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Ron Beaty’s Political “Penance” – A Profile

County Commissioner Ron Beaty Jr.
Written by Brian Tarcy

BARNSTABLE – Barnstable County Commissioner Ronald Beaty Jr. believes he is the first person elected to office in the country who previously spent time in federal prison for threatening to kill the President of the United States.

A quarter century after writing what Beaty, 56, described as “graphic letters” threatening to kill the President George H.W. Bush, Senator Edward Kennedy and Massachusetts State Senator Lois Pines, Cape Cod voters in 2016 elected Beaty, a fiscal conservative, staunch Donald Trump supporter, and outspoken critic of government as one of three county commissioners.

Beaty, in office since January, has caused several public stirs, most recently for suggesting that baited drum lines be put off Cape Cod to cull the shark population. Among his many critics was an articulate 12-year-old girl who ended up on Boston television news calling the plan misguided.

“There’s a an old saying that politics is a blood sport. In some cases, that rings true.” – Barnstable County Commissioner Ronald Beaty Jr.

Beaty doesn’t care who his opponents are. He is now talking about running for governor as a Republican challenger to popular Governor Charlie Baker. Beaty recently has taken to Twitter to attack Baker, calling him a “Wimp,” “Snowflake,” and other names.

These attacks are part of what he calls, “my own brand.”

As a politician who won his most recent race but lost several previous races for various state and local offices, and as a prolific writer of letters to the editor of local newspapers, Beaty has steadfastly pushed his conservative agenda while occasionally veering into various battles that sometimes seem personal as well as political.

County Commissioner Ron Beaty Jr.

From Beaty’s Twitter account

“There’s a an old saying that politics is a blood sport,” said Beaty. “In some cases, that rings true.” But he added that he has looked back at certain of his actions. “You have a conscience,” he said. “You start thinking about it.”

His brand can be antagonistic and, keeping with that, Beaty wrote on Twitter that if he became governor he would name controversial Maine Governor Paul Le Page as his chief of staff.

Beaty recently tweeted out a bumper sticker-type graphic that said, “Deplorable And Proud Of It!”

As for those death threats and his time in prison, he said, “It’s something I have to live with. I have that baggage… It’s one of the reasons I run for office and try to serve my community. I look at it as a sort of penance.”


WaveHow Did Ron Beaty, Convicted Felon, Get Elected On Cape Cod?

Given Beaty’s, as he described it, “baggage,” his election is one of the most remarkable political stories ever on Cape Cod, or maybe anywhere.

Since it was the same election as the heated presidential 2016 race, some have suggested to Cape Cod Wave that down-ballot races didn’t get as much of the public’s attention as they might otherwise have.

Beaty, a Trump conservative, ran in the year when Trump won. There could be a lot of reasons why Beaty won, and plenty of plausible explanations.

Still, in many other races through American political history, candidates have seemingly been disqualified by somewhat less shocking histories.

“I think I have moved forward with my life.”

While Beaty clearly acknowledges the “baggage,” he said, “I think I have moved forward with my life.”

As for the election, he said, “People were listening to me. I am very outspoken on certain issues.”

County Commissioner Ron Beaty Jr.

“People were listening to me. I am very outspoken on certain issues.” – County Commissioner Ron Beaty Jr. CAPE COD WAVE PHOTO

But some, even some supporters of Beaty’s, have suggested that perhaps great swaths of the voting public may not have been aware of Beaty’s prior criminal record.

“He overcame it because a lot of people don’t know about it despite his opponents trying to make it as public as possible,” said Mark Alliegro, a conservative former candidate for Congress and a professor of molecular biology at Brown University.

Rick Presbrey, the now-retired former head of the Housing Assistance Corporation, has known Beaty for decades and followed local politics close enough to suggest, of the election, that the local media “was kind of gentle with him and most people have no idea of his history.”

Presbrey added, “He’s an intelligent guy to talk to, and a terrific campaigner.”

Felicia Penn, chair of the Cape Cod Economic Development Council, said, “I don’t think people even knew.” And she suggested that, “You don’t want a convicted felon handling the county budget.”

