To the Editor:
I cannot thank your State Representative, Jim Dwyer, enough for all the work he did to make Melissa's Law, the state's new habitual offender law, a reality.
Jim was an early supporter of Melissa's Bill even before the murder of Woburn police officer Jack Maguire. He was among the few to stand with me, following the murder of my daughter, Melissa, by a habitual offender, even while others said the bill had no chance of passing. Indeed, the bill had been locked up in the Judiciary Committee since 2000.
Yet Jim Dwyer never gave up. What we lacked in political influence - compared to powerful criminal defense interests - we had in firm moral conviction and common sense. Jim knew that it was crazy to keep releasing 5, 10, 50-time violent offenders who just continued to commit crimes over and over again.
Unfortunately, it took the murder of Officer Jack Maguire in 2010, by a 74-time violent offender, to galvanize public demand to finally pass Melissa's Bill.
Once again, Jim Dwyer rose to the occasion. Jim played a key role in getting the support of House Speaker Robert DeLeo and his skeptical colleagues. However, Jim also stood up to some powerful legislators who were not as supportive, and he paid a political price. "We have to shame them into doing the right thing," he once told me.
I doubt Melissa's Bill would now be law without the tenacious and skilled work of Rep. Jim Dwyer.
Residents of Woburn and Reading are fortunate to have Jim Dwyer as their State Representative. And I'm fortunate and proud to call Jim Dwyer my friend.
Editor's note: Letters to the Editor are printed upon receipt; content is unedited and is the letter writer's opinion.