File #3529: "oh-020_transcript.pdf"

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Oral History Interview of Frederick Clark, Jr. (OH-020)
Moakley Archive and Institute
www.suffolk.edu/moakley
archives@suffolk.edu

Oral History Interview of Frederick W. Clark, Jr.
Interview Date: October 10, 2003
Interviewed by: Robert Allison, Suffolk University History Professor and Joseph McEttrick,
Suffolk University Law School Professor
Citation: Clark, Jr., Frederick W. Interviewed by Robert Allison and Joseph McEttrick. John
Joseph Moakley Oral History Project OH-020. Transcript and audio available. John Joseph
Moakley Archive and Institute, Suffolk University, Boston, MA.
Copyright Information: Copyright ©2003, Suffolk University.
Interview Summary
Fred Clark, Jr., Moakley congressional staff member from 1982 through 2001, discusses his role
working as an intern, Washington liaison, campaign manager and district office director. His
interview covers Congressman Moakley’s constituent service; the campaign process; how the
district office operated on a daily basis; the relationship between the congressman and his staff;
how Congressman Moakley worked to improve international relations; and Congressman
Moakley’s legacy of public service and political leadership. He concludes by recalling
Congressman Moakley’s funeral.

Subject Headings
Clark, Jr., Frederick W.
John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation
John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse (Boston, Mass)
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
Moakley, Evelyn, 1927-1996
Moakley, John Joseph, 1927-2001

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1

Oral History Interview of Frederick Clark, Jr. (OH-020)
Moakley Archive and Institute
www.suffolk.edu/moakley
archives@suffolk.edu

Table of Contents
Part 1
About Mr. Clark

p. 3 (00:03)

Working for Congressman Moakley (1982-2001)

p. 5 (03:54)

Campaigns and office procedure

p. 7 (08:46)

Constituent service

p. 9 (14:37)

Improvements to Boston

p. 16 (31:25)

Staff relationships

p. 19 (36:22)

Evelyn Moakley

p. 24 (47:48)

District issues

p. 27 (53:47)

Part 2
Cuba

p. 37 (11:25)

Moakley Charitable Foundation

p. 39 (15:05)

Congressman Moakley’s legacy

p. 41 (21:13)

Moakley’s funeral

p. 44 (26:57)

Interview transcript begins on next page

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OH-020 Transcript

This interview took place on October 10, 2003, at Suffolk University Law School,
120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA.
Interview Transcript
PROFESSOR ROBERT ALLISON: [Today is] Friday, October 10, 2003, with Fred Clark.
And thanks for coming in, Fred.

FREDERICK W. CLARK JR: You‘re welcome.

ALLISON: So I’m hoping you could tell us a little bit about how you got involved with Joe
Moakley. So you can either begin at the beginning or—

CLARK: I’ll begin at the beginning, that’s good. I was born in Brockton, Massachusetts.
Grew up in West Bridgewater, and then Easton. Went to Oliver Ames High School in Easton;
most of my K through twelve was Easton. Then I went to Bridgewater State College, graduated
from Bridgewater and went to Suffolk Law School. A Suffolk Law School graduate, class of
‘86, and an attorney now.

My interest in government actually started in the fifth grade. And I’ll be very quick. In 1972, I
was in the fifth grade and I had a great fifth grade social studies teacher, and she got us interested
in the presidential campaign at the time. It was 1972; you remember who was running, and what
the issues were and all that. And I had the assignment of contacting the campaigns; contacted all
of the presidential campaigns from Richard Nixon to Shirley Chisholm at the time, George
McGovern.

When I got materials back from each of the candidates, I was just so smitten, I think, with just—
with the bumper stickers and the buttons. And you know, in fifth grade I don’t think I was really
as much interested in the issues. From that day on I just had the political fire lit inside of me,
and I just always paid attention thereafter. My parents wanted me to go to law school, which I
did, but I always really had more of an interest in government and politics. But to me they fit
together very, very well.
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OH-020 Transcript

ALLISON: Do you have brothers or sisters?

CLARK: Yeah, I have five brothers and sisters, and I’m probably the only one that’s really
political in terms of having actually been involved with candidates and such. But all of my
brothers and sisters, either now or at some point, have been involved in public service. The
involvement in public service is something my parents instilled in us, and that we instilled back
into them.

My father was a selectman in Easton, chairman of the planning board. My mother was on the
finance committee, ran for school committee. And my brother’s a town manager, the assistant
town manager in Wellesley. The rest of my brothers are either teachers or—one works for a
utility so we’ll put that as quasi-public. So we’ve all kind of stayed involved in public service.

PROFESSOR JOSEPH McETTRICK: So did you have part-time jobs in college and in law
school?

CLARK: Yeah.

McETTRICK: Anything political there, or governmental?

CLARK: No, no, I worked at Grossman Lumber in college. I’d work too many hours in a
week, and actually there was one stretch of time I actually worked all night long. We were
rebuilding something at Grossman’s—I love that type of work; I’m kind of a natural handyman
anyway. I can do just about anything, from fixing my own car to installing plumbing. I just
always liked that stuff, so I worked at Grossman’s.

I worked since I was kid with my father, as well. He’s kind of a glorified electronic technician.
He puts in public address systems, or used to anyway, and he’s done all of the big supermarkets
and things like that. So anyway, I’ve been running wires and drilling holes since I was seven.

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OH-020 Transcript
So anyway—but no, I worked right until the end of my undergraduate career doing something,
but particularly at Grossman Lumber.

McETTRICK: So when did you bump into Joe Moakley?

CLARK: Well, in 1982 I actually ran a guy’s campaign for state representative when I was a
junior at Bridgewater, and his son was a friend of mine. In 1982 they redistricted all of the
congressional districts in the state. You remember they put Margaret Heckler1 and Barney
Frank2 together? And my area, Easton, was kind of in the center of the maelstrom here because
they had put them together and there was a lot of controversy, and all of that. So for whatever
reason, there was a much more heightened interest, perhaps, in the congressional scene down my
way.

So anyway, in 1982 they changed those districts to actually include Joe down that way. Joe was
mostly a Boston—and then a Boston suburban—congressman. I think the farthest South it went,
if I remember right, is Canton at that time. But in ‘82 they stretched Joe all the way down to
Middleborough and Halifax and Lakeville and Dighton, and my town, Easton. And it was really
foreign territory for Joe Moakley at that particular point in time because he all of a sudden had
cranberry growers and agriculture in his district. You know, things he wasn’t quite as familiar
with on the streets of South Boston.

So they were looking for people in that campaign, the ‘82 campaign. My candidate lost in the
primary, came in second, and I was involved with the Democratic Town Committee in my town.
Some of Joe’s people came to—Mike McGillivray actually was his regional coordinator for that
area, and he came to all of the meetings. I met Mike, and Mike took a shine to me and Karen
Harraghy3—formerly Karen Pacheco—also, and kind of brought us into the campaign.

1

Margaret Heckler (1931- ), a Republican, represented Massachusetts’ Tenth Congressional District in the U.S.
House of Representatives from 1967 to 1983.
2
Barnett “Barney” Frank (1940- ), a Democrat, has represented Massachusetts’ Fourth Congressional District in the
U.S. House of Representatives since 1981.
3
Karen Harraghy was Moakley’s congressional assistant at his Taunton office from 1983 to 2001.
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OH-020 Transcript
I went to a meeting with Roger Kineavy4 and Marty Foster5 who ran the ‘82 campaign. Roger
was kind of the key advisor, as he always was. They made me instantly their college
coordinator. Basically what that meant is I got a whole bunch of kids to hold signs over Route
24 every morning. Then we flyered more cars at different college campuses than you can
possibly imagine. (laughter) And thousands and thousands of cars, UMass-Boston to
Northeastern, everywhere.

So after that campaign was done, Joe did a town hall visit in my town, Easton, and I went with
my parents to see him. He offered me an internship in D.C., a Lyndon Baines Johnson
Fellowship actually, and I thought that was pretty good and so I did it. That was actually after I
had graduated from Bridgewater at that time, and so I went down and worked down there for a
summer, and then went to Suffolk.

I was a little bit bored my first year of law school, and went to his office and—anyway, I kind of
became an intern up there. Then I ran his congressional campaign in ‘84. In ‘85 I joined his
staff, and the rest is history, so to speak.

McETTRICK: So what did you do for Joe in the office? As time went on, you must’ve gone
from one assignment to another within the outfit?

CLARK: Yeah. When I first started with Joe I did a lot of his grants work. They made me
the—my first title was Washington Liaison because there was a communication gap between
Boston and Washington. Since I worked in D.C. I could “speak the language” a little bit, so I
really got into issues really quickly. Anything that bridged the two offices I got involved with at
that particular time, and there’s so many different examples of it.

But in terms of casework I did all of the banking, I did all of the tax, IRS casework. And pretty
much a jack-of-all-trades for anything that didn’t fall neatly into a category, like Social Security

4
5

Roger Kineavy served as Moakley’s district director from 1973 to 1994.
Martin Foster was a member of Moakley’s district staff from 1978 to 1984.
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OH-020 Transcript
or housing or what have you. But while I was working for Joe at that time, I was in law school,
so I’d be bouncing back and forth from ‘83 to ‘86 quite a bit.

Then I ran all of his congressional campaigns from ‘84 until, let’s see, really almost to the end. I
either ran it as the campaign manager or else, in the last couple years, I made Sean Ryan6
campaign manager. And then in the last campaign, Sheila Hill7 was campaign manager. But I
was really the Roger Kineavy, the key campaign advisor for Joe.

ALLISON: What were the campaigns like?

CLARK: Well, Joe never took any candidate for granted. Since I was around—and I was very
involved in the ‘82 campaign; that obviously was going to be a big campaign. Deborah
Corcoran ran against him and she was a Republican state rep from Dedham, had a little bit of
money. So obviously that was a big, heated, controversial campaign.

But the campaigns where Joe didn’t have to do anything—like ‘84 is a great example. We had a
Lyndon LaRouche8 candidate at that time. And we’ve had Lyndon LaRouche candidates often,
actually, through the years and a couple of independents along the way. And all through the
eighties, except for the Corcoran campaign, Joe had very minimal opposition.

