FRAMINGHAM – “Unity is not uniformity. Governing is not campaigning,” said Rev. J. Anthony Lloyd Friday morning at a unity breakfast sponsored by the Framingham Interfaith Clergy Association.
The event held at the Greater Framingham Community Church, invited all the candidates on the first City of Framingham ballot, win or lose to a breakfast to allow the candidates to come together and begin the process of moving the City of Framingham forward, said Rev. Lloyd, who helped organize the event.
The event was attended by almost all the candidates on the ballot, although a few candidates told Framingham Source they could not attend due to work.
Rev. Lloyd spoke, as did mayoral candidate John Stefanini, and mayor-elect Yvonne Spicer.
“This is a unity breakfast. Maybe one of the first of its kind in Framingham,” said Rev. Lloyd, who has been in Framingham for 25 years. “Unity is about our oneness. This is not about uniforimity. Uniformity is about the attempt to impose on everybody…. Instead oneness is about being able to wrap ourselves around something, and in this case it is Framingham.”
“It was the Framingham voters who made the decision to move from a Town form of government to a City,” said Rev. Lloyd. “Today is not about debating that, the residents of Framingham settled that.”
“I will tell you that not at every point in this campaign has it been above board,” said Rev. Lloyd. “And there have been moments in the campaign, when we have sunk lower than what Framingham deserves.”
Rev. Lloyd said the “campaign at times may have felt like a contact sport, but governing is not about a contact sport. It is about engagement, collaboration, accountability.”
“I think as we go forward we can do better. Our residents demand it. And I hope you will demand of yourselves to do better,” said Rev. Lloyd.
The reverend sat at a table, in the basement of the Greater Framingham Community Church, with Stefanini, Town Manager Bob Halpin, State Sen. Karen Spilka, and mayor-elect Spicer.
Mayor-elect Spicer said the election of a mayor in Framingham, put Framingham on the map as she has received congratulations from all over the Commonwealth, the nation, and even around the world.
“I got a text message from Paris, saying I just saw what happened in Framingham,” said Spicer. “We are on the map, people.”
Spicer said the “outpouring of help and support that I have received, no matter what the issue, no matter whatever we are going to face in this community, we don’t have to do it by ourselves, we are going to get the resources and help across the board.”
She said she wants to “create opportunity” in Framingham “for every one to succeed.”
Spicer, a vice president at the Museum of Science in Boston, first came to Framingham to teach in the Framingham Public Schools, more than 3 decades ago. She said she first came to Framingham to teach the subject she liked the least, in the grade level she liked the least.
“My mother said to me, if that middle school is your Achilles’ heel, and that woodworking is your Achilles’ heel, then get in there and master it,” said Spicer to the candidates assembled. “So, I learned early on to tackle challenges. And I have done that my whole professional career.”
She said her experiences have allowed her to build a network that is “unbelievable,” that “I can pick up the phone and get help in many different facets on things we might need to work on in this community. That is a strength.”
She said the other strength she brings to the office of mayor is the “ability to listen.”
“I try to surround myself with people who think very differently than I do,” said the mayor-elect. “If everyone thought like Yvonne Spicer, we would have a lot of visionary leaders, and then maybe those people who do the day-to-day may have a little bit of a challenge.”
She said she needs to make sure that “every one feels like this is their Framingham. … If some of us is not succeeding or excelling, than none of us are.”
Spicer said she will put her “energy, first and foremost, to our most troubled part of our community, and that is our south side. I got to put the energy there. I got to make sure our south side is feeling like they are a part of this community. They have long felt like they have been the island, that has been separated. And I see that there is great potential to grow businesses in our community, but to grow our people. And I come from a strong belief that you can feed someone, on a daily basis, but if you teach them to feed themselves, you got a strong community.”
Spicer said she would like to have a community block party, as it is important to “break bread” with your neighbors.
The mayor-elect said it is important for every one to know “that if they bring a cloth, and as we weave each person’s cloth together, we will have a beautiful blanket and a quilt of diversity and differences in Framingham that will make us stand out even further to the world.”
