State Senate candidate Bob McCarthy invited over a group of former servicemen to honor them, and for one particular soldier who just returned from 2 years in Afghanistan with the Army.
Major James Maloney served as an engineer in a special-forces unit and will soon return to his regular job as a member of the Watertown Fire Department. As his 10-year-old daughter Maria watched, he received a 9/11 award trophy from McCarthy, depicting the firefighters raising the flag at Ground Zero.
McCarthy — himself a veteran of the Navy’s submarine force — said veterans do not share their accomplishments in the Military with others.
“They don’t wear it on their sleeves,” McCarthy said. “I think they should start wearing it on their sleeves. You should be who you are and let people know what you stand for.”
Maloney received a Bronze Star during his last tour. He worked at Camp Morehead, where he trained Afghan commandos and special-forces soldiers.
He’s not one to talk politics, Maloney said, but he mentioned that the same day President Obama announced the U.S. was going to pull out of Iraq, his unit got notified that it is sending a battalion to Iraq.
McCarthy, a former Watertown Firefighter, has competition from Watertown State Rep. Jonathan Hecht, Belmont State Rep. William Brownsberg and Boston attorney Tim Schofield. Brighton-resident Sheila Lawn, sister of Watertown State Rep. John Lawn, is exploring a run for the seat, too.
The primary for to fill the Second Suffolk and Middlesex senate district seat will be held Dec. 13, and the general election will be Jan. 10. The district represents Watertown, Belmont, and parts of Cambridge and Boston.
The seat was vacated by State Sen. Steven Tolman, who was recently elected president of the AFL-CIO of Massachusetts union.
While Maloney, has a job to return to, McCarthy said that is not always the case for all of the troops and veterans.
“Unemployment for veterans is high — over 14 percent, which is higher than national unemployment rate,” McCarthy said. “It is close to 12 percent (unemployment) in Massachusetts, and the state’s is close to 7 percent.”
As a state senator, McCarthy said he will look out for veterans and the seniors, and would ask to serve on those Senate committees.
To learn about the needs for veterans he has put together a Veteran’s Advisory and Steering Committee, and he has chosen Maloney to serve as chairman.
“I want to sit down, find out the real needs of people who have been over there and know what’s going on with veterans,” McCarthy said. “They’ll be my eyes and ears to let me know what’s going on.”
In January, McCarthy retired as president of the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts union, which represents 200 unions and 12,000 fire fighters in the state.
Maloney said he looks forward to supporting McCarthy in the State Senate race.
“He has helped so many through his work with the Professional Firefighters Union,” Maloney said. “This is an opportunity to provide help not just firefighters but for the whole community.”