Paul Cellucci, R.I.P. - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Paul Cellucci, R.I.P.

Former Massachusetts Governor and U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci died on Saturday after a lengthy battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was 65.

Cellucci was one of the few Republicans who held office in the Bay State. he entered Massachusetts politics when he was elected to the State House in 1977. Eight years later, he was elected to the Massachusetts Senate. In 1990, he sought the GOP nomination in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race. When he could not beat William Weld, he joined forces with him. Cellucci was elected Lieutenant Governor and became William Weld’s number two. The tandem were re-elected in 1994. 

In 1997, Cellucci became Acting Governor following Weld’s resignation (after President Clinton appointed him Ambassador to Mexico though he was not confirmed). After fending off a primary challenge from State Treasurer Joe Malone, Cellucci was elected Governor in his own right in 1998 narrowly defeating Democratic challenger Scott Harshbarger. His main policy objective was to push through a reduction in the state income tax. When the Democratic legislature refused to cooperate with him, he took the issue directly to the people. In 2000, Massachusetts voter approved a reduction in the state income tax.

Although libertarian on taxation and fiscal issues, Cellucci was liberal on most social issues as he favored abortion and tightened the state’s gun control laws. Cellucci would serve less than a full term as he resigned office in April 2001 when President Bush appointed him Ambassador to Canada. 

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Cellucci publicly thanked Canadians for providing shelter to more than 25,000 Americans who were stranded in the days following the attacks. However, Cellucci would become a controversial figure in Canada when he criticized the then Liberal government of Jean Chretien for not partaking in the War in Iraq. Cellucci remained in Ottawa until March 2005. 

Cellucci was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease in 2008 and spent his final years raising money for ALS research. 

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