On Jan. 19, the Winthrop Town Council met for the first time since the Jan. 6 terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.
On the agenda was a joint statement by Councilors Peter Christopher, Tracy Honan and Stephen Ruggiero about the incident.
Council President Philip Boncore prefaced the item by saying that the council has always avoided political rhetoric, but acknowledged that councilors are entitled to freedom of speech. Councilwoman Honan read the statement:
“As elected municipal officials in the Town of Winthrop, we think it is important to address recent events in our nation’s Capital. We want to commit to the people of Winthrop that we take the situation very seriously and we want to assure you, as municipal leaders, that we will carry on our duties without fail, and always try to do our best for our town and our country.
“As you are all aware there was a violent attack on our Capitol building on January 6th that included the desecration of the inside and outside of the building, looting and ransacking of offices, looting and ransacking of House and Senate chambers, and the deaths of 5 people including the murder of a Capitol policeman. We would like to condemn what is now clearly understood to be an armed insurrection seeking to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from the outgoing President to the president elect.
“Make no mistake, this attack was against the United States of America and its people. It has now been learned that this mob not only intended to prevent the certification of electoral college votes, but also to cause grievous bodily harm to elected members of Congress, and the Vice President of the United States.
“The attack was the result of a sitting president and his congressional enablers seeking to overturn legitimate election results in order to maintain power. As verified by the Attorney General, Republican Secretaries of State, and more than 60 court cases, there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 Presidential election.
“Please know that as members of your municipal government, we state unequivocally that we believe in our election results. This year in particular, we saw in our small Town of Winthrop, the tremendous effort, planning, logistics, and dedication that went into making our election process proceed smoothly, lawfully, and safely.
“We would like to thank those members of the Town Clerk’s office, the countless numbers of election volunteers, and the public safety officers that made this year’s election, indeed every Winthrop election, free and fair, as our constitution intended.
“While we must move forward as a nation, there must also be consequences. For such a violent and seditious act towards our United States, we must not allow this act to go unpunished. Calling this anything other than what it is, and what our Joint Chiefs of Staff are now calling a seditious insurrection, and refusing to prosecute to the greatest extent of our laws, would only serve to embolden those who attacked our Capitol, as well as those who incited it.
“To impede an election in any way, be it by voter suppression, voter intimidation, gerrymandering, perpetuation of false narratives, or attempting to throw out lawfully cast votes by American voters, all tactics which have long been demonstrated to have happened throughout certain parts of this nation, is plainly un-American.
“In closing, we would again like to thank those members of Winthrop’s Town government, election volunteers, public safety officers, and most importantly, you the voters, for ensuring that our democracy remains of the people, for the people, and by the people.”
Residents phoned in to thank the councilors for addressing the issue. Julia Wallerce called the statement “heartfelt” and “bold”.
“It means a lot to hear from our local representatives, to know that our democracy here is respected and upheld,” she said. “In these unprecedented circumstances, it makes a difference.”
Suzanne Martucci-Gallo is a member of the Commission on Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations. She called the declaration “well-stated.”
“I just want to say how important it was to make that statement,” she said.
The Council Clerk also received written correspondence supporting the declaration.
“Thank you, Councilors Honan, Christopher and Ruggiero for your public statement to the people of Winthrop,” wrote Donna Segretti-Reilly. She emphasized the importance of “publicly denouncing the insurgency.”
Diane Sands of Precinct 5 did not share her neighbors’ enthusiasm, writing in ahead of the meeting to oppose the agenda item.
“I am very concerned that a statement is being given regarding the Capital riot. I don’t think this needs to be addressed at our small town meeting,” she wrote. “I do not think this is an appropriate time to address this and potentially start a bigger issue and more division in this town. I hope you reconsider this waste of taxpayer time.”
Sands went on to state that the relatively new councilwoman was using the event as a publicity stunt to “introduce herself to the town.”