Democratic Candidates for Massachusetts State Auditor Media Forum Recap

(While we had hoped to provide video coverage of this event, technical difficulties beyond our control have prevented us from making this available in advance of the primary.  We will add it to our YouTube archive for posterity sake, but are pleased to provide the following recap and resources to help you decide who you want to vote for in the Democratic Primary for State Auditor)

Opting not to endorse in the Democratic Primary race for state auditor, the Young Democrats of Massachusetts hosted an informational Media Forum with the Candidates for Auditor.  Of all of the races, the Democratic primary for auditor presents three distinct choices for voters, and with a recent State House News poll having Suzanne Bump leading Guy Glodis by only 2 points and Mike Lake by only 6, and 54% of the electorate still up in the air, it’s critical that YDM members – and all Massachusetts voters – go to the polls informed, talk to their friends, and then bring them to the polls too!

According to Jonathan Sclarsic, chair of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts, "YDM did not endorse in the Massachusetts Auditor race because there was more than one candidate who we felt represented our values, and so that we could focus our energy and resources in other targeted races."

While all of the candidates confirmed their participation, we were only joined by Suzanne Bump and Mike Lake.  While Bump and Lake have different backgrounds that will shape the type of auditor they would be, both have a messages of making government work better.  This message is one that resonates with the majority of voters – particularly young voters – as the Center for American Progress found 63% of Americans want improved efficiencies in the Federal government, while only 36% want government to do less.

According to live-blogging coverage from Shaun Sutner at the Worcester T&G, the only candidate not to attend, Guy Glodis phoned in saying "’there’s a situation’ at the Worcester County jail."  In follow-up, live coverage from Blue Mass Group notes that "Glodis says there was no emergency at the Worcester jail…" but that he was unable to attend due to other commitments.

There was a lot of detailed coverage that we encourage you to review, but here are some excerpts from the live coverage that helps highlight the differences in the candidates who attended:

Opening Remarks

Suzanne Bump

  • BMG: "One reason for running: Passion for making govt work. Was state rep & Gov Patrick’s Sec. of Labor. 14 yrs as atty for non-profits. Only candidate with state gov and biz experience. Endorsed by Globe, Salem Eve News, [bunch of the Tabs]. Office can make govt work better. Get value for every tax $ that’s spent"
  • Worcester T&G: "Bump says she has a passion for making government work. That;s why she’s running. Touts her management of 1,500 employees as labor secretary. Bump is talking about her dual experience in government and the private business world.  ‘That’s what I want to do as state auditor: follow the money.’

Mike Lake

  • BMG: "Lake is Exec Dir of the World Class Cities Partnership @ Northeastern. Still doing the job while a candidate. Lake didn’t ask for a leave of absence from NEU.  Auditor’s office can save tax dollars. Appted by Prez Clinton to manage day-to-day ops in WH. Was assoc. bank examiner, now ED of WCCP (see above). Auditor’s ofc can be more pro-active: Work in partnership w/ managers today — innovation. Families are struggling every day. People of MA need to have better govt. Need auditor to uphold integrity of state govt. "
  • Worcester T&G: "Lake says, and I didn’t know this, that he hasn’t taken a leave of absence from his job as executive director of World Class Cities Partnership of Northeastern University. He came here from his day job, amazingly.  Says the auditor can do more than anyone else to save the state money. Wants to bring greater efficiency to state government.  Lake says he wants to use best practices, wants to move auditor’s office into 21st century."

 

What will you do that impacts people who are 35 and under?

Suzanne Bump via BMG: "Starting generally … Auditor deals w/ $ spent on behalf of all people. Appropriate access to services. Also make info about govt more accessible: aid understanding and involvement of citizens in govt. We have a crisis of faith in all levels of gov’t — esp. federal, but state too. Want to make office vehicle for greater accountability and transparency. My goal is broad and inclusive of all ages and demographic groups."

Mike Lake via BMG: "I still qualify as a young dem. Economists say that by 2027, 90% of state revs will be spent on health care and pensions. We need someone looking beyond the next election cycle, 20 30 50 years into the future."

 

How can you best show the public that the next Auditor should be a Democrat and that you’re the best Democrat for the job?

