In Speech, Wong Backs Habitual Offender Legislation
Saugus Republican Donald Wong, who represents part of Lynnfield, spoke on behalf of Melissa's Bill recently.
Representative Donald H. Wong (R-Saugus) recently delivered the following speech, advocating on behalf of stricter penalties for violent, repeat offenders:
Thank you Mr. Speaker, and through you to the members of the House. I rise in support of this bill.
Let me begin by saying to you, Mr. Speaker, and to both my Democratic and Republican colleagues that it is an absolute honor and pleasure to serve with you in this great building and this historic chamber. I admire your dedication and hard work on behalf of your constituents and the people of the Commonwealth.
To the Minority Leader, the gentleman from North Reading, I thank you for your patience and support as I have moved through this new chapter in my life.
I also need to thank my family. Many people say that behind every man there is woman to guide and help him. Well, I have been blessed with 4 generations of women who have guided me and supported me: my mom, my wife, my sisters, my daughter, and my 3 granddaughters. And for that I say thank you. I would also like to take a moment to thank both my sons and my brothers for their continued love and support.
Last but not least, I would like to thank my legislative aide, for without her I would not be here today.
Being a member of the Great and General Court for the past year and a half, I have had the opportunity to become friends with many of my colleagues. The House of Representatives continues to remain a prestigious institutions and I am honored to be a part of it.
I stand before you today to discuss a piece of legislation that hits close to home as a father and now as a grandfather. The bill before us targets the worst of the worst offenders: habitual offenders who commit violent felonies, repeatedly. My colleague, the gentleman from Ipswich, has been filing Melissa’s Bill for more than a decade. It has come a long way from where it started, and has certainly not been crafted in haste. It is truly a compromise between a number of varying viewpoints and a giant step in the right direction.
Most important, this legislation will target criminals like Officer Jack Maguire’s murderer, Dominic Cinelli, who had committed more than 70 felonies. Even worse, some of these felonies occurred after he escaped from prison not once but twice, before he eventually killed Officer Maguire while out on parole.
When we talk about this bill, time and again we talk about the violent offender. But what we don’t always focus on are the victims of these crimes, the individuals whose lives have been cut tragically short by these violent, repeat offenders. However, it is not only the direct victim of these crimes who is affected – it is the lives of their parents, siblings and loved ones. While I am glad that a majority of the conversation surrounding this bill is regarding the offender, I ask you to take moment and think of the victims and the victims’ families – the people who have to live with these crimes, some of them preventable, for the rest of their lives.
Quite frequently we hear that this bill is a 3 strikes and you’re out piece of legislation. It is not. It would simply require that an offender be sentenced to the maximum term for their third crime from a list of about 40 crimes, crimes that this Legislature has determined to be the most violent.
Too often in this day and age of politics, we focus on the letter that comes after our name: D or R. However, today, we must recognize that we all have an R in front of our name: Representative. At the end of the day, we are all Representatives sent here by our constituents to represent them, and to keep their safety and best interests in mind. By voting yes for this piece of legislation you will be doing just that.
Before I finish, I wish to commend my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, as well as the members of the House and Senate Conference Committee for their leadership in moving this bill forward to recommend sweeping changes.
I hope you will join me in voting yes for this bill. And I ask that when we vote, the vote be taken by a call of the yeas and nays.