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Attorney General Candidate Shares Views in Pittsfield
By Andy McKeever On: 01:49PM / Tuesday May 06, 2014
AG candidate Maura Healey met with voters on Saturday in Pittsfield.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Maura Healey has already overseen half of the attorney general's office. Now, she wants to take it all over.

With Attorney General Martha Coakley now seeking election as governor, Healey has launched a campaign to replace her.

Currently overseeing the attorney general's public protection and business and labor bureaus, the Democrat says she knows the "power and possibilities" the office has to make positive impacts in people's lives.

"I know how important it is for Massachusetts to have an attorney general's office that is nation leading, that leads the nation in standing up for civil rights and giving a voice to those who are vulnerable," Healey told members of the Berkshire Brigades on Saturday at Dottie's Coffee Lounge.

"And in leading the nation in protecting consumers and leading the nation in thinking about smart approaches to criminal justice reform, public safety and drug addiction."

Healey grew up in Hampton Falls, N.H., and moved to Massachusetts to attend Harvard, where she received her undergraduate degree in government. She is the oldest of five siblings with her mother being a school nurse and father a high school teacher.

After graduating, she went overseas to play professional basketball. She returned to Massachusetts and received her law degree from Northeastern University.

Healey worked for a federal judge overseeing the cleanup of Boston Harbor before becoming a litigator at a private law firm.

"I jumped at the chance seven years ago to take a 70 percent pay cut and join the attorney general's office as chief of the civil rights division. And I saw, over the last several years, that there is no office where you can have a greater impact on people's lives," she said.

One of her largest accomplishments in the office was successfully fighting against the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), she said. At the time, the president and U.S. Department of Justice were defending the law.

"To me it was a matter of fairness," she said, adding a story about how a couple wanted to be buried together in a state veterans cemetery but were being blocked by the government.

She also took on predatory lenders, putting together a litigation team to go after banks participating in those practices. Healey was the first in the nation to bring a civil rights case against a lender and she also started the Home Court program, which used settlement funds to help residents modify their mortgages.

One of her first issues she tackled in the attorney's general office was writing the buffer zone law regarding access for women to abortion clinics. That law survived supreme court challenges. She has challenged laws that allow physicians to deny contraceptive care to patients.

And she says there is a lot more she can do if elected. Healey wants to "really tackle" the issue of drug abuse, which has become an epidemic across the state. She says there is a real shortage of beds for mental health and addiction treatment programs.

State Sen. Benjamin Downing was on hand to hear about Healey's campaign.

"Using settlement proceeds from the office — when we sue pharmaceutical companies and others — I want those resources to go to beefing up services for those kind of treatments and care," she said.

From the office, she says she will also "bring people together" to do a better job at prescription drug monitoring.

That stance earned her the endorsements of the mayors of Holyoke and Northampton and Hampshire County Sheriff Robert Garvey on Tuesday.

She also vowed to go after the growing for-profit schools market that "pocket" federal student loans but do not provide an education that gives students the tools for jobs.

"It is predatory and it is wrong," she said.

Healey also wants to advocate for a revamping of the state's criminal justice system. She says the state needs to provide more job training, life skills training and counseling to those in jail so that they don't come back. Meanwhile, on "the front end," there needs to be more options than jail. She wants courts to identify individuals who are in danger of continually going through the court system and provide drug treatment and other programs to stop the slide.

"I think you have a real opportunity to convene and lead that conversation," she said.

Entering the race in October, when she resigned from the attorney general's office, Healey says she wants "to be the people's point guard."

"I've been in that office. I've seen the power and the possibility of that office. In my mind it was a very easy decision because I am so passionate about this and so committed to building on the success of that office," she said, and boasts of being the only candidate who has worked in the office. "I think Massachusetts can lead on all of these issues."

She has gained support from state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield.

"When it comes to equal rights, when it comes to consumer protection, when it comes to making sure everybody in the commonwealth is treated fairly, the office of attorney general really leads that fight. So it is important to pay attention to all of the offices that are being fought for this year," Farley-Bouvier said. "I'm supporting Maura because she's done the job. She is a lawyer. She has run about 50 percent of the attorney general's office for about seven years."

Healey is vying for the Democratic nomination with former state Sen. Warren Tolman of Watertown, an attorney and former gubernatorial candidate, and champion of the clean elections law.

John Miller of Winchester, an attorney and expert on construction law and public infrastructure contracting, is the Republican candidate.



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Coakley Picks Up Two More Endorsements
By: Coakley Campaign On: 11:14AM / Wednesday October 20, 2010

BOSTON — Former Suffolk County District Attorney Newman Flanagan and former Worcester County District Attorney John Conte have endorsed Martha Coakely in her re-election campaign for attorney general.

Coakley's opponent, James McKenna, served under both Conte and Flanagan when the two were district attorneys.

“Martha Coakley is the only candidate in this race with the experience to protect our kids, seniors and the most vulnerable,” said Flanagan in a statment released Oct. 20. “Martha has 25 years of experience protecting the citizens of the commonwealth – the victims, the witnesses, everybody that has been preyed upon through crime in Massachusetts.”

“Martha Coakley is clearly the best candidate and I urge the voters of Massachusetts to keep Martha doing the fine job she has for the past four years,” said Conte. “Martha has been an ally and a friend to her fellow prosecutors and partners in law enforcement and I am proud to support her in ensuring justice and safety for the citizens of the commonwealth.”

“I thank District Attorneys Flanagan and Conte for their support,” said Coakley. “This race is about choosing an attorney general who will keep people safe, and who will best stand up for the consumers, taxpayers, and families of Massachusetts in these difficult times and I appreciate that these district attorneys believe that I am the best candidate.”

In the 1980s and 1990s, McKenna served in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office under District Attorney Flanagan and in the Worcester District Attorney’s Office under District Attorney Conte. Since 1998, McKenna has been in private practice as a civil defense lawyer, largely defending insurance companies.

Coakley says she is the only candidate in this race who has prioritized public safety challenges such as cyber crime, senior safety, neighborhood safety, and child protection. She says her opponent has remained virtually silent on these critical issues throughout the past two months.



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Coakley Endorsed by Crime Victims, Law Enforcement Leaders
By: Coakley Campaign On: 10:09AM / Wednesday October 13, 2010

BOSTON – Citing their personal experiences and the importance of the Attorney General’s office in protecting public safety, police officers, law enforcement leaders, prosecutors, child safety advocates and numerous crime victims endorsed Martha Coakley for re-election as Attorney General.

Speaking at a press conference outside Faneuil Hall on Tuesday, Coakley was joined by District Attorneys Gerry Leone, Dan Conley and David Capeless, victims of crime and victim advocates, and representatives from law enforcement across Massachusetts. Speakers included Debbie Eappen, mother of eight-month old Matthew Eappen, for whom Coakley served as prosecutor in the case brought on her son’s behalf when he was killed more than 12 years ago.

“I’m proud to be a prosecutor…It means that we wake up every day and speak for those who need it most,” AG Coakley said. “But it’s been more than just standing up for them, I’ve also been inspired by them.”

“In October of 1997, Martha Coakley became one of our heroes,” said Debbie Eappen. “Martha brought hope to my devastated family... Our family is deeply grateful that Martha has chosen a 25-year career protecting the public from crime of all sorts. I know that my family - children, disabled, and elderly - are safer because of Martha Coakley’s service to the state of Massachusetts. It is with deep respect and admiration that we emphatically state that there is no better person for the job of Attorney General than Martha Coakley.”

Debbie is the mother of Matthew “Matty” Eappen, an eight-month old baby who in 1997 was the victim of abuse and killed by his nanny. Martha was part of the prosecution team in the case against Matty’s killer, and her experience on this case allowed her and Debbie to collaborate on educating medical professionals about the prevalence of child abuse and shaken impact syndrome.

Coakley also earned the support of a wide range of law enforcement groups and leaders, including district attorneys, police officers and advocates for child safety.

“There is only one candidate in this race with the experience to protect our young, protect our elderly, and to work in the cyber crime age,” said Rick Brown of the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM). “Martha Coakley is the only one who is going to be able to lead us in to the future in police work. She has 25 years of experience and I’m proud to be standing here offering SPAM’s endorsement to her to continue protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth – the victims, the witnesses, everybody that has been preyed upon through crime in the state of Massachusetts.

“Let’s remember why we elected Martha Coakley District Attorney and Attorney General in the first place,” Suffolk District Attorney Conley said. “It wasn’t only because she knew her way around a courtroom, but because she knew her way around our neighborhoods, where justice and injustice are felt much more acutely. It wasn’t only because she has a first-rate public policy mind, but because she listens to victims of crime and translates their hurt and frustrations into solutions that work and give us hope.”

“I urge the voters of Massachusetts to keep Martha Coakley doing the fine job she has for the past four years,” said Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless. “Martha has used the office of the Attorney General to protect the public’s rights and safeguard their resources, and has been and ally and a friend to her fellow prosecutors and partners in law enforcement. I commend the integrity that Martha brings to the office, I applaud her commitment to upholding our laws, and I am proud to join her in ensuring justice and safety for the citizens of the Commonwealth.”

According to the Coakley campaign, as a federal prosecutor, an Assistant District Attorney, Middlesex District Attorney, and now as Attorney General, Coakley has an unmatched record in the AG race of protecting  kids and communities. As a prosecutor for the Middlesex DA’s Office, she has personally and successfully prosecuted dozens of violent criminals in Massachusetts. As Chief of the Middlesex DA’s child abuse unit, she oversaw the prosecution of hundreds of predators who harmed children.

According to the Coakley campaign, she is the only candidate in the race for Attorney General who has prioritized victim support and public safety challenges such as cyber crime, senior safety, neighborhood safety and child protection.

Other achievements highlighted by the Coakley campaign include:

*The Cyber Crime Initiative, wherein Coakley's office trains local and state law enforcement officers in how to handle cyber crimes, with specialized trainings on topics such as digital evidence, cyber-bullying and others.

*Opening a state-of-the-art computer forensics laboratory that assists with criminal cases from across the state.

*In 2008, Coakley led a two-year effort with MySpace and Attorneys General across the country to develop a plan to make social networking sites safer for children. She also successfully took on Craigslist by calling on the site to take down its adult services section to better protect victims of human trafficking.

Public safety and victim advocates who have announced their support for Martha Coakley include:
Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless
Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter
Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett
Hampden County District Attorney Bill Bennett
Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone
Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley
Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early
The Massachusetts Police Association
The Massachusetts Coalition of Police
State Police Association of Massachusetts
State Police Superior Officers Association
Debbie Eappen, mother of murder victim Matthew Eappen
Dodie Laplante, mother of murder victim Betsie Hughes
Annette Presti, mother of murder victim Joanne Presti and grandmother of murder victim Alyssa Presti
Laurie Myers, child safety advocate



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