5 Takeaways From the Latest Mass Attorney General Primary Debate


Andrea Campbell, Quentin Palfrey, and Shannon Liss-Riordan went head-to-head on GBH.

Left to right: Shannon Liss-Riordan, Andrea Campbell and Quentin Palfrey. Jim Davis/Jonathan Wiggs/John Tlumackie/Globe Staff

a GBH debate The Democratic primary for Massachusetts attorney general on Monday saw candidates go one after another on issues such as campaign finance, legal experience and support for progressive policies.

The 30-minute debate was moderated by “Greater Greeley Tribune” host Jim Brad, and included frontrunner and Greeley Tribune City Councilor Andrea Campbell, former state prosecutor Quentin Palfrey and class action attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan.

Earlier in the day, current Attorney General Maura Healy, who is in the running for governor, endorsed Campbell for attorney general.

Here are the big conclusions from the debate:

Palfrey Isn’t Afraid to Criticize the Massachusetts Legislature

Broad starts the debate by asking what the candidates think of the legislature Passing last-minute bills and putting other legislative priorities on hold As of last night it was ready to go on a five month break.

While Campbell said she’d like to focus on how the attorney general’s office can help constituents on issues like inflation and the housing crisis, Liss-Riordan said she’d like to see more bills passed, But look forward to working with the Legislature.

But Palfrey was outspoken in criticizing the legislature for not doing more to help Massachusetts residents and for its lack of transparency in its dealings.

“Our democracy is not working properly. Our democracy is really under attack at the national level. But our democracy doesn’t work right here at Beacon Hill.”

“The[$250 taxpayer exemption]passed by the legislature excluded people [making] Under $38,000 per year. But then when an amendment took place to try to include those who most needed that relief, there was only one voice vote, and so the people of Massachusetts would not know how their representatives voted. . We need a democracy that is more transparent and where people can be held accountable for their votes.

When asked what sets them apart, candidates say something different

Campbell said that her real-life experience dealing with issues like losing her brother and parents has given her an edge.

“I have addressed the challenges that residents are experiencing right now, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that the Attorney General’s office addresses those with a sense of urgency,” she said.

On his turn, Palfrey emphasized that he does not take money from “special interests” and said he and Campbell disagree on a number of policy issues, citing Medicare-for-all, safe injection sites and a cap on charter schools. Happened.

In turn Liss-Riordan sheds light on his legacy as a class action lawyer.

“This is a very important job that leads hundreds of lawyers that require an experienced lawyer. I am widely known as one of the most effective lawyers in the country. I have worked for more than 20 years. Have spent fighting and winning for the working people,” she said.

The three candidates have different funding models

Campbell and Palfrey went after each other and Liss-Riordan during the debate about their funding.

Palfrey began by accusing Campbell of taking money from Super PACs, but Campbell countered by saying that she only took money from one, the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund, which she is proud of and supported by Palfrey and Liss-Riordan did both. To get.

Campbell also highlighted that she has outperformed the other two candidates both overall and among Massachusetts residents.

Still, Palfrey went unanswered when he asked Campbell why he would not sign the “People’s Pledge,” a formal campaign finance pact to reduce the influence of Super PACs in an election.

Campbell ends by pointing out that he is not getting funding for his campaign from the state, like Palfrey is, or using his own millions of funds, like Liss-Riordan is.

Candidates have different focus when it comes to combating racism

When asked how each would combat systemic racism as attorney general, each candidate had a different focus.

Palfrey began by saying that he would work to end racial disparities in access and quality of healthcare.

On his turn, Liss-Riordan said the attorney general should take on as many civil rights cases as possible and cited his record as a civil rights lawyer.

“I have slammed the state for discriminatory use of the civil service exams, and based on my work, I have been appointed black and brown firefighters and police officers in Massachusetts. I have slammed Uber for its discriminatory practices, It’s a customer rating system that affects black and brown drivers separately. That’s what I would do as attorney general.”

Campbell specified that as attorney general, she would focus on prison and criminal justice reform, but added that she would approach every aspect of the attorney general’s job, with an eye toward racial justice.

“As a person who sits in this gender and skin, I don’t have the luxury of not taking in racial inequalities,” she said. “Everything the office will do will be through a racial equity lens … that is the ideal that the office should be doing every day.”

Lis-Riordan wants to portray Palfrey and Campbell as having insufficient legal experience, but they aren’t afraid to back down.

Several times during the debate, Liss-Riordan highlighted his record as a class action lawyer, saying the other two candidates lacked experience.

“There are some states that, to be an attorney general, you must have at least 10 years of experience practicing law, and if Massachusetts had this law, I would be the only one on stage,” she said. “I am the only practicing attorney in this race, and I am the only one who runs a law firm.”

Palfrey later countered, saying that she was portraying the situation incorrectly.

“I’ve been a practicing attorney for 20 years, and being an assistant attorney general is quite different from being a class action lawyer,” he said. “…do you believe that assistant attorneys general are not practicing lawyers? Because when you say we are not practicing lawyers, you undermine the work that [Attorney General’s] The office does.”

Liss-Riordan then dismissed her claim that she is the only candidate who is “a practicing attorney,” in the fact that she is the only one with malpractice insurance, which is required to practice law in Massachusetts.

Campbell later addressed Liss-Riordan’s claims, saying that her endorsement showed that other lawyers think Campbell is qualified.

“We all come with a legal background that is unique and distinctive. And if, for example, I had not had enough experience, Maura Healy would not have supported me in this race,” she said.

Opponents of Liss-Riordan also tried to counter her statement of being the people’s advocate, citing a 2016 ruling by a federal judge. Dismiss Her Petition With Uber Because she realized that the $100 million she was asking Uber to pay to about 400,000 drivers was only 0.01% of the likely full judgment value of the case.

There are many issues that all candidates agree on, but Campbell is more liberal.

Despite the three candidates’ attempts to distance themselves, they agreed on a number of issues, including investing more money in infrastructure, expediting the process of reversing wrongful convictions and compensation, and taking action against polluting companies. Standing is included. around the state.

But there were also issues on which Palfrey and Liss-Riordan took a clear stance where Campbell gave a more measured response.

At first, Palfrey and Lis-Riordan stated that they opposed Government Charlie Baker’s bill to expand dangerous hearings for more offenses while Campbell said he “wouldn’t have pushed for it.”

Then, when the candidates were asked whether they agreed with Baker’s suggestion that More than $2.5 billion could be given back to taxpayers Because of the 1986 law, Liss-Riordan and Palfrey said the money should be used on transportation and education, while Campbell said she wanted more input from voters before making a decision.

Later, when Palfrey reiterated her support for Medicare-for-all, Campbell said she supports single-payer healthcare, but that she sees it as a national issue that she cannot promise voters. Can do

Finally, when asked about rent control, Palfrey and Liss-Riordan said they supported it, while Campbell said he would “not stand in the way” of communities passing it as attorney general. . He gave the same answer to the question of communities building safe injection sites.

GBH will hold its next debate on Tuesday at 6:30 pm, this time between the lieutenant governor candidates. you can watch it live his youtube channel,

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: