This morning, I launched my campaign for Massachusetts Attorney General. I’m the first announced candidate in the race and a first-time candidate so I know I have my work cut out for me over the next 13 months.
But the conversation starts now. It’s a conversation I’m eager to have – here, in grassroots organizing meetings, coffee shops, your neighborhoods and anywhere else I can meet with people, share ideas and earn the support of voters next fall.
That starts with me introducing myself and making sure people know about the experience that qualifies me to be your next Attorney General and the vision I have for carrying on our office’s tradition of steady leadership and nation-leading advocacy.
I’m confident my experience, passion and vision for the office make me the best candidate to ensure the Attorney General’s Office continues to make a positive difference in the lives of Massachusetts residents.
I’m running for Attorney General to advance the office’s tradition under Martha Coakley of steady leadership on important legal and regulatory and economic issues facing our state and its nation-leading advocacy for equality, fairness and justice.
Martha Coakley has been one of the best AGs in our state and nation and I’ve been lucky to have been a part of her leadership team on some of our biggest challenges and most important fights on behalf of the taxpayers. In my six years with the office, the Attorney General and I have worked hand-in-hand on monumental victories for equal rights, fair lending and consumer protection.
At the Attorney General’s Office, I oversaw the areas of consumer protection, fair labor, ratepayer advocacy, environmental protection, health care, insurance and financial services, civil rights, antitrust, Medicaid fraud, not-for-profit organizations and charities, and business, technology and economic development. I led the Attorney General’s efforts to assist military service members and veterans in partnership with state and local officials. I also supervised and oversaw implementation of a first–in-the-nation Home Corps program using funds obtained by AG Coakley in the national mortgage settlement with the nation’s five largest banks to assist borrowers and families facing foreclosure – which, as of June, had already prevented more than 600 foreclosure auctions in Massachusetts.
In my time as an Assistant Attorney General, I was the architect of several groundbreaking cases, including the state’s landmark challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act. I worked hand-in-hand with top national civil rights lawyers in successfully arguing against DOMA, a landmark decision for equal rights.
The Attorney General’s Office is one that requires experienced, principled and steady leadership, a professional lawyer and advocate who prioritizes fairness, equality and justice. I believe my unique experience and vision for the office make me the best candidate to ensure our Commonwealth’s businesses, industry and government play by the rules and on a level playing field and that taxpayers are always protected.
My top priorities as Attorney General will be ensuring the office, which impacts every corner of the state and every sector in the economy, makes a positive impact on the lives of Massachusetts residents.
Specifically, I will focus on protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices in lending, insurance, investment and other financial services, addressing escalating health care costs, and enforcing environmental laws to protect our natural resources while addressing concerns over energy costs. I’ll return taxpayer money to the Commonwealth by aggressively prosecuting waste, fraud and abuse and continue to work collaboratively with my partners in law enforcement to make our communities and neighborhoods safe.
My family roots are in Newburyport and along the North Shore. My grandparents worked on the fishing docks of Gloucester, in the local U.S. Post Office and the General Electric factory. My mother is a retired nurse, my stepfather teaches history in public schools and my father was a Navy captain and engineer. I’m a lifelong Democrat and live in Charlestown with my partner.
From my parents and grandparents, I learned the value of hard work, discipline and an education. I was guided by that work ethic through my youth, at Harvard, in my brief professional basketball career in Europe, Northeastern University Law School, as an attorney in the private sector and working on behalf of the people of Massachusetts.
Please join me at MauraHealey.com, on Twitter and on Facebook, meet me on the campaign trail and get involved in our campaign. I look forward to the months of hard work and big ideas to come, to engaging in this conversation online and in person and to serving as your next Attorney General.
We are always interested in fresh ideas, vision and the skills to make Massachusetts a national progressive leader.
My first concern out of the gate is what would you do differently than your boss?
What have you accomplished and can show the citizens of Massachusetts in your professional career that has not been a safe political position to pursue? What you have done to improve accountability and transparency in the political establishment?
What you have done to reduce barriers for consumer protection and how have you advocated for whistle-blowers at a time when society, businesses and seemingly all levels of “our” democracy from the POTUS’ administration to the local level of government discourage citizen activism, speech and privacy?
What is your perspective on the double-standard between state government closed door legislating and the pressures on local officials (volunteer boards, committees, etc) for relatively rigid Open Meeting Laws?
I hope you’ll share your vision of what, if any, privacy from government surveillance residents of Massachusetts have a right to expect. As the full extent of NSA surveillance continues to emerge, I am paying more attention to the role state authorities play in either encouraging or discouraging such practices in Massachusetts. I note that European authorities have been far less tolerant of private (see Google) or public invasions of privacy than their American counterparts.