But he never took anything for granted. We would start off with signature drives. We always
had a goal to get more signatures than the time before. We used those opportunities to flush out
his volunteer pool and to bring new people in, to keep that volunteer pool fresh every two years.
We would go and give maximum effort to gathering signatures to the point where, in really the
last couple of campaigns, we got as many as twenty-five thousand signatures. And, I mean, you
only need two [thousand].

6

Sean Ryan was a member of Moakley’s district staff from 1993 to 2001.
Sheila Hill was a member of Moakley’s district staff from 1997 to 1999.
8
Lyndon LaRouche, Jr. (1922- ) is an American economist and political activist whose ideas spurred the LaRouche
movement, an international movement based on a complex system of economic, cultural, social and political factors
that is seen as a means of world economic progress by its supporters, but fascist or cult-like (among other
characteristics) by some critics. LaRouche supporters who run for office are often enrolled as Democrats.
7

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OH-020 Transcript
ALLISON: Do you have to get them all over the district?

CLARK: We made sure we got them all over the district, and covered every nook and cranny of
the Ninth [District]. And we covered every post office and supermarket, and Dunkin’ Donuts
everywhere. We really were probably wise to do this—and this all emanates from Joe—to keep
a really fresh organization. If at any point he ever needed it, it would be there and you wouldn’t
be calling dead people, or people who just couldn’t otherwise physically get out there. We had a
lot of younger people brought in as well. So he never took anything for granted. We probably
spent too much money in every single effort. Our modus operandi was no TV ads, very little
radio ads, but some radio ads.

But what we really tried to do is put people on the street. We would do flyers, those kind of
newspaper-format flyers you have in the archives. And we would go out and a couple of times
during the campaign cycle, flyer every single house in the Ninth Congressional District. And if
we had trouble in a particular town getting the appropriate number of people, we sent a bus down
and we would make sure every single home was flyered. And we did that from ‘84 right till the
last day.

McETTRICK: What kind of campaigning did Joe like to do personally? Did you accompany
him or drive him?

CLARK: Oh, yeah. I think it’s fair to say what he hated to do was fundraise, except maybe for
his birthday party where it was really a reconvening of old friends. You know, he hated to
fundraise but he did it dutifully, as he needed to do. And by the nineties we were raising
millions of dollars, whereas back in the eighties he would raise just one-hundred thousand, twohundred thousand dollars and be happy with it.

But he usually threw maybe two events per year: a big D.C. event; [and] a big Boston event, his
birthday party, principally. But by the time we were up to the ‘92 election and up to the 2000
elections, we had Joe out every week doing the traditional kind of fundraising they do today.
You know, law firms hosting, businesses hosting, major fundraising people hosting. And then
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OH-020 Transcript
much, much larger, kind of more glitzy events throughout the course of the year. So not just
raising money for himself, but also soft money for the Democratic Party or money for the
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, et cetera. A lot more emphasis on fundraising
in later years.

But what Joe loved to do—we didn’t consider this campaigning, but what he loved to do mostly,
and which I think benefited his campaign the most, were those town hall visits. And he didn’t
have to do those town hall visits politically; he really didn’t, from the moment I started in his
office till the last day, because he was so popular. But he dutifully went out every year, to every
town hall. And he sent out a postcard to every single household in the district, to announce that
he was going to be there, no appointment necessary, and for people to show up within a time
block, first come, first served, although he served everyone who showed up. We would go to
every town hall in the district. In some places we would have sixty, seventy people deep,
waiting for five or ten minutes with Joe Moakley, and he would see every single person. We’d
always be late getting to the next town hall, so the staff would leapfrog ahead.

It would take weeks to cycle through those, but I think that kept him close to his people. He
loved to do that. It was, from a staff perspective, grinding because you hear a lot of the same
issues. But Joe just got so much glee, so much joy from having constituents sit across—whether
it was an issue or a personal request to do with the federal government—and finding a way to
solve it if it was a request, or address it if it was an issue. He loved that.

It was such a joy. I was with him for all of those, and there were just a couple of occasions
where he was too ill to do them himself and we would sit in. But it was very rare; maybe I can
only think of twice that that happened, in all of my years with Joe. He loved to do that.

McETTRICK: It’s very hard to recall anecdotes or stories, but you know, if there’s anything
that comes to mind that is sort of a nice aside or something, or really something that you thought
was emblematic of what Joe was like, just please feel free to put it into the record.

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OH-020 Transcript
CLARK: I wanted to give you one example that really gave me a good education with Joe.
This was ‘84. I was in his office and we were doing a town hall visit in the town of
Middleborough. You know, Middleborough is a very conservative Republican community, a lot
of what I’ll describe as very stiff Yankee-types down there and such. I may have been somewhat
idealistic and somewhat more partisan at that time.

We went down, and what we would do is give everybody a sheet of paper and you write your
name and your phone number, and then just a little statement of what your issue was, or concern.
Then Joe would have little sections so he could make notes as to what he wanted to do, and such.
And there was a very old, crusty, cranky gentleman, probably in his mid- to late-seventies, who
was there. He was dressed very nicely; he had a suit on, and a jacket and a tie. He was going to
give Joe hell on every issue he disagreed with the congressman about at that time, from taxes to
gun control.

So anyway, when his turn came I let Joe know this. “This gentleman’s out here”—I won’t give
his name; I kind of remember his name actually. But I said, “If you want me to come in in five
minutes and just say that you’ve got a phone call,” or the type of thing a good staff person might
do. Joe said “No, no, no, let him in, it’s fine.”

So I was worried because this guy was really belligerent out in the waiting area. He went in, and
I’m kind of listening at the door. In about five, six, seven minutes later I hear laughing back and
forth. In another five minutes Joe came out, his arm was around this old gentleman, and the old
gentleman’s arm was around Joe. Then I noticed that Joe was wearing this gentleman’s tie, and
this gentleman was wearing Joe’s tie. Joe gave him one of the congressional ties, and this
gentleman gave him—I think it was a Cape Cod tie, at the time. I was absolutely amazed by
that. It taught me so much about Joe, and so much about good politics.

So as we were driving to the next town hall I asked him, “What happened?” And so Joe said,
“Well, he came in, he wanted to talk about these issues. But I got away from the issues as
quickly as I could, and we talked about some things we have in common. We both were in the
service; we talked about our career. This old gentleman happened to be in the navy, and we
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OH-020 Transcript
found there’s some people we knew. And we had a good conversation about everything other
than issues. And he remarked about my congressional tie, and I remarked about his tie.” And he
says, “You know, I found something in common and we had a connection, and became friends
from it.”

He taught me a lesson there in terms of politics, because it isn’t the partisan, it isn’t the policy;
it’s the people. And Joe made a friend that day. That’s the way he conducted himself in public
office, and it taught me a lot about how to conduct myself with him. Partisanship came second,
policy came third; people came first.

And you know, Joe made sure that his staff followed that. He wanted to go to a restaurant one
time after a town hall visit in my town, Easton. And he wanted to go to a particular restaurant. I
said, “Geez, Joe, the person that owns that is the biggest Republican in my town. She’s the most
active—anything to do with the Republican Party and campaigns, she’s—.” He says, “I don’t
care.”

So he went in, and her name was Debbie Darling at the time; it was the 400 Restaurant. He
made a great friend in Debbie Darling, and every time he went to Easton he went to the 400
Restaurant. She might’ve worked for Republican opponents of Joe Moakley down the road, but
she always respected and liked him. I think, you know, again, that taught me a lot. And he said
at that time, he says, “Hey, it’s a campaign until November. Then after November we’re all
friends.” It’s a great lesson in politics. That’s one example of town hall visits.

ALLISON: Yeah. So then how would he follow up with the folks who came in?

CLARK: You know what he liked to do best, whether he was meeting them in the town hall or
whether he was meeting them in his office, or what have you—and as technology evolved it
would be easier in later years—but he would really relish having a constituent sit across from
him, ask a favor. Let’s say it was a Social Security check that was held up, or what have you.
He would relish picking up the phone while that person was sitting in front him, and try to get
the ball rolling while the person was sitting in front of him.
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OH-020 Transcript

On a couple of occasions he actually had people wait. You know, go back out, wait, wait for a
phone call to come in, and actually solve the problem from beginning to end. Something that
would take a staff person maybe a couple of days to go through correspondence or phone calls,
or whatever. He would just love to solve it right on the spot. He did that on many, many
occasions.

I remember one lady in Stoughton back in the nineties, she had real trouble with a birth
certificate, getting a birth certificate. And I think he made four or five different calls to different
folks, town hall folks, to vital records folks, and he got that resolved while that woman sat in
front of him. He kept her in front of him while he made call after call after call after call.

Or another woman who wasn’t even from his district, I’m sure you’ve heard this story before—
whose electricity was being shut off and was on dialysis. I don’t know, you’ve probably heard
this story. And he just made a series of phone calls. Actually that was in front of—and then for
weeks afterwards until he got that problem solved. Nobody got more joy in politics from helping
people than Joe. And that was real. That was real. So that’s why the town hall visits were so
much fun. We did them on Saturdays, and in later years we just did them Mondays through
Saturdays and tried to knock them out a little more quickly. But he really loved to do that.

But anyway, what he would do is he would take back his sheets. If he couldn’t solve it on the
spot then he would break it up. If it was issues he’d break it up to D.C., and he’d write D.C. on
the top corner. And then Boston on the bottom corner if it was kind of a constituent-related—all
the issues went to D.C., and then all the casework went to Boston. And then either he and I, or
just he, would just figure out who on the staff would have to handle this request and whether he
needed to be involved in the follow-up. And typically, we would be able to kind of take them
apart and solve them on our own.

The thing about constituent casework, which is what I spent most of my career with Joe working
on, [is] you had to do it, because if you didn’t do it on a staff level, one way or another—it
might’ve been another town hall visit a year later—post office visit, we used to call them before
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OH-020 Transcript
that—that person would come back and eventually Joe would know you didn’t do it. (laughter)
He would always find out. And if you didn’t do it, you would hear immediately from Joe and
you would get really in big trouble. But if you did do it, and Joe got the compliment, you really
wouldn’t hear that. (laughter) Joe wanted to keep you on your toes.

So on a staff level, things didn’t get filed and lost; things got done. The reason they got done is
fear on the staff level that Joe Moakley would come down hard. He had kind of an incredible
memory, almost like he had an index card on every staff person. If he gave you something to do
he would write it on his mental index card, and when he called you for the update in the Boston
office, he would click down the mental index of what was on that card.

It was amazing, his memory was just incredible. And something he’d give you a month ago—
“How are we doing on so-and-so’s case, or this-and-so project, or that letter for this and that?”
And then he’d get on the phone with almost everybody in the office and go through his postcard
lists of checklists, to make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Just amazing.

ALLISON: How often would he do that—would he call?

CLARK: Now, he would call me—when I was district director, he’d call every day, every
single day. I’d talk to him at night, or we’d be together on the weekends, or whatever. He was
in constant communication with all of his offices on a daily basis. He wouldn’t talk to every
staff person every day, but if you were a staff person, even if you were a brand-new staff person,
you talked to Joe a lot.

I know when I first started with him, I would be very nervous when Joe would call. I would
write down for myself all the things I needed to cover with him. Actually that never changed for
me. I still had that same nervousness on the last day, and the last time I talked to him, as I did on
the first. That’s the kind of regard we held Joe in. It wasn’t fear, it was just respect.

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OH-020 Transcript
McETTRICK: Now, would most of the contact between Joe and, say, other members of the
delegation, would that tend to be more at the Washington end, or would it be in the district as
well?

CLARK: It depends, it depends. I would say probably mostly in Washington, although—you
know, if there was an issue regarding a company that kind of crossed district lines or whatever;
and put that in the category of constituent service, any kind of issues that may affect a business
or what have you; he’d pick up the phone very quickly and call. And people would call him in
the district offices continually.

So no, it’d be very usual for us to field phone calls from other congressmen, senators. You
know, we’ve had calls from the president of the United States in our office. And you know, it
was just another day in the district office. It was never quiet in the district office, generally. It
was particularly never quiet when Joe was there. I mean, he just brought his flurry of activity
wherever he went.

ALLISON: And he would usually be there from Friday through Monday, or—

CLARK: Yeah. Yeah, typically he would come back on a Thursday night, depending upon the
schedules. A little different when under the Democrats than the Republicans. But he’d be back
on Thursday night, he would always be in Friday morning, and then he would be back on
Monday, and then Saturday, Sundays. So we typically didn’t do too much campaigning or
politicking, or legislating, what have you, on a Sunday.

Joe had his own routine for Sundays; I’m sure you’ve heard it. He would go to the Galley
Diner—this is in later years, really—go to the Galley Diner for breakfast. Kind of ritualistic
going to the Galley Diner. And then he would get the Sunday papers and he would go out to
Castle Island. Everybody in South Boston, and other parts, knew that Joe would sit in his car in
Castle Island. He would field, just like he did in town hall visits, a range of requests. I would
get those on Monday, and we would just distribute them out the same way.

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And then he’d go to church, Saint Brigid’s. He kind of had a routine. Then he’d go visit friends
and what have you, or keep busy in some other ways. But Saturdays he generally worked, and
then of course he worked very hard on Fridays and Mondays as well. If he wasn’t in session he
was in the district office. When Evelyn9 was alive he would take some time to go down the Cape
during the summer, where he had a place down there behind Anthony’s Cummaquid Inn.

But he’d rather be at work, and so every chance he had he was at work. His number was listed,
as you know, 268-7171. And he’d get all kinds of phone calls at home. He didn’t have an
answering machine though, but in later years he had caller ID. He would go through his caller
ID and he would return every phone number he didn’t know. And say, “This is Joe Moakley, did
you call me?” (laughter) He would, he would—in case it was important to somebody, or in case
they were too shy to leave—to not want to call him again. That was very, very typical of Joe.
He loved to work.

McETTRICK: Just kind of looking back over your whole range of experience in the district
office, you’d have an individual constituent request, but then you must’ve had another level of
issue or request, where there would be larger or more general public issues that would be rattling
around the district. What comes to mind as you kind of go back through the movie? What were
the things that you spent a lot of time on, and the ones that you thought Joe really showed his
best success? Give us a little encyclopedia or one of those?

CLARK: Well, constituent service, number one, of course. But then we had the larger projects
that cut across the district. And if you haven’t talked to Roger Kineavy, at some point you really
need to. But in earlier years, if you can find examples of federal investment, and Joe Moakley
could get his fingers on some funding, there was a lot of office time spent on making those
things happen. And it typically was a little more district-oriented than it was D.C.-oriented.
D.C. secured the funding through their mechanisms down there, but there was a lot of work at
the district level, too.

McETTRICK: Now would this be both grants or legislation?
9

Evelyn (Duffy) Moakley (1927-1996) was Congressman Moakley’s wife. They married in 1957.
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15

OH-020 Transcript

CLARK: No, it’s more earmarked—well, some grants. Like in the early years, in the
seventies—this is before my time—the district office spent a lot of time with grants, yes, but also
trying to secure money for housing. Elderly housing, senior housing, housing for the disabled
and that. And Joe probably had more to do with senior housing—any federally subsidized
housing that was built in the city of Boston during the seventies, Joe Moakley had a hand in
getting the money and securing.

That goes right to—that also includes some of the syndicated tax credit stuff, and the more
complicated things that were really going on in the seventies and eighties. Christopher
Columbus Housing in the North End, to the Keystone Building in Dorchester. I mean, pretty
much you name the project anywhere in the city of Boston, and Joe had something to do with it.
Roger Kineavy, Joe’s district director during those years, just spent a tremendous amount of time
getting housing built for seniors.

In later years, one of the projects I worked on was funding for historic preservation. So we
would work very closely at the district level with the City of Boston and with the Ancient and
Honorables10, actually. At the time, we had weekly meetings, just about, up at Faneuil Hall.
They have an old office way up in the top there, hidden away. And with the National Parks
Service, John Burchill, who recently passed away. Kind of putting together a wish list of
projects, and trying to figure out how to get it done. And of course, D.C. got it funded, but we
figured out what should get spent and how it should get spent. Working with constituency
groups. So Faneuil Hall renovation came out of that, the Old State House, the Old South
Church, and a whole bunch of other things, too.

Then another one of my projects was the U.S. courthouse, the Moakley Courthouse. That was
my project. From the beginning, the very beginning, when we took a tour of the old, existing
federal courthouse with Senator Moynihan’s staff and did a complete walkthrough with Judge
10

The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts was chartered in 1638 as a military company to
train men for service in Massachusetts militias. Today, the company has “a supportive role in preserving the historic
and patriotic traditions of our city, Commonwealth and Nation.” The company’s headquarters is located in Boston’s
historic Faneuil Hall building. (Information taken from http://www.ahacsite.org)
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OH-020 Transcript
Breyer, at the time, and Judge Woodlock, and figured out—and Joe didn’t get the money for this
study, but Joe Early actually did.

From that very beginning point where you’re making the case for a new courthouse; to some
involvement with the process to identify parcels that might be available, and meeting with a lot
of the folks who own those parcels; to actually being involved with the neighborhood group
meetings to get the building designed and such; right down to helping—to have a hand in the
brick selection, and make sure the bricklayers were taken care of, and programming at the
courthouse. From A to Z, we didn’t get the money for it but we did everything else in the district
office. And there’s a lot of examples like that.

ALLISON: How was the site selected for that? Now can you tell us a little bit about that
whole—I mean, the process?

CLARK: Well the Boston Redevelopment Authority actually assembled all of the potential
sites. Bidders could basically put their sites forward, and then there was a selection committee
that was formed, partially of court personnel, and of course the court really ran the project, the
GSA [General Services Administration]. And the City of Boston was very involved in that as
well, and they rated the sites and such in terms of common ownership of the site—if it was
multiple parcels, that would knock it down—access to public transportation and such.

Joe always felt that that site should be on the water. And whether it was Anthony Athanas’ site,
or some other site, he felt it was really important to have it on the water, for security reasons.
And he also felt it should be an economic catalyst for development. So for all of those reasons,
he really felt like the Fan Pier, that area really should be on the list anyway. Originally it was on
the list but it was rated very low. The reason it was rated very low is because they didn’t have
public transportation down there. So partially to answer that question, Joe worked with Senator
Kennedy to get funding for the Silver Line.

That was partially to address the issue of lack of transportation in that area, to justify the
courthouse eventually going there. So Joe was very hopeful that that parcel [of land] would get
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OH-020 Transcript
on there [the list of potential courthouse sites]. He did actively try to address the transportation
issue, to help the courthouse and to help the economic prospects of that area. But I think he
helped, through kind of indirect means, get it on the list and get it high up on the list. But of
course, the judges selected it.

ALLISON: Do you recall what some of the other sites were?

CLARK: Yeah. One of the sites was on Washington Street, which is now the—do you know
where the cinema is, on Washington Street? I can’t think of the crossroad, right down the street
here, Washington and Tremont where the cinema is, right down here. I can’t think of the name
of it, Loews or whatever it is. That site was one of the sites. The Brooke Courthouse, before it
was built, that was probably the leading site at the time. There were numerous other sites that
weren’t as attractive, but those were the two major ones that were really under consideration.
They had as many drawbacks, and for different reasons, as the Fan Pier site may have had
originally.

But Fan Pier won because it was common ownership, and public transportation, and secure. And
they were basically—where else in the city of Boston do you have a blank slate, in terms of
there’s nothing else down there? So they could really build it, and influence what went around it
in the right way, so the judges were really pleased. And it was close enough to the Financial
District and Government Center, and the law offices and such, to make it work.

McETTRICK: Was it on your watch that Joe was tangling with harbor cleanup and the Harbor
Islands acquisition, and matters just generally relating to the harbor?

CLARK: No, that was—he was a state senator at the time that the Harbor Islands became a
state park. He played other roles as a congressman, of course. And in later years, working with
Gerry Studds11 to get it unique designation as a federal park, but with private funding, basically,

11

Gerald R. Studds (1937-2006), a Democrat, represented Massachusetts’ Tenth Congressional District in the U.S.
House of Representatives from 1973 to 1997.
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for it. But no, we didn’t really have too much to do with the Harbor Islands, except maybe for
Spectacle, where it related to the Central Artery, the Big Dig.12

McETTRICK: So that was really the Big Dig?

