When Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley graduated from law school in 1979, her father gave her a plaque that read: “Sometimes, the best man for the job is a woman.” As a member of the first female class to attend Williams College, the first female district attorney of Middlesex County and now the first female attorney general of Massachusetts, Martha has proven throughout her career that she is that woman.
Beginning in the district attorney’s office of Middlesex County, Martha has been a tireless advocate for working families, a lifelong defender of children’s rights and a national leader for civil rights. Since 2006, she has served as the attorney general of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where she has consistently led the nation on some of the most important issues.
In 2008, Wall Street crashed our economy and people across America were hurt, while the big banks that caused the crisis got bailed out. Martha decided to act, leading a national coalition of attorneys general to sue the big banks. Despite enormous opposition, she won, reclaiming more than $700 million for taxpayers and keeping 30,000 Massachusetts families in their homes.
Martha was the only attorney general to challenge the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law prohibiting same-sex marriage, leading to the law being struck down by the Supreme Court. Her work got federal recognition for the marriages of thousands of couples nationwide, and the rights and benefits that come from that.
Now, Martha is running for governor, seeking to promote opportunity, fairness and equality for all.
She will build an economy on our terms, not Wall Street’s, by fighting income inequality and leveling the playing field. She fought for an increase in the minimum wage, supports universal earned sick time and will invest in our workforce here in Massachusetts.
Martha knows that the key to any successful economy is a great public education system. She will improve every level of our schools, beginning with ensuring universal access to high quality early education. She will also improve higher education, expand vocational training and implement full-need financial aid at our community colleges.
Martha’s brother Edward suffered from depression and bipolar disorder before taking his own life when he was 33-years-old. Ever since then, Martha has worked hard to improve mental and behavioral healthcare in Massachusetts and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse.
Martha has been an advocate for women for her entire life, and will continue to act as such. She fought for reproductive rights in the Supreme Court, and she will continue her work of protecting survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. She is an advocate for equal pay, and finds it unacceptable that in 2014, women in Massachusetts only make 79 percent of what their male counterparts earn.
Unlike her opponent, Martha fully accepts the reality of climate change and recognizes that we need to take steps to reduce our carbon footprint. She will ensure that Massachusetts remains a leader in renewable energy and will make state government the model of energy efficiency for the rest of the country.
Massachusetts has made a lot of progress under the administration of Democrat Deval Patrick. We are one of the leading states for healthcare, education and clean energy, and have a strong economy for the 21st century. Martha’s opponent, Republican Charlie Baker, threatens to undo all of that progress.
As a cabinet secretary under a Republican Governor in the 1990s, Charlie Baker gutted public education by $100 million, making it the fourth least-funded education system in the country. He also oversaw the Big Dig, largely seen as one of the worst public works projects in modern history.
As a healthcare CEO, he cut over 2,000 jobs and won an Outsourcing Excellence Award. And as a venture capitalist, he is being investigated for a pay-to-play corruption scandal in New Jersey involving Governor Chris Christie and the New Jersey Republican Party.
Baker continues to support cutting the budgets of public schools, cutting aid for welfare recipients and opposes labor unions on multiple fronts. He supports tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and has a 94 percent approval rating from the National Rifle Association.
Tufts students have a direct stake in this election. Who we have in the governor’s office will determine whether or not there are enough jobs and houses for us here if we choose to take them when we graduate. It will determine how well we can access Boston and if the green line actually does get built up to Tufts. It will determine how safe our neighborhood is and how easily we can access affordable healthcare. And it will determine whether or not higher education is invested in and if student loans are readily available to us and our peers.
Above all, Tufts prides itself on its ambition for social change, a desire to fix the problems we see and to shape the world around us. While we often don’t realize it, our state and local governments have the potential to be our greatest allies in this effort. And in the governor’s office, we can have someone who works with us on the issues we care about, like alleviating poverty, promoting sustainability and advancing fair working conditions. Or we can have someone who will work against us on all of these goals.
We need an ally on our efforts and our ideals, not an adversary.
The choice is clear: the best man for this job is a woman, and her name is Martha Coakley.