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

  • Rep. Scott Brown was deployed as a JAG officer while in the House – more than once.

    Reps. Brian Golden and Harold Naughton also served.

    All did a good job helping constituents and representing their districts.

    Citizen soldiers do not always know when they will be deployed, but their service is valuable.

    This is NOT a partisan issue, and your are wrong to try to make it one – unless you condemned Scott Brown for the same thing?

  • I am an active duty serviceman living in MA and stationed in MA. Can I run?

    I am in the legislature, and I enlist in the military. Is that okay?

    I sm a cop or firefighter and have to conform to a schedule that might impact my voting. Is that okay?

    If everyone thinks that serving in Iraq trumps representing your constituents, then by all means he should do it and take the Rep salary too.

    I give Brown a pass because when he started long overseas deployments for Guard & Reserves was not the norm.

    I am done with everyone getting their panties in a bunch about per diems, committee chair pay, full time/part time and pay in general. It is just such a tiny fraction of how much money the Legislature can waste that it makes us look ridiculous talking about it. The Dems never get bogged down on taking the money (and the pensions) and the voters don’t seem to care.

  • on HOW LONG the deployment is.  Guy sitting right next to me is IN the 804th from Devans (on the medical side) and is deploying for A FULL YEAR with the 804th…..coincidentally, he got screwed ’cause his ETS date is in April.  Good luck Sgt K.

    “Deployment” in the Guard is a loose term.  I was “deployed” for 2 weeks, 6 months, 15 months.  Deployment on Active is even looser…..12 hours, 24 hours, 18 months.  Less loose in the Reserves….

    Can a state rep actually represent his people to their fullest needs for a year from Iraq?

    HOWEVER, what is “sudden” about this deployment?  My 804th Medical Bde buddy had his orders to deploy 6 FREAKIN’ MONTHS AGO and has spent much of the last 3 months shipping off for training all over the country.

  • New Bedford faced a similiar issue with a School Committee member back in August.

    WORCESTER – “The Army Song” had just finished, and 5,000 people were still cheering, when Gov. Deval Patrick walked up to Army National Guard Capt. Thomas R. Clark to shake the New Bedford resident’s hand.

    It was a proud moment Sunday for Clark, 40, a member of the New Bedford School Committee, who is also commander of Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment.

    “I’m probably never going to hear the end of it,” said Clark, whose Cambridge-based unit is preparing for a year’s deployment to Afghanistan. “My guys are going to give me some ribbing over it.

    “Still, it was an honor, and one I accept on behalf of the entire Charlie Company.”

    He will be on a leave of absence from the School Committee while he is away.