I also hope you’ll share your view of the increasing militarization of police — at all levels, from state police to local cops to MBTA police. In your view, is this something you would encourage, or would you prefer to see it scaled back?
Each of these related issues seem to emerge from the tension between individual liberty and freedom as Americans have always relished them and public safety and security that has been so threatened in the decade since 9/11.
Freedom has always been risky and expensive — people have been blowing up trains for as long as there have been trains. Please say more about how you approach the dilemma posed by these competing interests.
Surveillance became a major issue in the MA-5 congressional campaign, and you should expect it to be a major issue in the campaign for AG as well.
Year after year, we have seen AG after AG, including Martha Coakley, propose massive expansions of Massachusetts’ electronic wiretapping statute, and justify it by scaremongering about crime (which is low). Shamefully, Coakley even tried to use the Newtown school shootings to justify greater wiretapping powers. This is not something that either the public at large or Democratic primary voters want in Massachusetts.
I’m not denying the great track record of the AG’s office on other important issues, and I’m glad for the work you have done on environmental protection, DOMA and foreclosures. But as a progressive Democrat, I’m not happy about the casual abandonment of our privacy, and the current, casual attitude of the AG’s office that law enforcement should be able to intrude in people’s lives just because it can. We’re better than that, and it should be part of the AG’s job to set appropriate limits to law enforcement practices, not simply to shill for what they want.
Therefore, I’d like to see all candidates in the race commit to not pursuing expansion of the wiretapping statute during their term in office. Will you be able to commit to that?
Andrei Radulescu-Banu says
There is nothing about the issues, just a button asking for donations. That is not a good start.
There is also the sign up for emails opportunity. I’m sure we’ll see more before long.
So sorry for the delay in promptly responding – there has been a flurry of activity since we announced our campaign Monday that has kept me going post-to-post. That doesn’t mean these posts weren’t important, they are. And I promise to try to be timely in my responses.
While this medium isn’t the best for giving detailed answers and engaging in a true back-and-forth dialogue, I hope those who are interested in my candidacy and the issues that face the next Attorney General will join me at upcoming campaign events, log on to my website (still under construction) and make sure we connect directly. I can promise voters we probably won’t agree on every issue, but I’ll work to be clear on where I stand and hope you’ll see my approach to complex issues stems from my experience as a leader in the AG’s office, as a lawyer and prosecutor.
As I mentioned here and in discussing my campaign today, the priorities I have include protecting consumers, addressing escalating health care costs, safeguarding the environment and charting a smart course for our state’s energy needs, and serving taxpayers by guarding against waste, fraud and abuse in government and industry. The issues, cases and fights I’ve taken on show the kind of leadership the people of Massachusetts expect from their Attorney General – from the historic DOMA rulings through cases involving predatory lending, housing, access for people with disabilities, and foreclosure protection.
A few specifics raised in the questions above that I want to be clear about:
• I think Martha Coakley has been a model Attorney General for our state and, really, for our nation. The issues she has focused on and the successes we have had in the AG’s office are unmatched and I’m very proud to have been a part of AG Coakley’s leadership team. But I also want to be clear that I’m running on my own and I’m going to, over the course of the next year, detail a course for where I want to take this great office and what I will do to further the steady leadership the office and the Attorneys General in the past have shown.
• Privacy rights are very important to me. In my work as chief of the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau, we specifically targeted companies that were improperly collecting, stealing or sharing people’s information. I, like many others, have been following closely what has been reported about government surveillance at the National Security Agency. As contemplated in the Constitution, there’s a balance between the privacy expectations of individuals and the needs of government. As a lawyer who has worked on major civil rights cases, I understand the value of civil rights and liberties and I know that our criminal justice system, indeed our democracy, depends on protecting the rule of law and not allowing anyone, including the government, to infringe on our rights. At the same time, there are common sense improvements to our wiretapping law to account for changes in technology. It is a delicate balance, but exactly why we need an experienced professional as Attorney General who knows the impact these investigations, these laws and these rulings have on real people.
• Transparency in government is critically important, not only to maintaining, or in some cases, reestablishing, the public trust in government and political leaders, but I think it also leads to better and more informed decision-making. I think, like many things, it is a balancing act and that certain exemptions are appropriate and necessary, such as certain exemptions for personnel decisions, potential litigation and other very specific matters. But, by and large, I think transparency in government is not only a good thing, but an absolutely necessary thing, and ought to be encouraged at all levels.
• And on the website, yes, as Christopher noted, this is merely an interim page until we get the full website up in a few weeks. I started putting together the pieces of this campaign only after leaving my position in AG Coakley’s administration last week so it is common to create this kind of “splash” page to share basic information and give people a chance to sign up and friends to donate is often the result. I know we have a lot more information to share, a lot more conversations to have and a lot more convincing to do – that’s why I left my job, why I’m devoted full time to this campaign and why I’d ask you to go to maurahealey.com, share your email and stay connected to my campaign.
