As part of our Election 2022 coverage we asked both candidates vying to be the Democratic nominee for the Massachusetts Governor’s Council 3rd District, which includes Burlington, to answer a set of questions for Candidate Profiles. The two candidates are incumbent Marilyn Petitto Devaney (D-Watertown) and challenger Mara Dolan (D-Concord).
Here are Mara Dolan’s responses:
1. Please start by just telling us a little about yourself – relevant work/education experience, why you’re interested in government work, family life, etc.
I have been a public defender for 15 years, working in our Superior, District, and Juvenile Courts in Lawrence, Springfield, and Worcester. I have supported myself since I first came to Massachusetts at the age of 18, without even a high school diploma. I got a GED, and got through college and law school as a single mother. I then started my own law practice, working as a public defender in Lawrence. I have never forgotten what it’s like to have to choose between putting food on the table and gas in the car, and I will always stand strong for workers and working families. I am the youngest of four children, and a mother of an extraordinary young woman who has blessed me with the world’s best son-in-law and a spectacular baby grandson!
2. What inspired you to run for a seat on the Governor’s Council?
As a public defender, I see the court system through the eyes of my clients. I know what they need to leave court or prison either better positioned to make their lives the way they want them to be, or with a steeper hill to climb. Our court system is on the front lines of the opiate crisis. We must make sure that all nominees understand the science of addiction and will work to support recovery. We must make sure all judicial nominees are pro-choice, as 1 in 4 minors who seeks an abortion in Massachusetts goes before a Superior Court judge for authorization. Finally, all nominees must be anti-racist, as the racial disparities in sentencing reflect continuing systemic racism in our judicial system.
3. Why do you feel you are the best candidate?
In the 23 years the incumbent has served, she has never done what I have done thousands of times: stand next to a defendant in a court of law as they face a judge. It is essential that we have a Governor’s Councilor who is working in our court system and understands the issues we face there, someone who can be an agent for progressive change. Additionally, we have never had a public defender on the Governor’s Council. It’s time to fix that.
4. What strengths do you feel you’d bring to the council?
My background, education, experience, and training give me the qualification needed to be an outstanding Governor’s Councilor: knowledge of the law and support for the rule of law, understanding of what makes a good judge, understanding of the people who go into our court system seeking justice, and effective advocacy.
5. Gov. Baker is not seeking reelection so the state will have a new governor. How do you think the council can best help with a successful transition and getting the new governor on a solid footing?
The Governor’s Council is designed to both counsel the Governor as well as provide a check on any nominations that would not best serve the people. As Governor’s Councilor, I will both provide input based on my background and experience, as well as thoroughly evaluate each nominee to be certain that they have all the qualifications they need to best serve the people if they are appointed.