Worcester Public School Committeewoman Donna Colorio – racist and homophobicWritten by admin on December 30th, 2011
By Rosalie Tirella
It’s interesting: Years and years ago when Mary Mullaney was first elected to the Worcester School Committee there was talk that she was a Religious Right “stealth candidate.” Back then that was the term for Catholic/Culturally Conservative political candiates who, through the local Catholic churches and the Ralph Reed brigade, got their names in voter guides that were distrubuted to local Catholic churches. You got an “endorsement” if you were Pro Life, which Mullaney was/is.
It was a national movement. Mullany was the local example of the movement.
When Mullaney won election to the Worcester Public School Committee – a non-Worcesterite with no Worcester ties whatsoever (utterly important in a place like Wormtown), local political observers were nonplussed. They said to themselves: How did this woman – a gal with the personality of a speed bump – win a seat on the Worcester School Committee? What were her issues? Where was her appeal? Hell, where were her campaign signs? No one knew.
Sure, Mullaney’s Irish surname helped, and it was also the same surname as one of Worcester’s most beloved Irish mayors – Mayor Mulaney, dad to Elizabeth Mullaney (maybe some older folks thought they were voting for Liz when they were casting their ballots for Mary?). But Mary Mullaney’s win seemed too BIG. She came out of nowhere.
In the end, political observers credited the Pro Life/Catholic churches in Worcester County (as well as the Irish stuff).
Now Donna Colorio is on the Worcester Public School Committee – winning her seat by ousting Mullaney. She beat out Mullaney by a few votes. But she won a lot of votes and it was only her first time running for office. She had no Irish surname, no connections … but …
Could this be the equation? Donna Colorio = Religious Right Wing Nut Stealth Candidate #2? The new Mary Mullaney?
After all, Colorio was backed by the Tea Party of Worcester – a brigade loaded with cultural conservatives – people who were passionate about Colorio and VOTED FOR HER. Why? Maybe because she was as dangerously culturally conservative as a lot of the Tea Baggers are. After Colorio’s win, I bumped into a Christian conservative Pro Life pal of mine. He thanked me for not going after Colorio – she was his candidate, he told me! He said the local Tea Partiers loved Colorio! She was their candidate, too.
During the campaign, Colorio seemed racist when she said she would NOT renew WPSchools Superintendent Melinda Boone’s contract – even though she never worked with Boone – an African American from Norfolk, VA, and knew little about her. Most likely that got Colorio a ton of votes from the many racist/old boys network Worcster voters who can’t handle the idea of Dr. Boone – a black, woman from outside Worcester – leading the Worcester Public Schools. AND I am sure the Tea Party brigade liked the move. (After she was elected, Colorio did meet with Dr. Boone – hopefully to apologize to her/kiss up.)
Now recently (a few weeks ago) Colorio was outed at a local seafood restaurant for being at a fund-raiser held by the Woburn-based Coalition for Marriage and Family. These folks are against gay marriage/civil unions – believing marriage can only be between a guy and a gal. They have made it there mission to get a state-wide vote on the definition of marriage. It was intimated that Colorio was a member of the group – had a long history with it – “a long-time pro-marriage activist,” according to a CMF congratulatory Tweet after Colorio won a seat on the WPschool committee. So Colorio is also a homophobe. This would draw voters from the same Religious Right Cultural Conservative pool from which Mary Mullaney drew years ago.
Yup. A racist, homophobic woman now sits on a school committee that oversees policy for a majority-minority public school system, where there are gay/transgender kids just beginning to come out to parents/friends/society. Scary stuff.