Again, I know I can’t get to all the questions and that the nature of a blogging site means answers can’t be as fully formed as in person so I look forward to meeting with you all on the trail. Come to my events, log into our site and stay connected. Over the course of this campaign, I’m committed to showing every voter that I have the right mix of experience, passion and vision to carry forward the important work as your next Attorney General.
Thanks for your interest,
You said nothing about the militarization of police (which will be on full display during the World Series), your answer on wire trapping was political speak with no answer, and YOU SAID THIS:
What? Are you kidding me?
I think what you are actually saying is that as a follower of the Martha Coakley/Tom Riley/Scott Harshbarger School of prosecutors you never engage in dialogue that you cannot control and you attack anyone or anything that dares oppose your point of view.
How does this forum differ from edited newspaper article or limited radio call-in or one-on-one at campaign event where a real discussion is impossible because of time restraints and others grabbing for your attention.
I strongly suggest there is no better place then here to engage you.
Without addressing the rest of EB3’s comment, I do agree with him that your comment about the perceived inadequacies of this forum as a place for dialogue seems odd. At a campaign event, there will be dozens of people asking you questions, and your handlers will be hustling you from to the other, and then off to the next event. Here, you can respond in as much detail as you need without fear of being interrupted; you can review your response before posting it; and you can address every point in whatever order you wish. So I think EB3 is basically right on this: you’ll find that this forum is actually an excellent way to have a long, detailed conversation about important issues, if you choose to use it that way. And we hope you will! 🙂
I’d like to add that, unlike some here, I am totally comfortable with carefully constructed responses compiled with the help of whatever staff people are needed.
The two issues I mentioned — privacy and militarization — are complex and nuanced issues that require complex and nuanced responses.
I know of no better forum than BMG for candidates to elucidate their stances on these issues. I encourage you to continue to be more proactive here than Ms. Coakley was during her last campaign.
Thanks again for writing back. I look forward to engaging as much as I can in this forum and elsewhere on this campaign and am committed to answering questions as fully and completely as I can. Two issues you raised which I want to get back to you on:
• This medium: My comments certainly weren’t meant as critical of this medium or any other. I said repeatedly as I announced that, as a newcomer to politics, I have to go everywhere I can to make sure I meet as many people, hear their concerns and priorities in this campaign and answer as many questions as needed to show them that I’m the best candidate for the job. I tend to think that sometimes the written back-and-forth forums are more limiting than conversation,s and sometimes not. I certainly understand that people prefer and look to all sorts of forms of communicating and, in this campaign, I’ll do them all to get to know the people of Massachusetts and understand their concerns. You’re absolutely right that forums such as this one do further debate and I’m thankful that you all welcomed me here right out of the gate. I’ll again commit to getting back to as many of your questions in as timely a manner as I can.
• Police/law enforcement: The comments I offered on privacy were meant to address your question on the role of police in society. While specific issues are bound to come up and I’ll want to weigh each of those issues on the facts, the merits and the law, my philosophy remains that there is a role in civil society for law enforcement. Americans and the people of the Commonwealth have critically important rights that include privacy, individual freedom, peaceful assembly, protest, speech and protections against certain actions by the police around search and seizure, detainment, force, and on down the line. It’s also the job of law enforcement (and the people) to keep our neighborhoods and communities safe. There is a balance to be struck and I think that we in law enforcement have, by and large, done a good job of balancing those demands. Are there exceptions? Of course. But I think law enforcement in Massachusetts – from local and city police to DAs, sheriffs and our Attorney General’s Office – work hard to protect the public, kept our streets and neighborhoods safe and safeguarded civil rights. I also think that as new challenges present themselves, the Attorney General needs to act in thoughtful and considered ways to protect fundamental civil liberties while protecting the public.
I look forward to continuing the dialogue and hope you’ll look me up at an event so we can meet and talk face-to-face.
All the best,
you can’t run away from this Atty. Healy.
Frankly, I’m sick of being treated like an idiot. I’m only 21 years old so I haven’t seen much in politics but it really bugs me that everytime a voter asks a legitimate policy question they are treated like a worthlss sports writer trying to pry answers out of Bill Belichick.
“How is Tom Brady’s arm feeling today coach? BB- Well Tom is a great competitor and he’s going to do everything he can to help us win.”
“What is your opinion on surveillance & wiretapping? AH- Well I think its important to strike the right balance between security and privacy.”
There is obviously a place for rhetoric and non-answers, but a forum for educated, involved voters is not one.
A tip for Atty. Healy and politicians elsewhere: Just keep it real