Exciting news, friends!
I, too, would like to be your next lieutenant governor!
Granted, I don’t have much in the way of qualifications for that lofty perch. But so many people have set their sights on the job at this point that I’m feeling quite left out. It’s not running that feels like the desperate attention-grab these days.
I will concede that some of my opponents are pretty impressive: On Tuesday, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll made her candidacy official, promising to bring her municipal know-how and her just-get-it-done approach to solving the whole state’s problems. Longmeadow Senator, rail advocate, and former Obama administration staffer Eric Lesser also recently announced he’s in. As have Pittsfield Senator Adam Hinds, Acton Representative Tami Gouveia, and businessman Bret Bero. A passel of other local politicians and bureaucrats are also flirting with running.
And then there’s me. As it is for the others, playing second fiddle to a chief executive with the sole power to make me useful, irrelevant, or a punchline is my life’s greatest ambition. I have always dreamed of standing supportively beside the person in charge of everything! I long to chair the weekly meetings of the Governor’s Council, the august and colorful body that approves judicial appointments and occasionally invites ridicule. The prospect of making chicken-dinner small-talk in every single one of the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns gives me life. And I don’t want to brag, but I know my way around a pair of oversized scissors.
This absolutely spectacular job, a springboard to nowhere, is everything I have been working toward all these years. For me and the others, it has to be, because so few of the dinosaurs — distinguished veterans, I meant to say — clinging to their offices in this state will budge. There’s so much pent-up political ambition here they could put it offshore to generate clean power.
The great John Nance Garner, who, as every fifth-grader knows, was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first number two, once compared being vice president — unfavorably — to a pitcher of warm, er, bodily fluid. With all due respect to the man we all call “Cactus Jack,” I beg to differ. There is greatness in proximity to greatness! There’s also the chance my boss might be tapped for an ambassadorship or a Cabinet post, which would make me deliriously happy — for her, obviously.
Speaking of which, I don’t yet know who among the women vying to become the Democratic nominee for governor will be my running mate. The primary voters get to decide that, and when they do, it’ll be a lovely surprise for both of us. The favorite for the top job, Attorney General Maura Healey, hasn’t even declared her candidacy. But I know that she and I would be absolute besties. As would Harvard professor Danielle Allen and I, and Senator Sonia Chang Díaz and I. I don’t know them very well, but I can already tell you, we agree on absolutely everything.
I have my own platform, of course: I’m for hiking taxes on the super rich, making public transit great and free, treating those in prisons and jails like actual human beings, and preserving the state’s gorgeous brutalist architecture at Boston City Hall and elsewhere. Don’t like it? No problem! I can’t make any of it happen.
And, unlike my most impressive opponents, I am definitely not better than the job I seek. So you needn’t fret about my wasted potential, were you so inclined.
Still, Driscoll, who to my eye has been an excellent and thoughtful mayor in Salem for the last 15-plus years, is “pretty pumped” about this race and confident she’ll be able to make a difference if she’s elected.
“There is only one governor, with plenty of work to do, and I think I could be an asset,” she said. She sees the number two job as a way to continue her work but go bigger.
It all seems unlikely, but these are unprecedented times in which governors really do need all the help they can get. And stranger things have happened: Remember when the Boston City Council was a dead end?
Maybe Driscoll and my other rivals are on to something. Maybe this is everyone’s dream job. Well, they’ll have to get past me first.