractive options--an ethnic woman would also be an interesting possibility."
Asked if her husband, former Lt. Gov. Thomas P. O'Neill 3rd, would enter the race, Mrs. O'Neill was more evasive. "As far as I know, he's not planning to run," she said. But, she then added, "The success of our marriage has rested on our ability to speak for ourselves."
O'Neill said she suspects that her family is promoting her candidacy despite her intentions to remain an onlooker. "I think my husband's behind this," speculated O'Neill, who in her Harvard position manages Harvard's relations with its Cambridge neighbors.
A larger than average number of candidates will vie for the seat because of its traditional associations with strong statesmanship, according to O'Neill. The late John P. Kennedy '40 represented the eighth district before O'Neill assumed office in 1952. O'Neill has held the seat since.