Boston, Massachusetts , United States
|| February 20, 1976
Mar 30, 2017 08:06pm
|Info||Doug Bennett is currently the Vice Chairman of the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Nantucket and County Commissioner of Nantucket County. Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on February 20th, 1976, Doug’s family has inhabited Nantucket, Massachusetts for almost 80 years all the way back to when his Great Grandmother, Kate MacLean moved into his family’s home on Lily Street on the island 30 miles out at sea known to many as the “Grey Lady.” Doug states, “For almost 30 years, I have been grateful for the experiences, lessons, and people I have learned from during my treasured moments here on Cape Cod and the Islands.” Many of his family members still reside on Nantucket including his mother Kathy Lee, his stepfather Dave, and sister Ginger. |
His ancestral background is rich in history. On his mother’s side, a man named Gardiner signed the Mayflower Compact upon arrival to Cape Cod, Massachusetts when the Pilgrims landed in America in 1620. His great, great, great, great, great Grandfather on his Father’s mother’s side was one of the Founding Fathers. His name was William Floyd and he signed the Declaration of Independence. Another note for trivia buffs: his great, great Grandfather, William Otis Allison, served as Mayor of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey for over a decade. Otis Allison was a political rival of President Teddy Roosevelt.
Doug says that he has always been fascinated with public service. He remembers that one of his first memories was when he was almost 4 years old. He was driving with his mother and she asked him who he thought would win the Presidency, Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter. According to Doug’s mother, he answered with a great big smile, “Ronald Reagan.”
A self described “hellion” as a youth, Doug got into plenty of mischief. However, he got his act together by enlisting in the United States Military at the end of high school. After Basic Combat training in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, he attended Valley Forge Military College in Wayne, Pennsylvania. There he rose to become the 2nd highest ranked Cadet within the 850 cadet military circle. Academically, Doug became Class Valedictorian, an honor that is also shared 53 years ago by General Norman Schwarzkopf, a former Valley Forge Cadet who was Commander of the Amercan led Allied Forces during the first Gulf War in the Middle East. Additionally, Doug attended Air-Assault School at Ft. Belvoir (just outside of Washington DC). There at Air-Assault School, Doug finished 1st in his class out of 150 soldiers graduating as the Honor Graduate.
Doug Bennett continued his education at Penn State University (he is a loyal “Nittany Lion” fan) where he graduated with a 3.9 cumulative GPA from the Scheyer Honor’s College receiving two Bachelors of Arts degrees; one in History and a second in Labor Studies and Industrial Relations. Doug also authored a 51-page thesis titled: FDR, JFK, and Ronald Reagan: Mass Media, Image, and Presidential Greatness.
In his final year at Penn State, an African American student leader, Lekesha Wolfe, and several other black students began receiving numerous racist death threats. One letter specifically said that Ms. Wolfe would be killed. [The authors of the letter had claimed that they had already beaten and killed a black man; however, no body was ever found.] Black students were upset because the University would not provide any security for Ms. Wolfe or the other students who were threatened. At the Alumni Football game, 25 students- 23 of them black- ran out onto the field during the National Anthem. They sat in the middle of the field, locking their arms together refusing to leave in an act of civil disobedience. Everyone in the stadium began to hiss and boo. Doug claims that all of a sudden the next thing he knew was that he had jumped the fence and ran on to the field becoming the 26th student protester. All, including Doug, were arrested. Doug says University Students demanded their release. “The press had a field day,” he reports. The protestors made the national news and even ESPN. A couple of days later, the black students organized a student protest where Doug ended up speaking in front of 10,000 students about love and tolerance.
After Penn State, Doug returned to Nantucket where one of his first jobs was with the trucking company Cape Cod Express in May 2001. He stayed with them for a while before entering his current trade of Carpentry. A chance encounter in October 2001 with Senator John Kerry, a summer resident of the island, sparked Doug’s interest in politics. Doug went to Boston in April 2002 and interviewed for a job on Kerry’s staff. Unfortunately, he was turned down when he revealed his political affiliation. Soon after, he went down to Mitt Romney’s headquarters at 153 Alewife Parkway and offered his services to organize a political machine on Nantucket County that would help elect Lt. Governor Kerry Healey in the September 2002 primary and then Mitt Romney as Governor that following November. Doug says he believes he swung enough voters to deliver the island in both elections. He considers that a success given Nantucket’s reputation for being a haven for Democrats.
After the 2002 Massachusetts Gubernatorial Election, Doug went to work on his very own campaign, that of being elected by the people of Nantucket to serve as both their County Commissioner and Selectman. In the April 2003 Nantucket elections, out of a field of 8 candidates, Doug defeated the incumbent, yet narrowly finished 2nd to Bruce Watts, who had only a few months earlier retired as Nantucket’s Fire Chief of 25 years. Doug was only 70 votes behind Watts. However, this did not faze Doug. He continued to relentlessly, tirelessly, and tenaciously campaign into the following local election cycle that following year culminating on April 5th 2004. It was then, when Doug achieved victory when the people of Nantucket elected him out a field of 8 candidates.