Robert Galibois on His Historic Election to Cape & Islands DA
Cape & Islands District Attorney-Elect Rob Galibois was part of the blue wave of Democratic electoral dominance that washed over the Bay State on November 8 and pried three county-wide law enforcement seats from decades-long Republican control.
Galibois, a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, soundly defeated his Republican opponent Dan Higgins. Higgins was a 13-year veteran prosecutor and a deputy of longtime Cape & Islands DA Michael O'Keefe, who had held the office since 2002.
But Galibois, in a recent appearance on WBSM's SouthCoast Tonight, said that Republicans' grasp on the top prosecutor job for Cape Cod & the Islands extends much further than the last two decades.
Prosecutorial jurisdiction over the Cape & Islands once fell under the Southern District Attorney's office which included Bristol County, Cape Cod, and the Islands. In 1970, Democrat DA Edmund Dinis of New Bedford lost to Mashpee Republican Phill Rollins following Dinis' prosecution of the infamous Chappaquiddick case involving then-Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy.
Rollins then lobbied the legislature successfully to create a separate Cape & Islands District, which he then held from 1974-2002. After Rollins, O'Keefe, one of Rollins' longtime assistant prosecutors, succeeded him.
"So it's essentially been one administration under Republican control for 48 years and that's what I was taking on when I ran against (Higgins)," Galibois said.
Galibois said that explaining this history and promising to deliver change was a central tenet of his election.
"I leaned on the fact that they were in office for so long, and I talked about the complacency that has developed over nearly half a century," he said. "As I was going up and down and across the Cape and the Islands, nobody knew what the District Attorney's office does, and most people didn't know anyone that worked there."
While on the campaign trail, Galibois said that he stressed the importance of better community engagement from the District Attorney's Office. He discussed establishing a community coalition in each town in the district along with a community engagement officer in each town that would report directly to Galibois to give him an on-the-ground perspective.
One of the immediate changes Galibois is making is hiring the first woman First Assistant Prosecutor in the history of the office – Jessica Elumba, a veteran of both the Plymouth County and Bristol County District Attorney's Office. Elumba joined Galibois on stage on election night to make the announcement once he declared victory.
Some of the other changes Galibois will be looking to make when he assumes the office of Cape & Islands DA is the establishment of a mental health court and a veterans court. He will also not adopt the "age cap" policy established by some DA's offices that does not make diversion of cases available to anyone over the age of 21.
Galibois also discussed his plans to address other issues such as reducing the racial disparities in the criminal justice system, protecting elders from fraud and abuse, and his commitment to not seeking cash bail for nonviolent offenses that don't threaten public safety.
Listen to Cape & Islands DA-Elect Rob Galibois full interview with Marcus Ferro on WBSM's SouthCoast Tonight.