GOP pick for Seashore draws Cape protest
The Cape, as Seen from Washington, Looks like an Elephant's Trunk
BOSTON - The appointment by the White House of a Republican lobbyist from Holbrook to chair the unpaid commission that advises the federal government on use of the Cape Cod National Seashore on the Lower Cape has drawn criticism from a Cape lawmaker.
Ron Kaufman, also the Massachusetts national committeeman for the Republican Party, "has no known substantive connection to the Cape and no known environmental expertise," state Sen. Robert A. O'Leary, D-Barnstable, said Tuesday.
Kaufman is the brother-in-law of Andrew Card, also from Massachusetts, and chief of staff for President Bush. Kaufman, like Card, worked for the first President Bush and still serves as personal advisor to the Bush family. His Holbrook home is south of Braintree.
"This appears to be a shocking politicization of a previously apolitical position," O'Leary said in a letter today to GOP Gov. Mitt Romney, urging him to ask the Bush administration to reappoint Brenda Boleyn of Truro, appointed in 1992 by the first Bush administration and chair from 1994 until her term ended this week.
O'Leary, who has served on the commission himself, said the chair provides a critical ink between Cape towns and the federal administrators. In helping to resolve many thorny issues, Boleyn has gained the respect of local officials, something critical for success as Chair."
At her last meeting this week, Boleyn's work drew bouquets of flowers and words from Park Superintendent Maria Burks. Boleyn, a marine biologist and retired professor and science department chair at the Cape Cod Community College, also has served as past president of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod and sparkplug behind the Cape and Islands Lyme Disease Task Force.
The commission members are appointed by the Secretary of Interior, after nominations from each of the six towns in the Seashore, one from Barnstable County, two from the governor and one from the Secretary of Interior. And previously the members picked their own chair.
She said Tuesday night, "Until now, the secretary of interior has always endorsed the choice of the advisory commission. What's different this time is that a chairman is being appointed to the advisory commission from outside the commission membership. I think most people are aware that the administration is trying to move people who've been active Republicans into the advisory committees."