Peterson will not seek re-election

State Rep. George N. Peterson Jr. Saturday at the Grafton Town House public hearing. Photo by Jennifer Lord Paluzzi

State Rep. George N. Peterson Jr. Saturday at the Grafton Town House public hearing. Photo by Jennifer Lord Paluzzi

State Rep. George N. Peterson Jr., R-Grafton, will not be seeking re-election to the post he’s held for more than 20 years.

The assistant house minority leader, whose district encompasses Grafton, Upton and Northbridge, joked Saturday, “I have seven grandkids and an RV that is underused. I think I’ll find plenty to do after next January.”

Who wants to start playing “Who’s gonna run for state rep?” I know of one for certain; I have definite opinions on others. Buy me coffee, we’ll chat.

Peterson’s official statement:

Today, with a heavy heart, but a clear mind, I announce that I will not seek re-election for the office of State Representative. My decision to retire from the House of Representatives has been extremely difficult. However, this next chapter in life will allow me to join my wife Diana in spending quality time with our children and grandchildren as we travel around the country.

For over 20 years, Beacon Hill has been my second home. While my heart has always been in Grafton, and with the people of the Ninth Worcester District, my time in Boston has been invaluable. Being a legislator, let alone a Republican lawmaker, can be a test of will and patience. However, I wouldn’t trade my time as a member of the Massachusetts Legislature for anything. My tenure in the House of Representatives has not only allowed me the opportunity to forge relationships with my colleagues in the Legislature, but it has provided me the soap box necessary to help make the Commonwealth a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

Perhaps the hardest part of leaving the job I love is having to bid farewell to the House Minority Leader, our leadership team, and all of my Republican colleagues. This group of lawmakers, albeit small, works day in and day out to effect positive change in the lives of the residents of Massachusetts. We have cheered one another along in victory, and remained strong and united in defeat. I am forever grateful to them for their guidance and friendship.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank the staff for all of their tireless work, and continued dedication. Since being elected in 1994, I have worked side-by-side with some truly incredible aides and analysts. These individuals are continually the first ones in, and the last ones out. We as legislators would not be where we are today without their unwavering support.

This announcement is not my departure from Massachusetts and its political landscape. While I may be hanging up my hat as an elected official, this state is home, and I care too much about its wellbeing to walk away altogether. I will forever have a vested interest in continuing to make the Commonwealth a continued source of pride for future generations.

Apparently, 2014 is full of surprises

1503384_10151615833142465_1061421606_nWe were barely out of 2013 when I got the call: 2014 will be the year two classes of college students will be calling me “Professor Paluzzi.”

I’ve been hired as an adjunct professor at Emmanuel College in Boston, teaching Intro to Journalism and Writing for Electronic Media. I start Wednesday. I’ve spoken to a lot of college classes over the years, but these will be the first students I will call my own.

It’s a huge step. I will still be working full-time at The Sun in Lowell. I’ll be spending a bit of time blogging, but I’ve started a new site for lecturing the students. My blogging here has been sporadic, true, but I’m not expecting to return here until at least after the semester is finished.

In less me me me news, meet Daisy. She’s 6 feet tall, 145 lbs., and a newborn giraffe, now undergoing treatment at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University here in Grafton. Sound familiar? Circle of blog, circle of life?

Thank you, Grafton.

Saying goodbye to 2013

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This has been, quite decidedly, one of the most unusual years of my life. I actually thought the addition of a beagle to the family was going to be the highlight.

Being a journalist, I’m in the habit of sending out the old year with a top 10 list. For the past five years, that’s meant a top 10 for Grafton news. Given the change of course in 2013, here are 8 things I learned in 2013:

1) What’s worse than being laid off? Having your entire staff laid off with you and the sites you created shuttered. The Daily Voice, facing bankruptcy from a bunch of bone-headed and egotistical decisions (opening an office in Manhattan, not paying attention to the actions of the CEO, spending money on ridiculous parties, ignoring community news), closed down its 12 Massachusetts sites in March and laid off a good two-thirds of its staff in Connecticut and New York as well.

I had a good laugh today on hearing their latest plan, a weekly print edition. Yeah, that will work.

2) Always be friendly with your competitors, because they may one day be your colleagues. I had a very busy unemployment, spent having coffee with multiple editors offering advice and, in some cases, homes for my reporters. I now work at The Sun of Lowell, across the aisle from Rick Sobey, my former Milford and Auburn reporter, and directly facing Tom Zuppa, who 20 years ago was the competing Middlesex News bureau chief while I covered city hall for the Enterprise-Sun of Marlborough. .

There is nothing nicer than starting a new job with an old friend.

3) Be a good teacher. I am immensely proud of former Grafton Daily Voice reporter Richard Price, who bounced back from the layoff by starting up The Grafton Villager. I am amazed by high school classmate Jennifer Doyle, who created Upton Daily. Both of them are adding needed community coverage and, in Rich’s case,  making me a little less guilty about not starting over again with Greater Grafton.

4) Timing is everything. If the Daily Voice hadn’t folded, our Boston Marathon coverage plan had me at the finish line tracking local amateur runners. The journalist in me regrets not being there. As it was, the Marathon bombing was the first major news event in decades that I experienced as a news consumer, safely at home on the couch.

5) Don’t eat salad and drive. This is one of those things most people know intuitively, but I discovered, after an idiot from New Hampshire slammed into my car on 495, that this is actually something that must be said. On the plus side, I wasn’t hurt, friends came out in droves to express relief and laugh, and I love my new car. On the negative side, there’s a warrant out for salad schmuck’s arrest. Who would have thought a hit and run driver would skip out on court?

6) Thank God for the Red Sox. What could possibly be better than a sunny fall day with my dad and my son, watching bearded duck boats roll by as David Ortiz played DJ and the Dropkick Murphys performed “Shipping Up to Boston?” We actually have traditions for when the Red Sox win the World Series. Ponder that one.

7) My husband is a saint for putting up with all of this.

8) Stay optimistic. We got knocked down. We got back up again. I’m leaving 2013 with a toss of the hair, a raised eyebrow and a “Seriously?”

Wonder what kind of adventures await in 2014?

Good morning Grafton, here’s your live Red Sox Rolling Rally coverage!

It’s Red Sox Rolling Rally Day and I am, hopefully, on Boylston Street right now with my 16-year-old son and 72-year-old father watching a bunch of guys with beards waving from Duck Boats. I  promised the kid that I would take him if a championship parade was ever NOT on a school day and today, I finally get to keep that promise.

Part of the fun of my new job at the Lowell Sun is getting to test out all kinds of new digital toys. If all goes well, what you will see below is a whole mess of Tweets and Instagram posts from the parade, courtesy of an app called Rebel Mouse. And if all goes really well, the photos you see from me will magically post from my lovely Greater Grafton Camera to my iPhone, where I can throw them to Twitter and my editor back at The Sun via an Eye-Fi photo card in the camera and the DropBox app. Toys! They’re fun!

Unless they don’t work. Then I’m just going to have to do the photo thing the old-fashioned way. Sigh.