Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal is the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and one of the most powerful people in the world.

New Bedford has made a bold choice for their keynote speaker on Martin Luther King Day. The city has selected Attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud as their speaker.

According to the city's press release, "the keynote speaker this year is Tahirah Amatul-Wadud. Ms. Amatul-Wadud runs a successful law practice in western Massachusetts with a focus on domestic relations and civil rights. In 2016, she was named Top Woman of Law in 2006 by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. She is active in the Massachusetts Commission for the Status of Women and a mother of seven children."

In 2018, she challenged Springfield Congressman Richard Neal in the Democratic Party primary for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. She lost the election to Rep. Neal and he became the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. All money bills originate in the House and all money bills in the House must go through Congressman Neal now.

The city of New Bedford should want to have a solid relationship with the man who writes the House version of the national budget. At a minimum, the city shouldn't be antagonizing the Democrat from Massachusetts who controls the House Ways and Means Committee.

Tahirah Amatul-Wadud was an aggressive opponent of Congressman Neal during their election battle. Her campaign website is still up and she makes attacks on Rep. Neal such as "I support Medicare for All. My opponent does not."

In defense of the city, the choice does show the city doesn't worry about politics when it selects a keynote speaker.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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