CLARK: Yeah.

McETTRICK: But the Big Dig was pretty much on your plate?

CLARK: Yeah, the Big Dig was. But it was all well underway by the time I got involved. I
went to thousands of meetings. You know, you make sure that the North End community was
taken care of.

McETTRICK: But more of an issue of continued federal funding, I guess?

CLARK: Yeah, I would say that was really more of a D.C. issue through the whole of it. I
mean, Tip O’Neill13 got it authorized, but Joe Moakley and Ted Kennedy14 got it funded. Tip
O’Neill did not appropriate a single dollar for the Central Artery. That’s one of the secrets.
Without him it wouldn’t have happened, but Joe and Ted Kennedy really got the money, you
know, I mean all of it. And then protected it up until the point where they didn’t trust some of
the state officials and some of their numbers. So at that point, I think they were a little less
protective, a little less willing to go to bat and put their reputations on the line.

McETTRICK: Well you know, I very much enjoyed the interview that I had with Jim
McGovern, who was recounting his time on this staff and his experiences in running for

12

The Big Dig, or Central Artery/Tunnel Project (CA/T), was the largest public works project in U.S. history and
involved the replacement of downtown Boston’s elevated highway with a tunnel. The project began in 1991 and
ended in 2007.
13
Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill (1912-1994), a Democrat, represented Massachusetts’ Eleventh and, after redistricting,
Eighth Congressional Districts in the United States House of Representatives from 1953 to 1987. He served as
Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1977 to 1987. He also served in the Massachusetts House of
Representatives from 1936 to 1952.
14
Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy (1932- ), a Democrat, has represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate
since 1961.
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Congress. And I suppose you were probably at least indirectly watching a lot of that happen. I
guess he had two runs at it, and almost to his own surprise, really, was successful the second
time around.

Anything that really comes to mind with respect to Jim? You must have had some interaction
with him, right? Even though his sentiments were somewhat different from yours.

CLARK: No, Jim and I worked very, very closely together. And I mean, I think Joe really
looked at Jim McGovern15 as a son. And I really mean that, he was the number one son. We
always kind of termed him that way, to the point where—and maybe I was the number two son
in later years.

But when Joe and Evelyn were sick, I took care of Evelyn and Jim took care of Joe. They were
in different places. And then when they were up here, I took care of both of them; if they were
down there, Jim took care of both of them. We were the caretakers, and to the point where Jim
had the health care proxy for Joe. Jim could make the decision at the very end as to whether Joe
should continue on life support or not. And that’s how much Joe thought of Jim.

So Joe had a real emotional bond to Jim, although he’d never know it, ‘cause they didn’t have
that kind of an outward—Joe really pushed Jim to kind of be the best person he could be, and
gave him tremendous political advice, I think. Some of which Jim listened to, some of which he
didn’t. (laughter)

McETTRICK: It was a great interview, really.

CLARK: Yeah, I’m sure. I’m sure.

McETTRICK: I enjoyed it a lot. He was very eloquent and intense really, in talking about Joe.

15

James P. McGovern (1959- ), a Democrat, has represented Massachusetts’ Third Congressional District in the
U.S. House of Representatives since 1997. He was a member of Moakley’s congressional staff from 1982 to 1996.
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OH-020 Transcript
CLARK: Joe was determined to make sure that Jim got a solid footing with any—and Joe did
extraordinary things for Jim, in both campaigns, to help him. I mean, he really put his reputation
on the line, he really broke arms. He did. He broke a lot of arms to get people to help Jim. And
you know, without—I’m not sure Jim would’ve won, truthfully, in that race if Joe wasn’t as
deeply, actively involved, to the point of walking down the streets and campaigning with Jim,
and personally marching in parades, and all of that. But there was a reason for that, and there
was a real love between those two people. And Joe really loved him as a son, and Jim loved him
as a father and I’m sure he told you that.

McETTRICK: Well, that’s a theme, of course, that we’ve encountered consistently in these
conversations with people, is the relationship between Joe and his staff, and just the enduring
relationships. And could you just tell us a little bit about that? I mean it really—it seems to take
on family dimensions, as you started to suggest.

CLARK: Well I think we had a very—I’m just going to speak for myself, because everybody
had their own relationship with Joe. But Joe was really on a pedestal, for me and I think for all
of the staff, and we respected him so greatly because of the way he handled himself. And he was
as genuine in public as he was in private. There was no difference in Joe behind the scenes.
There were no crass comments, or whatever. He never once disappointed me, in terms of
personal ethics or, you know, anything scandalous in any way.

And he always carried himself as his father told him to carry himself, and that is to live your life,
to conduct yourself in public as though what you’ve done today will be in tomorrow’s Boston
Globe, the front page of the Boston papers. And he really lived that way. Just the way he really
cared about people. Joe would always make sure that he—after he fired off his list of things,
he’d ask you about your wife or your kids, or whatever; he really did. He knew the name of your
kid, and he knew your spouse’s name and your parents—”How are your parents doing?” He
really, genuinely cared when he asked you those types of things.

But maybe because he didn’t have kids of his own, I think he maybe held us a little bit closer.
We spent a tremendous amount of time with him; I mean just a tremendous amount of time.
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Sometimes seven days a week, week after week after week. And you know, we got involved
with every aspect of his daily activities. Particularly in later years when he got sick, he didn’t
call on his brothers and sisters, or nieces and nephews, to come take care of him or help him in
any way; he called on us. And we were very happy to respond at all hours of the day and night,
or stay over. I’ve stayed over and taken care of Evelyn, you know, staying in the next room for
weeks.

We really developed a love for him, and I think he did for us too. Although the funny part of it,
it was very much an employer-employee relationship. It was very professional at all times, you
know. It’s kind of hard to describe. It’s almost like kind of a father figure that never really tells
you that he loves you, although you know he does. And you’re never in a position where it’s
appropriate to tell him that you love him, although he knows you do. And it really wasn’t until
the very end, just probably a week before he died, that I told him I loved him.

And you know, I’m sure that’s the case—Jim McGovern never had that opportunity, and I know
that bothered him at the end. He never had an opportunity to tell Joe he loved him. And I don’t
think he really had to. But I was there when Joe died, and I know that bothered Jim.

But you know, it’s kind of hard to describe. I think even though we helped a lot of people along
the way, and had a very professional relationship, and got a lot done for the people of
Massachusetts, I don’t think any of us really knew how close we were and how much we felt
about Joe until he was gone. Or until we knew he was going to be gone. And it was very
emotional and very difficult, I’m sure, for all of us. I was with Joe, you know, in different
capacities for eighteen years and I’m only forty-two. And so from ‘83 to 2001. And I always
wondered where I stood with Joe, because he didn’t say he loved you, and there was a lot of
critical, “I don’t know if you’re doing enough for Mrs. Smith,” kind of comments and such. But
he got the most out of you, that’s for sure.

But for me personally, when he knew he was going to die, I was the second person he told that
he was going to die. I helped plan that press conference we did at the courthouse, to announce to
the world on February 12, 2001, that he had a terminal illness. Then very shortly after that he
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OH-020 Transcript
asked me to put together some kind of a plan for his funeral, and I did that for him. Then he just
kind of gave me free reign to put that whole thing together. Which of course I did, in
conjunction with Deborah Spriggs16 and Jim McGovern and others. But I kind of felt the weight
of his legacy at the very end on my own shoulders, and I felt a great responsibility to get it right.
So that was very meaningful to me, that he asked me to do that.

McETTRICK: I’m sure there’s some confidences that you really want to keep personal and
inside, but insofar as you’re able to talk about it, can you tell us about—probably what’s in the
public mind on that period was the press conference; then in D.C. where there was a shift in
Joe’s plans. And so can you tell us a little bit about that period, or how that was for you?

CLARK: Yeah, that was right after his liver transplant. And you know, when Joe had his—
when his liver was failing and he was in side-by-side hospital beds at Mass General, and had
been given last rites—and so was his wife, up there. And very few people, I think, ever thought
Joe would live to see another day. We put him on a plane, sent him down when the liver became
available, and Jim McGovern accompanied him.

That was such a major operation. Joe didn’t suffer operations very well. Even though he was a
very strong person, didn’t complain about pain. Used to get his dentistry work done without
Novocain, which always amazed me.

It wasn’t the pain, but any time he had an operation—this is a little bit of a confidence, but any
time he had an operation he had a very difficult time kind of immediately righting himself. And
after the liver transplant—where he actually died on the operating table, and he had kind of the
blue line in his fingernails to prove it—you know, he went into a state for a couple of months
where he wasn’t himself. It was a little bit of a manic depressive state. It wasn’t Joe Moakley as
we know him, and he just chemically wasn’t himself.

16

Deborah Spriggs was a member of Moakley’s Washington, D.C., staff from 1995 to 2001. OH-025 in the
Moakley Oral History Project is an interview with Ms. Spriggs.
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OH-020 Transcript
So he made the decision to retire from office. That morning—it was a snap decision, and his
wife was furious at him. That morning Jim McGovern called me, and I was the district director
at the time, and told me that Joe was going to retire.

I was furious at Joe. He just—you don’t do it in that way. I knew he wasn’t himself, and I knew
he would be at some point. So we all spent the entire morning yelling at Joe, basically, and
complaining, and trying to get Evelyn to talk him out of it. Because we knew that when he
pulled out of it and righted himself, that he would regret it. And we just knew that retirement
wasn’t the right thing for Joe, and that without his work he wouldn’t have much left, you know?

So we spent that entire morning yelling at him. And at one point I had my entire staff in the
district office, and campaign folks, or anybody connected with Joe, and our staff around a
conference table like this. While I was working with Jim McGovern on yelling at Joe and
finding every way we could to convince him, the staff sat around a conference table with a
speakerphone in the middle of the table, that Joe could call at that point, at any point, to pull out.
Then we had cameras come in, which was really not good, to watch our reaction on TV as Joe
shifted gears.

Honestly, I didn’t know what he was going to do until he walked into that press conference.
Yeah. But I give Evelyn Moakley credit for putting the fear of God into Joe, that he wouldn’t
want to be home with Evelyn if he pulled out, ‘cause she—

McETTRICK: Tell us about Evelyn, because we tend to talk a lot about Joe, you notice, and
everything. And you said that one of your jobs was really to keep an eye on her. Well, tell us
about Evelyn and how everything went for her during those years.

CLARK: Well, that’s one of the nice things about being in the district: we got to meet Evelyn.
Evelyn was in every way Joe’s equal. She was a very, very strong wife. In many ways, Evelyn
was in charge of that relationship between the two of them. I think it’s fair to say that Joe feared
Evelyn. (laughter) He loved her, but they had a funny relationship, and it was a great
relationship. She had a sense of humor equal to Joe’s. She was a real character.
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I’ll give you one story that told me exactly where Evelyn stood. This was in ‘84, and I would
pick up Joe from the airport whenever he would come in. One time I picked him up at the
airport, and I was still brand new on the staff. Joe came bolting out of the gangway from the
plane and said, “We’ve got to get going right now.”

So the car was right out front, he jumps in the car, and he says—he was in such a hurry to get
home, I honestly thought that the nuclear missiles were on the way and he was trying to get to a
fallout shelter. (laughter) He had me take every illegal turn in the North End that you could
possibly take to get back to South Boston. I remember jumping a curb at one point. And I
screeched to a halt at the front of 1812 Columbia Road, where he lived. And Joe ran in the house
and got two barrels of trash, and put them out on the street. (laughter)

He didn’t want to disappoint Evelyn by not having the trash out for the trash man that was about
to come around the corner in the trash truck to pick up. And he says, “Okay, we can go to the
office now.” So I was like white and bare-knuckled and shaking, and I thought to myself, “I
know who’s in charge around here.” (laughter)

McETTRICK: That’s a great story.

CLARK: Yeah, and that turned out to be exactly right. She ran that household, very clearly.
She was a very quiet person, she—and in terms of her public self, she wouldn’t go out and do
different things. She would pretty much stay home, and she would watch Joe’s every move on
TV, C-SPAN or what have you, and talk to him constantly.

But you know, when she got sick—she had a lung cancer, which eventually became a brain
tumor and that’s what killed her. You know, she was a very, very strong person throughout that
whole process. Equally strong as Joe was, and that says a lot. Equally courageous, and I think
that says a lot too, and equally humorous throughout the whole. And we were with her every
step of the way, the Boston staff, in helping her through all of her medical appointments.

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OH-020 Transcript
And, you know, I was with her—we took her to St. Elizabeth’s when she had her brain tumor.
We drove her to St. Elizabeth’s, myself and Joe Moynihan. And we stayed with her at the
hospital, and rode with her in an ambulance from St. Elizabeth’s to Mass General, and all of that.
I remember at St. Elizabeth’s—she has a brain tumor and she didn’t know it at the time, but she
knew something was wrong. She was disoriented at home and all that. She kind of pulled out of
it at St. Elizabeth’s. Yeah, she was joking with the staff, and the nurses and the doctors. She sent
Joe and I—Joe Moynihan and I—out for pizza for everybody.

You know, it was just amazing to me how strong they both were at that time, with their
individual fights with death. Joe won his at that time, and she lost hers. But just amazing,
amazing people. And you know, it was a pleasure to know her. They had a great relationship. It
could be fiery at times, but a very loving relationship between the two of them.
And Joe, he—when Evelyn died, he put her in Braintree.17 He would visit constantly, and I think
that really showed you how much they cared about each other. But you never really heard an “I
love you, Evelyn” or “I love you, Joe” from them, and maybe it was a similar relationship that
we had at the staff level. But they had a very close relationship and a very loving one, that I
think you really understood a little better, even after she was gone.

McETTRICK: Did she feel more comfortable with leaving the politics to Joe? Did she like to
get involved in political activity?

CLARK: I don’t think she had—I never had a discussion with her about any substantive policy
issues. I mean, she was really more oriented towards people, as he was. And she loved Tip
O’Neill, and Millie O’Neill, and they spent a lot of time together. They used to have
Thanksgiving dinners together, every Thanksgiving, Tip and Millie, and Joe and Evelyn. And so
she would talk about people, she would talk about the staff, and “How is Montha18 doing?” or
Deborah, and we’d go through—everything was personal.

17
18

Evelyn Moakley is interred at the Blue Hill Cemetery in Braintree, MA.
Montha Ok was a member of Moakley’s Washington, D.C., staff from 1995 to 1999.
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26

OH-020 Transcript
McETTRICK: So it was the people?

CLARK: It was the people, yeah. I never had a policy discussion with her at all. Evelyn had a
lot of opinions about different people and such, but—

McETTRICK: But she didn’t really—she didn’t like to campaign particularly? She would sort
of leave that to Joe, pretty much?

CLARK: In my years, she would go to the victory parties. Never to a fundraiser; never, ever to
a fundraiser. I’m sure she did in the eighties, probably in the early years, on his birthday party.
But very rarely did Evelyn ever make an appearance for any purpose, public or campaign.

I mean, they’d go out to dinner and all, and that type of thing, and she wasn’t a recluse by any
means, but she didn’t seek that out. And I know in the early, early years she would march with
him in the campaigns and the parades and all that. And I only know that because I’ve seen
pictures of them; that was before my time. But I think that wasn’t of any interest to Evelyn.

McETTRICK: Well you know, you were really with Joe for a long time. And as you said, the
district shifted from time to time as they did the redistricting. But then we had a lot of
demographic shift in Massachusetts as well. Did the cast of characters change at all, in terms of
other groups coming forward and different issues emerging in communities? It’s kind of a
kaleidoscopic thing over time.

CLARK: Yeah. The focus on the issues, I think, changed because of the type of constituency
that Joe had. I mean, in his earliest years in Congress, he had a typically—he had a principally
Boston-based district. He was a Boston rep, a Boston senator, a Boston city councilor. And
those issues, when you talk about housing—it’s a different focus than it is in a community like
mine, Easton.

Joe, as you know, is the father of the anti-snob zoning act. Well, when you’re a Boston city
councilor, a Boston state senator, anti-snob zoning is pretty good. But when you’re a principally
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suburban-based congressman—and towards the end it was really 60 percent suburban—you may
not talk about anti-snob zoning quite as much. Even though a lot of housing got built, it wasn’t
received well in the district.

But the funny thing is, I think that the issues, while they changed in focus, they’re generally the
same. And there are the economy and jobs. And that was Joe’s number one focus, jobs. And he
used to say that the best social program of all is a job; other people have said that too. But he
really believed that if you can put people to work, if you can use federal dollars as a catalyst for
that, you’ve really done some good as a congressman. If you can use your office to help people,
to help businesses, to help municipalities, you’ve really done something as a congressman.

Whether it’s filling a pothole in Westwood or in South Boston, the issue is the same. It affects
the person the same. Or a lost Social Security check; it doesn’t matter where you live. So those
are universal-type things.

He always was a strong supporter of education, K through twelve. I’m sure you know what he’s
done for higher ed. I mean, every single higher ed institution has benefited from Joe Moakley
through earmarks and otherwise. From Bridgewater19, where I’m more familiar with, to
Northeastern, to MIT, every one of them. And he did that because he knew the value of higher
education, as he witnessed it and benefited from it himself. Suffolk, of course.

Then health care. Health care is universal, and he would work as hard not only to put research
dollars in the hands of hospitals, but also to try to find ways to allow people to take advantage of
health care opportunities. He was a supporter of universal health care. But he was a champion
of Medicare and Social Security, and of any vehicle to open up health care opportunities. Those
are universal. The people of Taunton had the same concerns as the people of Dorchester when it
came to all of those issues.

19

Moakley was able to secure funding for the building of a forty-nine thousand square foot technology center at
Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, MA, which opened in 1995 and was named the John Joseph Moakley
Center for Technological Applications.
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28

OH-020 Transcript
You could probably add environmental issues to that list, as well. I think the environmental
issues—you’re an environmentalist when you champion the cleanup of Boston Harbor. That
means something different, perhaps, to a person who uses Carson Beach20 than it does to a
person who is in Taunton. But Joe did things to help get the Taunton River designated as a
National Scenic River. So in different ways, he was an environmentalist. And that had different
meaning to different people, in different parts of the district. But the issues really were
universal, I think; just the application changed.

McETTRICK: You spoke earlier of a couple of agencies. You spoke of MWRA
[Massachusetts Water Resources Authority] and some of the concerns there with the pellets and
all of that. And also you spoke of the T, the MBTA [Massachusetts Bay Transportation
Authority]. Were there issues or incidents that played off those agencies, that come to mind?

CLARK: Yeah. Well, cleanup of Boston Harbor was a really important issue for Joe. That was
strictly an appropriations agenda item for him. People in the Ninth District, you know, the
majority of the Ninth District at that time, at various times, were participants in the MWRA. The
water and sewer bill load on homeowners was just huge; too, too big really. Joe believed that
there was a federal obligation, responsibility, to help offset that burden. And you know, he got
tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money to help offset that, and he was
very proud of that.

But my other experience with Joe and the MWRA was the Walpole sludge landfill. I think this
is a good example of the extent, the distance Joe will go to make something happen, that almost
everybody else had given up on. I’ll just give you the quick two-minute version here.

The federal judge in the MWRA-Boston Harbor litigation ordered that there be a secondary
disposal site for sludge, the remnants of the pelletizing or what have you. Some place in
Massachusetts that could handle sludge. And Walpole, after a process, was designated as that
site. Pelletizing was working well, and there seemed to be other national options for the sludge.

20

Carson Beach is located on the South Boston shoreline of Dorchester Bay.
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29

OH-020 Transcript
So when Joe took back Walpole in redistricting in 1992, everybody had given up on getting the
Walpole Sludge Landfill de-designated, so to speak, as kind of the back-up facility. The people
of Walpole were very upset about that. Their property values—they hadn’t forgotten, and they
approached Joe. Frankly, I think Barney Frank had thought it was a lost cause at that time; he
had represented Walpole. Joe did from ‘72 to ‘82, and then again from ‘92 to his last day.

