From the New Bedford Standard-Times
OUR VIEW: Kerry Healey flip flops
Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey’s campaign is staked on her being able to convince the voters that she will be tougher on crime than Deval Patrick, her Democratic rival for governor. She might have even a tougher time convincing them that she isn’t a hypocrite, however.
Lt. Gov. Healey has skewered Mr. Patrick during her increasingly negative campaign for being soft on criminals, and she has aggressively criticized him for his reluctance to support totally free public access to all records of everyone’s criminal records.
“There is no benefit to hiding someone’s criminal past,” she told the Boston Globe recently. People’s criminal backgrounds should be made “more widely available, not restricted, as Deval Patrick has suggested.”
Whether you agree with her that the public should be given access to everybody’s criminal background records or not, Lt. Gov. Healey is a pure phony on the matter. Before her election as lieutenant governor, she served on a state board that ruled on whether individual businesses, nonprofits and other groups should be given the criminal records of prospective employees, and on at least six occasions during her tenure (which, by the way, included a year in which she skipped every meeting of the Criminal History Systems Board) she voted against releasing criminal background records, according to a story in Thursday’s Boston Globe.
When questioned about the difference between what she is saying on the campaign trail and what she did while she was actually in charge of granting access to criminal records, her campaign said during that time she “became aware of the need for change within the system.”
There are two possibilities for her actions.
Either her “becoming aware” was such a revelation that it allowed the lieutenant governor to forget that she had ever once believed that perhaps some restrictions on people’s criminal background information are acceptable, or she is just another phony who is willing to say and do anything to get elected.
What is sad is that the public is entirely used to such cynicism on the part of its candidates for high office.
Anyone who has seen her ads on television, knocking Mr. Patrick for doing his job as a defense attorney who represented a cop killer, recognizes that probably even a law-and-order Republican like the lieutenant governor accepts that defense attorneys have an important job: guaranteeing every one of us the right to a fair trial.
And, of course, the consequences of her strategy include distracting voters from all kinds of other issues that really matter: from how much of state revenues should be returned to cities and towns to how the state will manage to get commuter rail built to SouthCoast, not to mention how to bring more jobs to the state and make the commonwealth a better place to do business and create jobs.
It has been an ugly campaign so far, and it is likely to get uglier between now and Nov. 7, especially with Lt. Gov. Healey still running far behind her rival and willing to do whatever it takes to catch up.
Hold your noses.