Finneran: A Few of my Favorite Things…

Friday, August 11, 2017
Tom Finneran, GoLocalProv MINDSETTERâ„¢

Julie Andrews
Yes. The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies. And Julie Andrews singing “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things” is the third best song in the movie. First place of course goes to “Climb Every Mountain”.  Second place goes to “Edelweiss”.

Other favorite movies are Casablanca, The Godfather I and II, Braveheart, Apollo 13, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Saving Private Ryan, Bridge on the River Kwai, The Maltese Falcon.............

It’s August. The clock and the calendar are moving relentlessly toward Labor Day and a new school year. We enter the final weeks of summer with the lingering hope of a strong finish---good books, good movies, good food, and good days with friends and family.

Thus today’s column is offered as a no-cost public service, filled with the suggestions of an old man........

Other good movies include Whiplash, Doubt, Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, Selma, Captain Phillips, Lincoln, and The Imitation Game. All are worthy of the rental, all are worthy of your time. Don’t forget the wine...........

A healthy habit forged ages ago was the summer reading list we all got at school. The habit itself usually takes true hold as we grow wiser, ever more curious, trying to make up for lost time. Those rebellious years when we only pretended to read the four or five assigned books are in the rearview mirror, consigned to that period in our life known as “the stupid years”. For boys, those years usually range from age 12 to about age 40.

My book list is steeped in political incorrectness for it begins with a few dead white European men, namely Shakespeare, Dickens, and Churchill. Macaulay too. Anything by Shakespeare and Churchill is rewarding. Revel in the language. They are brilliant. Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” is always worthwhile, even if it’s your fifth re-read. And Macaulay greatly influenced Churchill. Enough said.

Other good books are “Truman” and “The Great Bridge”, by David McCullough. “The Candy Bombers” by Andrei Cherny is an amazing and important piece of history. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” merits a re-read as does “Moneyball”. Lauren Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken” should make your list. You can make it a very strong finish by reading (or re-reading) Frederick Douglass’ “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”. Now there was a man.  Local author Steve Puleo has a few gems to his credit. Two with local flavor are “Dark Tide” (about the great molasses flood) and “A City So Grand”, my all-time favorite Boston book. It is a treat. As with the movies, don’t forget the wine...........

I have my issues with the Boston Globe but the sports section is not the problem over there. Rather, it is the jewel. Read Nick Cafardo on baseball. Always good. Read Bob Ryan on basketball. Always good. Read Ben Volin and Chris Gasper on football. Always good. And read Dan Shaughnessy on anything in the world of sports. Dan has found a way to become the bane of owners, players, and rabid see-no-evil fans, all while writing witty and well-informed columns. He’s not a cheerleader waving pompoms. He’s thoughtful and opinionated. It’s a good combination.

By the way, I miss Jackie MacMullan. Perhaps I’ll get my MacMullan fix by reading her book on Bird and Magic. I will not forget the wine....................

We move to the table as we consider the day’s feast. We are blessed with bounty. Wellfleet oysters, Cape mussels, dayboat scallops, fresh striper. Truly a heavenly banquet. Homegrown tomatoes! Awesome. Fresh picked corn on the cob. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the beach. The very best state dinners in Paris or Washington D.C. cannot match our fresh fare. How about peach cobbler? It can only be improved by making a combination cobbler---a blueberry and peach cobbler, served warm with vanilla ice cream. In fact, I’m off to the kitchen right now. Cobbler tonight.

Remember that time waits for no one. August is ticking away. And don’t forget the wine...........

Tom Finneran is the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, served as the head the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and was a longstanding radio voice in Boston radio.

  • Five-Tool Player

    Kate Coyne-McCoy - In baseball, they call them all around superstars - five tool athletes.

    McCoy, who once ran for Congress, is a strong political organizer for EMILY’s List, a proven fundraiser for Raimondo’s PAC, strong with the media, and is a top lobbyist.

    She is manages to balance being a partisan with her all-around effectiveness. McCoy can do it all.

  • Effective Insider

    Lenny Lopes - Whether you’re looking for someone to navigate the halls of the State House, manage your public relations image, or execute a contract, Lopes can do it all.

    The affable and well-liked former Chief of Staff to then-Attorney General Patrick Lynch (and prior to that, Legal Counsel to Lt. Governor Charlie Fogarty) had joined forces with Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West before striking out on his own with The Victor Group, taking on such heavyweight clients as Lifespan and online gaming behemoths Fanduel and DraftKings, and more niche healthcare accounts — including the medical marijuana Rhode Island Growers Coalition. 

    Lopes was tapped this past spring following the tourism debacle by Havas PR to help navigate their way through the Rhode Island waters, and ultimately defend their performance and reputation to stave off their contract cancelation for now. If you’re hired to be a PR firm’s de facto PR brain, you must be on your game.

  • Two Coast Operative

    Matt Lopes - With more than 20 different lobbying agreement Lopes has emerged as a premiere influencer in Rhode Island. His clients range from Dunkin’ Donuts to Amgen to the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.

    While managing one of the biggest lobbying practices he is often on the West Coast -- he is a nationally recognized Special Master for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, overseeing prison reform and compliance.

    He plays with the big boys on both coasts. Easy for a guy who was a star athlete in high school and at Dartmouth.

  • Gambling Man

    Don Sweitzer - IGT (formerly GTECH) super lobbyist plays the game at most every level, with big ties to the Clinton organization that go all the way back to Sweitzer playing a key role with Clinton-Gore in 1992.

