Though the office of State Auditor is not often featured prominently in mainstream discussions of Massachusetts politics, the statewide office plays a critical role in ensuring that government agencies in the Commonwealth operate responsibly, transparently, and in the best interest of its residents.

With longtime Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne Bump deciding not to seek another term, there is an open election for the office with candidates declaring on both sides of the isle.

One of those candidates, State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), wants to bring her decade-long record of fighting for the working class on Beacon Hill to the Auditor's office.

"I'm running for State Auditor because all families in Massachusetts, regardless of our family background, our bank balance, and our zip code, should have access to and accountability from our state leaders and our state agencies." DiZoglio said when she joined me on-air recently.

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DiZoglio said that along with her time fighting for and passing legislation to help the everyday people of the Commonwealth, she has also been calling for investigations and audits where needed. As a State Auditor, she can turn urging into action and implement the changes she thinks are needed to create greater accountability in state government.

"But as your next State Auditor, I won't need to keep calling for these things," DiZoglio said. "I won't have to keep calling for audits, for example. I will audit and I will investigate many of the matters of concern to our communities and will be able to take my nearly 10-years-long fight alongside of you as a senator and actually effectuate many of the changes that I've been calling for."

DiZoglio's journey to elected office is an unlikely one. Having been born to a 17-year-old single mother, DiZoglio grew up housing-insecure. Working her way through community college as a house cleaner and waitress, DiZogilo then got accepted to Wellesley College on a full financial need-based scholarship. The awarding of this scholarship inspired her to get into community service and help provide opportunities to those who often aren't afforded the resources needed for upward mobility.

She worked as a live-in mentor for a young teen girls' home and several other non-profit organizations that work with inner city youth while still moonlighting as a house cleaner and waitress to make ends meet. DiZoglio then began working as a legislative aide on Beacon Hill before getting elected to become youngest woman to serve in the State House in 2013, where she served until her election to the State Senate in 2019.

Having represented districts that include the cities of Lawrence and Haverhill, DiZoglio recognizes the growing demand for housing in gateway communities across the Commonwealth such as New Bedford and Fall River. DiZoglio says as Auditor, she would conduct a comprehensive audit of statewide housing policy to see where it is falling short.

"We talk about the need to for zoning reforms," DiZoglio said. "We talk about transit-oriented housing initiatives. We talk about the need for increased housing opportunities that are affordable. We talk about all these things. But yet we still, even after passing legislation through and through, we still find ourselves in the same position and even in a worse off position. That can not continue to be the case. We need to take action."

"But the way we are going to able to be effective is when we have the knowledge and we have access to where gaps need to be filled so that we can effectively change policy or implement funding where we need to," she said.

Senator DiZoglio and I also discussed how she plans to use the Auditor's office to foster greater opportunity for minority workers and minority-owned businesses, how her experience working as a legislative aide on Beacon Hill led her become an early supporter the recent unionization efforts by staffers in the State Senate, and why she believes her background makes her the best candidate to fight the working class as State Auditor.

You can listen to the full conversation here.

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