But that is a theory that many voters ignored, for whatever reason.

Alliegro, a former Marine Biological Laboratory scientist who disavows global warming, said he found the election “highly entertaining. I’ll tell you why. On Cape Cod, he (Beaty) most definitely has the political establishment against him.”

“He’s a Republican and he holds very conservative views so naturally he has the Republican political establishment against him,” said Alliegro. When asked why that is, Alliegro said, “because they’re cowards.”

Fran Manzelli, president of the Barnstable County Republican Club, did not respond to phone calls or an email request for a comment on this profile.

Another theory that has been floated, because Beaty won the second of two seats by a very close margin, was bullet voting. In a four way race, Mary Pat Flynn received 64,968 votes, 22,000 more than her closest competitor. Flynn, a former Falmouth selectman, has served as commissioner since 2008.

Some suggested the large margin means many voters “bullet voted” for Flynn, meaning that instead of voting for candidates for the two open seats, they only voted for Flynn to be sure she was elected.

Others suggest ballot order mattered. The candidates were listed alphabetically. Beaty, who received 42,852, was first on the ballot. Republican Linda Bond, who came in last with 33,338, was listed second.

“I find it utterly amazing that someone with his background would get elected. I think a lot of people don’t know about it.” – County Commissioner Mary Pat Flynn

Last on the ballot and losing to Beaty by 998 votes was well-known (in political circles) local government stalwart Mark Forest. That small margin, some have said, can be attributed to ballot placement, bullet voting, and the Trump election.

Former state representative Eric Turkington wrote in a Cape Cod Times column in November 2016 that “a perfect storm” caused Democrat Forest, with a long resume including working for former U.S. Congressmen Gerry Studds and William Delahunt, to lose to Beaty by a relatively small margin.

Near the end of his column, Turkington, who has appeared on several ballots with a last name starting with “T,” wrote, “In a tight race, ballot order matters, and this was a very tight race.”

Asked about Beaty winning, given his criminal background, Flynn said, “I find it utterly amazing that someone with his background would get elected. I think a lot of people don’t know about it.”

She added, “He can be very personable. He doesn’t come across as a jerk. People don’t know that background right away.”

The third County Commissioner Leo Cakounes, a Republican of Harwich, in office since 2015, said of Beaty’s election, “It was a bizarre election.”

Presbrey said, that because of Beaty’s crime of threatening the President of the United States and others, Beaty is “someone who is not fit for public office. It’s beyond the pale.”

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WaveRon Beaty, Cape Cod Native

Beaty was born and raised and has lived all of his life on Cape Cod except for a couple of years at Boston College, and 14 months in federal prison.

He was born May 4, 1961 and lived in Barnstable through kindergarten, and then he attended Yarmouth schools from grades 1 to 8.

His biological father, also named Ronald Beaty, was from Florida and stationed at Otis Air Base when he met his mother. His parents divorced when he was four years old. Beaty has one older brother and one younger brother.

His mother, Nancy Johnson, remarried four years after the divorce. She was a Realtor and her new husband, William Johnson, was a builder, said Beaty. “He was a great guy,” said Beaty. In the 1970s, Johnson became a corrections officer for Barnstable County, he said.

Beaty recalls being involved in 4H Club as a kid and in scouting, Troop 59 in Yarmouth, he said. He bowled at the YMCA, recalls being an average bowler, and remembers getting a second place team trophy.

County Commissioner Ron Beaty Jr.

County Commissioner Ron Beaty Jr.  CAPE COD WAVE PHOTO

As an eighth grader, he was a member of the Book of the Month club when he got a book about dolphins, and developed an interest in marine biology. At one point as a child, Beaty said, “I wanted to be the world’s foremost authority on dolphinology, the study of dolphins,” said Beaty.

But then the Book of the Month club brought other books, including books about U.S. Presidents John Kennedy, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, said Beaty.

He became generally interested in American history, he said, but as a child during the turbulent 1960s and early 1970s Beaty said he didn’t pay much attention to current events.

His clearest memory of that time, he said, was, “We had a music teacher and she’d play records in class. I remember ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’” Otherwise, the future activist and politician was “somewhat insulated.”