Suzanne Bump

  • BMG: "I’m a committed Dem: I want govt to work; needs to be more accountable and transparent. Govt does have duplicative and costly bureaucracies. We’re wasting millions on health care. I have record of reforming agencies, which no one else has, R or D"
  • Worcester T&G: "Bump says she’s going to maintain her belief in state government, even when running against a GOP candidate."

Mike Lake

  • BMG: "Every $ we can save is a $ we can invest in other things — health care, schools, etc. Repub candidate will say a D will be the fox guarding the henhouse. But she’s got more connection w/ state govt than I do. Herald says I’ve got independence. I had 5 majors in college. I’m the only Dem who can win."
  • Worcester T&G:  "Lake says he is a proud Democrat. … Lake is now saying he’s more independent than Connaughton and touts his Boston Herald endorsement."

 

How can Auditor increase access to affordable education?

Suzanne Bump:

  • BMG: "State universities/colleges are part of state, they are audited. The power of auditor’s office is in the audit — necessarily backward-looking."
  • Worcester T&G: "Universities have to have accountability for delivery of services the same as other institutions. The power of the office of auditor is auditing, patterns of spending, you have to look backwards. "

Mike Lake:

  • BMG: "Must address energy costs for public universities; drives up tuition — and fees. Diff btwn Bump and me: Audits are backward-looking, true. We do performance auditing, IT auditing. They are reactive. We should do best practices, performance auditing; monitoring of all state agencies."
  • Worcester T&G: "he would look at the state’s energy costs. He says that energy costs are also big for higher ed. He maintains that financial audits are a "reactive tool." Wants to be more proactive, do performance management."

 

What’ the single biggest impact of state auditor’s office?

Suzanne Bump via BMG: "Health care: We are wasting millions — $74 million in health care frictional costs of unemployment and health care safety net adminstration and transfers, according to IGs. Not just a matter of going after hospitals — going after admin bureaucracies. We’re not achieving economies of scale if we could keep people in the same plans."

Mike Lake via BMG: "Health care is 1/3 of state budget. [that’s it, pretty much.]"

 

What sets the candidates apart?

Suzanne Bump

  • Quote from BMG: "My endorsements are many and varied; newspapers, civic groups, Barney Frank, etc. Only candidate that will be able to deliver — look at what I’ve been able to do in the past."
  • Impressions from Worcester T&G: "Bump – experienced, authoritative, steady."

Mike Lake

  • Quote from BMG: "Herald endorsement point to my educational achievements and independence."
  • Impressions from Worcester T&G: "Lake – fiery, young, creative, more combustible."

 

Closing remarks

Suzanne Bump via Worcester T&G: "Bump says one of her biggest legislative achievements was reforming the worker’s comp system.  Says she "ruffled a lot of feathers doing that," including the feathers of the insurance industry and the lawyer lobby. In fact, she blames her loss in a state rep years ago to backlash from lawyers over that. "

Mike Lake via Worcester T&G: "Lake sums up: we need a state auditor who stands on the side of taxpayers. He says his two opponents have spent the last few weeks "squabbling over who is the least ethical." Clearly Lake is after the moderate, young voter."

 

We should also note that things got a bit heated to the point that Saunter noted the candidates seemed to want "to tear each other’s heads" while discussing independence when Mike Lake went on the attack claiming that "Bump and Glodis have conflicts of interest because of their ties to special interests" and proclaimed that "he is the only auditor candidate to denounce Auditor Joe DeNucci’s five percent pay raises to employees on his way out the door." 

According to the Worcester T&G, "Bump notes that her position is the same as likely GOP auditor nominee Mary Connaughton’s position, She calls Lake’s position ‘political posturing and pandering.’"  According to BMG, she also claimed that Lake lacks the necessary management experience to do the job of Auditor.

As you can tell from BMG’s poll on who’s best qualified to be auditor during the live coverage where Bump and Lake each earned 46%, both have a vision for making stage government work better through accountability and transparency, and both bring their own unique background and ideas as to how that will be accomplished.  And as Sautner noted about Glodis’s absence in his live coverage, "This is a forum for everyone to watch or read about. It’s a shame that he’s not here."

No matter who you’re supporting, make sure you get to your polling place on Tuesday, Sept. 14 between 7 AM and 8 PM.

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