Jim Braude Grills Democratic Lieutenant Governor Candidates Over Govenor’s Council

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2022/08/08/jim-braude-grills-democratic-lieutenant-governor-candidates-over-govenors-council/

Three Massachusetts Democrats are running in a primary in hopes of being their party’s nominee for lieutenant governor.

But how much interest do the candidates have in the responsibilities held by a lieutenant governor in Massachusetts?

GBH News host Jim Braude grilled the three candidates for lieutenant governor on this issue during a debate this past Tuesday night. The candidates are Salem mayor Kim Driscoll, state Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), and state representative Tami Gouveia (D-Acton).

Braude informed the candidates that if they were elected lieutenant governor their chief responsibility would be to preside over the governor’s council — and asked them some questions about the governor’s council.

The governor’s council confirms judges to the state court system, votes on commutations, and votes to confirm members of certain boards in the state, like the parole board. Members of the governor’s council are elected for two-year terms representing one of eight districts that cover the state.

Braude asked the candidates if they could name all eight elected members of the governor’s council. 

Driscoll said, “I certainly could.” Lesser and Gouveia admitted the answer to Braude’s question was no.

Then, Braude asked the candidates if they had ever been to a governor’s council meeting. 

Gouveia said, “I’ve watched them on Zoom because they’ve been …” But Braude interjected:  “No, before you declared.”

Both Gouveia and Lesser both answered no while Driscoll said she had attended a meeting to support a candidate.

“Is that not a problem?” Braude asked. “This is your primary constitutional function. Neither of you have been there and you were only there once?”

Driscoll offered a response, but didn’t answer Braude’s question. 

“I think it’s a really important thing that we need to recognize,” Driscoll said. “I too am a lawyer and know how important this body is and how important it is for us to celebrate it like we actually stand out. I just came back from Georgia, a trip there where they elect judges like we do things differently here. We have a judicial nominating committee, We have this backstop process with governor’s councilors. We’re doing things right. We need to make sure it’s open, transparent, that we’re recruiting people, that we have some ground rules, and even how governor’s councilors work amongst themsevles.”

While the governor’s council is typically low-profile, members of the governor’s council occasionally draw criticism for their actions.

In addition to presiding over the governor’s council, the lieutenant governor also serves as acting governor when the governor leaves the state or leaves office. When Bill Weld resigned as governor of Massachusetts in July 1997, Paul Cellucci served as the state’s acting governor for the rest of the term. Then, he won election in 1998 to continue as governor. And when Cellucci resigned as governor in 2001, then-lieutenant governor Jane Swift became the state’s acting governor for the rest of the term.

The winner of the September Democratic primary will serve as Maura Healey’s running mate on the November ballot. Healey has not made an endorsement in the race.


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