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John Michitson Stepping
Down is a Great Loss for Haverhill
Jim Rurak

John Michitson won’t run for re-election to the Haverhill City Council. I hope it doesn’t mean that he’s retiring from politics. Haverhill needs public servants like him.

I first met John in the 1993 campaign. He and Heidi were dating then and I enjoyed the thought of how they brought together so much energy and value in Haverhill politics. Heidi’s father, Al Crites, remains a legend. John’s Aunt Theresa served as a city councilor. And everyone knew John’s father, Arthur. He belonged to that very rare class of tax limitationists who insisted that government could do more with what it had. And he offered creative solutions.

Of course, Arthur could be blunt. The questions he posed to me at a debate in 1991 were all of that. The way he walked down the aisle toward me when he was asking them nearly drove me back to the wall. Arthur and I have since developed a friendship and mutual respect, albeit mostly on his terms!

Perhaps for such reasons, John often introduced himself as the “kinder, gentler Michitson.” And he often was. From the sports programs and after school programs for our schoolchildren and in the open and reasonable way in which he both runs City Council meetings and interrogates speakers who come before it, he is a gentle voice of reason.

But like his father, he can be creative, such as in the “Footware to Software” initiative. He could also be blunt. Occasionally, I was a target. His arrows always pierced and were, for most part, deserved. In short, whether in relation with his father, with whom he differed concerning school funding, or the mayor, or anyone, he was and is his own person—a person who always does what he thinks is best for the city as a whole. He will be missed.

Still, John’s reason not to seek re-election, namely his young family, is not a reason to retire from politics. His children will age, and, there will come times when he will be looking for reasons to get out of the house! When that time comes, I hope he will seek higher office. I also hope that all members of his family, especially the senior ones, will join to celebrate that day.

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Prior Columns by Jim Rurak