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Diana DiZoglio is a fearless lawmaker who would be a fearless auditor

The Democrat from Methuen has a reputation for calling out political leaders on a variety of issues.

State Auditor candidate Diana DiZoglio advocated for new teacher contracts and equitable pay for educators in Malden and Haverhill outside of Haverhill City Hall on Oct. 15.Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe

State Senator Diana DiZoglio already has a documented track record for independence. That’s why she would be a good state auditor.

To me, it’s as simple as that.

The Democrat from Methuen has a reputation for calling out the leaders of her own party on a variety of issues, most notably for the use of nondisclosure agreements to cover up allegations of sexual harassment. She has also protested the lack of time lawmakers are given to read bills and the lack of transparency about how bills move through the Legislature. While other Beacon Hill Democrats tiptoed around Governor Charlie Baker, DiZoglio demanded more details about a deficit in a fund that pays out jobless benefits; sought more answers from Baker concerning the deaths of at least 77 veterans from COVID-19 at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home; and called for more scrutiny of the state Department of Children and Families after it failed to identify abuse and neglect of a child who ultimately died.

It doesn’t make her popular. Instead, it makes her “absolutely fearless,” as state Senator Lydia Edwards said in a TV ad for her.


Meanwhile, DiZoglio’s opponent, Republican Anthony Amore, has no public record for transparency or independence. As head of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for the past 17 years, he’s an expert at keeping investigative secrets, not revealing them. He says he knows who stole 13 pieces of precious art from the museum back in 1990, but like the FBI, won’t disclose the identity. He also voted for Donald Trump in 2020 — after the country knew exactly what Trump stood for. He now says he has buyer’s remorse. He’s backed by Baker, who is supposedly motivated by his desire to keep one statewide office in Republican hands. Yet how much is Baker also motivated by his desire to keep DiZoglio out of the auditor’s office, since she’s promising to audit the agencies over which he presided for eight years?


DiZoglio’s ties to labor unions have also been raised as an issue of concern in this race. Yes, she promised the Massachusetts Teachers Association, “As auditor I will use all the powers at my disposal to ensure that the charter school industry in Massachusetts is held accountable to taxpayers.” What’s so terrible about that? She also said she voted yes in a committee vote on a compromise education bill in 2014 that would have raised — not lifted — the cap on charter schools. Doing that meant resisting the MTA. More recently, when the MTA-backed Student Opportunity Act was being debated in 2019, DiZoglio said she pushed back against the funding formula, which was ultimately readjusted. While she said she’s proud to have MTA support, it “has not been earned by rubber-stamping proposals, it’s been earned by demonstrating a willingness as a community leader to respectfully engage during the process and ensure they always have a seat at the table where decisions are being made. That’s all they’ve ever asked for.”

DiZoglio has also faced questions about her long-ago involvement with a conservative Alabama church that had an anti-gay agenda. DiZoglio, who often talks about the challenges of being raised by a single mother, acknowledges that she worked as a youth counselor in the church but said she left it as a young adult.


As reported by CommonWealth Magazine, a political action committee with ties to Baker has now gone on the attack against her because of those childhood church ties. Such an attack seems desperate, given that as a candidate for auditor, DiZoglio has been endorsed by the LGBTQ civil rights group MassEquality, whose executive, Tanya Neslusan, told me: “She has been an ally in the Legislature and I can’t say the same about Anthony Amore.” If he cared about LGBTQ issues, Neslusan added, “he would be speaking out against the transphobic members of his own party” — a reference to Rayla Campbell, the Republican candidate for secretary of state with an anti-LBGTQ platform, who in June interrupted a drag queen story hour at a public library.

While Amore stands to benefit from that attack ad against DiZoglio, he bridles over questions concerning his divorce, something he told WCVB’s “On the Record” is “an unfortunate matter” that happened “13 years ago.” However, according to a NBC10 Boston news report, documents relating to it included a temporary restraining order, the confiscation of his firearm, and allegations of verbal and emotional abuse. Amore denies all the allegations. Yet his daughter, Gabriela Amore, 25, told the Globe, “There is nothing in the affidavit that is false or in any way an elaboration or misrepresentation of what was happening in my home.”

DiZoglio is the candidate with a track record for being fearless and honest about her past — and fearlessness and honesty are qualities voters should want in a state auditor.


Joan Vennochi is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at Follow her @joan_vennochi.