Joan Vennochi is an opinion columnist and associate editor. She writes about local and national politics, transportation, health care, cultural and legal issues. Mostly, she tries to get people to shed their preconceived notions, and at least for the amount of time it takes to read a column, consider alternative perspectives. For example: Is there only one way to think and talk about racism? Should Massachusetts walk away from a state law that requires it to provide shelter to the most vulnerable, including migrants? Is it really such an insult to address women as “Ladies”? How much do ego and economic interests drive resistance to a proposed partnership between two big Boston hospitals? Before joining the opinion page, she created a business column that explored the intersection of business and politics, and worked to pull back the curtain on the political machinations behind efforts such as bringing casino gambling to Massachusetts. She started at The Globe as a researcher on the Globe Spotlight team, where she learned the tools of investigative reporting from two legendary Globe editors, Gerry O’Neill and Steve Kurkjian. In 1980, she shared in a Pulitzer Prize for local investigative reporting, won by the Spotlight team for a series of articles on Boston’s transit system. Since then, she has been City Hall and State House bureau chief and has written about presidential politics and covered national political conventions since 1984. She also serves on the Globe editorial board and writes editorials. In addition, she provides commentary to local media outlets including Boston’s NPR affiliate WBUR and has been a frequent guest on ‘GBH’s “Greater Boston'' news show. She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., grew up on Long Island and is a graduate of Boston University and Suffolk University Law School.