Rep. Frank Ferri was on his cell phone at Monday night’s City Council meeting. That shouldn’t be extraordinary, as many people were on their phones checking emailing, browsing the web and playing games.
It was that kind of a night: long waits – about two hours – before committee meetings concluded and the council convened.
But what made Ferri’s call unusual is that he was accessing his own website to see if he could make a contribution to his own campaign.
Why would Ferri do that?
“It was working and then there was some kind of a glitch,” he said playing with the phone.
On Monday, emails went out to many of Ferri’s friends saying he is formally exploring a run for lieutenant governor. With a click, they were supposed to be able to show their support and make a contribution.
But while the features of the program weren’t immediately working, Ferri has been getting feedback and it has been positive. Ferri hasn’t technically declared, but in testing the waters he’s also seeing whether he can build the financial and volunteer support.
“It takes a little time to get the structure together,” he said.
And as close to an announcement as it comes, he added, “I decided I want to do it. Right now I feel comfortable I can put it together.”
What appeals to Ferri is the ability to use the office of lieutenant governor to work on policy issues and as a podium to advocate programs affecting health care and education.
Ferri also believes he stands a good chance in a three-way Democratic primary. He said his seven years in the state legislature have given his a good grounding and that his “progressive” stance differentiates him. At this point, Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, who faces a term limit in his current office, and Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee have announced for the position.
In his email Ferri writes, “I never intended to seek elected office. As an organizer working to win marriage equality, I was tasked with recruiting good people to run. Ultimately, I felt I couldn’t ask someone else to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself.
“As a small business owner, I know what’s it’s like to have people depend on you to be able to support their families. Some politicians talk about the challenges facing our economy. I navigate and overcome those challenges every day. That’s why I believe our next lieutenant governor must be an advocate for entrepreneurs and job creators – a leader who knows what it’s like to make a payroll, provide health coverage, and plan for the future,” he writes.
On Tuesday after attending the Academy Awards ceremony at Oakland Beach School, Ferri said the glitch was fixed. But he also was in awe of the resources it’s going to take to mount a successful campaign. He said his background as a small business owner has helped to prepare him, although this is on a scale he had not experienced. His pitch for support notes that he faces two established politicians with significant war chests.
“So a donation at any level will give us the momentum we need to be competitive. Your support and friendship over the years has meant the world to Tony and me. Thanks for all you’ve done to help us bring the right kind of change to the State House. I’m really excited to see what we can accomplish next,” he writes.
The money and the response, it would appear, will help him make that decision.