By Mike Melanson
Shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump addressed supporters and the nation, pledging to work for all Americans, congratulating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her “courageous and hard-fought campaign” and her years of public service to the country.
“We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country,” Trump said. “Now is the time for America to bind the wounds of division — we have to get together. … It is time for us to come together as one united people.”
Clinton had called Trump to concede and “congratulated us — it’s about us” on the win. She sent her supporters home an hour earlie, as several key states were still too close to call, only to see those states quickly shift toward Trump for a 279 to 228 electoral margin.
Trump’s words echoed those expressed by local residents during the day Tuesday.
Brittany White of Whitman said concerns for human rights brought her to the polls at Whitman Town Hall Tuesday, as well as the presidential election and Questions 3 and 4, dealing with conditions for farm animals and legalization of marijuana, respectively.
“Treat everybody like they’re Americans, not just certain groups,” she said.
“I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans,” Trump said, reaching out to those who opposed him in an effort to “work together and unify our great country.”
Clinton’s concession speech Wednesday morning also spoke to the need for unity in the wake of the election.
“I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans,” she told supporters and staff. “This is painful and it will be for a long time … but our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love.”
Mandy DeAngelis of Whitman said she has heard and seen many opinions and arguments during the campaign season, but she said the ballot box, and not social media, is the place to cast the ballot.
“Social media, it makes it so much more dramatic. Everybody’s so hyped up,” DeAngelis said after voting Tuesday.
“People need to make sure they’re registered to vote,” she said. “Talking about it when you’re not registered to vote is silly.”
Keith White said he does not agree with everything that had been said leading into Election Day, but he is more interested in the future of the Supreme Court, whose justices, appointed by the president, serve for life.
“I want to make sure the democratic process is being participated in,” White said after voting. “You have to look at the bigger picture. What’s bigger? Your ego? Or the rights of the people?”
In Hanson, Joe Pelligra and Gerard Lozeau held signs supporting both Trump and state Rep. Josh Cutler outside the Maquan School polling place.
“I’m a conservative in Hanson supporting Josh, a liberal. Not that it’s going to happen, but I hope Trump wins,” Pelligra said. “Josh does a good job. He crosses the line. He’s a moderate.”
Gerard Lozeau of Hanson said Pelligra, Cutler and he are in the Kiwanis Club and Cutler works hard and is involved in the all three of the district’s towns.
“[Cutler] has a high energy level,” he said.
Pelligra said the presidential race has been divisive. In contrast, the race between Cutler and opponent Vincent Cogliano has been courteous and professional.
“It’s a national issue. We’re the cross-overs,” he said, of people who voted for Trump and Cutler.
Daniel Salvucci, a Whitman selectman and South Shore Vocational Technical School Committee member, stood among a group of Trump supporters holding signs outside Whitman Town Hall Tuesday midday.
“I speak for the silent majority of Trump supporters,” Salvucci said. “The man says what everyone else is thinking: ‘Let’s make America great again.’”
Salvucci said the biggest issue for voters is bringing jobs back to the United States, jobs that left for foreign countries where there are cheaper wages. Trump’s plan would tax U.S. businesses less, which would allow them to pay American workers more, Salvucci said.
“More people working, less crime. That simple,” he said.
Sandra Palaza of Whitman said she supported Trump because she believes the Democrat party is corrupt and the nation has been led by a lying president.
“We need a miracle. With all us here supporting [Trump], we can get that miracle,” she said, adding she is concerned about the way refugees are being brought into the United States, and wants the country to be strong and safe. She said it would not be good if Clinton were elected president.
“If she gets in, there will never be a Republican Party again,” she said.
Lance Skill of Whitman, who held a large Joseph McDonald for Sheriff sign, said he did not really pay attention to the national election, and instead focused on helping McDonald’s campaign.
“Nationally, there seems to be a lot of anxiety, unpleasantness going on. I stayed away from the conversation. It brings out the worst in people,” he said. “I like Joe. We think he’s done a good job.”
Dan Cullity of Whitman, who said he supported McDonald and Trump, said governments at the local and state levels have a better control of money than does the federal government. Cullity, a Whitman-Hanson Regional School Committee member, said the federal government burdens states and communities with unfunded mandates.
“They don’t want to listen. Then they turn around and say, ‘Do this,’” he said. “After all, they know better.”
Brendan Aiguier of Whitman, a retired Plymouth County corrections officer who has run a landscaping company for the past 25 years, held a sign supporting candidate for sheriff, Scott Vecchi.
“I like what he does,” Aiguier said, of Vecchi. “I just like what he stands for, promoting from within.”
He criticized McDonald’s administration and said that academics and not political donations should determine who moves up the ranks. Aiguier said he felt good after posting on social media that he supports Vecchi.
“People work hard,” he said. “They want to see their money spent well, not on frivolous things. People do not want to be afraid to say their opinions without being penalized.”
Judy Morse of Abington, Sheila McKenna of Whitman, and Catherine Connolly of East Bridgewater held signs that read, “Vote Life” that showed a picture of a baby in the mother’s womb.
Morse is a sidewalk counselor who hands out literature and tries to counsel women and girls away from the Planned Parenthood in Allston. She said the importance of the vote for life is an issue. Morse said it is wrong to punish women for getting an abortion.
She said she reaches out to women who have had abortions to let them know there is help, through organizations such as Project Rachel.
Morse said there is help for single mothers through Friends of the Unborn in Quincy, who offer shelter, help getting into an apartment, health care and computer skills. She said Trump would appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court and de-fund Planned Parenthood.
“We have to stand up for these babies. They have no voices. They suffer,” she said. “We won’t give up.”
Cathy DiPasqua-Egan of Hanson held signs supporting Clinton for president and support for a “No” vote on the charter school expansion question.
“She’ll be a very good president. ‘No’ on 2 will save our public education,” she said. “She’s the best-qualified candidate ever. She has earned her chance to show what she can do.”
DiPasqua-Egan said she is willing to work with whatever comes along after all the votes are counted.
“I would like to see people working together,” she said. “Everyone is sick of the negativity. I wish everyone would take the high road. It’s easier said than done.”
Bill Scott, a Hanson Selectman, held signs supporting Cogliano and Trump.
“Saving the country,” he said. “We’ll be a Third-World country if it goes the other way.”
Scott, who retired after 30 years in law enforcement, said he is concerned with the legalization of recreational marijuana.
“It’s a gateway drug,” he said.
Scott said lawmakers need to expand implied consent laws that would require those suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana to take tests similar to blood tests or Breathalyzer tests to determine marijuana intoxication levels.
“If Question 4 passes, it will definitely be an issue,” he said.
Larry Mills of Hanson, who is retired from Homeland Security and a former Secret Service agent, held Cogliano and Trump signs.
Mills said there is nothing good about Hillary Clinton. He said most people favor immigration, but it needs to be done right. If everyone is let in, the situation will get out of control.
He said social issues, such as abortion and American values, are among the main concerns of voters, as well as concerns over terrorism, turning the economy around and restoring the nation’s industrial base.
State Rep. Geoff Diehl, R-Whitman, a state co-chairman for the Trump campaign had predicted a win during the afternoon, insisting polls forecasting a win for Clinton were in error.
“I’m extremely pleased with the election of Donald Trump,” he said. “Being the first Massachusetts elected official to endorse him, I recognized that he will take on the establishment in D.C. to make government work for us, not against us.”
He also expressed gratitude for his own re-election.
“It is truly an honor to be elected to a fourth term in, what I believe, is the best district in Massachusetts,” Diehl said. “With the support of the people, we have accomplished so much together, such as repealing automatic gas tax hikes, prohibiting tax dollars for the Olympics and improving education funding. I will continue to work to make a positive difference for our families each and every day.”