I started blogging the Newburyport Blog on January 1, 2006 when this present Newburyport City Council took office. And because I’ve been paying so much more attention to stuff than I ever would have before, I’ve ended up paying a whole lot more attention to this particular Newburyport City Council.
This Newburyport City Council seemed to started off kind of ragged, but gradually over the last almost 2 years, in my mind, they have become, for the most part, a thoughtful, reasonably cohesive, deliberating political entity.
And 2 of the “newbies” to the Newburyport City Council, Gary Roberts and Tom Jones, have for me, become 2 delightful surprises. I see them both as thoughtful “centrists.”
I think my initial concern about Tom Jones and Gary Roberts was that they could both be “polarizing,” “simplistic” and “difficult.”
And in my mind, the opposite has proven true.
Two things concern me when it comes to the electorate.
Both of these men voted against having the spring override for the Newburyport Schools. And I think in many folks minds, this pigeonholes them as being “anti-school” and “anti-children.” And from my discussions with both men, nothing could be further from the truth.
And I think that the folks, including “Yes for Newburyport” folks, who have gradually gotten to know Gary Roberts and Tom Jones, have come to see these two men as problem solvers and bridge builders, wanting what is best for both the schools, as well for the larger community.
And from what I am hearing, some of the electorate could wonder that both men might have disagreed with Mayor John Moak.
Well, “reasonable people can disagree” (I’ve always loved that quote).
And what I have witnessed from both Tom Jones and Gary Roberts, is that when something is proposed or if there is an issue to be solved, that both men take a great deal of time to think things through. And the conclusion that they reach, may or may not be to folks liking, including Mayor John Moak’s, but a time-consuming and thoughtful deliberation has been behind whatever conclusions have been made.
And the other thing that I like about Gary Roberts and Tom Jones is they are not petty and they do not hold grudges (this has not always been true of Newburyport city councilors and some politicians). After an issue is voted on, both men move on to the next issue and don’t hold it against whoever it is that might have disagreed with them.
In my book this is called maturity.
I have enjoyed seeing Tom Jones and Gary Roberts grow as Newburyport City Councilors. And I would very much like to see them be re-elected to the Newburyport City Council on November 6, 2007 and watch them flourish as they might continue to serve the city of Newburyport, Massachusetts, which they both obviously love.