Christy Mihos' Gubernatorial Candidacy Guided by Love for Commonwealth and Pride in Heritage

by Sophia Nibi

Will Christy Mihos be the next Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts? He is certain he will be, and so are the more than 18,000 voters who placed him on the ballot to run as an Independent. His confidence is matched by his pride in his Greek Orthodox Heritage. The Brockton, MA native has roots in Sparti and Mytiline and is well versed about the history of both places, and Greece in general which he first visited at the age of ten when he won a trip by writing an essay titled, “Battle of Marathon.”

The photographs he proudly displays eloquently translate his pride in and love for America, and his appreciation of what his Greek heritage has instilled upon him. One depicts his grandfather, Christy, his father, Peter, and his uncle, James all proudly wearing the uniforms of the Armed Forces of the United States. Another (shown at right) shows Christy in an evzon [royal Greek guard and mountain freedom-fighter] uniform, in conversation with U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA). Another favorite photograph portrays the humble family store, Christy’s Market, in Brockton, MA taken in the 1920s. And a fourth places Christy at the 1986 Laity Awards Dinner with Metropolitan Methodios, when he, then President of the Parish Council of the Panagia Church in Cohasset, MA,was chosen by the community to received the Laity Award.

Putting into practice the Greek entrepreneurial spirit, the family grew the humble market to a string of convenience stores. Christy remembers the principles which led to the success of the business: Honor, pride, quest to do good, democracy, patience, concern for others, hard work. He began working in the store as soon as he was big enough to bag groceries. He worked after school every day, Saturdays from morning till 11 p.m., and Sundays, after going to church, till late at night. He stresses “going to church” because there was no question in the family that Sunday mornings were set aside for worship. Christy was a Altar Boy, GOYA President, chanted with the Choir and played on the church basketball team.

In the late 1970s, Christy and his brother took over the stores from their father and uncle and, together, they quadrupled the number. Christy’s Markets became New England’s second largest convenience store chain, operating in all six states. In 1998, they sold the stores to 7-Eleven. Still wanting to stay close to the business he loved and which reminded him of his father and growing up years, Christy bought back ten Cape Cod stores. He has since developed new stores on the Cape and continues to nurture the growing company.

Yiayia and Papou lived with the family when Christy was growing up and they made sure he spoke Greek, instilling upon him, not by preaching but by actions, love and respect for faith, country, heritage, family, and education. They were delighted as well that he loved music and played the clarinet and the bouzouki. In fact, as a younger man he played both instruments with the Bouzouki Fantasy Band. The family was also proud when Christy, encouraged by his father to enter the contest, was elected Student Council President of Brockton High School. After graduation, he studied management at Stonehill College.

Christy is a people person, and a family man. “I can’t do anything without the people,” he stresses. “As Governor, they will be my boss.” Family has given him strong roots and continues to provide love, support, and encouragement. He learned to respect all people from his father who “would give his shirt off his back, hired people in need, and believed that there was no difference whether one came via the Mayflower, a slave boat, or during the immigration rush”. Christy smiles with pride and a mist to the eyes, when people in Brockton stop him on the street and tell him, “Let me just tell you what your father did for me and for my family…..” Family is indeed very important to Christy. The family he grew up in and the family he established with his wife, Andrea Argeros, whom he met at his cousin’s wedding in Peabody, MA. They have been married for 31 years and are the proud parents of a son and a daughter.

A former Republican, Christy Mihos is an independent minded person. He is running for Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an Independent. His office, across the street from the State House, is decorated with a pencil sketch of Robert F. Kennedy, with the caption, “Seek a Newer World.” There is also a poster that proclaims, “This is Reagan Country,” and a Poster of Angus King, the Independent Governor of Maine from 1995 to 2003. If, or, as he says, “when” elected Governor in November, he will be the first Independent to govern the state for at least a century.

Christy Mihos first became a candidate for political office in 1990, when he ran for the South Shore Massachusetts Senate seat. During this race for the Plymouth and Norfolk district seat, he gained tremendous support form both heavily Democratic towns and Republican Party strongholds. The race was widely regarded as one of the closest in the state; he lost the recounted Republican primary by only three votes! In 1998, he was appointed to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority by Republican Governor Paul Cellucci, serving first as Vice Chairman and then as Director. He was outspoken and independent minded. He proposed restructuring management at the Big Dig to promote accountability and efficiency. Yes, the very same Big Dig which has been in national news not only for its cost, but also for the death of a motorist. He was kicked off the Turnpike Authority by Acting Governor Jane Swift and ignored by the Turnpike chairman, Matt Amorello, who resigned this summer following the fatal accident in the Ted William Tunnel Connector. A landmark decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court vindicated Christy Mihos’ efforts to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth. He feels the decision also vindicated beliefs he learned from his father, to “hang in there, fight for what you believe, and never let the people down.”

The city of Brockton where Christy Mihos was born and raised is known as the City of Champions. The Independent candidate for Governor loves Brockton and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is in awe of the State House, “the people’s building,” and says that the first day in office, where he will drive himself, he will open the gates at the entrance of the gold-domed structure “to its rightful owners, the citizens of Massachusetts, and let the people walk in”. He will be, he says, the Governor who champions the people’s rights.

Christy Mihos’ independent streak extends to what he wears as well. He refuses to wear a red tie because, “It’s so political”. A loyal customer at Louis Boston since 1971, he told the Boston Globe, “I don’t buy a lot of clothes, but when you buy something there, (at Louis) it’s very traditional and it stays somewhat new for decades.” He revealed that he irons his own shirts because he is particular and because he enjoys it! And, he will continue to do so when he is Governor!

One of Christy Mihos’ goals, aside from being Governor, is to visit Thermopylea in Greece. He knows and admires the history of the Battle of Thermopylea which took place during the Greek-Persian war in 480 B.C. Some 30 city-states of central and southern Greece met in Corinth to devise a common defense. They agreed on a combined army and navy under Spartan command, with the Athenian leader Themistokles providing the strategy. The Spartan king, Leonidas, led the army to the pass at Thermopylae, near present-day Lamia, the main passage from northern into central Greece….When Leonidas was killed, a few Spartans fought their way to his body, picked it up and return it to their group. The Persians demanded the body of Leonidas in return for the Spartans’ lives, but the men refused, declaring, “A Spartan leaves the field with his shield or upon it.” The battle, during which the Spartans held the Persians long enough to ensure the safe passage of the rest of the Greek Army, served as an example to officers and soldiers alike of what courage and self-sacrifice could achieve.

Christy Mihos knows that the performance of the defenders at the Battle of Thermopylea is often used as an example of the advantages of training, equipment and good use of terrain to maximize an army’s potential, as well as a symbol of courage against extremely overwhelming odds. When he hears that Independent candidates haven’t fared well in Massachusetts politics, this proud Spartiati smiles. His love for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and his heritage give him courage to go on with conviction. And he just may be the first Governor of the Commonwealth to visit the site of The Battle of Thermolylea!

(Posting date 25 October 2006

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