Legislator

 

Massachusetts House of Representatives (1977-1990)

 

SPECIAL AWARDS

"Legislator of the Year"

 

1984 State Police Commissioned Officers Association

1985 Massachusetts Municipal Association

1987 Massachusetts Association of School Committees

1987 Massachusetts Cultural Alliance

1989 Association for the Advancement of Individual Potential

1989 Massachusetts Computer Using Educators

 

 

KEY LEGISLATION

 

1980 Toxic Waste Cancer Study

1983 Televised House Sessions

1983 Hazardous Waste Superfund

1985 Education Reform (Chapter 188)

1986 Performing Arts Student Series (PASS Program)

1986 Toxic Waste Cleanup Initiative Petition

1987 Carnegie School Program (Chapter 627)

1987 School Building Assistance Reauthorization

1988 Making Music Together, Boston/Moscow Cultural Exchange

1988 Student Freedom of Expression Law

1989 Special Education Reform

1990 College Opportunity Bond Program

1990 Free and Equal Time Ballot Question

 

 

 

PRESS


A CANDIDATE IN SEARCH OF IDEAS TO IMPROVE GOVERNMENT

by Robert L. Turner

Boston Globe - Thursday June 7, 1990


When the first post-Proposition 21/2 budget was debated nine years ago, a few young liberal representatives aligned themselves with more conservative Democrats and Republicans to push what they called "The Better Budget".


One was Nick Paleologos of Woburn. He said a fresh approach was needed to make the budget work without new taxes or serious program cuts. He helped form what he called "a shaky coalition of classic conservatives and litmus-test liberals, each putting aside their own stereotyped views of the other".


Now Paleologos is running for lieutenant governor. And he is determined to find out if new ideas - innovative approaches to make government work - can win as many votes as ideological purity.

Paleologos' opponents in the Democratic primary are Rep. Marjorie Clapprood, 40, of Sharon and Sen. Bill Golden, 41, of Weymouth. She has been articulate in defending liberal programs and values now under fire. He has a solid liberal voting record and points especially to environmental achievements.


More than one commentator has lamented that these three are not competing for governor. While all have been campaigning zealously, little acrimony has been generated. But Paleologos intends to make sure the differences are known.


From his viewpoint, the key difference is not purity but performance. "I know I have a better record than these two," he said. While he is a bit younger, at 37, than either primary opponent, Paleologos does have a longer public record, and it tells a lot about him as a public official.


An example is education. When he was a member of the Woburn School Committee 15 years ago, and barely out of school, Paleologos supported merit pay for teachers. The teachers' unions resist grading teachers by performance rather than seniority, and, along with his support for bringing Metco to Woburn, they helped defeat his reelection bid.


Five years ago, however, as part of the most sweeping educational reform in a generation, Paleologos included a program of Horace Mann grants to teachers who came forward with innovative approaches to their jobs. It is basically merit pay, but it rewards future proposals rather than past performance, so the unions went along. He made it work.


As House chairman of the Education Committee and principal author of most recent legislation, Paleologos has clearly done more in the area than any other legislator, but still the unions failed to endorse a candidate at the Springfield convention where Paleologos trailed both Clapprood and Golden narrowly. One reason: he can't be trusted to fall in line with their views 100 percent. He insisted, for instance, in adding "incompetence" to the fuzzy language designating reasons for firing tenured teachers - for some reason a controversial proposal.


Similarly, one reason Paleologos has a less than perfect score from organized labor is that he voted for the bottle bill, which labor opposed out of blind deference to the bottling workers.

But what Paleologos is selling is ideas, not votes.


When the House was wrangling over rules changes to improve its image, Paleologos pushed - almost single-handedly at first - for live television coverage. The proposal has proved to be a brilliant success.

State spending has lost public confidence? Earmarking is neither foolproof nor an idea unique to Paleologos, but it is his amendment that is attached to the House-passed tax bill that purports to earmark funds for education, long-term care and the environment.


Campaigns are too negative and chopped up by 30-second commercials? Paleologos has put a question on the ballot for voter opinion about a requirement that TV stations offer campaigns meaningful chunks of time.


Taxes are unfair? Paleologos wants to look at radical reform: eliminating sales and property taxes and pegging an increased income tax to the federal income tax.


Paleologos says he cares whether ideas work, not whether they have the right labels or the right backers.

"The day people can say they know where I'm coming down on every single issue is the day I get out of politics," he said.

 

Robert L. Turner is a Globe columnist

 

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TV TIME ISSUE NICK'S LEGACY

by Peter Lucas

Boston Herald - Friday November 16, 1990

 

The politician may be on the way out, but the idea he left behind will be around for a while.


The politician is state Rep. Nick Paleologos of Woburn, a six-term member of the House who finished third in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. He leaves office at the end of the year, returning to a career of producing plays and movies. But his proposal to require radio and television stations to provide free time to state-wide political candidates - a proposal that is viewed with outright horror by broadcast executives - will be around and kicking.


Thanks to Paleologos the idea appeared on the Nov. 6 ballot as a non-binding referendum - Question 6 - and was approved by the electorate 53 to 47 percent.


"The result was significant because the media ignored the issue," Paleologos said. "Television stations took positions on Questions 1 through 5, but they ignored Question 6."


Paleologos' complaint with television is the huge cost of advertising. Toward the end of the primary campaign Paleologos tried the impossible. He tried to win an election without using paid television advertising.


Paleologos took the $150,000 he had earmarked for a week to 10 days worth of television advertising and put it toward a seven-minute campaign video that he had mailed to the homes of 50,000 Democrats. While his two opponents, state Rep. Marjorie Clapprood and state Sen. William Golden were humming away on paid television, Paleologos was hoping that families would take the time to pop his video into their VCR's and listen to his message.


