Sunday, October 12, 2014

Maura Healey bobs and weaves off the court, while John Miller takes a shot

Maura Healey is a thoughtful and serious candidate for Massachusetts Attorney General, offering years of legal experience.  One thing she likes to mention is that part of her biography includes a stint as a point guard on a professional basketball team.

Well, there's a problem when a candidate brings her sports abilities to a serious economic and legal issue.  Watch this performance at a recent debate at Stonehill College (from minutes 13:50 to 21:20.)

Under direct questions from one of the reporters, Republican candidate John Miller gives a direct answer: No, he does not believe the deal between the incumbent AG and Partners Healthcare System should be approved.  He offers a cogent legal theory in support of his answer.

Healey, in contrast, offers no answer to the questions, and instead bobs and weaves all around the issue.  She then says she doesn't have enough information to have an opinion on the matter.  That is hard to fathom given this summary from the same biography:

For seven years, Maura helped lead the Attorney General’s Office, ultimately overseeing more than half of the office’s 500 employees. She began as Chief of the Civil Rights Division and went on to direct two of the office’s most prominent divisions: the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau and the Business & Labor Bureau. She knows firsthand how important the Attorney General's work is for Massachusetts families and businesses. 

What's in the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau?  Here's the summary from the state government website:

The Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau uses investigation, litigation, and other advocacy to enforce laws protecting the Commonwealth. The Bureau works towards meaningful economic recovery for Massachusetts by tackling the economic and mortgage foreclosure crisis with a multifaceted and aggressive strategy. The Bureau works to protect consumers from unfair and deception activity, enforces state and federal civil rights laws, ensuring access and equal opportunity for all residents, advocates for protection of our environmental resources, pursues complex insurance and finance cases on behalf of residents or government entities, works towards affordable, high-quality health care for all, and enforces antitrust laws.  The Bureau is supported by a team of skilled civil investigators.

Divisions within the Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau include: 
Oh, health care and antitrust, with consumer protection thrown in for good measure.

It is a sad state of affairs when such an able person--who had policy oversight of these divisions for an extended period of time--feels she can not offer a direct answer about the most important health care and economic case pending before the Court.

But perhaps we should believe her.  If Healey really feels she doesn't know enough to have an opinion on the matter, she should immediately ask the incumbent AG to request a delay of the proceeding from the scheduled November 10 session to sometime after the inauguration of the new AG in January.  Maybe, by then, she would have time to form an opinion on the case.

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