Campbell: Attorney General important to all people across the Commonwealth

  • CAMPBELL

For The Athol Daily News
Published: 10/10/2022 3:26:48 PM
Modified: 10/10/2022 3:26:38 PM

ATHOL — Former Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell, the Democratic nominee for Attorney General, said in an interview with the Athol Daily News that a truly effective AG can positively affect the lives of Massachusetts residents from Provincetown to Stockbridge, including those who call the North Quabbin home. Therefore, she stressed, it’s important that voters in Athol and surrounding communities pay close attention to the campaign for the office, which culminates in the casting of ballots on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

“I’ve been stressing this since the beginning of the race,” Campbell said. “We’ve almost run an education campaign of what the AG’s office can do to help the average resident, and it’s quite significant.

“The one thing I stress is all the issues related to the (U.S.) Supreme Court: reproductive health care, decisions related to guns and gun safety, the environment. The AG’s office plays a critical role in protecting our constitutional rights here in Massachusetts, and making sure we have access to health care, including behavioral health services that are affordable,” Campbell continued, adding that the Attorney General and her staff work closely with public safety agencies to ensure all Bay State communities are safe. The AG, she said, also deals heavily with consumer issues, including problems related to fraud consumer safety. Discrimination, affordable housing, and elderly matters also fall within the purview of the Attorney General, the chief law enforcement official in the state.

“And that’s just scratching the surface of what this office is capable of in terms of helping the average resident. I’ve been telling folks to really think deeply about all the issues they care about and I’m sure they’ll find some nexus where the AG’s office plays a role in responding to their concerns.”

Campbell said she intends to zero in on a few top priorities, should she be fortunate enough to be elected next month.

“One is making the office more accessible,” she said. “Currently, there are some satellite offices or regional offices in New Bedford, Springfield; but as you go further out into western Mass, there are no satellite offices. Folks do not feel like the office is accessible. So, I think we have to strengthen the presence of regional offices — either establish new ones or work with organizations on the ground, where the AG’s office can fund positions within those institutions so that the office is accessible to residents and can address many of the concerns out there.”

Another priority for Campbell, she said, will be consumer protection.

“All things related to protecting folks from fraud, fraudulent activity or scams. That’s on the rise in many contexts, especially among seniors. I just saw an article this morning about someone stealing the identities of those who were affected by the (2018) fire in the Merrimac Valley, and how this person stole their identities to profit. So, there’s a lot the office can do in the context of consumer protection, which is going to be critically important.

“The environment also rises to the top, and economic prosperity is critically important, whether it’s housing affordability or just making sure people have access to a living wage and benefits. The office can do a lot to support economic opportunity in various communities and, of course, do that in a greater way working with the next governor.”

Campbell was adamant in disputing the charge made by her Republican opponent, Buzzards Bay attorney Jay McMahon, that one of her goals is to defund the police.

“That’s absolutely false,” she said, “and I’ve been stressing I’m the only candidate in this race who has actually worked with the legislature and the governor, including our current Republican governor, to bring in resources to a police department. When I was on the City Council in Boston, I chaired the Committee on Public Safety for six years, and one of my efforts was to get funding into that police department to improve our community policing efforts. I would continue to push those types of efforts, especially in pockets of the state where their public safety agencies are, I think, actually under-resourced, which is very different that Boston.

“We’re so Boston-centric, Boston tends to get more resources. Other communities need similar advocacy and I would continue making sure they got what was necessary to protect their residents and also comply with new requirements dealing with public safety and criminal/legal reform.”

Campbell has lost her biological parents and grandparents, as well as her twin brother, who died while in the custody of state Department of Corrections.

“I have always fought to turn my pain into purpose,” she said, “to make sure other residents have access to the same opportunities that I had in Massachusetts, and I know that I can relate to many of the struggles that residents are dealing with, and I think that’s significant.

“In addition to that, I’ve done the work of being a public servant and making sure government is responsive to constituent needs, and I would do the same thing as Attorney General.”

Campbell is a graduate of Princeton University and of the UCLA Law School. She was general counsel for the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, which addressed issues such as health care access, transportation, affordable housing, and climate change across 101 communities. Campbell also served as legal counsel to Gov. Deval Patrick. She was elected to the Boston City Council in 2015, a position she held until 2021.

Greg Vine can be reached at gvineadn@gmail.com


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