Beaty started his high school education at the newly opened Cape Cod Tech in 1975 with an eye on graphic arts.

He delivered newspapers starting at age 12, and washed dishes at a restaurant on Main Street in Hyannis at age 14. In the 70s, Beaty said, his family bought “a big hunk of land in West Barnstable. It’s very rural, with old stone walls.”

But he decided he wanted to go to college and at the time the tech school did not offer a path to college so he transferred to Cushing Academy, a private boarding school in Ashburnham, near the New Hampshire border. He graduated, sixth in his class, in 1979.

One important part of Beaty’s history, in his mind, is that he had an Iranian girlfriend for a while at Cushing Academy. “We went our separate ways,” he said. “But I had an interest in that culture and people from that area. It’s just interesting, an ancient culture.”

At the time, Iran had been ruled by the Shah and people were “educated and westernized, to a degree,” he said.


WaveBoston College & A Taste Of Public Service

After high school, Beaty said he attended Boston College for two years before dropping out.

He said he also enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in September, 1981, and was honorably discharged in June, 1982.

For a while, he liked college. But he changed majors, as many students do, several times. He recalled he majored in economics, English, history, Latin, American studies and American literature.

While at Boston College in the early 1980s, Beaty said he had an internship in the office of Lt. Governor Tommy O’Neil, son of liberal icon Tip O’Neil. In 1982, he had a similar position, he said, under conservative Governor Ed King. Of O’Neil and King, Beaty said, “They didn’t get along. It was interesting.”

His job was to help deal with constituent issues. “I’d send out inquiries. Make some phone calls, and suddenly it was getting attention from the governor’s office,” recalled Beaty. It was something he found particularly rewarding.


WaveA Bad Marriage, A Drinking Problem, And Those Death Threats To the President

After a couple of years, Beaty dropped out of Boston College. “BC back then was a big party school, a big drinking school,” said Beaty. “I started having some issues.”

“You start losing direction,” he said. “It was a large school. I had gone to a small boarding school. It kind of overwhelmed me.”

“People make stupid decisions. I never should have gotten married at the time that I did. I was 22. She was 21.”

And while Beaty was in college, his stepfather, William Johnson, died of an aneurysm. He was 41. “It was a big hit on me,” said Beaty. “That was a big deal, yeah.”

He stayed in Boston for a little while but began to transition back to the Cape. “Boston’s Boston,” he said of why he didn’t stay.

On the Cape, he was working in “real estate and management. Area rentals,” he said.

And about this time, he met an Iranian woman in Germany. “I was there on business,” said Beaty. Asked what kind of business, he said, “between business and tourism. We’ll just say tourism.”

After he met the Iranian woman, they hit it off. The revolution had happened but she had left, and was westernized, said Beaty.

Beaty married the Iranian woman.

“People make stupid decisions,” said Beaty. “I never should have gotten married at the time that I did. I was 22. She was 21.”

The marriage was rocky and fell apart in the late 1980s, said Beaty.

“It’s kind of hazy,” said Beaty of that time period. “I feel like such a jerk. I had a bad divorce. It led to bad things.”

He was drinking heavily, which hurt the marriage, he said, and “a lot of it was cultural, of course.” They divorced in the late 1980s, said Beaty. “Even after the divorce is official, you’re still dealing with it a couple of years,” he said.

“They were graphic letters.”

He “went through a couple of detoxes,” said Beaty. “Once in Boston, once at Gosnold.”

He kept drinking. He became bitter. Many divorces are bitter. He took it to another level.

At the time, Beaty was a Barnstable town meeting member.

Presbrey remembers Beaty from back then as, “just a big, hulking guy who would speak out against liberal Democratic legislators.”

In June 1990, Beaty sent death threats to George H.W. Bush, Senator Edward Kennedy and State Senator Lois Pines.

The letters, according to Beaty, were written in his wife’s name.

“The content of those letters were supposedly from my ex-wife to these individuals,” said Beaty. “She was an Iranian citizen. I wanted her gone. My alcohol-soaked mind was so bitter.”