But Joe looked at it, and he knew it was just about impossible. The EPA [Environmental
Protection Agency], the DEP at the time, Department of Environmental Protection, the
Department of Justice, the MWRA—let me think of who else—and a federal judge, Judge [A.
David] Mazzone, all were opposed to de-designating Walpole. Then there’s Joe Moakley
against all of that. Most people, I think, would’ve written it off.

But Joe took it a step at a time, and I was his staff person for this, but he was deeply involved at
every step of the way, his first person across here, with the MWRA, Doug McDonald, John
Fitzgerald. And he went after them to convince them with the Walpole folks. Joanne Muti was
the key person there. She was just an active neighborhood person, later became a selectwoman.
He convinced the MWRA that there were better options available, and there were. There were
places in Utah, for example, that were very happy to receive this type of material and it was
actually cheaper, as well. Plus, the pelletizing plant was working very well, and the need really
wasn’t clear.

After a process, Joe convinced the leadership of the MWRA and then the board of the MWRA,
to consider taking the landfill off the table. He took that, and then he went to the DEP with the
MWRA, and was able to convince the DEP that this was okay, to put it as a secondary, back-up
landfill and then after five years or so, to just eliminate it all together. Got the DEP. Then he
went to the EPA in Washington, and he had several meetings with the EPA. The EPA, I think,
was ultimately okay with it. But the Department of Justice under Webster Hubbell absolutely
would not take it off the table.

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30

OH-020 Transcript
There was a meeting in Washington; it was in Joe’s office. And Webster Hubbell came, the EPA
head came. I was there, and Ted Kennedy was there and John Kerry21 was there. And Joe
absolutely browbeat Webster Hubbell into submission, and got the Department of Justice— after
a lot of arm-twisting—to not oppose a motion by the MWRA in federal court to take it off the
table.

ALLISON: Why was the Department of Justice involved so deeply?

CLARK: Well, they were representing the EPA in court.

McETTRICK: So this was in suit?

ALLISON: I see.

CLARK: Yes. And they just believed it should stay there, and Joe was very persuasive in
getting them not to. And Webster Hubbell was in the meeting, and so anyway, and then we went
to federal court and the MWRA made the motion to take it off the table—

END OF PART 1

CLARK: —the DEP, the EPA, and the Department of Justice did not block it. At the end of the
day, Federal Judge Mazzone ruled to take it off. And I was there. And Joe turned that entire
thing around. Property values in Walpole skyrocketed; the people of Walpole were thrilled. The
pelletizing plant is working very well, and if they have to send grit and screenings to Utah, it is
there for them.

And that, to me, is a great example of Joe and the impossible dream. He never let go for a
minute, he never eased up on his pressure at any point. It was really a house of cards. John
Fitzgerald would tell you, at the MWRA, how much of a house of cards it was. Joe solved that
really impossible problem, and he did it single-handedly.
21

John Kerry (1943- ), a Democrat, has represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate since 1985.
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31

OH-020 Transcript

McETTRICK: You had mentioned the MBTA, I think, and public transportation issues. Were
there things in that direction that you recall, that you could talk about?

CLARK: Well, a lot of it’s before my time. Joe got a lot of funding for the MBTA, for all of
their lines. And if it didn’t extend into his district—

McETTRICK: All commuter rail stuff?

CLARK: Well, commuter rail and also the Orange, the Red, the Blue Lines, the Green Line.
Car modernization, funding for station improvements, and such. Like I remember the Blue Line
extended up to Ed Markey’s22 territory. He worked with Ed Markey to get funding for upgrades
up there.

But I think the big MBTA story with Joe was the Southwest Corridor. Remember, they were
going to bring it right—they cleared all that housing, and this and that. It was supposed to be in
[Interstate] 95, coming through. They were actually working with the T at that time. Joe
actually came up with the idea, with the T, of course, to put the Orange Line out there in the
place of where 95 would have gone.

McETTRICK: And then that corridor was up for grabs, in terms of development?

CLARK: Yeah, that’s right. Joe got the federal funding that helped make that a reality. One of
his staff people at the time—I don’t know if you’ve talked to Jim O’Leary.23 Jim O’Leary would
be a good person to talk to; Jim was on Joe’s staff in the seventies. Then he went over to the T,
in the legal counsel’s office, and eventually became the general manager of the T. And Joe had a
longstanding friendship with Jim, and Jim was always asking for funding. But a lot of the
commuter rail extensions were done with federal funding that Joe helped get the funding for, as
well. The double-decker cars, all of that.
22

Edward J. Markey (1946- ), a Democrat, has represented Massachusetts’ Seventh Congressional District in the
U.S. House of Representatives since 1976.
23
James O’Leary was a member of Moakley’s district staff from 1974 to 1978.
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32

OH-020 Transcript

McETTRICK: And, well, since we’re kind of doing the run-down on agencies, I was
wondering if there was anything—we had focused on the FAA [Federal Aviation
Administration] and the Logan [International Airport]expansion, those issues that tended to blow
kind of hot and cold. They would be quiet for awhile—

CLARK: Right. Yeah, I don’t think there was any Logan expansion that went on during Joe’s
tenure as a congressman that he didn’t help secure the funding for. He helped secure funding for
everything. And he had to, because of his Rules Committee position.24 And he was at different
points the strongest member of the delegation, especially towards the end. If you were Jim
McGovern and you needed funding for Worcester Airport, you could not get it on your own; you
had to attach Joe’s influence.
And Joe, I think, was even more influential than people like John Olver,25 who was on the
Appropriations Committee. So Joe really did have his fingerprints on a lot of the federal funds
that flew into the state. And in some cases in New England, too, he would be asked, as the dean
of the delegation from New England, to help out, too.

But the Logan issue that I think was the most interesting was 1432, Runway 1432, which is still
in dispute to this day. And back—oh, geez, I think it was the eighties—a small plane crashed in
Dorchester on Lonsdale Street, and that’s right in—

McETTRICK: Yeah, that was right in the neighborhood situation.

CLARK: Yeah, it was right in the neighborhood. And the group over there was very, very
concerned about small aircraft coming in over Milton and Dorchester, and that area there. And I
remember—this is shortly after the plane crashed—Jim Brett had asked Joe to help get the
24

The House Rules Committee is responsible for the scheduling of bills for discussion in the House of
Representatives. According to the Rules Committee website, “bills are scheduled by means of special rules from the
Rules Committee that bestow upon legislation priority status for consideration in the House and establish procedures
for their debate and amendment.” (See http://www.rules.house.gov/) Congressman Moakley was a member of the
House Rules Committee from 1975 to 2001 and served as its chairman from 1989 to 1995.
25
John Olver (1936- ), a Democrat, has represented Massachusetts’ First Congressional District in the U.S. House of
Representatives since 1991.
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33

OH-020 Transcript
National Transportation Safety Board, the people who investigate the plane crashes, to come.
We actually got the guy to come from D.C.

They had a huge neighborhood meeting, and we set it up with Jim Brett. And there were
hundreds and hundreds of people there; I was there myself. And they talked about the danger of
having the small aircraft come over Dorchester. And one of the solutions that was proposed by
Whip Saltmarsh, I think—at the time, he was the head of the Massachusetts Aeronautical
Administration [Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission], whatever they call that group—was to
open up 1432 and have it multidirectional.

I can’t say Joe was supportive of that at that time, but he didn’t say no. In later years, I think that
became much more controversial, and then Joe did take a position on 1432, of course. It’s still in
play today. So Joe’s involvement with that issue was, I think, twenty years in the making. So
he’d get involved with the big capital repairs over there, but also the smaller things. Just the
planes coming—you know, the planes used to fly in over South Boston proper.

ALLISON: They still do.

CLARK: Yeah, but now they actually fly over Castle Island. And the reason they moved from
here to there was because Joe helped get them to move from here to there, working with the City
and all that. So we would continually field calls from Runway 27 opponents in Milton and
Jamaica Plain, and we would go to the FAA. That was more constituent casework, but—

McETTRICK: That’s right, they had the departures, too. That was an issue!

CLARK: Yeah, so he’d be involved with airplane noise, to capital improvements to Logan. So
it’s really hard to find an area that we haven’t been involved with, because of the nature of being
a congressman. And particularly being a city congressman, I think people expect so much more
from you. It’s like being a state rep from Weston, versus being a state rep from South Boston. I
mean, you call your state rep in Weston for issues. But you don’t call your state rep in Weston
when you want a tree planted at your front door, or you’re concerned about a plane overhead, or
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34

OH-020 Transcript
you would like to get a turkey for Thanksgiving, or whatever. But there’s a different culture in
the city of Boston where you call your representative for everything, everything. If you’re a
smart representative, you try your best to help with everything, even if it’s way out of your
jurisdictional area.

Joe would never allow us, for example, to ever buck a request for a pothole being filled—and we
would get those types of things—or a sign being moved, or whatever. You know, a municipal
stop sign, or a bus stop, or whatever. He would never allow us to buck that to the City, or to the
State, and not keep our hand on it. So we would contact the City, DPW, we would make sure
that they got the request, and we would follow it until that pothole got repaired.

Very few reps will do that, very few congressmen will do that; they’ll immediately buck it to the
more appropriate agency. But Joe would look at it as, “They’ve asked us to do them a favor.”
And they’d done us a favor by asking us for a favor, and that’s the way we would handle it. And
you don’t see that today; you don’t see that much of it today. Some people still do it, but—and
you’d build huge numbers of followers by making sure you followed up on those little things.

I learned one other lesson when I was involved in the ‘84 campaign. Somebody gave me a sense
of all of the issue groups in Jamaica Plain that were aligned with Joe. Hundreds of names, you
name the issue, I mean, just—it’s probably one of the most active communities in terms of
issues—Needham maybe being second—and there were hundreds and hundreds of people.

Then I had another list of people who had called in for flags, or birthday presidential citations, or
what have you. Running the campaign, I had made sure we had both lists called, and then to try
to generate volunteers from them. I remember that the percentage of people who agreed to help
us hold a sign, or do a drop, or cover a poll on Election Day was minuscule in Jamaica Plain, and
it was huge for the people who we had done a favor for.

McETTRICK: There you go.