Some may have done so, but not enough - not by a longshot and Clapprood went on to win the Democratic nomination. "It was not a bad idea, but it was the wrong idea for the wrong fight," Paleologos said. "It would be more conducive to a congressional primary fight. But in an odd sort of way I ended up proving the point I was trying to make with Question 6. That paid television advertising is everything. The rule of thumb is that you need money to win. You can't win without it, and the single biggest campaign cost is television advertising."


Paleologos maintains that "an unholy alliance" of television executives and incumbent congressmen has thwarted moves like his to provide free television time for candidates. The television executives have opposed it because paid political advertising is a cash cow for them, while incumbent congressmen benefit greatly when their opponents cannot afford to buy television time.


"This alliance has driven the cost of campaigns through the roof, their quality into the gutter and average citizens out of the process," Paleologos said.


Paleologos was also critical of the stations for keeping Independent gubernatorial candidate Len Umina out of the two televised debates. Industry spokesmen "implied that Umina would have to buy his way onto the stage like everyone else," Paleologos said. "They told him he was not viable because he did not line their pockets the way the other two gubernatorial candidates did. As a result, Len Umina learned a lousy lesson the hard way. Access to the ballot is a battle. Access to the airwaves, which are owned by the public, is war. Unfortunately, it is a war the public is losing."


Paleologos has no illusions about the future of his proposal. He will be out of office doing other things, and it will be up to someone else to pick up the issue. Nevertheless, through Paleologos' efforts Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to go on record in favor of forcing television stations to provide candidates with free time.


And even though you are gone, as Paleologos will be, it is nice to know that you left something behind.


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OTHER PRESS CLIPPINGS FROM 1990

CAMPAIGN FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

 

"Nick Paleologos ought to be running for Governor, and is at least as qualified for the job as any of the people running for it. Beneath his Clark Kent appearance there is an 'S' on his chest. Shows courage by telling TV stations they should give free air time to candidates to lower the cost of political campaigns. He's the most open minded of the statewide candidates and would be the strongest running mate for the Democratic ticket."

--SPRINGFIELD VALLEY ADVOCATE (5/28/90)


"A leading advocate for arts and education policy on Beacon Hill, state representative Nick Paleologos practices what he preaches.."

--BOSTON HERALD (3/26/90)


"One of the most respected members of the House and Senate."

--A.A. Michelson, SPRINGFIELD UNION (6/24/89)


"A graduate of Tufts and Harvard, Paleologos received high marks for steering education reforms through the House."

--MIDDLESEX NEWS (3/15/87)


"The next Governor should appoint Representative Nick Paleologos as top dog in education."

--Alan Lupo, BOSTON GLOBE (10/3/90)


"Nick Paleologos has earned respect among his colleagues for his work on hazardous waste and state aid to education."

--LOWELL SUN (4/22/84)


Nicholas Paleologos has impressed colleagues with his independence and articulate treatment of issues."

--BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL (9/13/78)

 

 

 

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WOBURN SCHOOL COMMITTEE (1973-1975)


Paleologos’ Politics

By Henry Garvey

Woburn Teachers Association

Woburn Daily Times & Chronicle  December 17, 1975


Last Wednesday’s School Committee meeting marked the end, perhaps temporarily, of the political career of Nick Paleologos. His election, his service to Woburn and his defeat at the polls will not easily be forgotten because each said something about Nick and our society.

Two years ago, Mr. Paleologos was the shining knight in white armor, ever ready to lift us out of the Watergate depression. It was then fashionable for communities to elect teenagers to public office and Woburn, not to be left behind the times, put Nick into office. He was billed as a new voice who would bring fresh ideas to the school committee.

Mr. Paleologos did bring his own brand of idealism to the committee. This idealism was often the cause of Mr. Paleologos ending up on the wrong side of a 6-1 vote of the committee. If Mr. Paleologos couldn’t have Camelot, he wouldn’t settle for Hoboken.

During his two years on the committee, Mr. Paleologos was always ready to listen to views that were in opposition to his own. Listen he would, but rarely did he change his mind. Mr. Paleologos was always on the wrong side of an issue but for all the right reasons.

Nick learned the hard way. One of his first motions on the school committee was to abolish the tenure rights of teachers in Woburn. He soon discovered that teachers’ tenure rights are protected by the very career that he aspires to: law. There are methods to improve the performance of teachers but the majority felt that abolishing tenure is not the method.

Mr. Paleologos will best be remembered for his stands in favor of METCO (a state program which transports black students from Boston to participating suburban school systems) and Merit Pay, both of which contributed to his defeat in November. He again found himself on the wrong side of these issues, but supported them using his idealistic logic.

As a School Committee member, he saw the need to improve the quality of education for children. However, he failed to realize that he first serves an electorate and a system that was not yet prepared to assist other communities solve their problems without first putting its own house in order. As a result, Nick was the only candidate in November in favor of METCO.

Last August, Mr. Paleologos insisted that Merit Pay be included in the teachers’ contract. He felt that this would improve the quality of teaching in the schools. Mr. Paleologos made few friends with this stand. The expertise of the teaching staff can be improved, but not through a program that serves only to divide teachers. Methods such as service training and tuition reimbursement are positive steps toward improving the quality of our schools.

Mr. Paleologos will now return to his law studies. Once he passes the bar and becomes a practicing attorney, his idealism will probably be tempered by reality. Only Perry Mason can win cases by riding a white horse or carrying a silver bullet into a courtroom. One can only assume that as Nick drives through Woburn Square on his way to the law library that he looks covetously at the upstairs center office at City Hall.

Nick was a good school committeeman. His interests were always with the children. He has all the political attributes to try again: Charm, good looks, charisma. If only he could have been less ideal.