Asked what was in them, Beaty said, “They were graphic letters.”

In a column in the Barnstable Patriot from just after the 2016 election, E.J. Albright wrote this interesting paragraph:

“Beaty I knew from my time at The Register newspaper in 1990. He was a gadfly who became notorious when he threatened the first President Bush, Senator Ted Kennedy and a state senator. He was running for the Assembly of Delegates at the time, and in true James Michael Curley fashion, conducted his unsuccessful campaign from behind bars.”

Below the column online, in which Albright expressed shock that Beaty won, there was one comment below the story as of the time this Cape Cod Wave story was written.

The comment, by Ron Beaty himself, said, “Two words: ‘sour grapes.’”


WaveThere Are “some pretty nice people” In Prison

The first letters that were flagged were those to State Senator Pines, said Beaty.

“The state troopers showed up,” he said. “I was arraigned on that. A couple weeks later, the Secret Service showed up.”

“You’re like, whoa! What did I do?” he recalled. “It was a very sobering experience.”

The Barnstable town meeting member was arrested and held for four months in Danbury, Connecticut until a psychiatrist “said I was really just PO’d at my ex-wife.” He was released, pending trial.

He said his ex-wife told authorities that “she thought the drinking affected my mind at the time,” said Beaty.

“I met a guy trained in HVAC. He was clean cut, a nice guy. That guy isn’t getting out for another 25 years.”

“There is some history of alcoholism in my family,” said Beaty. “I am genetically predisposed, but I am not expert on these sort of things.”

Asked if he regretted how what he did to his ex-wife, he said, “I put her through this whole mess, as well I did my whole family. Of course there are regrets.”

After the “slow, like molasses” Federal Court system finally dealt with him, he was given credit for the four months he was held in Connecticut, and then sent to federal prison for ten more months in Texas.

“Even as bad as the experience was, I met some unusual people I probably would not have met in any other way,” said Beaty. In Connecticut, he found himself on a bench sitting next to Providence crime boss, Raymond Patriarca Jr., who Beaty remembered as “very sickly. He would talk a little bit. He was full of self pity, I guess.”

“You’ve got to remember who these people are,” said Beaty. “It felt surreal. A couple of his associates, I remember them coming off as the most charming people.”

“Other than that,” said Beaty, “There were a lot of people in for guns and drugs.”

And other than surreal, Beaty found the ordeal somewhat enlightening as to the “big disparity” of sentencing guidelines from state to state. He realized it when he was in Texas.

“I met some people, in theory, if they weren’t in prison, they were some pretty nice people,” said Beaty. “I met a guy trained in HVAC. He was clean cut, a nice guy. That guy isn’t getting out for another 25 years.”

Beaty, meanwhile, is in the tenth month of the first year of his four-year term as Barnstable County Commissioner.


WaveA Scarlet Letter, And Rehabilitation

“I did deserve it,” said Beaty of his time in prison. “I broke the law. What I did find was, even after you serve your time, you pay for it the rest of your life to a certain degree. It’s like a scarlet letter that’s hanging on you.”

But in something that could be from a cliched Hollywood movie, he dusted himself off and began the slow process of rebuilding his life.

He said he first earned an Associates degree in Legal Office Administration (& some certificates) from Cape Cod Community College.

He then went back to Boston College. “I had to talk with the Dean,” he said of his re-admission. “It’s a Jesuit school. They were very understanding.” He said he graduated in 1994 with a degree in American Studies.

“You have to look at yourself,” said Beaty. “Where you are in your life. You’ve made a big mess of it. But you want to be an instrument of good and try to help improve society and community.”

After graduating from B.C., he said he began tutoring at 4Cs, and then became a part-time instructor in the computer lab.

“Nothing happened overnight, said Beaty. “Things happen incrementally over a period of months and years and so on and so forth,” he said.

When Beaty was at Boston College the second time, he said he wrote a senior research paper on the political theory of John Locke, a political thinker from the 1600s that Wikipedia describes as “the father of liberalism.”

From Locke, said Beaty, came many of the principles in the Declaration of Independence.