But the unity breakfast was not just about the winners on Tuesday, but also those who lost a campaign.
“The capacity to begin the process of healing and being one, it starts with the individuals in this room today,” said Rev. Lloyd. “Your families, your campaign teams, the voters who voted for you, they take their cue from you. And when you believe in the process of healing and oneness, most of them will join on board.”
Rev. Lloyd thanks each of those who were a candidate for putting themselves out there.
“That you had some beliefs for a campaign. That you believed in things and possibilities in Framingham, enough that you put yourself on the line. You ran for an office. And I want to commend you for that,” said the reverend. “because that is not something everyone does. … It has been hard. You have made sacrifices, but you have done it because I believe you had something you dreamed about, and you wanted to go after it. And there was a drive, and that drive moves us to do all kinds of things.”
Rev. Lloyd said “to you who have had the great fortune to somehow tallying and gathering at least one more vote over your opponent, know full well, that you are to serve humbly, and the interests of all of Framingham, and not just the ones who voted for you. Know full well, you do it with humility, understanding full well, that the same voters who vote you in, can also vote you out.”
“I see no losers here,” said Spicer. “Everybody wins here in Framingham. We win because we have commitment. We win because we have engagement. And I’m going to need each and every one of you to help move this City forward.”
Just under 40 percent of the 40,000 registered voters elected Spicer on Tuesday. Spicedr received 58 percent of the vote defeating Stefanini 9,129 to 6,455 votes.
For those who lost, Rev. Lloyd told them their “voice is needed at the table. That is not a cliche. It is the reality. For the issues, and beliefs, and dreams, you started the campaign with, they did not disappear at 8 o’clock on Tuesday night. … They are still resting on voter’s minds and hearts, and yours. Don’t let them disappear.”
Stefanini when called to the microphone offered his “fullest congratulations’ to Dr. Spicer. He extended his hand and then hugged her. Spicer has described herself as a “hugger.”
He also thanked the 11-members of the new City of Framingham Council by name and did the same for the new 9-member School Committee.
“I want to say thank you to the people who supported me. And let me tell you what makes me feel wonderful today,” said Stefanini “becuase of what we collectively have been able to do. And I know it has been divisive.
“What we need to do is recognize the things that bind us together, our love for community, our friendship with our neighbors, our institutions, our churches, our businesses, .. that is what makes Framingham a great place to live, to learn, to work, and to play,” said Stefanini. “Not the way we make our decisions.”
Stefanini, who served on the 9-member elected Framingham Charter Commission, said the Charter makes some tall promises, including participation.
“Everyone in this room, is a testament to the fact that we will have neighborhood representation, in every corner of our community,” said Stefanini. “I am really proud of that.”
When Framingham voters approved the new City of Framingham, it changed the 7-member School Committee elected town-wide, to a 9-member Committee elected by district. The new 11-member City Council, has 9 district councilors and two elected at-large.
“I hope that you will find in Dr. Spicer, and the 11-member Council, and 9 School Committee members the confidene and comfort, that we as a community, can and will be a better place,” said Stefanini. “Because we have the people, and the resources, and the ability to do so.”
“I am so grateful to family, supporters, and friends, for the opportunity to chase a dream,” said Stefanini., a former Selectman and a former state representative.
On Tuesday, voters elected the following to the Framingham School Committee: Tracey Bryant, Gloria Pascual, Tiffanie Maskell, Geoffrey Epstein, Noval Alexander, Adam Freudberg, Scott Wadland, Ricky Finlay, and Beverly Hugo.
On Tuesday, voters elected former Town Manager George King and Framingham Selectmen Chair Cheryl Tully Stoll at-large council members. District councilors elected were Edgardo Torres, Judith Grove, Margareth Shepard, Mike Rossi, Dennis Giombetti, Mike Cannon, Adam Steiner, Pam Richardson, and Charlie Sisitsky.
Also in attendance was Framingham Police Chief Ken Ferguson, as well as some campaign staffers from both mayoral candidates on the November ballot.
Photos by Susan Petroni/Petroni Media Company ©2017. All Rights Reserved.