ABOUT

SHAWN DOOLEY

ABOUT SHAWN

First and foremost I am defined by my family. I am the very proud husband to CiCi and father to Caroline (25 – a 2nd Lieutenant on active duty in the United States Marine Corps), Emma (17), Jack (15), and William (14).  I am the son of my hero – Captain Roy Dooley, USN (retired) who served our nation for 30 years and Nancy Clifford Dooley – the greatest mom and grandmother anyone could ask for.

Our house is very busy as we also have 3 dogs (Aubie, Finn, and CoCo), 3 cats (Cheshire, Bat, and Callie), 1 horse (Foxy), a steady stream of teenagers, and what seems to be a never ending laundry pile that magically replenishes itself overnight.

I was first elected as a State Representative in a Special Election in January 2014 and have had the honor of being elected by my community 4 more times.

I currently serve as the ranking member on the Joint Committee on Financial Services; the Joint Committee on Public Health; the Joint Committee on Election Laws; the House Committee on Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight; and Special Joint Committee on Redistricting.

I have also had the honor to be appointed to the Conference Committees for Election Laws, Campaign Finance Reform, Automatic Voter Registration, and most recently on the VOTES act.  

Additionally, I had the special honor to have been selected by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court to serve as the non-attorney member on the Child Support Guidelines Task Force.  

I still serve as an On-Call Firefighter/EMT on the Plainville Fire Department and have served as the Senior SAFE coordinator for the town.

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Shawn Dooley
State Representative
PO Box 23 Norfolk, MA 02056

Here is one of Shawn’s recent Facebook posts that discusses his beliefs and philosophies.  It is a relatively long read but it does a good job in describing his overall approach to governance and addressing issues. 

Well, it was only a matter of time and it appears the opposition has decided to go negative (not surprised – just disappointed) in the most bizarre ways. Attacks ranging from accusing me of campaign finance violations (easy to prove as it is public record that I’ve never had a violation) all the way down to my youngest (age 8 at the time) child’s pet gerbil – it was actually a teddy bear hamster- that is long since deceased; have been trotted out to see what gains traction.  Really??? They sure are trying to take the high road.  OK – you be you, I suppose – but I think voters want solutions not accusations, name calling, and criticizing a young boy’s pet. 

So, in light of what I expect to be eight long weeks of negativity painting me as some sort of right wing ogre, I decided to go back to my tried and true long form stream of consciousness – typing away till I can no longer keep my eyes open.  Those of you who followed me during covid will hopefully remember this style fondly – the rest of you- grab a cup of coffee and sit back and be prepared for what every marketing person says is foolhardy and a waste of time – an old fashioned soliloquy.

This essay (seems like a good of word as any) is an attempt to explain to voters who I am, as well as define the basis of my personal and political beliefs. While I will do my best – it is sometimes hard to convey subtleties and nuance that makes up a person’s philosophies.  And again, this is going to be relatively long as my writing style is a more of a rambling conversation with a good friend over a beer than a succinct dissertation- so my apologies if its too much prose and not enough periods – but you have been warned. 

And for those of you who do not want to dedicate the time and energy to reading my latest novella – I will also be doing a series of video blogs (really musings) on a variety of topics that I think people want to know about.  And while the experts suggest that I should ignore the haters and don’t take the bait of responding to the lies and negativity – that’s not how I roll and I prefer to address these things head on.  I would rather you know exactly who I am and what I believe in and you don’t vote for me than be some plastic sanitized version that has no heart and who’s decision making process is driven solely by some DC political consultant’s idea of what sells.  Because at the end of the day, I need to be true to myself and the oath I took to the people of Massachusetts – so political correctness be damned. 

Ok – let’s get this party started.

First and foremost, I must say that my beliefs and understanding of the world are ever evolving.  I am a much different person now than I was when I was in college (a few short years ago) and I am quite confident that I will continue to grow and expand upon my world view.  I think it is incredibly important to not be so steadfast in ones opinion that you become closed minded to other people’s point of view.  I have found that as I meet with people and listen to them – I almost always am able to better understand their side of the issue by looking at the subject from their life experience.

At my core, my greatest strength is the ability to create and develop relationships.  My wife often jokes that my life is a bit “Forrest Gump” since I have had so many incredible life experiences, fallen into some amazing adventures, and developed relationships with some remarkable people who I could only dream of meeting let alone becoming friends with. Finding common ground with people and developing mutual respect  – especially when you don’t see eye to eye has opened up entirely new worlds for me.  As a public servant, this ability has served me incredibly well and I’ve been able to get much more for my communities than many of my peers as a result. 

I’m not simply talking bipartisanship as this aspect of my personality goes well beyond politics.  But getting to really know the other person – being willing to be vulnerable and trust, open up and hope that they don’t betray you is a huge aspect of my optimistic personality.   While I’ve gotten bitten by this once or twice – more often than not, most people feel the same way and we just need to treat each other as fellow human beings and not whatever label society or the media has put on them.  This is where we need to get back to – understanding that just because someone has a different opinion it doesn’t mean they are evil. – they are just trying to get to the solution a different way.  And maybe their way is right, maybe yours is better – and maybe (probably) the combination of the two is where the solution lies.  And that is the problem with politics these days – the parties and the media try to divide and conquer by putting people into neat little piles.  If you are x you must hate y.  How destructive we have become.  Since when did the extremes on each end get to push the agenda for the majority in America?  This has to change or we will not survive. 