“You have to look at yourself. Where you are in your life. You’ve made a big mess of it. But you want to be an instrument of good and try to help improve society and community.”

“People come together and give government a certain amount of power in order to make life better,” said Beaty, noted opponent of big government. “Government certainly has a purpose, so people can live a good and more productive life. It builds the infrastructure, enforces the laws.”

“The problem,” said Beaty, “comes when government becomes overly burdensome and overly controlling, and they take over your life.”

It was something that interested him.

He wanted to rehabilitate himself. “Some people start a nonprofit, or go do volunteer work,” said Beaty. “Politics was what I like. I felt I should get involved. I had nothing to lose. I was already at the bottom. You work your way up.”

After getting out of prison and graduating from college in the 1990s, “I ran for a couple of minor things and didn’t really get anywhere,” he said.

What Beaty means is that he didn’t get elected. But he began to make something of a name for himself, at least among those who saw his name on the ballot, or read his letters to the editor in the Cape Cod Times.

“I write a lot of letters to the editor of the Cape Cod Times,” said Beaty. He said his letters have been about many things, from the Cape Wind project (he was opposed), to taxes (he likes lower taxes) to legislation on Beacon Hill. “I’m quite, I guess, the letter writer,” he said.

He tried to get appointed to town committees, but never did. He kept at it.

“I’m quite, I guess, the letter writer.”

He continued his education too. In 2003, he received a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology from Lesley University in Cambridge, he said. In 2005, Beaty said, he received a Master’s Degree in Administrative Studies from Boston College.

In 2014, he ran for State Senate on a conservative platform. In the primary, he ran against Alan Waters. “The local Republican party tried to get me not to run,” said Beaty.

Running on a platform of lower taxes and less government, Beaty won the primary and went into a general election against incumbent Democrat Dan Wolf. Wolf won by a margin of 48,000 to 28,000.

“I got my name out there even more than I already had,” said Beaty.

Wolf declined to comment for this story.

Beaty said he is remarried. His wife’s name is Chanda, he said. They have been married 23 years, he said.


WaveAn Ardent Donald Trump Supporter Gets Elected On Cape Cod

When Beaty ran for county commissioner in 2016, he said, “I’ll be honest with you, I directed my efforts at Mary Pat Flynn.” He thought Forest, with his vast government background was the stronger candidate.

County Commissioner Ron Beaty Jr.

Photo from Beaty’s Twitter account.

“Anything in life is a crapshoot,” said Beaty, explaining the results.

And while Beaty’s election caught many on Cape Cod by surprise, Beaty is quick to point out that, “A lot of people were flabbergasted that Donald Trump won.”

Beaty has made it very clear that he is a Donald Trump supporter. But his interest, for years, has been in county government.

As county commissioner, Beaty has taken his own “brand,” mixed it with parts of the Donald Trump playbook, and made headlines for some interesting things.

He sued his own board for an open meeting law violation, proposed a shark cull that some mistook was a suggestion coming from Barnstable County government, and got in a very public tiff with state representative Randy Hunt over a parking space.

Inside of Beaty’s open meeting law complaint against the Barnstable County Commissioners, there are a lot of intricacies of the workings of county government, a long negotiated settlement of a lawsuit, a very quick deadline to act, an emergency meeting and more.

It became a very public disagreement between the two Republican members of the commission, Beaty and Cakounes.

As part of Beaty’s complaint, he cited a problem with the minutes of a meeting in which Beaty himself made the motion to pass the minutes, said Cakounes.

“I knew I would catch flak for it,” said Beaty. “Leo took it personally.”

Ron Beaty's parking space

Ron Beaty’s parking space CAPE COD WAVE PHOTO

Beaty didn’t file his complaint right away and he never told anyone before he did. He did not register any complaints about the process during the meeting.

Cakounes, who admitted to a “complete oversight on my part,” but said it was minor. He said of the complaint, “I think it is frivolous” and said such action has endangered a long-negotiated settlement.

But Beaty said, “a number of issues didn’t sit right with me.”

Beaty has filed many open meeting law complaints over the years. “I do file a lot,” he said. “I’ve slowed way down… it’s a matter of transparency and accountability. It’s my way of keeping government officials accountable to the public.”

