AG Candidate Palfrey: I Will Investigate Bad Actors on Beacon Hill
In a very competitive Democratic primary to succeed Maura Healey as the Commonwealth's next Attorney General, Quentin Palfrey looks to set himself apart from his opponents with his experience and independence.
Palfrey worked in the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office as the first Chief of the Healthcare Division while Massachusetts was implementing the healthcare reform law, then went on to serve in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor for Jobs and Competitiveness. He was the 2018 Democratic nominee for Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor and recently served as the Acting General Counsel of Commerce in the Biden Administration.
"I think this would be a really hard job to do if this were your first job in government," Palfrey said in a recent appearance on SouthCoast Tonight. "I've been a senior leader in the Attorney General's Office. I've seen how much impact the people's lawyer can have in New Bedford and communities all across Massachusetts."
"In the Biden Administration, I led a team of almost 400 lawyers in a department of 50,000 people and a $12 billion budget," he said. "And I think that with the really big challenges that we're going to face, you need an Attorney General who's done this before, who's ready on Day 1 to take on some of these really big challenges that range from the U.S. Supreme Court undermining our civil rights, a democracy that is under attack, and also some really big challenges in our economy and challenges in healthcare and in criminal justice."
Palfrey also distinguished himself from his opponents by being the only candidate who has campaign funded solely with individual contributions and abiding by the guidelines of the public financing system. He credited his commitment to being a self-described "clean elections candidate" as primary driver behind earning the endorsement of the Massachusetts Democratic Party at the state convention.
"If you want your Attorney General to stand up against big corporate special interests, you also can't have those corporate special interests funding their campaign like they are with some of my competitors," Palfrey said.
"At the end of the day, Mike Bloomberg isn't President of the United States," Palfrey added. "You can't buy an election for Attorney General, and when candidates get out there with the grassroots, that's how we were able to win the endorsement of the Democratic Party at the state convention and that's how we're going to win this race."
Palfrey gave high marks for his former colleague and outgoing Attorney General Maura Healey, saying that it was inspiring to see her fight the Trump Administration and major corporate interests on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth. Palfrey believes the next Attorney General should build on that work but also expand the offices reach to more local issues in region's outside of Boston's orbit.
"I think there's some opportunities for us to be more engaged in communities like New Bedford and Fall River and the SouthCoast," Palfrey said. "As somebody who grew up in central Massachusetts, I have this feeling that Beacon Hill forgets that the rest of the state is out here. So I'm really committed to being present here on the SouthCoast and really getting to know the particular challenges of each community."
Most notably, Palfrey also said that his independence as a candidate would give him the opportunity as Attorney General to investigate suspected bad actors in state and local government and on Beacon Hill.
"We've had four Speakers of the House in the last two decades convicted of felonies," Palfrey said. "Down here in the SouthCoast, there's a mayor who's had criminal problems in the last couple of years. The Attorney General needs to be a watchdog for public corruption and that's a really important."
"By the way, I think it's a really important role for somebody who's not pat of the Beacon Hill culture," he said. "One of my opponents has gotten endorsed and supported by practically everybody on Beacon Hill, and congratulations to her for those endorsements, but it does make it a lot more difficult for her to hold Beacon Hill's feet to the fire. If I'm Attorney General, I'm going to have the kind of independence necessary to push for that kind of accountability and transparency."
Listen to Quentin Palfrey's full interview with Marcus on SouthCoast Tonight at the 13:35 mark below.