By Josh Resnek
No councilor stood out quite like Mike McLaughlin did Monday evening at the budget hearing.
His performance was, by every standard of fair measure, over the top outstanding.
He received tumultuous applause from the huge crowd that packed the council chamber.
What made his performance so memorable?
Saying things like this:
“I was a special needs student as a kid. If it wasn’t for all my teachers and the help I got in the Everett Public Schools I wouldn’t be here tonight.”
“We have to do what is just and right and I don’t want to leave here until this happens,” he said forcefully, powerfully.
His passion and intensity was overwhelmingly and was impossible not to be moved by.
Although his colleagues refused to do his bidding – he had asked that the $5 million city council appropriation be given out in increments instead the whole thing at once – he caused a tremendous stir among nearly everyone who attended – and even his colleagues were amazed.
The mayor grimaced during McLaughlin’s sometimes long but well delivered responses to his colleagues’ suggestions.
Many observers believed McLaughlin’s sentiments for keeping everything the way it is played into Foresteire’s playbook and against the mayor’s.
“I spoke about what is right and just,” McLaughlin told the Leader Herald Tuesday morning. “No one told me what to say or how to say it. We must do the right thing to keep the schools whole. Layoffs are poison. I don’t want to see a single layoff,” he said.
Monday night he suggested that $7 million be appropriated by his colleagues.
In the end, his colleagues didn’t listen to him. But the crowd of 350 men, women and children heard him and were swayed by his passion and his honesty. It was quite a night for Michael McLaughlin.