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Keller @ Large: Problems With The Quahog Bill

BOSTON (CBS) – We need more civic education and activism among our young people, not less.

So I’m always happy to see a group of school kids file or rally around a bill on Beacon Hill, as students from Taunton have done, with a measure that will have its public hearing at the Statehouse today before the Committee on Tourism.

I wish the kids well, and congratulate their teachers.

But if they’re really going to learn the facts of life about politics, they’re going to have to get used to the possibility that a bill you push might draw some pushback.

And I’m afraid I have a problem with their bill.

They want to make the quahog the official shellfish of Massachusetts.

Now, I love my quahogs just as much as any other New Englander. Raw on the half-shell with some lemon and, maybe, a little horseradish; sautéed over linguine; any old way.

But they’re far from unique to Massachusetts.

Actually, Rhode Island is considered the heart of quahog country, and they even have the quahog already as their official shell.

If the idea is to somehow help promote tourism, while also honoring the unique ingenuity of Massachusetts culture, I suggest we make it the official shellfish dish instead, which opens up a whole range of marketing options to help us achieve our goal, the separation of as many visitors as possible from as much of their money as possible.

We could debate the relative promotional merits of the fried clam, created right here in Ipswich.

The tourists already think we eat chowder 24/7, let’s make that the official shellfish dish and cash in.

Or we could choose a clam-based dish that truly expresses our native attitude towards residents of the lower 49 states – stuffies.

Kids, I love your spunk.

But the state needs commerce right now as much or more than another history lesson.

So consider embracing my amendment, and when the tourism dollars increase, we’ll celebrate with stuffies all around.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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