Sunday my mom, Tony, Jowanna and I had the wonderful opportunity of attending President Bill Clinton’s Rally supporting Barney Frank for Congress which was located at the Taunton High School. We volunteered at the event because we believe Congressman Barney Frank is the BEST!!

Congressman Barney Frank has always taken the time out of his busy schedule to listen to my concerns on disability, access, transportation, safety and healthcare issues. I’ve met with him twice at his Washington DC office and once at his local Taunton office. Congressman Frank and his legislative assistants both locally and in Washington have always been responsive and willing to help all his constituents. Barney Frank is a straight shooter! He’s very intelligent, direct, honest, kind, gentle, truthful and compassionate. I’m proud to be his friend!

As we entered the Taunton High School parking lot we were directed to the front row where an area was reserved for persons with handicap placards. After exiting our van we headed to the volunteer tent. Here we were warmly greeted by Jack, a volunteer for Barney’s Frank campaign. Jack gave us signs to hold and a Staff-All Access Pass because we were volunteers.

As we were holding our signs in front of the high school, my State Representative Steve Canessa warmly greeted me. Representative Canessa is wonderful. He’s always very kind, sensitive, and compassionate; he quickly responds to any of my concerns. My State Senator Marc Pacheco accompanied President Bill Clinton and Congressman Barney Frank and spoke at the rally. I didn’t have a chance to speak with him but he’s always very kind, helpful and supportive.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of security before, during and after the rally. The City of Taunton Police did an outstanding job maintaining security and peace at the event. They were all very helpful, friendly and considerate. Right before the rally began a group of rude, loud and obnoxious Sean Bielat supporters, Barney Frank’s Republican opponent, showed up at the high school and tried to cause a major disruption. They were yelling vulgar words and waving offensive signs. The police kept them under control in a fine and orderly manner. I also had the pleasure of meeting Massachusetts State Troopers Mike Halstead and Trooper Steve Connolly who were very friendly, kind and ready to lend a hand.

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City of Taunton Police are all very nice and helpful the crowd gathers outside before rally State Trooper Mike Halstead was very kind and helpful

As I wa s waiting to enter the rally, I was delighted that Congressman Barney Frank came over to say hello to me. He even remembered the last time he saw me was at the Massachusetts Democratic State Convention at MassMutual Center in Springfield. I was especially happy to once again see his good friend, Jim Ready. Jim is very pleasant, warm and kindhearted like Barney.

While waiting to enter the high school, I was interviewed by Charlie Winokoor, a very nice reporter for the Taunton Gazette. The following day he wrote an article covering the rally in which I was quoted that you can read by clicking on ‘Clinton praises Dems, Frank at Taunton High campaign rally’ By Charles Winokoor.

The doors to the rally opened at 12:30 pm. Persons with physical disabilities were allowed to enter the rally first which made access more orderly and easier for us with disabilities. Entering was easy because the doors were held wide open.

An estimated 2,500 people attended this very well organized event. The auditorium where the rally took place was spacious with plenty of room to maneuver my chair. A section on the front side of the platform was reserved for persons in wheelchairs attending the event. A lot of Barney’s constituents who are in wheelchairs attended and the space filled up quickly. No problem though because we were kindly shown to a seat in the second row in front of the platform that had plenty of space for my wheelchair and a great view.

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While waiting for the rally to begin, I saw pleased to see Karen Harraghy and Lisa Lowney, District Representatives for Congressman Frank. Karen and Lisa have always been very kind, caring and helpful; they always respond quickly to any federal concerns of mine.

Seated a row in front of us was State Representative Peter Koutoujian. Jowanna gave him the card for my website and he kindly came over to meet me. He told my mom and I to contact him if we ever have any concerns he could help with. My mom told him about the important wheelchair safety transportation legislation that my State Representative Canessa and State Senator Pacheco filed after they discovered there is no law in the State of Massachusetts regarding the safety of wheelchair-seated passengers traveling in vehicles offering paratransit services. Only 5 states in our country have such a law. I have a page on top of my website for House 3785 and Senate 1948: “An Act Relative to the Transportation of Individuals Seated in Wheelchairs”. He told us he would check it out!

Lisa, Barney Franks Taunton District Representative Karen, Barney Franks Taunton District Representative State Representative Peter Koutoujian

President Clinton was running a little late. While we waited for the rally to begin we listened to Patriotic songs performed by Taunton High’s Select Chorus as well as by the school jazz band. The singing and music was delightful.

After an hour of waiting we were told President Bill Clinton arrived. As he and Congressman Barney Frank waited behind the stage, Taunton Mayor Charles Crowley, my State Senator Marc Pacheco and other Taunton dignitaries spoke before President Clinton and Congressman Frank appeared. They all praised Barney Frank for the wonderful work he has done in Congress.

Congressman Barney Frank and President Bill Clinton appeared on stage and the audience including me all held our signs up high, rallied and applauded him. Barney Frank introduced President Bill Clinton who I’ve always admired for all the humanitarian work he does. President Clinton told us he’s happy to be here because Barney Frank has been his good friend for many years and is a faithful representative for all of us! President Clinton mainly spoke about the economy, job creation and healthcare reform. He praised Barney Frank for co-authoring the recent financial reform bill. In his closing remarks, President Clinton said, “We’ve got to restore the American Dream. No one in the House has done more for that American Dream than Barney Frank”. I fully agree!!

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After President Clinton spoke he and Barney Frank came down from the platform to shake hands with people in the audience. I love how they both interact so well with the American people.

I love getting involved in the community and feel very fortunate to have Congressman Barney Frank and Senator John Kerry representing me in Washington and Representative Steve Canessa and Senator Marc Pacheco representing me in the state of Massachusetts.

Barney Frank has my VOTE because he is clearly the BEST choice in this race. My mom always says “You count on Barney to get things done right”. My friend Jowanna says it best: “Barney doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk and he makes things happen”.

The wheelchair accessibility of the rally gets FIVE STARS for being fully accessible to all. The City of Taunton Police and Massachusetts State Troopers Mike Halstead and Steve Connolly deserve FIVE STARS for their kindness, sensitivity and helping to maintain order and safety. A special thanks to my State Representative Steve Canessa and State Senator Marc Pacheco for always being very kind, sensitive, helpful and caring to ensure the event was fully accessible for me and other constituents with disabilities.

Congressman Barney Frank and President Bill Clinton deserve FIVE STARS for helping to make our world more sensitive, respectful, safer and accessible to all.