As state and local officials took to the podium to deliver their remarks upon the presentation of a $2.38 million check from the state for the revitalization of Winthrop Centre and its infrastructure, it became clear that the true moving force behind the large grant for Winthrop from the MassWorks program — which awards funds to communities throughout the state to encourage and support private investment in the economic future and growth of our cities and towns — was our own State Representative and House Speaker, Bob DeLeo.
Onlookers at Friday afternoon’s event never would have guessed from Bob’s own remarks (which he delivered in his typically modest manner) of the pivotal role he played in ensuring “such a momentous occasion for our scrappy little town” (as Bob referred to Winthrop) in order to procure such a substantial grant. Yet others who stepped up to speak, including Gov. Charlie Baker, Town Manager Jim McKenna, and State Sen. Joe Boncore, told of the personal efforts Bob made to ensure that Winthrop received this grant.
Jay Ash, the administration’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, especially highlighted the lengths to which Bob went to convene a meeting in Ash’s office and make the pitch for the need for the funds for Winthrop.
And yet, at the end of the program, while others were posing for photos, Bob was nowhere to be seen — because he had gone off to the side to say “Hi” to a young couple who were strolling through the Centre with their child in a stroller.
That vignette sums up perfectly the Bob DeLeo whom we in this town have known for 40 years, ever since he first was elected as a Town Meeting member as a young man in the late 1970s — a self-effacing gentleman who knows how to get things done and who will work hard to get them done, but who is content to remain out of the spotlight, unlike so many others in his position.
As we have noted in this column in the past, Bob DeLeo was chosen by his colleagues in the Mass. House to be their speaker because after years of scandals involving previous speakers, Bob DeLeo is the proverbial Boy Scout, who always can be counted upon to act in a manner that is honest, principled, and straightforward.
Winthrop has been fortunate to have such a man devote his entire life to our community. Thanks to this MassWorks grant that Bob helped secure, Winthrop and its citizens once again will reap the benefits for decades to come of yet another significant project that Bob DeLeo has brought to our community.