Rosemary Tierney Was One In a Million [OPINION]
I loved Rosemary Tierney because she was real. There were no pretentions with Mayor Tierney. What you saw was who she was and she was wonderful. I will miss her a lot.
When my wife and I moved to New Bedford some 26 years ago, one of the first people I met was Rosemary Tierney. Having been born and raised in New Bedford, I remembered Rosemary from her days on the New Bedford School Committee. She was now Mayor Tierney and I was the new News Director for the other radio station in town. I learned quickly that Rosemary Tierney was seasoned and that she understood my job as well as her own. We got along famously as a result.
Most politicians can be described as being a "people person" but that was definitely Rosemary Tierney. She loved people and politics aside, for the most part, people loved her right back. She was tough as nails when she needed to be but she could just as easily charm her way right into your heart with her big smile. She was a presence. And oh, that laugh.
As a reporter, I've covered some impressive and powerful leaders including former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci and Burlington's former Mayor Bernie Sanders, as well as several governors. Rosemary Tierney ranked among them in terms of confidence and ability. I remember watching Rosemary greet Mother Theresa at the New Bedford Regional Airport with confidence and ease. That's no easy thing to do.
Rosemary Tierney was a devout Catholic. Legend has it she began each day with a shot and a visit to the chapel before rounding up whoever was willing for a trip to The Green Diner or Dillon's for breakfast. Her treat, of course.
Mayor Tierney was the first and the only woman ever elected Mayor of New Bedford. She broke a glass ceiling and had a lot to prove in a business dominated by men. She didn't disappoint and she didn't advocate. She simply did the job and did it well. Just look around for signs of her presence; they are everywhere.
Rosemary and I co-hosted a weekly radio program and one of the first regular programs on local access cable, which she championed. Each week without fail, she would laughingly refer to me as Chet and herself as Nat after the married couple Chet Curtis and Natalie Jacobson that anchored the nightly news on Boston's WCVB-TV 5.
I didn't see Rosemary very often after she left office, but I thought about her often. Rosemary Tierney made New Bedford a better city and me a better person simply by being here.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.