Beverly State Rep-Elect is off to Iraq

I don’t live in the district (Beverly), but I would be unhappy losing access to my rep if he/she were being shipped to Iraq for an extended period of time. The Herald story referenced below uses the term “sudden” to describe Jerry Parisella call to serve his country. Rep-elect Parisella references the availability of technology as a way to stay effective while serving his country. I say nonsense! I do wonder if he ever should have run given his full understanding that at some point he would be effectively unable to engage in dialog and represent the residents of Beverly.  

North Shore lawmaker vows to serve state, country

By Laurel J. Sweet

A newly elected North Shore lawmaker – under fire from opponents and voters since he was suddenly called to duty last month – is holding his ground, insisting he can serve both his nation and his district during a year-long deployment to Iraq.

“This country was founded on the citizen soldier,” state Rep.-elect Jerry Parisella, an Army Reserve major, told the Herald yesterday. “It’s a unique time in our history when we’re fighting two wars and it’s being done by an all-volunteer force.”

The 47-year-old civil attorney, Democrat and 17-year Reservist will be sworn into office Jan. 5 – and shipped out to Baghdad for the first time by month’s end as a JAG (judge advocate general) Corps officer with the Devens-based 804th Medical Brigade.

Parisella can file legislation remotely and monitor sessions by computer, said House of Representatives Clerk Steven James. But Parisella’s relocation 8,000 miles away means his nearly 40,000 constituents will be without a vote on the House floor for up to a year because voting by proxy is not allowed.

Parisella will collect his rep’s $61,440 salary but is giving up his post as an assistant city solicitor in Salem.…

What I do know is that the rep-elect deserves praise for a willingness to serve his country. He also should not take a nickel of his $61,000 salary.  

About David Whelan