    Sweitzer’s contacts span the political spectrum - despite his Democratic pedigree, don’t count him out if Donald Trump wins the Presidency as Sweitzer worked for Paul Manafort back in the early 1990s.

    Reportedly, Raimondo asked him to serve as her chief of staff - he gracefully declined.

  • New School

    Segal, Bell and Regunberg - These three young Brown grads are emerging as the leaders in progressive causes in Rhode Island and across the United States. David Segal, who served on the City Council in Providence and as a State Rep, failed in a 2010 effort for Congress losing to David Cicilline in the Democratic primary. 

    In 2016, Segal along with Aaron Regunberg emerged as a powerful force in trying to kill of the Super-Delegate structure in the Democratic primary.

    Sam Bell is leading a major effort to re-calibrate the Democratic party to the left the election season. We will know just how good Bell is after September 13’s Democratic primary - Bell is overseeing more than a dozen progressive candidates' campaigns.

  • Old School

    Goldberg, Walsh, Ryan and Murphy - These four veteran lobbyists know the pass codes to just about every private office in the State House. For decades they have been the go-to guys. Regardless of who is in power Bob Goldberg, Joe Walsh, Mike Ryan and Bill Murphy are always in vogue.

    Only Ryan was not an elected official. Murphy ran the House for a decade, Goldberg had pulled off one of the greatest political coups when he lead a small band of GOP senators and split the Dems to take power, and Walsh was the almost Governor of Rhode Island in 1984. 

    Combined, they have the lion's share of premier clients and have collected the millions in fees to prove it.

  • Urban Innovator

    Nicole Pollock - The new Chief-of-Staff for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza certainly has big shoes to fill, with the recent departure of both Chief Operating Officer Brett Smiley and outgoing Chief of Staff Tony Simon but Pollack has gotten off to a strong start.  Following the recent summit on Kennedy Plaza co-hosted former Mayor Joe Paolino and Elorza, Paolino told GoLocal, “[Elorza’s] new Chief of Staff, I’m very impressed with.”

    Pollock had joined the administration in February 2015 as Chief Innovation Officer and then served as Chief of Policy and Innovation for the administration before being tapped for the top post. Pollock had previously served in a policy and communications role for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. A graduate of Brown University, Pollock currently serves on the Board of the West Broadway Neighborhood Association and the Providence Plan.

    The city has no shortage of pressing issues to tackle, from devising a plan to handle the ongoing panhandling, homelessness, and drug use issues in Kennedy Plaza, to the ever-looming issue of the protracted legal battle with the Providence Firefighters that could have monumental financial implications for the city, depending on the outcome. 

    Photo: LinkedIn

  • Emerging Star

    Matt Bucci - The up-and-comer on Governor Raimondo’s staff was in the mix for Chief of Staff or another promotion this summer, but may chose to take his skills and join the world of lobbying or grab another private sector position.

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  • Seasoned Pro

    Chris Hunter - The strategy wunderkind has morphed into a well-established operative in his own right in veteran lobbyist Frank McMahon’s public affairs shop, Advocacy Solutions.   

    The long-time government and public relations manager for the Providence Working Waterfront Alliance, Hunter is equally adept at the State House, having snagged emerging industry client Lyft and engaged in the hand-to-hand combat that comes with lobbying for the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools. 

    Election seasons in particular are where Hunter’s know-how comes in handy, having managed a number of successful bond referendum in the state. Hunter is a constant presence networking around town, whether it’s hobnobbing with the Providence Committee on Foreign Relations or serving on host committees for key candidates - he’s the combination of both “who you know” and “what you know."

  • Everywhere

    Nick Hemond - None may be more unabashedly and relentlessly ambitious than Hemond, who landed as an associate at powerhouse DarrowEverett in 2014. 

    The President of the Providence School Board lobbies at City Hall for high-profile real estate clients including Buff Chace and High Rock Management (i.e. the ownership of the Superman Building) and at the State House for labor interests (RI FOP, RI Carpenters Local Union 94), Big Health (the Hospital Association of Rhode Island) and rounding it out with such interests as AAA, the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, and infrastructure firm AECOM.

    If that doesn’t sound like a full load, toss in a slew of crisis communications clients in the way of bars and clubs in varying degrees of trouble (read: stabbings, shootings) before the Providence Board of Licenses. Having so many fingers in so many pies (and some of which could appear somewhat conflicting) has raised eyebrows, but in the meantime if Hemond is winning, the checks keep coming. 

  • Veteran Professional

    Leo Skenyon - The seasoned political operative is the man behind the man. Serving as Chief of Staff to Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, Skenyon helped navigate a more than treacherous legislative session which saw Finance Chair Representative Ray Gallison resign, Representative John Carnevale found ineligible to run at his purported address in Providence, and a slew of financial and ethics issues for a number of Democrats. 

    The Speaker however emerged from the session having tackled the thorny issue of community service grants, and what had seemed up until this year a nearly impossible task, putting ethics reform — and oversight of the Assembly by the Ethics Commission — before voters this November.

    Skenyon has weathered many a political season before, having been the former Chief of Staff to then-Senate Majority Leader Jack Revens in the 1980s, and then a former top aide to Governor Bruce Sundlun and U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell.  Now, his boss faces both a Republican and Independent challenger in the general election in November.  



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