And to that point, I believe the greatest characteristic an elected official can have is one of empathy.  It is sometimes hard, but to be able to step back and listen – knowing that this person is reaching out because they are in need, scared, and not sure what to do next.  They are taking a huge leap of faith and putting themselves in your hands and that is an incredible responsibility.  Remembering this and treating them like you would want your parent or child to be treated is so important and even when you can’t help solve their issue – showing respect and compassion goes a very long way.  Simply knowing that someone has their back and hears them – is often all they were hoping to accomplish.  And you cannot have that empathy if you have already defined that person based on whatever narrative you have subscribed to or bias you have assigned.

My political philosophy is complex and it really does depend on the issue – and with all legislation, the devil is in the details – so while I might agree with the overarching subject matter – when you start breaking down the law – I might end up being against it.  Unfortunately, with social media and the speed of communication – that ends up getting manipulated by one side or the other, things are deliberately taken out of context for political gain, and the faux outrage is turned up to 11.  Freakin gerbils!  Of course this tends to just play into the partisan nonsense of absolutes that has become the norm of both sides and takes away the public’s trust that elected officials have their best interest at heart.  Because reading a salacious or vicious tweet is much more entertaining and easier than researching, or better yet, asking the person why they voted a particular way.  But I digress (warning – I do that a lot)

But to sum it up in as tidy of a package as I can: I would say I am fiscally prudent (yankee) and socially I have a significant libertarian streak with a major asterisk highlighting that an individual’s liberties and rights must be protected with every measure. I’m often classified as a conservative because I’m hyper focused on not wasting tax money (because it isn’t mine) – but I also am willing to invest in our people and our state as long as I know it isn’t being wasted and will serve the greater good – not just some special interest.  So I don’t always like the overarching titles like liberal or conservative because they are so defined by others and rarely paint the entire picture. I believe in smaller government and local control is almost always the best solution.  I despise the one size fits all nature of a bureaucracy and while it claims to be the great equalizer it only does so because it often ends up being unfair to all. 

One of my favorite sayings is President Kennedy’s “a rising tide lifts all boats.” This is how I see the role of government – not to over regulate and punish but to encourage and help people succeed.  Grow the economy and make sure everyone has the opportunity to live the American dream.  I’m not some pollyanna (wow – that phrase makes me sound like my grandfather – next I’ll be saying hootenanny or Tippecanoe and Tyler too – I warned you… although its been a long day and maybe I’m getting a little punchy so I should finish this tomorrow) and think that life is always fair and everyone is treated the same – but I do think America remains the land of opportunity and, while still a work in progress, there is no place I would rather live and raise my family. 

There are others who want to tamp down individual liberties and freedom feeling that they know better and want government to rule every aspect of our lives.  I find this incredibly arrogant and fundamentally un-American.  Maybe they mean well and they think they are so much smarter than the rest of us that they are simply protecting us from ourselves.  I’m sure King George thought the same way about those simpleton colonists 25o years ago as well.  It seems that this mindset isn’t new and I do not think one party holds the only claim to the title – but more often than not – this “government always knows best” attitude tends to be embraced by the far left. 

Caveat: A dear friend implores me to never use the term progressive to describe this group because they don’t actually want progress – they simply want control.  I am a progressive in so much that I will be happy to sign onto any movement or school of thought that helps our state and our country move forward.  That being said, I am very much not a socialist – and if you believe that is the best course of action – then you should vote for the woman I am running against.  As I said, I do not believe in big government and I am confident that having all the power in the hands of the ruling class is incredibly dangerous – as has been proven in every experiment down this path throughout history.  That being said – I think many who subscribe to this philosophy mean well – and they are just overly idealistic and refuse to open their eyes to the reality of man.  Time and time again excuses are made with an end justifies the means attitude and well intentioned people justify bad behavior because it is supporting their cause/team.  But in the end, those missteps and excuses pile up and you end up losing your freedom and your soul in the name of the greater good – and when you look deeper – you realize the “greater” is a very select few and the rest of us are left with the scraps. 

Ok – where was I?  I do find it funny that both the extremists on the right and the left hate me. The ultra left likes to pretend I’m to the right of Trump and I’m some sort of uneducated Neanderthal.  Meanwhile the far right says I’m a RINO (Republican in Name Only – because being in a party that has less than 10% of the voters is such a huge benefit that all sorts of people will flock to it purely for all the benefits and ease of getting elected) and a liberal because I don’t subscribe to some political purity test they came up with in their mom’s basement. 

So, if the extremes don’t like me – I’m perfectly happy with that.  I’ll gladly stand with the 80-90% in the middle who are just trying to make it through the day, raise a family, and make their future a little brighter.  And that is what I’m trying to do.  I’m not trying to change the world with the stroke of a pen – I’m trying to make the world a little bit better for one person at a time – and days I accomplish that are good days. 

As I’ve said before – my focus is on helping people and that is what gets me out of bed in the morning – well, that and needing to let the dogs out, get the kids up and fed, and hopefully remembering to make my wife’s lunch (I forget way more often than I care to admit).  But, as I’ve said to everyone that will listen – if this job was just about what happens on Beacon Hill – I would have never run for re-election.  I’m not saying it isn’t important – but it is such a small aspect.  It is truly about the people and making their lives a little better.  Sometimes that is through legislation but more often than not it is working with the power company after a storm, giving a tour to a fifth grade class and hopefully inspiring a future leader, or simply being a shoulder to cry on or someone to rage against. 

Ok, it’s getting late, and I will save more thoughts for another day.  It’s funny – as hard as it was writing every night during covid, a big part of me has missed it as I felt so connected to all of you.   And I admit it is fun being back at it – although different as I’m trying to explain who I am while disproving the negativity of those who want me to fail, but at the end of the day words are just words and no matter what happens – I hope I am judged by my actions and the people know that I always tried my best, even when I have failed. 

Thank you and have a great night! 

Shawn