“I win about a third of the time,” said Beaty of his open meeting law complaints. “Not everybody is in agreement. It can get down to the nitty gritty. Certain terms can be tricky. The attorney general’s office can be kind of vague.”


WaveBeaty’s Shark Solution

In late August, a great white shark attacked a seal at Nauset Beach in Orleans, filling the water with blood while beachgoers watched. The next day, Beaty sent out a press release suggesting Cape Cod deploy baited drum lines near popular beaches to catch sharks. Like the shark attack, covered extensively in the media, it was an attention-grabbing press release.

“It did say I was county commissioner,” said Beaty of the press release. “It would have been disingenuous if it hadn’t said that.”

Ron Beaty Sharks

Sharks made news, and then Beaty did too.  CAPE COD WAVE PHOTO

And while he caught plenty of flak for his proposal, which he eventually backed away from, it was a particular point of contention for Cakounes.

“All of a sudden Ron comes out with a plan to kill the sharks,” Cakounes said. “That plan is perceived by the press as something that Barnstable County is behind, and it is certainly perceived by the public as something that Barnstable County is behind. It came across to many residents of the entire world that Barnstable County was behind it.”

Cakounes felt compelled to announce at the commission meeting that the plan was not that of the county.

“I never said anything about the county,” said Beaty.

On Thursday, said Cakounes, “We began to get telephone threats. I personally received calls from as far away as Germany and California. The staff were receiving very threatening phones calls by people using foul language.

One person said, ‘You will all die in the fire when the courthouse burns down,’” said Cakounes.

“Calls started on my cell phone,” said Beaty. “They were coming in for days.”

And Beaty, with his history from long ago of threatening public officials said, “I got a taste of it, you know, with this whole shark thing. There were some threatening phone calls. There were some death threats.”

Beaty was surprised by the threats. “Death threats? Really? And the language, the obscenities.”

Beaty was surprised by the threats. “Death threats? Really?”

Beaty said, “There was a lot of overreaction. Nobody said we were going to deploy these drum lines. It was a suggestion for a proposal. I openly said we were looking for other proposals.”

Drum lines have been used in Queensland, Australia since the 1960s.

In Massachusetts, with no drum lines, there has not been a fatal shark attack since 1936, when a 16-year-old boy was attacked in waters off Mattapoisett and later died of his injuries.

While the shark population has been increasing, especially in the last decade or so, Beaty’s call to mimic an Australian strategy was rebuffed by many, including 12-year-old Lucy Swain, of Harwich, who wrote a Facebook post that went viral and landed her on Boston TV news talking about how sharks are misunderstood.

In her post, Lucy wrote of the value of sharks to the ecosystem, and noted many things more statistically dangerous than sharks including, “You are more likely to be bitten by a New Yorker on the New York subway than by a shark.”

Cakounes said the shark issue has not been placed on County Commissioner’s agenda, nor is it planned to be.

The shark controversy, like the open meeting law controversy, is a story in itself, with many layers to it.

And while there have been some public skirmishes, Cakounes said, “We have a smoothly functioning board.”


WaveOne Parking Spot, Two Elected Officials

Beaty had perhaps his most interesting public tiff over a parking spot.

In June, while visiting the Superior Court building for a meeting, State Rep. Randy Hunt parked in Beaty’s designated parking spot at the county complex. Hunt is quoted in the Cape Cod Times as saying he was told to park in one of the commissioner’s spots by county Administrator John “Jack” Yunits Jr..

Ron Beaty's parking space

Ron Beaty’s parking space  CAPE COD WAVE PHOTO

“The gentleman parked in my space,” said Beaty. “We have a little bit of a history… I’ve had some issues with Mr. Hunt. I’ve called him on a couple of issues,” said Beaty. For a Republican, Hunt is not fiscally conservative enough, said Beaty.

Beaty left a note on the car threatening to have it towed if Hunt ever parked there again, and then he followed it up with an email to Hunt. Beaty said he knew the car parked in his spot belonged to Hunt because there were “fancy state representative plates on his car.”

