In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been having more frequent conversations about my enthusiastic support for Maura Healey in the race for Massachusetts Attorney General.
I thought I’d share some of my many reasons for supporting Maura, whom I firmly believe is the most exciting, most qualified, and most progressive candidate in the race.
For me, my support is about three things: 1) Maura’s exemplary record as a public interest lawyer, 2) Maura’s commitment to criminal justice reform and 3) Maura’s vision for the Attorney General’s Office.
Maura is the progressive, public interest lawyer in the race:
In 2007, Maura left private practice and joined the Attorney General’s Office as head of the Civil Rights Division. She has never looked back.
Maura is a civil rights champion. She brought the first state civil rights case against a subprime lender because, as bad as subprime loans were across Massachusetts, they were even worse in communities of color, in Boston, in Brockton, Lawrence and Springfield. She looked at the data, built, argued and won the case.
Maura knows that discrimination in lending keeps communities in poverty. She fought back and she shut down some really abusive companies. Over the past year, I worked closely with Maura on our state’s Foreclosure Impact Task Force, which she chaired, to stop unnecessary foreclosures and help out homeowners. There’s no one more committed to standing with consumers than Maura.
On Marriage Equality, Maura has argued and won cases that have led the nation. She personally designed the first successful challenges to DOMA in the country at a time when most people said the case couldn’t be won. When the U.S. Supreme Court finally struck down DOMA, they used arguments that were developed by Maura in Massachusetts. That’s the sort of leadership that we need to make things better for people.
From her leadership on the buffer zone law and access to reproductive health care, environmental litigation, landmark settlements for people with disabilities, or her management of 250 attorneys and staff, Maura gives every resident a great reason to support her candidacy to be our state’s top lawyer.
Maura is deeply committed to criminal justice reform:
Maura has the unique experience of having been both a criminal prosecutor and a civil rights attorney. She knows it’s not enough to be tough on crime; we need to be smart on crime.
As Attorney General, Maura will lead the state’s efforts to refocus on substance abuse treatment, prevention, and education and job training services for people in prison. She knows that the more people behind bars, the more families are left without the stability of wage earners and parents.
After decades of Beacon Hill legislators passing “tough on crime” mandatory minimums and building larger and larger prisons, Maura will lead the effort to reduce our prison population and end mandatory minimums for nonviolent offenders. As an example of that commitment, I was proud to stand with Maura at the Jobs Not Jails rally on the Boston Common back in March, with over 700 people in attendance taking a stand against mandatory minimums and the flawed War on Drugs.
Maura has the vision to lead as our next Attorney General:
What excites me the most about Maura is her forward-thinking vision for the Attorney General’s Office. I have had the opportunity to see her speak on numerous occasions, and I’m incredibly impressed with the plans she lays out for the AG’s office.
Maura’s plan to reduce gun violence in Massachusetts not only makes important changes to the state’s gun laws, but also focuses on using the AG’s office as a coordinator of services to the families with members engaged in violence – to help us really get at the problem. Maura has the experience from her work on the buffer zone and the bullying law, to partner with others in law enforcement to really make progress on this issue. Her plan calls for more mental health treatment, better school safety plans, coordination between states on gun trafficking, and the use of the world’s most advanced technology.
It’s why Maura’s plan (and candidacy) has the support of Professor Jack McDevitt, the expert criminologist that the state legislature picked after the tragedy at Newtown, Connecticut, to help us write our bill.
In addition, Maura has put forward the most aggressive plan in the country to take on the for-profit schools that are a major driver of the rising levels of student loan debt and default.
Finally, Maura is the only candidate for Attorney General to come out in favor of repeal of the casino law. Given her background in consumer protection and civil rights, I trust Maura to stand up for Massachusetts residents against predatory practices of all sorts, especially if we end up building casinos. As one of the leaders in the State Senate to fight the casino legislation, I think it’s critical that our next Attorney General understand how destructive casinos are to communities and people in terms of social costs and crime.
So, I hope you’ll join me in supporting Maura Healey for Attorney General. She’s got the heart of a public champion and the strength of a former professional basketball player (and she’s only 5’4”!).