Monday, October 1, 2012 at 03:26PM
For the first time ever, the Liberty Express, my weekly show on Manchestertv23 (Monday at 10 p.m., Thursday at 9 p.m, Sunday at 6 a.m. and noon and always available at vimeo.com/channels/libertyx) features a pair of guests this week.
Rather than announce them immediately, I thought I'd play it cute and do a five minute intro, alluding to the guests, giving clues and only then introducing them, sort of in the old style of "What's My Line". Remember the John Charles Daly line, "Will you enter and sign in please."
It didn't quite work out, thanks to a new director who wasn't familiar with the political scene and couldn't differentiate faces. I introduced Gail Barry, Republican Senate candidate in District 18 (Manchester Wards 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and Litchfield) and noted that we'd get to our mystery guest, a former Manchester Alderman and State Representative and Chairperson of the most recent Manchester Charter Commission (great hints), in just a few minutes, but lo and behold, rather than cutting to a shot of Gail Barry, the producer cut to the mystery guest.
The jig was up.
Yes, indeed, there was one of the most colorful people in the history of Manchester politics, someone who moved to Florida nine years ago, someone who had her own show "Speak Your Mind" on Channel 23 way back when.
Yes indeed, rather than Gail Barry appearing on the screen, there was....you've certainly guessed it by now, Leona Dykstra who, like me, began her political career as a Democrat but couldn't take the big taxing and spending and switched to the Republican Party. Also, like me, she ran as a Libertarian in 2000 (I won, sadly, Leona did not).
What a great pleasure it was go have Leona back after all these...she even insisted on giving her age (70). I wasn't going to ask since a gentleman never asks a lady her age.
Back in the days when Manchester still had partisan primaries for mayor, Leona just barely lost to Emille Beaulieu (they were both Democrats back then). She was involved in a Ward 6 Aldermanic race with Donna Soucy in which Donna's father C. Arthur Soucy committed so many errors as moderator that the Ballot Law Commission ordered a new election (the courts ultimately reversed that decision).
Thus, we've come full circle. Gail Barry is running against Soucy this year. C. Arthur is no longer moderator (what a scandal that was!), but last time I checked, Donna is still living with her father...not that there's anything wrong with that. Is there?
I had always credited the late Leo Pepino with legislation which assures we have a paper trail for recounts, but in fact, it was Leona. When she lost in the close race for mayor and wanted a recount, there was no paper trail, only computer read-outs. Imagine that! She sponsored legislation to change all that (Pepino was the co-sponsor).
Not only do we get a lively stroll down memory lane with Leona, but we get the chance to remind Manchester voters if you're a big tax and spender, you can choose between Democrat and Democrat running as Independent Arthur Beaudry for Senate, but if you believe in responsible government spending, Gail Barry should be your choice. She's done an outstanding job keeping county spending under control and would do the same for the state in the Senate. Soucy, meanwhile, was Chief of Staff (making more than $100,000 a year) for Democrat Senate President Sylvia Larson when dozens of taxes and fees were increased in an assault on the body politic.
Both Soucy and Beaudry are currently serving on the inept Manchester School Board.
Why anyone would want either of them in the State Senate is beyond both me and Leona.
We also learn that Gail has family connections with Connie Mack the man who, by the most recent poll has pulled into a dead even tie in the race for Florida Senate. You'll have to watch Liberty Express to figure it out.
It's worth an hour of your time, whether you want to stroll through a quarter century of history or learn why to vote for the best candidate for State Senate.
As for that producer, no big deal. Gail is the red head. Leona...well you'll have to watch and determine that magnificent color. Just kidding Leona. She's one of my favorite people. As is Gail (just a notch shy of Irene Messier's league of course).