"To continue the work I have started in serving the people of Massachusetts - doing all due diligence to ensure everyone will be treated fairly (by those the Governor's Council approves) when they go before a judge, clerk magistrate, or other boards; to allow me to continue to insure the process is fair and transparent; to see my proposals through completion, and to continue to offer new ideas."
— Submitted by the candidate
What is the value of the Governor's Council?
"It is the checks and balances for the governor for judicial nominees.
It may not be a perfect system, but I believe there is no other process better to carry out this important function.
The Senate could not provide the necessary time and focus to investigate each nominee to make an informed vote of approval. It would be open for abuse, horse-trading with judges for budget items.
Elected judges would be open for political abuse. In Ohio and Michigan, candidates for judges on the ballot spent more than $12 million.
I am the only governor's councilor to arrange to meet with all nominees - have the best attendance record attending meetings and hearings. I have one perk which I have not accepted in my 12-year tenure - travel expenses - because the working people I represent do not get paid to drive to work.
I spend much time in due diligence and investigation on all nominees and welcome citizen input."
What new ideas or proposals will you bring to the council?
"I believe in my tenure I have made a difference - just to mention four proposals:
1. When I was first elected, I was appalled to learn of the long-time practice of governor's councilors accepting political donations from the judicial nominees they were voting on right up to that nominee's council hearing. I submitted legislation adopted by governors in their executive orders that no nominee can give political donations to governor's councilors, governor, or lieutenant governor upon applying. I vote against any nominee that violates this order. (In recent months I was the only councilor who voted against a nominee who gave $500 to the lieutenant governor after applying for a clerk magistrate position.)
2. Submitted legislation if a judicial nominee is approved by the Governor's Council, he/she shall recuse himself/herself if a person who spoke in opposition at their hearing or a family member appear before them in court.
3. Submitted legislation that all letters sent to the Judicial Nominating Commission (lawyers appointed by the governor who interview and recommend nominees to the governor) be provided to the governor's councilors and copies placed in the State House library for public view for transparency and to prevent undue influence regarding appointments.
4. Worked to put the membership of the parole board in compliance. It was in violation of the state statute requiring diverse occupations since Michael Dukakis was governor. Presented proposal at legislative hearing and through my votes, we changed it.
In the future, I want to work to:
1. Require all nominees to be sworn in at the governor's council hearings
2. Have the judicial nominating commission have a balanced membership (as initially established by Gov. Dukakis) of 50% lawyers and 50% non-lawyers. It is now a total membership of ALL lawyers. As a non-lawyer, I believe it helps to ensure against any "insider" influence and provides more transparency."