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35

OH-020 Transcript
CLARK: We’d already done the favor; we weren’t doing the favor. The favor was completed.
I held a sign one day myself, next to an old gentleman with a straw hat in Easton. This was
probably the ‘82 campaign. He spent twelve hours at the polls, eight to eight, standing at the
polls holding a Joe Moakley sign.

I asked him at the end of the day—he’s since passed away—I said, “Why did you do that?
That’s just amazing to me, to stand at a poll and hold a sign for someone, for twelve hours.” He
said, “Because he got me a flag. I asked him for a flag to honor my service,” in whatever the
branch of the service was, and he said, “and Joe was the only one who came through. So I
wanted to come through for Joe.” And then, that taught me a lot about volunteers and elections.
So that isn’t the case everywhere, but—

ALLISON: It is two very different ways of looking at the politics, though; the issues versus the
personal connection.

CLARK: Mm-hmm.

McETTRICK: Well, one issue that came out of Jamaica Plain and went global was the El
Salvador intervention.26 Now I don’t know if that affected you as much in the district office, or
whether that one got early down to D.C. But what piece of it did you see?

CLARK: Well, it originated from one of those town hall visits, but at the time it was actually a
post office visit, I think, at the time. No, we didn’t have too much to do with that. We had some
involvement with the issue groups, the people who were mostly interested in it. That kind of
spilled over to the School of the Americas,27 and demonstrations, and things like that. They
26

Starting in 1983, Congressman Moakley introduced legislation to protect Salvadorans in the U.S. using the
“Extended Voluntary Departure” provision that allowed a temporary stay of deportation and work authorization.
Moakley was finally able to pass legislation that granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Salvadorans in the
Immigration Act of 1990 (PL. 101-649). Also, in December of 1989, Speaker of the House Thomas S. Foley
appointed Moakley as chairman of a committee, sometimes referred to as the Moakley Commission, to investigate
violence in El Salvador, specifically the November 16, 1989, murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her
daughter at the University of Central America in San Salvador.
27
The U.S. military’s School of the Americas trains mainly Latin American military groups in security and defense
tactics. There have been efforts to close the school because some of its have graduates have been responsible for
human rights violations, including the Jesuit murders.
120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108 | Tel: 617.305.6277 | Fax: 617.305.6275
36

OH-020 Transcript
actually demonstrated in front of Joe’s office once, at the World Trade Center. It was more of a
protest of solidarity than anything else. So we had to be up on the issue. But we didn’t have
anything to do with the Moakley Commission, and all of what Jim McGovern did so well. No,
the only international thing I ever did with Joe was I went to Cuba with him in April of 2000.

McETTRICK: Oh, did you?

CLARK: Yeah, and—

McETTRICK: Well, tell us about that.

CLARK: Well, I learned from my visit down there—we were down there for a week. He met
with dissidents, and kind of off to the side, and I’m sure the government people were watching
somewhere. He learned what he needed to do there. He dutifully went to all of the ministers,
and had presentations, and made his pitch for human rights and such. Gee, we didn’t get in to
see [Fidel] Castro that trip. Bill Bulger28 was on that trip, too, by the way, so he probably told
you about it.

But I knew from walking through Old Havana with Joe—and Jim McGovern and Bill Bulger,
and Jim McIntyre from B.C. [Boston College] was on that trip. Joe was right on the politics; he
understood the dynamics and all that. But what really motivated him was the people. It’s the
same in El Salvador. He loved the people of Cuba, and they’re just good people. And he didn’t
see Communists, he saw people, and he knew that the policies were really hurting them.

So my remembrance of that trip was in what Joe took back from meeting with average, everyday
people, much more so what he got from the dissidents than he could have got from some other
State Department report, or what have you. And it’s what motivated him.

28

William M. Bulger (1934- ), a Democrat, served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1962 to
1970, in the Massachusetts State Senate from 1970 to 1978 and as State Senate President from 1978 to 1996.
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37

OH-020 Transcript
And that’s what motivated him, I think, mostly in El Salvador, was his meetings with people in
the villages. When he gave out those Gillette razors, and Jim McGovern told you the whole
story. He looked into the eyes of those little kids, and those big, brown eyes. You know, that’s
what really imprinted on Joe, the people, and he understood clearly the upstairs, downstairs, over
the back fence—we talked about this. He really understood that people are the same all over the
world, and you got to take care of your neighbors, and they’re our neighbors. So that’s what I
learned on my one foreign excursion with Joe Moakley.

McETTRICK: Well it’s interesting, because there had been traditionally a relationship between
Boston and Cuba, when there was trade earlier, before the breakdown. One would think that
eventually, it’s going to resume. It’s one of those natural things that’s been frozen in time by this
situation.

CLARK: Right.

McETTRICK: So again, what was your reaction, personally? How did you feel about that trip?

CLARK: I just felt having met the people down there, I just felt like Joe was on the right side of
it. I think that you kind of realize from those types of trips, I think, that government leaders kind
of come and go, but the people are there. You realize that the Cuban people really love
Americans. So you had a real hope for the future, that after Fidel Castro has moved on, that
there could be some good things that happen between our countries down the road because
there’s a lot of goodwill there, you know. There’s a surprising amount of goodwill between the
people of this country and that country.

The best way to foster that is to open up dialogue, not restrict it. And to not allow Americans to
travel there is foolish. It’s good politics to have Americans go down there and talk to the people.
I think it worked in the Soviet Union, that kind of openness, and I think it would work in Cuba.
So we really have our head in the sand. That’s what I took from it.

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38

OH-020 Transcript
McETTRICK: You know, another area, Fred, that we should be talking to you about are the
activities that you’ve been involved in since Joe’s death, the foundation29 and some of the
scholarship programs, and so forth. Could you tell us a little bit about your own involvement in
that?

CLARK: When Joe made his announcement on February 12, 2001, we were just deluged with
unbelievable numbers of requests, of groups and organizations that wanted to honor him in
different ways. I stopped counting at seventy, and that was just after the first two weeks. It
occurred to me, and to people like Bill Shaevel30 and others, that we should honor him ourselves.
We can’t drag Joe all around the state and the nation to be honored. You know, what you’re
really doing is assisting groups to advance, and how do you pick from Group A, that you have
the same affinity for, with Group Z?

So we felt like we should honor Joe in the way that would help his legacy. And maybe—and this
was really more an idea I had—raise a couple of dollars to help some kids down the road, in kind
of the same way that Joe was helped with the G.I. Bill.31

So Joe allowed us to put together a couple of events, and he allowed us to put together a
foundation so we could receive the funds, and spend it on the events, and hopefully have a few
bucks left over to give out some scholarships. The original idea was that after we did the events,
we would probably have two to four hundred thousand dollars left over to do some scholarships,
going forward. And we also felt it was a way for us, as his family, staff and friends, to have a
vehicle to stay together after he was gone.

So for all of those reasons, Joe allowed us to do this. What he did say, though, was, “After I’m
gone, no fundraising in my name, period, for the Foundation.” He didn’t want—following other
29

The John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation, Inc. was formed in the spring of 2001 in order to continue the
public service legacy of Congressman Joe Moakley. The mission of the Foundation is to assist worthy individuals
and charitable organizations to pursue educational opportunities in all sectors of the economy. The Foundation
provides scholarships and grants on an annual basis. (Information taken from http://www.moakleyfoundation.com)
30
William H. Shaevel was a member of Moakley’s state senate staff from 1967 through 1970, Moakley’s law
partner, and is the treasurer of the Moakley Charitable Foundation,
31
The GI Bill of Rights, officially called the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, provided, among other
benefits, government compensation for the educational costs of returning World War II veterans.
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OH-020 Transcript
congressmen’s models, he didn’t want people getting together every year and having to write a
check for hundred bucks in his name; didn’t want it. So under that set of circumstances, he
allowed us to put it together.
Bill Shaevel and I, and Sean Ryan, all of us, Jim Linnehan,32 all of his people kind of put
together a legal structure for it. And then we hired Susan O’Neill to put together a D.C. event,
and Dusty Rhodes to put together a Boston event, working with Sheila Hill on both of them. We
had a lot to do with who we wanted there, and what we wanted said, and who we wanted to
speak, all thinking about Joe’s legacy. And this was really more us than him, truthfully.
And we had one thousand people in D.C. and we had two thousand people at the Hynes33 in
Boston. Those were our only two fundraising events we had for the Foundation; we raised 2.2
million dollars between them. The events were very important in terms of putting the right
stamp on Joe’s legacy, and highlighting those items you wanted highlighted. It was very, very
important we get it right, and I think we did a pretty good job with that.

The surprising by-product was how much money we raised. And both events sold out; we had to
turn people away at the end of the day. So today, we’ve now given out 250,000 dollars already
in scholarships to young people from throughout the existing Ninth—I say the existing Ninth,
but the Ninth as it existed at that time. And we’ve given away another three hundred thousand
dollars that was funds that were earmarked. And we’ve also been able to raise one hundred
thousand for the Moakley Chair at UMass-Boston34 from another person who had made a pledge
to us. So we’ve done a lot, really, just in two years.

Our plan is, every year we give away one hundred thousand bucks, hopefully for a very long
time. We give away five-thousand dollar scholarships, and we give away money to kids who
want to advance their education through undergraduate, graduate, law school or vocational. And
32

James F. Linnehan, Sr., was a classmate and close friend of Moakley’s and is a member of Suffolk University’s
board of trustees. OH-065 in the John Joseph Moakley Oral History Project is an interview with Mr. Linnehan.
33
The John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center is located on Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay
neighborhood.
34
The John Joseph Moakley Chair of Peace and Reconciliation was established at UMass-Boston’s John W.
McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies in 2007.
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40

OH-020 Transcript
we’ve given away money in every one of those subject areas. Joe covered every one of those
subject areas in his life, and we didn’t want to leave any aspect of it behind. We work closely
with the AFL-CIO35 to make sure we don’t improperly respect the vocational aspect of it. We
give away vocational scholarship, working with the AFL-CIO. Kids of all different calibers have
benefited, valedictorians to people that look just like Joe.

McETTRICK: It must be difficult to go through all those applications and judge by criteria.

CLARK: It is, yeah. We had four hundred applications the first year; we had about three
hundred fifty the second year. We reach out, and we put it in the paper. We talk to guidance
counselors, and we get really amazing kids. We try to keep it diverse in terms of geographic
diversity; we try to respect the—we don’t want to have everybody from Boston, or from Taunton
or Brockton, or whatever. And we try to remember, we don’t want to just select kids who are the
smartest, the people that may need it the least. We try to find regular kids who have done
extraordinary things; that we know that this five thousand bucks will help them maybe do
something great. And we do require that they have an interest in public service; that can be
through a vocation or avocation. We’ve picked some really great kids so far. I’m very proud of
the group; we worked closely with Suffolk this last year to award them.

So we’re all still together. Joe’s brothers are on the Foundation, his staff is on the Foundation,
and his friends are on the Foundation. And it’s been a great way for us to stay together, too.

McETTRICK: So hopefully that will continue to be in place, and move on?

CLARK: That’s our plan.

McETTRICK: And now what do you hope to see from, say, the Moakley Archives and
Institute? How do you see that piece of work, and Joe’s legacy, in that context?

35

AFL-CIO is an acronym for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, which is
the largest federation of unions in the United States.
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OH-020 Transcript
CLARK: Well, you know, it would be a shame if Joe’s papers and his example wound up in a
box, locked away in a closet. And I think the magic of Joe Moakley is in his example, and by
sharing his example of public service, I think you really help the cause of public service as a
whole.

So I think in utilizing his materials and aspects of his life, and the issues he got involved with
and the way he got involved with them, and the honor and dignity that he displayed throughout, I
think, is a great example of public service to young people, both at Suffolk and beyond. So
sharing that example—and I think you’ve done a great job in getting that out beyond the confines
of Suffolk—I think, it’s just wonderful.

I think Joe would not have agreed that his example was in any way remarkable. But those of us
who knew him and were around him know how remarkable it was. So it’s important that you do
as much as you can to find ways to find those aspiring young people that want to be in public
service. And even if they don’t want to be in public service, to give them a good reason and
example to be in public service. Because you can do a lot of good for people. You can do a lot
on an individual basis, but also on a collective basis, to really help people. I think Joe’s life and
his career as a public servant is the best example I can think of.

McETTRICK: You know, we had a really good interview with Bill Shaevel, and he of course
had worked with Joe on Joe’s staff up at the state house. One thing Bill remarked on was Joe’s
ability to work with other politicians, and to really deal with people who were maybe not the
same ideologically, but who shared a practical goal, and that he was able to get people to follow
through, and get legislation through.

You must have seen how that worked, being at Joe’s elbow from time to time. How were his
dealings with other politicians? Why was he so successful in moving the logjam and getting
stuff done?

CLARK: Well again, I think it goes back to the politics of personality, as opposed to party.

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OH-020 Transcript
(interruption)
CLARK: I think Dick Armey36 is a good example of that. Joe had a very close relationship
with Dick Armey, and I don’t think on a political level or partisanship level you’d ever expect
that there’d be a good relationship between Joe and somebody like Dick Armey, who’s so
partisan himself. But they liked each other as people, and Joe found ways, when he was on the
Rules Committee, to help Dick Armey with requests that would help Dick Armey’s district. And
Dick Armey helped Joe with items that would help Joe’s district, as well. So it was completely
the politics of understanding and wanting to work with people, and not putting partisanship in
your way to getting things done.

When we unveiled Joe’s portrait in Washington, D.C., Dick Armey—this is after Joe had passed
away, it was formally installed—Dick Armey gave a speech, and he cried his eyes out talking
about Joe. He shed a lot of tears, and Dennis Hastert37 was very choked up, as well. And that’s
because of who Joe was as the person, not as the party member. I was there; it was a beautiful
moment. But again, it keeps coming back to connecting with people, and trying to find ways to
get some things done without politics—partisanship is a better way to say it—in the way.

McETTRICK: Well, Joe was in politics for a long time in so many different styles and
contexts. I don’t know if this question can really be answered, but I think it’s good to pose it:
What do you think Joe’s reaction was to the current scene, and the current state of politics? And
what advice do you think he’d give to somebody who was, as you say, just getting into public
service or even thinking about trying to be an officeholder? What do you think his message
would be to somebody like that?

CLARK: His message would be to stay close to your people, to stay close to your constituents.
Don’t ever get out ahead of your constituents; understand what their feelings are and their needs
are, and such. That was his advice to Jim McGovern: don’t stay too much in Washington; don’t
36

Richard K. Armey (1940- ), a Republican, represented Texas’ Twenty-sixth Congressional District in the U.S.
House of Representatives from 1985 to 2003. He was House Majority Leader from 1995 to 2003.
37
John Dennis Hastert (1942- ), a Republican, represented Illinois’ Fourteenth Congressional District in the U.S.
House of Representatives from 1987 to 2007. He served as Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007.
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OH-020 Transcript
deal exclusively with the press. Get out there, meet people, talk to people, have coffee at local
diners. And you’ll understand what, really, you need to be working on from the people you
represent. So stay close to people.

I think politics today, Joe might express a concern that some public officeholders are getting a
little too distant from the people they represent. And that’s when there’s trouble; that’s when
elected officials get into trouble. And I think that’s when constituents start to get apathetic,
somewhat, and negative in regards to the people that represent them. So stay close to the people
you work for.

McETTRICK: Well, you’ve put in a lot of time; you’ve been very generous of your time in this
interview. And were there other areas that you wanted to get into, or things that you thought
should come up, that haven’t? Or any other matters you’d like to discuss?

CLARK: Just the funeral. There’s one thing about the funeral: We put the plan together. It
was Kevin Ryan,38 myself and Deborah Spriggs. But the one thing, I think, that was seen to be
out there was that Joe was the master of his funeral. I think, just to dispel that rumor somewhat,
I think it’s important people know that Joe’s idea about his funeral—they were very simple
ideas. I mean, he wanted to be buried in Braintree next to Evelyn, of course, as you would
expect. He wanted to have his funeral at Saint Brigid’s. He wanted his parish priest to be
involved in the funeral, and he wanted a motorcade to go out to Castle Island. That was it, and
he really had no other ideas beyond that.

And although I think it kind of got presented as though Joe was the architect of all of the rest, he
really wasn’t. And the rest, we put together and had to get him to agree to. We did put together
a complete plan with a budget, and a very detailed plan. He opposed some pieces of it, early on.

One piece that we recommended, and I really wanted to do, was to have him lie in state at the
state house, as Tip O’Neill did. And Joe, when he read that and I described that to him, he said,
“No, that isn’t right for me,” because Tip O’Neill did that, and John F. Kennedy, maybe. “But
38

Kevin Ryan was Moakley’s chief of staff from 1997 to 2000.
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OH-020 Transcript
people won’t come to see me.” That’s what he said, and he didn’t think that people would take
the time out.

I think I just wanted to underscore his humility. He didn’t have an inflated ego, enough to plan
out twenty black limousines, or whatever. I don’t think he had any expectation that a president
would show up, and a former president would show up, and a former vice president would show
up to his funeral. He had very simple requests, and I think he envisioned it very simply, and kind
of with a common touch. The rest of it—were his staff that put it all together, and wanted to
honor him in a way we thought he could be honored. The line at the state house never ended.

McETTRICK: It was a long line.

CLARK: That line never ended, and we made sure of it. Because I promised Joe that that line
would never end. We did a vigil service at the state house because there were so many aspects of
who he was, and we wanted to get his legacy right. I mean, Joe didn’t really have any sense of
all that. But to have Father Monan, and to do that piece of it; and to have Jim McGovern have
some things to say at Saint Brigid’s, and to have Senator Kennedy have some things to say at the
state house—

We did a day at the state house, and we did a vigil service. We did a day at Saint Brigid’s, we
did a vigil service, and then we had the funeral. And you know, we had so many aspects of who
Joe Moakley was, we had to get in there, and have said that we kind of crafted a way to do it all.

The other piece that I’m very proud of—and this is one piece that I know was meaningful to Joe
before he passed away. We talked about having kind of a—and we knew Saint Brigid’s is tiny.
The cardinal wanted his funeral to be at the cathedral; you could fit twenty-five hundred people.
In Saint Brigid’s you could fit eight hundred; it’s small. But Joe didn’t care; he wanted eight
hundred. And I said, “Joe, we have a lot of people who are going to be outside, or at some other
location.” And I said, “One thing I’d like to do is to invite Labor to hold your signs.” And when
I told Joe that, there was a tear in his eye. I knew that that was the right thing to do.

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OH-020 Transcript
Sean Ryan actually took up the lead on this. We made it a little bit of a campaign event, and we
had people holding Joe’s signs. What we didn’t ever imagine is how many people would come
out for that. That funeral outside, I know, would have been more meaningful to Joe than the
funeral inside, because of all his constituents who came out to say goodbye; it was amazing.

McETTRICK: It was fantastic, really. It was good visuals, it was a good politician’s tribute,
you know?

CLARK: Yeah, it was an expression of love from constituents for an elected official that I don’t
think I’m going to see for the rest of my life. If you think to why that happened, and why people
came out of their homes or out of their offices to say goodbye, that is the lesson of Joe Moakley.
It was a lesson of the heart. He really cared about his people; he acted for them on an individual
basis. They responded with love at the end of the day, and there’s a lesson there. There’s a
lesson there, so anyway—and I learned it riding in that motorcade and seeing all those faces.
Very, very moving. And I just thought it was a great tribute—

McETTRICK: Yes, it was.

CLARK: To a man who was very humble his entire career, and his feet were always on the
ground, and he never had an inflated opinion of himself. And to see that, really, I think put into
perspective the good that he had done, and the example that he had led. But I wanted to talk
about the funeral a little bit from that aspect, so—otherwise, I think we’ve covered it pretty well.

McETTRICK: Well, that’s great. Well, I really enjoyed talking with you.

CLARK: Me, too.

McETTRICK: And you were really very privileged to have a box seat to all of this—

CLARK: Yes.

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McETTRICK: And working pretty hard at it, yourself, it was really a great opportunity.

CLARK: Thank you so much.

McETTRICK: Well, thanks very much for coming over and talking with us, it was great.

CLARK: You’re welcome, Joe.

McETTRICK: That was great.

END OF INTERVIEW

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