Senator Baddour Delivers Farewell Address
Thursday, March 29, 2012 - Today, Senator Baddour delivered his farewell speech in a Formal Session of the Massachusetts Senate.
Transcript of the Address (As Prepare)
Senator Steven A. Baddour
Farewell Remarks (As Prepared)
March 29, 2012
Thank you for being here this afternoon as I give my farewell address.
Thank you Senator Brewer and Senator Tarr for your kind words. Your friendship and the friendship of so many colleagues past and present is one of many wonderful things I will take with me as I leave this Chamber.
Madame President - it is extremely difficult to stand here today and talk about leaving this Body and a job that I have loved and enjoyed for ten years. The decision to join one of the world’s preeminent law firms-McDermott Will and Emery- was complex and one of the most difficult and important decisions of my life. But I know in my heart it is the right one.
Ten years ago, I stood in this Historic Chamber, a newly-elected Senator, and spoke about the values which I campaigned on and promised to uphold for the people of the First Essex District.
I made a promise to my constituents and my colleagues, democrat and republican, that we would work together to make government better for the people we represent.
I promised to make government more open and transparent, to support education, and to listen to the opinions of my constituents.
And I promised to never forget where I came from.
I never forgot the promise I made that when making decisions on important policy matters, I would always remember that I was a son of a working class family -- my dad a retired police sergeant and my mom a retired phlebotomist -- that I was a product of public education from kindergarten through U-Mass Dartmouth, and that sacrifices were made by many for me to accomplish this dream of serving in the Senate. I will especially never forget the sacrifices that my wife and young children made to allow me to stand before you each and every day.
Looking back over the past ten years, I am particularly proud of the contributions I made in reforming our transportation system, improving public safety, keeping government spending in
check, making state government more transparent and accountable, and preserving vital services for those who need our help most.
Madame President - I am truly grateful for the opportunities you gave me while here that allowed me to take an active leadership role to advance these issues. Without your trust, friendship, guidance and support, it would not have been possible.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t thank you for the kindness you have shown my family, especially Isabella and Victoria. They have such a bright future because of women like you who continually hurled rocks at that glass ceiling until it shattered. For those of you who know my daughters, they are also throwing a lot of stones!
I have a picture in my law office of my girls with Hillary Clinton. That picture reminds me of the challenges that they will face as they grow older. During the last Presidential election, I was watching TV with Isabella when a Hillary Clinton for President commercial came on the television. I said to Isabella, “Look that’s Hillary Clinton and she is running for President” What came out of her mouth next threw me for a loop. She said, “Yeah right dad, she can’t be president. Only boys are President.”
Needless to say I went crazy!!
Madame President, when I told you that story the next day, you were just as angry as I was, but you made a call, and a few weeks later I will never forget the expressions on Isabella and Victoria’s faces when - after completing a speech at an event here in Boston - Hillary Clinton stepped from the podium and - ignoring all others - walked over to my daughters and said, “You must be Isabella and Victoria, and let me tell you two girls something, you can do anything or be anything you set your minds to as long as you work hard.”
Madame President you have done more for me than I can mention, but nothing meant more to me than arranging that meeting. So as a dad, Terry, thank you.
It has been said that there is no higher calling than serving your country. When I was an Assistant Attorney General, I used to say that it was a privilege and an honor to stand in court and introduce myself as an Assistant Attorney General representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
And now, I have had the honor of making Massachusetts a better place through public office. I believe that during my time in this Chamber, we have truly changed the way government operates - making it more open and accountable to the people, and effectuated reforms the depth and breadth of which had not been seen for years.
But in doing so, I never lost sight of my constituents. I sought to ensure that taxpayer money is spent effectively and efficiently. I listened to and valued their input, bringing significant Committee Hearings to my district; I fought to preserve funding for education, including public schools, higher education, Adult Basic Education, and ESL; and I ensured the continued safety and security of our children by supporting Melanie’s Law, Jessica’s Law, the Junior Operator Law, Booster Seat Legislation, and myriad other pieces of legislation.
As a parent of two active and athletic daughters, I take tremendous pride in the work we did to raise awareness regarding the prevention of head injuries and concussions in student athletes.
I have been so impressed by the remarkable people I have met along the way. I will never forget a woman named Ladda from my hometown. I met her just before my swearing-in. She fled her homeland and came to America to make a better life for herself and her family. She couldn’t read or write English but she possessed the American Spirit. She knew that if she worked hard, played by the rules she could succeed. But it didn’t come easy for her.
She told me a story about her granddaughter coming home from school one day and needing help with her homework. Unable to read or write - she couldn’t help and she was devastated. But Ladda was resilient. She didn’t give up. . She enrolled in the Methuen Adult Learning Center’s ESL program. And you all know the rest of the story. She now reads and writes with her granddaughters and is an advocate for adult basic education programs in our state. She is a proud American living the American Dream. It’s the Ladda’s of the world that shouldn’t be forgotten as work continues in this Chamber.
None of the accomplishments I mentioned would have been possible without the help, friendship, and support of my colleagues in this Chamber, the House, the Executive Branch and that of my constituents.
And of course, my staff.
Eleni Varitimos, Maria Syrniotis, Dennis Marcello, Mike Habib, Amanda Early, Anne Coyle, Chris Riley and let’s not forget, Jeevan Ramapriya.
Along with the honor of serving the public, I will miss the daily contact with local officials, community and civic leaders, and business owners. But most of all, I will miss working with my constituents, people whose problems we share; they have been my motivation throughout my tenure here.
The privilege of representing them in the Senate, and working with each one of you, has been a remarkable gift - one that I will always cherish.
As a result of your unwavering trust, confidence, and support, I remain humbled and eternally grateful.