By Rosalie Tirella
Kate Toomey, mayor of Worcester. How disorienting a freakin’ sentence is that?!
Mayor Toomey. Mayor Toomey? I just don’t get it! What do other people see in her that I am obviously blind to?
Toomey’s a woman with zero personality, zero charisma, zero charm. But forget the personality for a moment. As a Worcester city councilor (this is her second term), she never really adds anything of substance to Worcester city council meetings – except her approval of any plan hatched by the Rushton/Murray/Petty/old boys’ team. I watch the city council meetings ever week (from the comfort of a living room, away from the T & G/Blow Mag hacks who just love to give Rushton and Petty and their pals all the best play and make it a habit of dumping on Mayor Konnie Lukes, even Gary Rosen – outsiders, both), and Toomey never ever has came up with a cool plan or vision for anything! She has never had a passion about any issue. She has never advocated for anybody/anything on the council floor with vigor. She has never stood her ground fighting for anything. Toomey seems quiet, even a little withdrawn. She never looks like she’s having fun the way City Councilor Gary Rosen has fun when he speaks before the council. Rosen seems to relish his opportunities to be in the limelight.
Yet, somehow, God only knows how, Toomey has always gotten a shitload of votes when she’s run for office. Infact, she always finished ahead of mayoral candidate Joe O’Brien when they were running for the Worcester School Committee. (What does that say about Joe O’Brien?) Last election cycle, Toomey placed 3’rd in the Worcester city councilor at large race. People were talking about Toomey for mayor back then. What the hell is it about Kate Toomey? And why don’t I see “the magic”?
Maybe it’s her Irish last name? Worcester is still an ethnic city filled with folks who are still prejudiced against folks from other ethnic backgrounds. An old timer will go into the voting booth and bullet-vote for some politician whose last name is a lot like his/hers. Pathetic.
Is it the fact that Toomey is the adopted daughter of the Tinsleys – a Worcester political family (Tinsley was mayor of Worcester) with a lot of money? Most definitely.
People say Toomey is conscientious, but you can say that about lots of our elected officials.
Here’s my theory: Yes, to all of the above. AND: voters vote for Kate Toomey because she is a non-threatening gal. She is the kind of woman that most men – especially egotistical male politicians – love – still want to be around: a handmaiden. Someone who doesn’t get up and chew up the scenery. Some one who is not trying to out-perform the guys – oer even keep up with them. Someone who just skits back and let the guys bask in the sun of their own self-love. Kate Toomey is not the sparkly, opinionated gal Mayor Konnie Lukes is. Lukes can always hold her own with the boys – and then some. She goes toe-to-toe with those arrogant blow hards on the city council, and she makes her opinions known – with intelligence and oomph! We like that! Kate Toomey, on the other hand, has always seemed … needy and depressed.
But maybe that’s the trick! Women have been racing ahead of men for generations based on the simple fact that the guys always have underestimated them. Underestimated their ambitiousness, drive, intelligence.
So maybe it’s that. Kate Toomey: ambitious gal wrapped in a Twinkie!