“The gentleman has his own designated spot at the state house,” said Beaty.

He said that Hunt is like many elected officials who “have a sense of entitlement once they’ve been in office. Sometimes they need to have their chain yanked.”

Hunt declined to comment for this story.

Asked where he parked when Hunt parked in his spot, Beaty said, “I wound up parking by the research development office in the old sheriff’s house. They have their own designated spots.”

He parked in someone else’s designated spot. “It’s okay because I am the county commissioner,” he said.


Wave“He’s a puzzle.”

Beaty’s Twitter account, much like that of the President, and only slightly less colorful, is very interesting. Recently, he has been after the man he calls, “RINO” (Republican In Name Only), Governor Charlie Baker.

“Let’s be honest, it (beating Baker) would be a daunting task,” said Beaty. Winning “would be a miracle,” he said, “I’m realistic about it.” He acknowledged that “exploring” a run helps him get him statewide recognition.

“Maybe if not now,” said Beaty, “maybe in the future.”

Baker did not respond to several requests for a comment. The governor was not the only one who did not respond to our calls or emails. Others declined to comment about Beaty as well.

Presbrey, one of the few willing to say anything critical about Beaty on the record for this article, said, “I’m know that he’s going to go after me on Facebook and everything else after saying these things.”

But Presbrey was not completely critical. Far from it. “He’s a nice enough guy to sit and talk to,” said Presbrey about Beaty. “I’ve talked to him a number of times.”

“I admire his ambition to rehabilitate his image and serve in public service,” said Presbrey. “But I wish he’d slow down and go through the slow arduous learning process of learning how things work.”

Presbrey expressed concern that Beaty doesn’t care what is going on at meetings but rather “sits there and tries to reinforce his conclusions before he understands both sides of the issue.”

“I am of the belief that controversy should be embraced, not avoided.”

Penn said of Beaty, “He embraces things head on. I think he does his homework. I think he does his reading. I’m not sure what his end result purpose is.”

“He’s very impulsive,” continued Penn. “Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes that’s a bad thing.” And she added, “He gets set off by the littlest things. Bringing up somebody taking your parking space probably is not productive for someone seeking higher office.”

County Commissioner Ron Beaty Jr.

“I would never want to be president.” County Commissioner Ron Beaty Jr.  CAPE COD WAVE PHOTO

Beaty continues to make noise about running for governor by attacking popular Republican governor Charlie Baker, but he understands he faces long odds if he runs.

“His style is to stir it up from time to time,” said Alliegro. “Under normal circumstances, that wouldn’t be my style. But you need people stirring it up. Let me put it that way. Ron is very good at stirring it up.”

Beaty said, “I am of the belief that controversy should be embraced, not avoided.”

Flynn said of Beaty, “He’s done some good things and pushed some projects forward.” And she added, “He’s a puzzle. He really is. I’ve never been able to figure him out. And now that he talks about running for governor, I’m totally astounded.”

Some have compared Beaty to President Trump. Beaty takes that as a compliment. But he said he does not aspire to the highest office.

When asked, he said, “I would never want to be president.”

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You Can't Sell Right Field

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About the author

Brian Tarcy

Brian Tarcy is co-founder of Cape Cod Wave. He is a longtime journalist who has written for the Boston Globe, Boston magazine, the Cape Cod Times and several other publications. He is the author of "YOU CAN'T SELL RIGHT FIELD; A Cape Cod Novel." He is also the author or co-author of more than a dozen mostly non-fiction books, including books with celebrity athletes Cam Neely, Tom Glavine and Joe Theisman. His previous book was, "ALMOST: 12 Electric Months Chasing A Silicon Valley Dream" with Hap Klopp,who created the iconic brand, The North Face.
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Brian is a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan with a long-running NFL predictions/political satire column connecting weekly world events to the fate of his favorite team, now at


  • No matter how you shake it, either the people of Cape Cod are just plain dumb, or they really do think like this bonehead. I won’t be spending my money on the cape, until he’s gone. His ilk may be fine in South Carolina. I find it hard to believe voters elected him in Massachusetts.

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