By Cary Shuman
State Senator Tom McGee announced his candidacy for mayor of Lynn before a large and enthusiastic crowd of supporters during a campaign kickoff reception Friday night at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
Thomas McGee, the candidate’s son, introduced the current city and state officials and candidates for office in attendance, including Lynn state representatives Brendan Crighton and Dan Cahill. Former Lynn state representatives Steve Walsh and Robert Fennell also attended the event.
Katherine McGee, the candidate’s daughter, had the honor of introducing her father for his official announcement.
“During our entire lives Thomas and I have heard countless stories from others about various ways our dad has helped them,” said Katherine. “If someone has a problem, he works tirelessly to help in any way he can. He’s truly passionate about helping others. Through his actions he’s taught Thomas and me how important it is to lend a helping hand to those who need it.”
Katherine said one of the things she admires most about her father is “his love for Lynn.”
“He has lived here his whole life and he’s always shown Thomas and me and all our friends all the wonderful qualities that Lynn has,” she said. “I’m so proud to be his daughter.”
McGee, a 61-year-old attorney who has been Lynn’s state senator since 2002 and who is the son of former Speaker of the House Tom McGee, jested to the crowd about his daughter’s eloquent and smoothly delivered introduction, “How do I follow that?”
McGee thanked his wife, Maria, and their family for their support.
Beginning his address, he said simply, “My name is Tom McGee and tonight I proudly kick off my campaign for mayor of Lynn.”
“As I travel across the city people ask me, ‘why do you want to be mayor?’ “I’m running because I love our city and the values that the city of Lynn represents. It is a place that raised Maria and I and where we chose to raise Thomas and Katherine.
“Lynn has always had the assets, talented, hard-working, diverse citizens, amazing natural resources – like Steve Walsh always liked to say, ‘from the [Lynn] Woods to the waterfront.’ – a downtown that is coming alive with restaurants, arts, and culture and neighborhoods that reflect the best of America.
“But what we need now is unifying leadership, vision, and direction to take Lynn to new heights. Our city is at a crossroads and I believe the next four years will be critical in determining Lynn’s future.”
He said that under the current leadership, “our city is faced with an emerging fiscal crisis that threatens public safety, erodes people’s confidence in Lynn’s ability to manage its own affairs, and jeopardizes our potential for attracting new families and businesses.
“We need to harness all that Lynn has to offer and together lead our city in a direction that embraces economic growth, renews our neighborhoods and make the tough decisions to restore our city’s fiscal health.”
After tracing his family’s roots and noting his two grandmothers of Irish and Italian descent, McGee said his grandparents and parents instilled in him the values of “being engaged in our community, caring about our neighbors, speaking up for those in need, and actively participating in the process to make life better for all. That is why I stand in front of you today as a candidate for mayor.”
Concluding his remarks, McGee said, “Tonight is just the first step in what will be six-month journey to Election Day. I believe I am the best person to lead our city at such a critical time. Between now and Sept. 12 and hopefully Nov. 7, I ask you to join me in knocking doors in your neighborhoods, making phone calls, talking to your neighbors and friends, your family, working with us so we can spread a positive message of how we will move this city forward and leave Lynn better off for our children and for our grandchildren.
“If we run the type of campaign I know we can with all your help – a campaign of ideas, of vision, and of values – we will win and we will win because we all came together to make Lynn a better place.”
McGee received a standing ovation following his speech.