A day of oaths — and vows to rebuild trust

4 Democrats sworn in to high statewide offices

By Michael Levenson
Globe Staff / January 20, 2011

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Two months after Democrats swept every statewide race, this is what change looks like on Beacon Hill: The party remains firmly in control, with two new faces arriving in high office and two familiar ones returning for new terms.

On a celebratory day marked by solemn promises to repair the economy and rebuild faith in government, Suzanne M. Bump was sworn in yesterday as the first new state auditor in 24 years and the first woman to hold the job.

Steven Grossman took the oath as the first new treasurer in eight years and the first Jewish statewide elected official in 53 years.

Bump, a former Democratic state lawmaker and state labor official, succeeded A. Joseph DeNucci, a longtime fixture on Beacon Hill who did not seek a seventh term.

Grossman, a former chairman of the state and national Democratic parties, succeeded Timothy P. Cahill, a former Democrat who made an unsuccessful bid for governor last year as an independent.

Martha Coakley also took the oath of office for a second term as attorney general, celebrating her return from the political wilderness a year to the day Scott Brown defeated her in his stunning victory in the special US Senate race.

Addressing supporters and officials at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, she pledged to continue fighting foreclosures, to help fix the state probation and parole systems, and to pursue ongoing cases of public corruption.

“What a difference a year makes,’’ said Coakley, who rebounded from her loss to Brown and handily defeated a Republican challenger in the fall.

Another incumbent Democrat, William F. Galvin, was sworn in for a fifth term as secretary of state, taking the oath in a ceremony in the governor’s office that was closed to reporters.

Bump, addressing hundreds of students, relatives, and supporters at her alma mater, Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton, vowed to make government more responsive, to make greater use of technology and the Internet, and to travel the state, listening to residents. Her office is charged with rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse.

“We all have legitimate questions about whether and how effectively government is meeting the public’s needs,’’ she said. “I intend to use the knowledge and leadership skills I have gained over decades of public service to make our government work better.’’

Bump, who defeated Republican candidate Mary Z. Connaughton in November, said her first order of business is to complete an audit of her own office, the results of which she expects to release by May 1.

She said she also plans to scrutinize the state’s health care and tax policies.

“Ensuring that state government stays true to the people of the Commonwealth and that public monies are properly accounted for and lawfully spent is the essential role of the state auditor,’’ she said.

Bump, who served as the state’s secretary of labor and workforce development from 2007 to 2009, took the oath on a Bible held by her mother, Ruth.

“I haven’t been this nervous since my wedding,’’ she said.

Grossman — addressing a House chamber packed with business and labor leaders, lawmakers, relatives, and supporters — said he would protect the public’s money, help create jobs, and aid small businesses. His office manages the state pension fund, the lottery, and the state’s cash flow.

“Today, public confidence in government is low,’’ Grossman said. “Our fellow citizens have serious doubts about our commitment to excellence, to transparency, to accountability. If we are to restore public confidence, we must dedicate ourselves to serving the public to the best of our ability and with the highest standards of integrity.’’

Grossman took the oath on a Bible held by his wife, Barbara, a professor of drama at Tufts, in front of a crowd that included Larry Lucchino, the Red Sox president; Shai Bazak, the Israeli consul general in New England; and Angela Menino, the wife of Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston.

Grossman, who defeated Republican Karyn E. Polito in November, reiterated his campaign pledge to transfer public money from large banks to regional and community banks that offer credit to small businesses, especially those in midsize cities and those owned by minorities.

He also promised to put more financial data online and increase support for the Treasury’s financial education programs.

“And to those who question the idea of an activist treasurer, I say the stakes are too high for the people of the Commonwealth to settle for anything less,’’ said Grossman.

The comment, which drew applause, was a subtle rejoinder to Polito, who had criticized Grossman for promising to be an activist in office.

Michael Levenson can be reached at

Correction: Because of a reporting error, an earlier version of this story gave the wrong date for when state Auditor Suzanne Bump expects to release a review of her office’s operations. Bump expects to release the report by May 1.