Cambridge Community Television recently aired a debate between Massachusetts legislative candidates; Democratic state Rep. Tim Toomey and Republican Thomas Vasconcelos and Independent Mike Connelly. Connelly’s opponents called his refusal to accept campaign contributions “a gimmick.”

Connelly’s response was a discussion of his campaigns use of in-kind contributions as opposed to his opponents’ cash donations. His decision to shun contributions was to highlight the role of money in politics and to advocate a new form of campaign financing.

During his response, Connelly implied Rosa Park’s 1955 refusal to give up her bus seat to a white person was “a gimmick.”

“I think my campaign, sure there is a marketing element to it, but it’s also grounded in substance, take Rosa Parks for example, when she refused to get out of her seat, in some ways that was a gimmick,” said Connolly, during the debate earlier this week. “If she really wanted the bus to take her where she was going, she would have got up and moved when she was asked to leave. But what she was doing is, she was trying to make a point, and that’s what we are trying to do with our campaign.”

On Thursday he told BostInno that he didn’t mean to dismiss Parks’ actions, but he was trying to make a point about taking a stand.

“I am not saying she is a gimmick or what she did was a gimmick and it makes me cringe to even say those words,” Connolly told “That’s not what the context of it was. What I was conveying, is there is substance in taking an action that throws attention to an important issue.”

Connelly told The Huffington Post  in August his campaign had attracted almost 60 volunteers.

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