Bosley Feted by Friends, Colleagues
Stephanie Bosley spoke of the lessons she'd learned from her father as the retiring representative looked on. The 12-term lawmaker was honored for his years of service at a reception on Thursday at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Anyone who's spent time with Dan Bosley knows he can wax poetic about just about anything — from State House workers to intricate pieces of legislation to ATMs being placed too near popular onion-ring makers. When asked to sum up his 24 years in the House, he quipped, "how much tape do you got."
The veteran Democrat's been learning and teaching the ins and outs democratic governance for more than two decades, leaving behind a legacy that includes helping adults become literate to promoting economic development and new-fangled green jobs. The 1st District representative won't be returning to the House next year, instead stepping aside to launch a failed bid for sheriff.
So on Thursday night, his family, fans, friends and supporters took time to look over the remarkable career of the man who might've been speaker. Appropriately enough, it was on his birthday and at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts, one of the prescient projects he'd fought for over the years.
"When we started this, it was going to be a retirement party, but anybody who's spent any time with Dan knows ... I don't think he's retiring ... that's why we turned it into a celebration of his career of what he's done not just as a legislator but as a city councilor and, before that, as director of the Community Development Corp." said City Councilor Lisa Blackmer, emcee for the event organized by the Democratic City Committee.
But outside of Mass MoCA, for which he should get far more credit, according to his good friend former Mayor John Barrett III, his friends and political colleagues didn't really dwell on his legislative accomplishments. Not the measures to improve economic development, or adult education, or infrastructure, or to bring solvency to the unemployment trust, or to create opportunities for alternative energy or restructure the electric industry.
Rather, they told their own stories of how the avuncular legislator has reached across aisles, about his deep understanding of the issues and his ability to empathize with, well, pretty much anyone he encounters.
Nearly 100 people attended the reception organized by the Democratic City Commmittee. Above, Fran Buckley, left, Joanne DeRose and Georgette Mancuso look over the list. Also aiding were Alice Cande, Gailanne Cariddi and Diane Parsons. Music was provided by Howie Levitz.
The comments throughout the evening evoked laughter from Bosley, who stood at the bar with his wife, Laura, and daughter, Stephanie, both of whom had helped in the planning. Around him was a who's who of Berkshire political leadership, including the new dean of the delegation Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli of Lee, his replacement, City Councilor Gailanne Cariddi, and outgoing 2nd District Rep. Denis E. Guyer, who also got a round of applause.
"You've left some big shoes to fill," said Pignatelli, who recalled how Bosley and former Rep. Peter Larkin, also in attendance, walked him through the issues when he entered the House in 2003. "There's not a doubt about it and I have no illusions of trying to fill your shoes — there'll be a big void in the Berkshire delegation ... we will not see the likes of Dan Bosley — in my opinion — ever again."
State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing told how Bosley had sat him down in front of a whiteboard and preceded to instruct him in the intricacies of unemployment insurance early in his tenure. It wasn't the first time he'd turned teacher, nor the last time Downing would get a lesson.
"He's brought great honor and distinction not only to himself and his family but also to this community and the Northern Berkshire area and we should be very proud to call Dan Bosley one of our own," said Barrett, who will share the Francis H. Hayden Award with his longtime friend next week.
Bosley later dismissed accolades of being "the smartest man in the room." "I just know where to go for resources," he said. "It's important to know how things go together ... but you can't know everything about everything so you have to rely on people."
Bosley later blew out candles on cupcakes from Mary's Carrot Cake and chatted with friends.
"Every person in here was a memory to me," he said. "It was about something that we had done or we had worked on together, or we had met over ... we touched each other's lives somehow."
He said he'd miss being at the center of things but that serving in office wasn't the same. "It's changed a lot and I admire the people who stay in it," he said. "It has become very difficult to do the job we're supposed to do."
It's a difficult job his colleagues say he's mastered well. Downing described him as being the only one he would compare to his own father, the late District Attorney Gerard D. Downing. "[He] was just as good a public servant as my dad was, and was just as good a man and just as good a father."
It was Stephanie Bosley, however, who gave the eloquent testimony of her father's true legacy.
"It was normal for me to grow up understanding the value of community and the importance of working together for a common goal. I grew up studying the world and having political events explained to me; I've alway believed anything is possible if you combine hard work with passion," said the University of Massachusetts graduate. "I've grown up with an open mind and viewing every stranger as a friend we haven't met yet.
"And I've done all of that because of my father: Daniel Bosley."