Councilor Timothy Rooke
Timothy Rooke (at-large)
First Elected: 1995
Committees: Finance, chair; Audit;
Education: American International College
Work: Axia Insurance Agency
Prior Public Service: Aide to Richard Neal both in Congress and as Mayor.
Other Elections: State Senate 1992 Democratic primary (w) general (l); Governor’s Council 2004 Democratic primary (l).
Political Distinctions: Member, Ward 7 Democratic Committee
Poll of last contested election: City Council At-large (5 seats on ballot) 2013 general
More than 19,500 blanks recorded
City Council At-large (5 seats on ballot) 2011 general
|James J. Ferrera*||9048||12.1%|
More than 28,000 blanks recorded
Repeal Biomass: No
Police Oversight Board: No
For Mayor’s FY 2013 Budget: Yes
For Mayor’s FY 2014 Budget: Yes
Limiting Residency Ordinance Waivers: Yes on third step, No on veto override.
Pawn Shop Regulations: Yes
Political Note: Maverick or merely contrarian? Those are two of the many words one could use to describe Rooke who is the current Dean of the Springfield City Council having served continuously for longer than any other member. Sympathetic to law enforcement (his father was a longtime member of the police department) and known as fairly no-nonsense, Rooke also has a penchant for taking positions that are anti-establishment. Impossible to pigeonhole on many issues, his votes on fiscal restraint have been generally good and he is the only member of the Springfield City Council to have publicly apologized for the Council’s failure to reign in the fiscal malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance of the Albano administration. Moreover, he comes to meetings usually prepared and is not afraid to challenge mayoral appointees’ claims directly. That and a willingness, even eagerness, to talk to the press have earned him brownie points with many area media across the political spectrum, including all of the city‘s main blogs including WMassP&I. In the past he has pushed for the city to get new revenue from non-tax sources and urged the state to pay the city the millions he says it is owed to cover busing costs. Recently, he has engaged in by turns quixotic or protracted battles with city hall over finances and property acquisition, in particular the city’s health insurance contract and the relocation of the School Department. It is easy to say he is not an ally of Mayor Domenic Sarno’s. Ever mercurial however, some politicos view his independence with suspicion and note he wields his outspokenness only when it suits him. For example, during the FY2013, he supported no cuts undermining his fiscal bona fides. He has offered spurious criticism of proposed reforms and extrapolated out-of-context costs as justification. A thinker on the Council for sure, but to whose benefit has become difficult to ascertain. He came the closest among incumbents to join Ferrera in the loser’s corner in the 2013 election, but that has done little to damper his demeanor on the Council.