The conviction of former Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi on seven out of nine counts last week in Federal District Court in Boston was a sorry moment in the life and times of our state government.
When DiMasi left the courthouse, he had not a word of contrition. Instead, he reiterated his courtroom stand saying: “I’ve always tried to do what was right for my constituents.”
Whether or not that was the case was determined last week by a jury of his peers. And they decided he was guilty.
Now he loses his pension. The East Boston Savings Bank is foreclosing on his condo in the North End and the condo association is suing him because fees are unpaid.
Compare all this to House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
Since taking over the speakership from DiMasi, he has led the House in a vastly different direction – and without a hint of scandal or wrongdoing.
He has led the House in the fight for ethics reform, pension reform, and transportation reform.
He blocked massive toll and gas tax increases. He continued the battle for education reform.
He’s presided over three balanced, on time state budgets and he’s led the fight for municipal health reform – and all this, in the worst economic environment since the Great Depression.
In July, he may very well be the entire difference in making an expanded casino bill come to life, pass through the senate and then reach the governor’s desk for his signature.
If he manages that, then he will have created more capital for the state than anyone would have dreamed of – something like $600 million for casino licenses alone. Then there will be thousands of jobs – that’s thousands, not hundreds, building the casinos, and then when they open, more jobs to man them. There will be a new revenue stream for the state. Mind you, this is all about private capital. It costs the state nothing.
Bottom line – DeLeo has turned out to be the real thing as the speaker.
Again, there is not the hint of scandal in his speakership and those of us who know him understand how he is in his life.
That is, Bobby DeLeo isn’t a taker or a squanderer. In his private life he is more concerned about getting his children through college than eating and being seen at Abe and Louie’s.
He is a humble man. He is a careful man about his work.
Winthrop can be proud of its Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo.