GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

September 17, 2013

AG Coakley launches run for governor's seat

From Wire and Staff Reports
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — State Attorney General Martha Coakley threw herself headlong into the 2014 race for governor on Monday morning, discussing economic growth and education as she embarked on a campaign to wash out the sour taste of her 2010 U.S. Senate defeat.

Coakley made the first of six planned stops around Massachusetts on Monday at Dempsey’s Breakfast and Lunch in her hometown of Medford, showing up just before 8 a.m. with her husband Thomas O’Connor to greet morning diners before fielding questions about her new endeavor, acknowledging a “long, hard primary” ahead.

“I think that I am ready to both lead and listen to people in Massachusetts about what they want. I know we want to continue moving the economy forward, giving people economic opportunity, improving our educational system,” she said. “I’m going to do that as governor and I’m going to work every day to earn people’s respect and their vote.”

Coakley endorsed an extended school day, calling it “time to do that” after more than 15 years of discussion, and said “we’re going to take a look at everything” when it comes to paying for the program, including public-private partnerships. She said the state must work toward “better synergy” between government and the business and innovation sectors, applauding the decision by legislative leaders to repeal a new sales tax on software design services.

With visits to Brockton, Attleboro, Fall River, New Bedford and Hyannis on Monday, Coakley has 18 stops planned over the next three days that will also take her from Newton and Boston to Pittsfield in her native Berkshires, and to the North Shore.

State Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, who has worked closely with Ferrante on fishery issues, said she expects the AG-turned-gubernatorial candidate to visit Gloucester on Wednesday, at a time and site to be announced.

Since her January 2010 special Senate election loss to Scott Brown, Coakley has refocused on her work as attorney general, winning praise for her efforts to secure relief from banks for foreclosed homeowners, fighting human trafficking and challenging the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court.

She has also stepped into a key role fighting for Massachusetts fishermen, filing a federal lawsuit challenging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s alleged refusal to consider the economic impact of its dire limit cuts on Gloucester and other fishing communities, as required under a standard of the Magnuson Stevens Act.

The lawsuit — which has been joined by the state of New Hampshire, as reported in Monday’s Gloucester Daily Times — also targets NOAA’s use of allegedly outdates science for carrying out stock assessments used in setting the policies and fishing limits.

Since then, Coakley has refocused on her work as attorney general, winning praise for her efforts to secure relief from banks for foreclosed homeowners, fighting human trafficking and challenging the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court. Her efforts have translated to strong popularity in recent polls and she will try to translate that support into her bid to become the first elected female governor of Massachusetts.

She has also stepped into a key role fighting for Massachusetts fishermen, filing a federal lawsuit challenging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s alleged refusal to consider the economic impact of its dire limit cuts on Gloucester and other fishing communities, as required under a standard of the Magnuson Stevens Act.

Coakley and her office have also drawn some fire in Gloucester recently for their handling of an anti-gaming push that led to the abrupt June shutdown and seizure of assets from the Lucky 7 arcades in Gloucester and Danvers, despite the fact that no charges yet to be filed against the Gloucester-based Parisi family that owns the two facilities.

But the fishery lawsuit has been joined by the state of New Hampshire, as reported in today’s Gloucester Daily Times, and also targets NOAA’s use of allegedly outdates science for carrying out stock assessments used in setting the policies and catch limits, key issues for Gloucester and its groundfishing industry.

“As an attorney general, Martha has already proved her self a champion of our community,” Ferrante said Tuesday. “She would be a great governor, providing the accountability and oversight that the state needs.”

The attorney general’s rollout for the gubernatorial race stands in contrast to Republican Charlie Baker’s strategy of releasing a campaign video followed by a press conference in his Swampscott backyard a day later.

Baker has not publicized any events since his announcement two weeks ago, but over the weekend stopped by a Leominster fund-raiser for Governor’s Councilor Jennie Caissie and the opening of a teen center in Brookline.

The other Democrats in the race for governor have similarly kept low profiles on the campaign trail since their initial announcements, focusing instead on the less public aspects of running for statewide office like raising money, recruiting volunteers and building support with the party.

The Massachusetts Republican Party Monday immediately attacked Coakley, accusing her of making the decision to run for governor based on polls and advice from consultants, while ignoring voters and her party’s grassroots activists.

“With Coakley repeating the same disastrous mistakes that doomed her last run for higher office, now Massachusetts Democrats have yet another bad option.” said Kirsten Hughes, MassGOP chairwoman. “As Coakley, Grossman, Kayyem, Wolf and the rest of them duke it out for the title of biggest tax and spender, voters are about to get an uncomfortable look at a battle of career politicians looking to out-liberal each other.”

Coakley has teamed up with Northwind Strategies for her campaign, surrounding herself with many of the same individuals behind Gov. Deval Patrick’s rise in 2006 and re-election in 2010, including Doug Rubin and Kyle Sullivan.

Rubin said Coakley’s campaign will be about bringing her message directly to voters and engaging the grassroots. Former Patrick spokesman Alex Goldstein planned to accompany Coakley on Monday’s campaign swing.

Her decision to focus on the economy and education as her initial priorities also led Treasurer Steven Grossman to declare himself the only candidate with a record in economic development arena.

“The most significant challenge we face is creating jobs and economic security across the Commonwealth. I am the only Democratic candidate who offers a lifetime of proven leadership in strengthening our economy,” Grossman said in a prepared statement.

Before her Medford campaign stop, Coakley released a slick, two-minute video depicting scenic views from around the state and footage of the attorney general meeting with and talking to voters, including teachers, hospital workers and cops, as she discussed in a voiceover how they have inspired her political career.

The video and the three-day barnstorming tour appear to counter the criticism she faced after her stunning, upset 2010 loss to Republican Scott Brown in the race to succeed a Democratic icon, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. Brown, in turn, was then ousted last November in his re-election bid by Sen. Elizabeth Warren.