NEW YORK – Former Massachusetts Governor and 1988 Democratic Presidential Nominee Michael Dukakis, accompanied by his wife, Kitty, was honored on September 10 by the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund.
Dukakis acknowledged New York as the state that gave him the momentum to win the 1988 nomination. “I’m sorry we didn’t win,” he said, “but we should have.
“You have no idea how the Greek community responded. That was true when we were doing big events in Chicago and new York, or small events in Iowa.”
He recalled walking into a small pizzeria during the campaign “and I said to the guy behind the counter: ‘ti hambaria – how are you,’ and he said: ‘who are you?’ ‘I’m Michael Dukakis,’ I replied, to which he said: ‘the governor?’ After that, his place became our county campaign headquarters.” And the same thing happened with Greeks everywhere, Dukakis said, because of the pride the community has.
EDUCATION AND POLITICS
After retiring from public life and spending the last quarter century or so in academia, Dukakis spoke about the prohibitive cost of higher education in America. “It’s really getting crazy. We have thousands of talented kids graduating with huge amounts of debt. There must be an answer to this. And so, the help of the Hellenic Times Scholarship fund is welcome. My hands off to all of you for what you are doing.”
John Catsimatidis and his wife, Margo, introduced the former governor.
Catsimatidis is Chairman of the Scholarship Fund and also of the Red Apple Group, and was a candidate for New York City Mayor in 2013. Also in the room were New York State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, both of whom were inspired by Dukakis’ accomplishments and entered politics at a young age, accordingly. “We need more young Greek-Americans involved in political life in this country,” Dukakis said.
Catsimatidis spoke about the Fund’s importance, and that it typically awards $150,000 in scholarships each year. He also thanked his wife, and Nick Katsoris, for their dedication and fundraising efforts for over 25 years.
In discussing the Greek crisis, Gov. Dukakis said “you can’t get a country out of depression with austerity. It doesn’t work,” and added that following Greek elections, “a number of us will announce” an economic stimulus program
currently in the works, modeled on existing American economic programs.