Eagle Staff Reports
BOSTON -- The Massachusetts Democratic Party will honor Rep. Richard E. Neal and Agnes A. Ricko, longtime Lynn activist, Democratic State Committeewoman and Democratic City Committee Chair, with the 2014 Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Awards at the annual Roosevelt Awards Receptionon May 27 at Fenway Park at 6 p.m.
"Congressman Neal and Agnes Ricko epitomize core Democratic values and have worked tirelessly to continue the New Deal agenda started by President and Mrs. Roosevelt," said Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Tom McGee. "For more than 40 years, anyone looking to get involved with public service or run for statewide or local office knows the first call in Western Mass. is to Congressman Neal and the first call on the North Shore is to Agnes Ricko."
"I am honored to receive this prestigious recognition from the Democratic State Committee," said Neal, who represents the Berkshires in Congress. "It was Franklin Roosevelt’s leadership that successfully guided the United States through the Great Depression and World War II. And it was his New Deal program that saved our country from the brink of disaster and restored economic security for millions of Americans.
"During his 12 years in office, he was determined to create a society in which no one was left out or left behind. As Democrats, we still share those same fundamental goals and aspirations. I am delighted to share this award with my friend Agnes Ricko, and look forward to great celebration in Boston this May."
Neal’s political career began at an early age, by knocking on doors for Congressman Eddie Boland (whom he would succeed in Congress). In 1972, Neal coordinated western Massachusetts for George McGovern’s presidential campaign and soon after, at age 23, was elected Springfield Democratic City Committee Chair where he built a grassroots operation that helped Democratic candidates up and down the ticket.
Neal was first elected to the Springfield City Council in 1977 and was elected mayor in 1983 before winning election to Congress in 1988. Dating back to his first race, Neal has a perfect 19-0 record in his electoral career.
Neal and Ricko join exclusive company with this prestigious award. Previous Franklin Roosevelt Award recipients include U.S. senators Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Ed Markey, Gov. Michael Dukakis, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy II, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and many others.
Former Eleanor Roosevelt Award recipients include Attorney General Martha Coakley, Senate President Therese Murray, former State Representative Lida Harkins, MJ Powell, Barbara Lee, Carol Fulp, Cheryl Cronin, Lynda Tocci, Nancy O’Connor Stolberg and Shanti Fry.