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October 13, 2005

Blue Mass. Group takes on the Lieutenant Governor's race

One of the constructive things a blog can do is cover important elections that, for whatever reason, are not covered extensively by the mainstream media (which 'round these parts means the Globe and the Herald).  As far as I know, Blue Mass. Group's coverage of the Second Middlesex Senate race was the most extensive to be found anywhere, and I hope we can repeat what we did in that race for upcoming important but overlooked contests.

At least at this point in the election cycle, the race for Lieutenant Governor appears to meet that description.  The office is undeniably a very important one: among other things, the last two Lieutenant Governors (Paul Cellucci and Jane Swift) became Governor when their bosses resigned, and the current Lieutenant Governor may well do the same.  So it behooves us all to understand who the people running for Lieutenant Governor are and what they stand for.

At the moment, there are three Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor: Deborah Goldberg, Sam Kelley, and Andrea Silbert.  All three already have web sites and have been actively campaigning and raising money (Kelley to a considerably lesser extent than Goldberg and Silbert), though you wouldn't know it from reading the papers.  The field is an interesting one, as each candidate brings a very different background to the table: Goldberg chaired the Brookline Board of Selectmen; Kelley is a doctor and ran a health care company; and Silbert was an entrepreneur helping women start their own businesses.

Andrea Silbert was kind enough to spent about 45 minutes on the phone with us on Tuesday night.  Each of us will shortly be posting our impressions of that call (much as we did for our conversation with Deval Patrick a few months back).  We have invited Goldberg and Kelley to talk to us as well, and we hope that they will agree.

A word of disclosure is in order: my co-blogger Bob is a college friend of Silbert's, and is actively supporting her candidacy.  Charley and I, however, are uncommitted in this race.  And the three of us don't always agree.

Posted by David at 11:29 AM in Vote 9.16.2006 | Permalink


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» LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR? from Cape Cod Works
With all the political news articles focused on Romney (wil he or won't he), and democrats Patrick and Reilly, I've been wondering for a while who these folks are running for the democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor: Andrea Silbert (Harwich), [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 15, 2005 1:37:42 PM


Just wanted to thank you three for covering this race. It will be interesting to hear some different perspectives. I've seen the candidates talk and met them at the Pittsfield State Party meetings. All very interesting, in their own ways.

Looking forward to the discussions and debate.

Posted by: Ben | Oct 13, 2005 11:35:27 AM

Thank you for covering this race.

I've often joked that, if I were to see my political ambitions carried out, the gigs I'd want most are Lt. Governor and/or Vice President. I couldn't tell you why, but I'm just fascinated by the number two slot.

And hey, a friend of my family back home is the (Republican - I'm just about the only Dem left in my family) Lt. Governor of Indiana, so it's something I've been exposed to hither and thither.

Again, thanks.


Posted by: Wes F. in North Adams | Oct 13, 2005 1:28:48 PM

Good deal, I look forward to it...and maybe also to copying you. :)

Posted by: Lynne | Oct 13, 2005 2:55:56 PM

Um, just wanted to ask the obvious question, you ARE aware the election is NEXT November, not THIS November, right?

Posted by: John K | Oct 13, 2005 9:06:15 PM

What about Rep. Martin J. Walsh of Dorchester for Lt. Governor?

Posted by: John Galway | Oct 13, 2005 9:39:33 PM

John K: yes.
John G: if he declares, we'd be delighted to talk to him! Do you know something that we don't?

Posted by: David | Oct 14, 2005 9:12:49 AM

Thanks for writing about the LG's race. It's important that the LG candidate be a strong and experienced statewide leader. Only one stands out among the currently declared and non-declared candidates and that is Andrea Silbert. She's a nationally know advocate for women and small business, she's worked with the most disadvantaged in Massachusetts and she's been a statewide public servant as the founder and CEO of the Center for Women and Enterprise.

She is also proving she is the most consistent fundraiser, as she currently leads the pack with cash on hand.

She's my choice and would be a great partner to Deval or Reilly.

Posted by: Juan | Oct 14, 2005 11:26:00 AM

OK, here I go.

As a member of the DSC, I am NOT satisfied with the current field of LG candidates. There's no one there that I consider better qualified than I am (total political experience three terms as a Selectman, three years of those nine as chair)and frankly, if the Gov. dropped dead I would not think I was necessarily the best qualified person to run the state.

I have heard a few rumors about additional candidates. One is constrained from announcing at the moment. I have not heard Walsh's name mentioned but would certainly be willing to consider that.

But let's get real here people. This is not a beauty contest. I know that the Lt. Gov. technically doesn't have much responsibility, but there are too many incredibly able people in the Democratic party to leave this nomination up to whoever has more $ or name recognition or self-delusion.

Sorry if I seem cruel but I'm just telling it like it is.

Posted by: Margie | Oct 14, 2005 5:28:36 PM

Margie, you don't seem cruel, just clueless. We should be ENCOURAGING good people to get in the race. I don't know what you're exactly looking for in an LG candidate, but by your definition, Deval Patrick shouldn't be running for Governor either. As for the candidate I am supporting for LG, if you think that three degrees from Harvard, a national reputation, and a life-long record of service, including the last 10 years making a huge difference for Massachusetts, doesn't make Andrea Silbert a good candidate for LG or Governor, should the need arise, then you need to check your head checked.

Have a great weekend.

Posted by: Juan | Oct 14, 2005 6:24:35 PM

We should be ENCOURAGING good people to get in the race.

That's exactly what she's doing. Your candidate can win or lose on her own merits, but we should be seeing some more experienced and knowledgable officials entering this race.

Secondly, Margie's question is fair, and more important, she's going to be far from the last person to ask that question about these dark-horse nominees. I don't give a rat's ass about the LG race but I can tell you that you do your candidate no favors by responding to a fair and common critique with personal insults and put-downs.

Fairly or not, lots of people do consider state government experience important for people running for statewide office, no matter how smaht and accomplished they are in their own fields.

Posted by: Brittain33 | Oct 15, 2005 11:28:55 AM

At this very early stage, the big risk I see for Silbert and Kelley is that Goldberg, for whatever reason, has already been able to get some big-name Dems in her corner, while the others have not. No one knows who these candidates are, but people know Barney Frank and Steve Grossman, and it's very easy to say "well, if she's OK with Barney, she's OK with me." Silbert and Kelley need to start competing with Goldberg on that score FAST, or they may find themselves in a hole that is quite difficult to climb out of.

Posted by: David | Oct 15, 2005 11:38:55 AM

David, I'm sure that State Treasure Jim Segal would agree with your assessment about the benefit of big name Dems backing your campaign (snark).

While I agree we should be encouraging people to run for office, including LG, my question to Margie is, where are they? We've got plenty of Legislators who just seem to be sitting on their hands. Let's give Andrea, Sam and Deborah credit for stepping up and let's not knock there efforts.

The last time "real" Dem politicians who ran for LG was in '96 with Bill Golden and Margie Clapprud (sp). I hate to paraphrase Rumsfield here, but sometimes you have to support the candidates you have rather than the candidates you wished you had.

Frankly, if (err...when) Romney announces he won't be running and "real" politicians announce, they deserve a mark against them because they will be perceived to have jumped in because they think their chances are easier to step up the latter. Not the kind of Profile in Courage I want for LG, in case the Gov does drop dead or goes to DC. So let’s give the current candidates some respect.

Posted by: Frank Skeffington | Oct 15, 2005 12:43:03 PM

Well, as a former member of the Democratic State Committee, but now just a regular community member, I want to say that I am thrilled by the fact that real people -- not just party insiders and career politicians -- are running and working apparently pretty hard. I look forward to learning more about Silbert (apparently my neighbor in Harwich), Goldberg and Kelley. I hope that one or more of them can articulate a vision of the future that we can all buy into. If additional candidates -- insiders or outsiders -- want to jump in, so much the better. The political leadership track should be an as open a one as possible so that there are mutiple ways for vision, leadership, and excellence to be brought to the public's attention.

Posted by: lenstewart | Oct 15, 2005 1:24:45 PM

I strongly support Andrea Silbert’s candidacy for Lt. Governor. I believe that Andrea’s experience founding and leading the Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE) provides her exactly the type of experience we need in the governor’s office.

CWE mission is to empower women to become economically self-sufficient and prosperous through entrepreneurship. Through her work at CWE, Andrea has developed tremendous experience creating jobs at the grass roots level. Mitt Romney has pursued a failed strategy of trying to encourage large businesses to come to Massachusetts. If we look at the large businesses in the state, they are not businesses that have moved here, but businesses that have grown here. Andrea wants to foster economic growth in Massachusetts by supporting small businesses and giving them the best environment to become successful. Of the candidates, Andrea overwhelmingly has the best experience to address job issues.

A second characteristic of her experience in CWE has been her massive direct contact with the working poor. As the income gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to grow in leaps and bounds, we democrats have a moral imperative to create an environment where anyone who is consistently willing to put in a hard day’s work can make a decent living. Through her work at CWE, Andrea has seen so many of those barriers holding back CWE’s clients: lack of affordable housing, lack of affordable child care, government services that are only available during work hours… A lot of making government effective is being able to get the details right. Andrea’s direct experience will be invaluable in that area.

Finally, Andrea was CEO of CWE. As such, she has had to make the tough decisions. One striking example of Andrea’s leadership and fiscal prudence was displayed in one of my first meetings with Andrea about CWE. It was perhaps early July in 2001. Andrea told me that after years of increasing CWE’s budget about 75% annually, she was in the process of trimming her current operating budget by 15%. She explained that this was not because contributions, grants, or government revenues had decreased, but rather because she anticipated that they would. Not surprisingly, as economic conditions deteriorated over the next year, many non-profits ran into tough times as contributions decreased. This was especially hard for organizations that served the disadvantaged since the need for their services grew just as revenues shrank. Because Andrea acted preemptively to tighten CWE’s belt, CWE weathered the recession well.

This is the type of leadership Massachusetts needs. Andrea Silbert’s background makes her uniquely qualified among the candidates. She is a woman of exceptional talent. Had she taken her Harvard MBA and stayed in the financial world, I am sure she would have made a fortune. Instead, she has dedicated her skills to helping others. Massachusetts needs Andrea Silbert as its next Lt. Governor.

Posted by: Ken | Oct 15, 2005 10:03:36 PM

This summer, I interned for Deborah Goldberg's campaign and had the opportunity to learn more about her candidacy. I believe Deb would be the best choice for Lt. Governor. Municipal issues are not the strong suit of either Deval Patrick or Tom Reilly, but Deb has a strong record as a selectman of a very large town. One of the many harmful effects of the Mittster's policies has been the decrease in funding to cities and towns. As a result of this decrease, I am sure we all have stories of our towns having to either cut funding for schools or other essential services or raise property taxes. Either way, divisive override battles that pit the elderly against the education community are often the unfortunate result. Deb has intimate experiences with these municipal issues and would be in a wonderful position to address them both as a candidate and as Lieutenant Governor.

Posted by: Patrick Hart | Oct 16, 2005 1:26:19 AM

I have had the opportunity to meet & get to know all of the announced LG candidates, as well as the un-announced candidate. My impressions:

Deborah Goldberg: I am from Brookline, so I know Deb pretty well. She is a very hard campaigner, she's smart & kind, and she was a great Chair of the Board of Selectmen. Indeed, I *think* that, during her time as Chair, Brookline was the only town/city in the Commonwealth that didn't blow through their budget and they still managed to add police and firefighters each year. Brookline is actually a pretty large town by MA standards and her experience in such a leadership position is certainly a plus to me. As for her potential negatives, there's no doubt that people can peg her as the "Stop-and-Shop Heiress." Personally, I think this is unfair: the fact that she has a strong business background in addition to her government experience should be a plus, but I concede that it likely will not be. She might be pegged as "the rich girl."

Andrea Silbert: I'm very impressed with Andrea as a person and her background (desribed in previous posts) is certainly compelling in many, many ways, but I'm very worried that her campaign doesn't have legs. To exapain: she has surprised people by raising a good amount of cash, but, let's face it: cash on hand doesn't mean much right now. She has so much cash on hand because she hasn't spent anything. Deb Goldberg, on the other hand, has been contacting delegates for months already. Deb has raised more money (I believe) than Andrea and is actually using it to campaign. It's also important to realize that I'm pretty sure Deb hasn't yet touched any of her substantial personal fortune. That being said, I really like Andrea and think she could be a great candidate. I just haven't seen her put together a top-notch campaign yet. There's no doubt in my mind that she's working hard, but I want to see an organization in place- being a charming amateur isn't good enough.

Sam Kelly: I think Sam is a wonderful person. He is smart and kind and personable, but he honestly can't speak to a group of people for more than 5 minutes without losing their attention. I've spoken with some of the people working on his campaign about this and they say things like "he's not the usual candidate," or "he's more cerebral than we're used to." Perhaps, but I'm not up for taking chances on cerebral untalkative candidates in 2006.

Tim Murray: it's pretty clear that Tim Murray, Mayor of Worcester, will be running for LG. Tim would be a very strong candidate. He's young, he's got an enormous local base that will turn out huge for him, and the convention will be in his hometown. He also has far more public leadership experience than the all of the announced candidates combined. It remains to be seen whether Tim can raise the money to run well statewide, but, at the moment, my money is on him to come out on top at the convention (which means close to nothing, but will get him good press hits for a few weeks).

Posted by: harry | Oct 16, 2005 9:42:45 AM

Thank you Harry. I think that's a cogent analysis. (Tim Murray was the person I was referring to in my remarks. He has to get past his current re-election campaign.)

Probably one reason most state legislators are staying out of this is that they don't want to give up safe seats. I've tried to encourage one or two to run, but so far no luck.

Thanks, B33. I thought Juan was a bit over the top. I happen to be a supporter of DP for Governor and would in no way compare his experience in government with that of the three mentioned LG people. He has been in government, out of government and in addition has an enormously compelling personal presence that encourages people to believe in community again. That's not going on in any of the present LG campaigns.

I think that the present Romney administration and other painful examples show that having limited experience in government can be a hindrance. Being TOO MUCH of an insider, like Shannon O'Brien, can be a different kind of problem. DP is a nice combination.

Let the games begin!

Posted by: Margie | Oct 16, 2005 2:10:44 PM

Phil Johnson has to go as our Party Chairman (Thurston Howell) and then maybe we can start fielding good candidates. He's absolutely useless and I'm embarassed by him evertime I'm at a Dem mtg and he just arrogantly pontificates.

Marty Walsh for Lt. Governor; the announced candidates are all crazy and not electable prospects, they're wasting their time and stop spinning for any of them, USELESS

Posted by: John Galway | Oct 16, 2005 8:59:30 PM

Apparently, Andrea Silbert has done everything in the world - except run for public office.

Has she ever been elected to anything? Has she ever even run?

Even a dilettante Kerry Healey at least ran for office - lost bigtime, but at least ran.

Posted by: Puzzled | Oct 17, 2005 3:19:24 PM

As far as I know, Silbert has never run for elective office. (FWIW, neither has Deval Patrick or possible GOP candidate Christy Mihos.)

Posted by: David | Oct 17, 2005 11:56:58 PM

I didn't mean to be over the top. I just get very sick and tired of our party system here and the dismissiveness of any experience that isn't political.

My point, with Andrea Silbert as the example, is that getting an endorsement from Barney Frank, or being the President of the Worcester City Council, or being a union or bust state rep from Dorchester hardly makes one any more worthy than someone who has started and grown a statewide non-profit. If anything, we should be looking to the self-starters like Andrea Silbert first and career pols second.

Posted by: Juan | Oct 19, 2005 11:56:42 AM

Does anyone think that it's kind of disingenuous for Tim Murray to spend the last few months telling everyone in Worcester that he wants to represent them in City Hall only to start running for LG the day after the election?

Posted by: Worcesterite | Nov 14, 2005 9:03:43 AM

That's a Konnie canard. No, it's not disingenuous. You never know what the future holds. He's not leaving the Mayoral office, he's going to run while serving (well) the City of Worcester as Mayor. You can do both.

Posted by: Joe Jones | Nov 18, 2005 5:51:11 PM

Well, you really can do both in Worcester, since Tim is really a City Councillor and not really a Mayor in the real sense. There is a City Manager who seems to do most of the work and City Council President is a more apt title than Mayor. He is a very nice guy and a loyal D, but he is not statewide material just yet and he should've been honest with Worcester residents that he really has no intention of fulfulling the job he just asked for from them.

Posted by: Phil Phan | Nov 29, 2005 4:50:55 PM

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