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FRANGHAM – A local Democrat promised to attend a city council meeting to apologize for complaining about the cost of special education for children with disabilities that weren’t covered, but dropped out after angry parents and advocates Disability Complaint.
Michael Hugo, chairman of the Framingham Democratic Committee, said on February 7, Framingham, Massachusetts, city council meeting that children with special needs who are not stopped are a financial drain on the school system. In a letter to the council that same night, he promised to attend the next meeting to apologize in person, then issued a written apology to the public after 10 days of responses.
“I thought he would be here tonight because he said he would be here tonight and apologize publicly,” said city council chairman Philip Ottaviani at Tuesday’s meeting. “I know he mentioned the other night that he would be in DC, and tonight he texted me that he was in DC and couldn’t attend.”
Hugo told Fox News that he did not plan to attend the meeting. He said he was attending a dinner with senators and members of Congress and was in Washington, DC to request additional funding for several local programs.
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Hugo, said he was upset when the Framingham City Council met.
Hugo refused to make himself available for an interview.
Ottaviani said at Tuesday’s meeting that if he made comments like Hugo’s, “people would ask me to leave the room and never come back.”
“My wife would tell me the same thing,” he said
‘Providing lots and lots of special services for children born with the defect’
Hugo’s first thoughts were related to a possible city council call about access to abortion and emergency pregnancy centers in Framingham. He raised concerns about unborn babies after they misdiagnosed defects that could give birth to a disabled child and put pressure on the school budget.
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“That will be a very local issue because our school budget must include the costs of a child in special education, providing lots and lots of special services for the children born with the defect,” Hugo said at the February 7 meeting. .
Immediately afterwards, Hugo sent a letter to the council saying he would attend the next meeting.
“I plan to appear before the City Council at your next meeting to personally apologize for the way my statement sounded, and to provide a more detailed explanation,” he wrote in February 7 letter.
On February 17, Hugo apologized to the Framingham Democratic Committee and members of the Massachusetts town’s disabled family community, saying his comments were “offensive and hurtful.” Hugo said that the committee did not review his proposed ideas, although he sent them out the night before the city council meeting.
The Framingham Democratic Committee rejected a move on Sunday to include discussion of Hugo’s removal at a future meeting, although members voted unanimously to condemn his comments. Ottaviani, the chairman of the city council who is also a member of the committee, voted for the effort.
“If Mr. Hugo had resigned and we had leadership from the Framingham Dems, this would have gone,” Ottaviani said at Tuesday’s city council meeting. “I just wanted a debate to move forward but it’s loud and clearly no one is resigning.”
Shortly before Tuesday’s city council meeting – the one Hugo initially said he would attend – community members, parents and local officials protested outside city hall in a show of support for the disability community.
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Mike Cannon, a Democratic city councilman who attended the protest, told Fox News that the Framingham Democratic Committee’s failure to move just talking about firing Huge “sends a strong message to a lot of people.” people in our community that these comments may not have been made. rejected as strongly as they should have been.”
“I think that organization needs a change of chairman and a change of the executive committee,” said Cannon.
‘Not to add further to the matter’
Hugo, who was in Washington DC at the meeting, also refused to Zoom into the meeting.
In a text message provided to Fox News, Ottaviani asked Hugo at the meeting if he would be visiting.
“I’m in DC and can’t go with you. I sent my apology the night of your meeting and I’m not going to work later. answered.
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Cannon told Fox News that it is very common for guests and members to move to meetings.
“I was expecting him to come or at least dial in, anyone can connect through Zoom,” Cannon told Fox News. “Based on what I’m hearing from the community, it doesn’t look like this case goes away.”
Hugo’s absence meant he missed the comments of angry parents at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
“A well-educated lawyer should not think that a woman who gives birth to a child with a disability has just taken out a burden,” said Cheryl Caira, whose daughter went through the Framingham public school system with Down syndrome.
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Susie Santone, a disabled woman from Framingham at the protest, said she was upset about critics making the situation a partisan issue.
“It’s not about Democrats, it’s not about Republicans, it’s about the kids,” she said. “People are so focused on the political side of it that they forget about the kids.”
“You can apologize as much as you want but you have to back it up,” Santone said. in them only empty words and no action was taken.”
She said Hugo should resign to show “he understands the impact of his comments.”
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And Jannett Leombruno, vice-chairman of the city council who was also present at the protest, said that many members of the community did not feel that Hugo’s apology was enough. She said he should resign.
“These children have a right to be born,” she said, becoming emotional. “We have to stand up for them.”
Jon Fetherston, who organized the show, told Fox News that he was disappointed that Hugo did not appear.
“His vain apology and his ability to not even go against the city council tonight shows you the true character of Michael Hugo. His character is flawed and I am extremely disappointed,” said Fetherston. “He just proved once again that his excuse is very false.”
“He didn’t even have the decency to pick up the phone and call and apologize to the city council, so I think his actions speak a lot louder than his pathetic words ,” Fetherston said.
Hugo’s term ends in April 2024.
Fox News contacted Hugo for comment on why he did not attend the meeting. He responded with a photo of a Congressional House Office Building permit dated March 1.
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“I’m here to ask for more local funding for housing, nutrition, mental health care and educational mental health and nutrition services,” Hugo said in a follow-up email. “I’m here to get the job done and so much ‘ As much as I wanted to be at last night’s council meeting, I have responsibilities to people I can appeal to and can’t appeal to themselves.”
He did not explain why he did not move into the meeting or whether he will attend a future meeting.
To learn more about the support for Hugo, click here.