At 44, Juliette Kayyem is a Gen-Xer amid four Democratic gubernatorial baby boomers whose ages range from 60 to 68 — but that’s not the only reason she stands out. A first-time candidate impatient with political pieties, she is a big, lively personality, someone who generally conveys a sense of (comparatively) calculation-free candor.
That style is refreshing in a field where, when tough questions loom, the leading candidates often use verbiage the way an octopus does ink. During last week’s Globe Opinion debate, for example, Steve Grossman ducked and dodged when asked whether an initiative to repeal casino gambling should be on the November ballot, finally saying he’d leave the issue to the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.
Not Kayyem. “I actually have an opinion,” she said, a not-so-subtle barb at her circumlocutory rival, “which is that it should be on the ballot.” If it is, she added, she would vote to keep the law.
When the discussion moved to the Common Core and whether Massachusetts should stay in the cross-country curriculum, most of the candidates voiced union-courting catch-phrase concerns about “too much testing” and “teaching to the test” and averred that their priority was supporting and investing more in teachers.
Kayyem, by contrast, offered some cant-clearing candor.
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