Auditor Candidate DiZoglio Commits to Investigating Beacon Hill
After a two-day stop at New Bedford's Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, Methuen Senator Diana DiZoglio stopped by WBSM's SouthCoast Tonight to talk about her run for State Auditor.
On Thursday, DiZoglio toured the feast grounds with Representative Tony Cabral and members of the New Bedford City Council who have endorsed her campaign.
On Friday. she attended a One SouthCoast Chamber event at the Feast put on by City Council President Ian Abreu, who formally endorsed her campaign that day.
DiZoglio has strong support from SouthCoast elected officials. Along with Rep. Cabral and Council President Abreu, she has also been endorsed by Rep. Chris Hendricks, City Councilors Shane Burgo and Ryan Perreira, and State Senators Marc Pacheco and Mark Montigny.
She attributes this support to representing gateway cities as a representative and a senator on Beacon Hill and working on issues that impact cities like New Bedford such as housing inequality.
DiZoglio herself grew up housing insecure as a the daughter of a teenage single mother. Throughout her life, DiZoglio had to work multiple jobs in waitressing and housekeeping while in college and beginning her career in the nonprofit sector to make ends meet.
The State Auditor is the chief accountability officer in the Commonwealth, charged with investigating more than 200 state agencies to find instances of waste, fraud, and abuse. DiZoglio, a candidate in the Democratic primary, has made waves in the Auditor race with her commitment to conducting an audit of the state legislature. Her opponents in this election, as well as outgoing State Auditor Suzanne Bump, hold the position that the Auditor does not have the legal authority to investigate Beacon Hill.
"One thousand percent we have the ability to audit the legislature," DiZoglio said on SouthCoast Tonight. "I've read the law and the law is clear. I've been in the state senate, I've served in the legislature and look it's not been the most popular position to advocate for auditing the membership that you currently belong to. You can imagine I have lost a lot of endorsements over this."
"And there are some in my leadership team, in fact the majority of my leadership team has I believe now endorsed against me in this race," DiZoglio added. "And I believe that a lot of it has specifically a lot to do with the fact that I have been standing up and speaking truth to power. I respect the work of my colleagues but I don't think we should be above the law."
During her time in the legislature, DiZoglio has been a vocal critic of Beacon Hill leadership. She specifically accused former Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo of coercing Beacon Hill staffers who were victims of harassment into signing non-disclosure agreements. Senator DiZoglio fell victim to this practice when she said she was the victim of sexual harassment while working as a legislative aid.
"The way that they thought it was appropriate at the time to make that harassment stop happening was to fire me," DiZoglio said. "And then require that on my way out the door that I sign a taxpayer funded nondisclosure agreement, paid for by all of the folks listening just to collect my basic severance package."
After her termination as a legislative aid, DiZoglio then successfully ran for office as a state representative, becoming the youngest woman serving on Beacon Hill. She has spent much of her time exposing the practice of NDAs for employees suffering harassment not just in the legislature but across all state agencies.
She worked to pass a bill as senator through the upper chamber banning the practice of taxpayer-funded NDAs, but the legislation has been held up in the House.
If elected Auditor, DiZoglio said that she intends to use the bully pulpit and investigative authority of the office to expose and end the use of NDAs to cover up instances of harassment on state government.
"The leadership structure is broken," DiZoglio said. "I've been calling for audits. I've been demanding investigations – but as your next State Auditor I won't have to keep calling for audits. I won't need to keep demanding investigations. I'll be able to take my 10 years of going line-by-line in that state budget and I will audit and I will investigate these matters and much, much more on your behalf."
Listen to Diana DiZoglio's full interview with Chris and Marcus on SouthCoast Tonight: