Of Wine Bars and Swollen Feet

1191937755Hey, did you know the elections are coming up? No? Well, it’s an off-year, to put it mildly. Last year, we had the gubernatorial and senate races. Next year, we’ll get to vote for a new president. But for now, political junkies and journalists alike are left with the 5th Congressional District race, the crazy umbrella-wielding guy in Cambridge, and a few mayoral races. Not exactly Kennedy-Romney or Weld-Kerry, but let’s have a look anyway.

In Fitchburg, Lisa Wong, a 28-year-old daughter of Chinese immigrants is running for mayor, apparently on a platform of inundating the city with wine and martini bars.

As she passes Main Street, she points to Café Destare as an example of her vision for the future of Fitchburg: “We’re overjoyed at the opening of our first martini bar,” she says. . . .

Says opponent City Councilor Thomas Donnelly:

“We need to stabilize the budget immediately – as soon as the mayor is elected. All this vision of wine bars is very cute, but that’s not going to be the salvation of the city.”

And a woman-on-the-street:

Susan Gariepy, 60, who has lived in the city for 40 years, said Wong is too young for the job. She also does not want any more wine bars in the city.

Despite her age, Wong has some impressive credentials. She has two B.A.s (in economics and international relations) and an M.A in economics from Boston University in only three years. Since graduating from BU, Wong has worked for the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority, and various non-profits.

Of course, she isn’t actually running on a platform of trendy bars. (You can check out her stance on the issues on her website.) But what fun is that?

In other campaign news, the Globe’s Eric Moskowitz spent time on the stump with both Niki Tsongas and Jim Ogonowski. On the one hand, you have a woman with swollen feet, and on the other, a rugged male individualist.

From Tsongas’s profile:

Before stepping up on a chair to address a gathering in Acton the other night, Niki Tsongas pulled off her black heels for balance, revealing swollen feet. Her red nail polish was chipped and faded, and her toes were taped with Band-Aids.

She glanced down, first sheepishly, then with pride.

“These feet are showing the wounds of this race,” said Tsongas, 61, the Democratic candidate in the Fifth Congressional District.

From Ogonowski’s piece:

Before dropping by his boyhood home the other day, Jim Ogonowski spoke with admiration – and gave fair warning – about his father, Alex, who was out pitching hay in fields he bought in 1948.

“My dad’s 87,” said Ogonowski, 50, the Republican candidate in the Fifth Congressional District race. “No disrespect to you guys, but he could kick your -”

And so it seemed, when Alex Ogonowski drove up in a pickup truck from the fields for a quick greeting and revealed forearms – and hair – thicker than his son’s.

And there you have it. Swollen feet, ass-kicking papa’s, and wine bars. It is 2008, yet?