Monterey constable candidate pursues a dream, explains the position

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MONTEREY — The only contested race in Tuesday's town elections is for constable, currently held by Raymond Tryon.

Julio Rodriguez and Kevin Fitzpatrick are in the running for the three-year term. Fitzpatrick, a firefighter and the town's tree warden, declined to comment for this story.

But Rodriguez, a former town firefighter, spoke at length about why he has found himself in this race.

Rodriguez, currently chairman of the parks and recreation committee and a board of health member, said there is just something about being constable that he can't resist.

"I always wanted to be constable," said Rodriguez, 77. "I don't know why."

He explained that the term "constable" is a holdover from the Colonial days, when constables kept the peace and arrested lawbreakers. Now, the constable signs off on annual town meeting warrants, posts election notices and keeps order at elections.

In the old days, constable was more like a police officer, Rodriguez noted. While a constable still is considered a peacekeeper, the town's Police Department does that now, he added. Besides, there isn't really a problem with this in Monterey.

"There's no bank robbers, because there's no bank to rob. Everything is kind of laid back and chill — we have a large senior population here."

About 19 years ago, Rodriguez — he's a former Army nurse — and his wife started coming to their home here in the summers from the Washington, D.C., area. Then they retired about 15 years ago.

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He was a town firefighter until he was 70, putting his emergency medical technician skills to good work.

"In a rural area, it's really an adventure," he said of responding to medical calls.

Rodriguez says he has been active in town government because the work has to be done — by someone.

"I think you have to," he said, noting that a contested seat is unusual in this town of about 960 residents that swells to about 3,000 in the summer.

"It was a fluke that I ended up running against somebody," he said. "Usually, if somebody is going to do a particular job, nobody runs against them. You get endorsed by both Republicans and Democrats. There's usually not a problem."

And if he's elected constable, this and his other positions will be the end of the road for this public servant.

"If I win, I think I'll just do it for the three years and I'll pretty much be out of government by then," he said. "That's enough for me."

In three years, he'll be 80.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.


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