Friday, December 6, 2002
Representative Carol Cleven says good-bye
State representative Carol C. Cleven (R-Chelmsford), who represented Carlisle for many years, will be leaving the State House when her term expires at the end of December, a victim of redistricting.
The following are excerpts from her farewell address to her House colleagues on November 21:
"...It has been my great pleasure and privilege to serve Chelmsford as an elected official for 34 years: 18 years on the School Committee and the past 16 years as State Representative for the 16th Middlesex District. In my first four years the District was comprised of Chelmsford and Tyngsboro; the next four years Chelmsford and a very small portion of Lowell; and for the past eight years Chelmsford and Carlisle. I want to publicly thank the citizens of these communities for their wonderful support over the years.
"...I take great pride in having been part of a number of important decisive actions that have positively impacted on the well-being of the citizens of the Commonwealth. To name but a few: the Education Act of 1993; legislation providing health coverage for uninsured children and the disabled; legislation providing access and affordability in housing as well as legislation mitigating problems in mixed population housing: the no- or low-interest loans for clean water and sewering projects in our communities; legislation providing affordable and safe child care to enable parents to work and become self-sufficient; legislation addressing domestic violence; the Senior Pharmacy Program and the Pharmacy Advantage Program; assisted-living programs; improved programs for the mentally ill and the retarded; funding for library construction; and legislation authorizing the current design-build contract for the widening of Rte 3 North, from Rte. 128 to the New Hampshire border.... I believe that this contractual arrangement has proven exceedingly successful, and warrants consideration for application in other parts of the Commonwealth. There are many more actions I take pride in being a part of.
"...This legislature desperately needs to do a better job of redistricting. As you know, my own hometown of Chelmsford has been gerrymandered into four parts in the current redistricting. Mr. Speaker, the voters in my hometown of Chelmsford feel that they have lost their voice in the Commonwealth, that they have been disconnected and isolated from state government, that they have lost their identity. And I would remind you, Mr. Speaker, that three members of the Supreme Judicial Court agreed that their rights under our Constitution were violated. Mr. Speaker, when the next redistricting process is initiated, I hope that it will be remembered that the Supreme Judicial Court split four to three in upholding our current redistricting plan, and that much more attention must be paid in redistricting to the voters' needs for a voice in state government, and perhaps less attention paid to incumbent needs and preferences.
"Finally, I want to acknowledge and thank all of you for the support, friendships and kindness you have accorded me during my eight terms.
"It has been a great and rewarding experience! Thank you all!"
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito