Endorsements on Parade: Attorney General Directives & Other Executive Recs…
We face a critical moment in our country and our commonwealth has a role to play in it. As pervasive as the daily national news grind can seem, it can also seem distant and irrelevant. That could not be any less true. Here in the commonwealth, we can defend ourselves by electing individuals who will pursue reform and not cave to the bullying and chicanery from Washington.
In this way we announce our endorsement of the four constitutional officers on the ballot in Massachusetts. All are Democrats. As we did with Senate, we shall make separate endorsements for Governor and the legislature, which have a different position vis-à-vis this situation and require a different analysis.
This blog’s support and affinity for Maura Healey is not new. Our editor-in-chief campaigned for her in 2014 and we have not been disappointed in the results. Even before Healey girded for battle against the Trump administration, she was applying her office innovative ways to better connect the office to her constituents. The community outreach office was a key first step.
Through litigation, she has joined efforts to defend equality of rights, the environment, and education, to name a few. Though a watered-down version ultimately survived, let’s not forget that the Muslim ban was not about immigration. It was about discrimination. Healey was on the front lines.
Most recently, she won a lawsuit against US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that would have let students be ripped off by for-profit schools.
It is unfortunate that these are easily dismissed as blue-on-red fights, but there is little doubt that they were the right course of action.
Jay McMahon, the Republican candidate, has offered nothing but jeers for this strategy. It is quite clear he is out of step with the diverse needs of commonwealth. Certainly, his experience with the opioid crisis—his son died from an overdose—puts some focus into his campaign. But as The Boston Globe noted, he has an almost singular focus on the 2nd Amendment.
This blog recognizes the 2nd Amendment, but guns proliferate on Springfield’s streets partly because a nihilistic worldview drives the nation’s gun laws. We are lucky to not suffer as badly as those communities with laxer regulations. But we also are lucky to have an attorney general who understands the situation and enforces the laws accordingly.
Thus, we endorse Maura Healey for Attorney General on November 6.
Treasurer and Receiver-General
The office of Treasurer is an understated position, though plenty powerful here in Massachusetts. Oversight of school construction to the lottery to alcohol control are within the Treasurer’s purview.
Incumbent Deb Goldberg has continued to operate the firm footing she inherited from predecessor Steve Grossman. School construction is a big issue in Springfield. The city’s old elementary schools were built at a time when Springfield was flush. Now it must rely on the Massachusetts School Building Authority, an entity under Goldberg’s office. It has continued to work with the city finance team to churn out badly needed renovation and construction projects.
Goldberg, historically a gambling foe, has maintained a close on the lottery and instituted reforms. Meanwhile, Massachusetts still has alcohol law fit for William Bradford. Goldberg is pursuing change there, too.
Republican Keiko Orall has made no particular case for the office. It’s not a policy of ours, but we tend to scrutinize electeds who are generalists—like state reps such as Orall—a bit more when they seek a specialized higher office like Treasurer. She does not pass the test.
As for Green-Rainbow Party candidates, there is little to analyze. We credit the proposal to create a State Bank, but this is something that ultimately the legislature must do. We’d welcome a competitive and relevant Green Party, but as with this issue, we believe that path lies through legislative seats, not statewide ones.
Rather, we urge the reelection of Deb Goldberg for Treasurer and Receiver-General on November 6.
Secretary of the Commonwealth
The position doesn’t sound especially notable—or it didn’t until this year’s knock-down drag out in the primary. Incumbent Bill Galvin felled challenger Josh Zakim in September, but the contest, despite its low moments, was refreshing. A public education on the office spot lit the office’s electoral and freedom of information duties among others.
It is the election duties that worry us most now. While we believe Zakim made valid points about have Galvin—we endorsed the former—the latter was also right when he claimed to stand up to Donald Trump. The White House’s half-baked, but dangerous election integrity commission seemed more interested in voter suppression. Galvin was among those pushing back.
Should Republicans cling to power in Congress, the assault on the most fundamental right in our democracy, the vote, will not cease.
Certainly, we believe Galvin should accept his primary rival’s critiques—and ours—and institute changes across his office. However, as we said in September, his administration of the secretariat has been otherwise good.
While his Republican opponent Anthony Amore has an interesting background—he worked at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, site of a famous heist—it is not grounds for election. We were particularly disappointed with his decision to blast Galvin over the row growing over the Register of Deeds race here. It’s a nonsense charge.
One area of administration where Galvin has been above approach is election integrity. It was only six years ago that a major scheme hit a local state rep race and Galvin took over the election department in East Longmeadow.
The questions about the Register of Deeds race are legitimate. Yet, Amore’s complaint about Galvin is off the mark at a time when we cannot brook such things.
Finally, we note Juan Sanchez, the Green Party candidates. Like his Treasurer compatriot, there is precious little to asses. Of the goals he lists, two—campaign finance reform and better representation of underprivileged groups—are laudable, but again more sorely needed in the legislature. We credit his broadening of election information into other languages, but as it stands Massachusetts already has ballots in English and Spanish in cities and in other languages where there are a substantial number of speakers.
In the end, we urge voters to cast their ballot for Bill Galvin for Secretary of the Commonwealth on November 6.
Four years ago, we passed on an endorsement here. Today is different. We back Suzanne Bump for reelection as State Auditor. She faces opposition from Republicans, the Greens and the Libertarians. An interesting case made for the Libertarian is somebody of neither party should look over the books in the commonwealth. It’s an intriguing idea, but it fails on two grounds.
The first is that it suggests our system is truly broken and that honest partisans cannot execute their duties fairly for all. We reject that as a general principle. The other is that if an office like Auditor should truly be “nonpartisan,” there is a solution: legislation. Calling an inherent partisan and nonpartisan is rhetorical sleight of hand.
Moreover, Bump has not acted in any way that suggests her audits are partisan. Her audits can be controversial and none should be above reproach. But she discharges her duties without apparent fear or favor as to party. She issued tough—and again, controversial—audits for the administration of Deval Patrick, her former boss. If anything, we hope she will do more of Charlie Baker’s operation and perhaps on the county and municipal level, where possible.
But we are confident in her work and her ability. Neither Republican Helen Brady, Green-Rainbow Candidate Edward Stamas, nor Libertarian Daniel Fishman have made a sufficient case for the change.
We are behind Suzanne Bump for Auditor on November 6.