Leland Cheung to run for state’s 2d office, aides say
Cambridge city councilor Leland Cheung is planning to announce a bid for lieutenant governor, advisers said Tuesday.
Cheung said he was “exploring the idea,” and planning to invest six figures in his campaign.
“I think I have an opportunity to help the Democratic Party ticket in November,” he said. “If I do it, I’m going to do whatever I have to do to help the Democratic Party ticket.”
Cheung, a former venture capitalist and the first Asian-American elected to the City Council in Cambridge, would become the third candidate for the state’s second-ranking government position. Cheung worked for Cambridge-based Masthead Venture Partners from 2005 until 2008, he said.
He explored a career in “clean technology,” but became enamored of politics, he said.
The state’s most recent lieutenant governor, Timothy P. Murray, resigned in June, leaving the post vacant.
Stephen Kerrigan, a former Democratic National Committee official, and former United Way executive Michael Lake have previously announced their intention to run.
Advisers to Cheung said they had spoken with top aides to Democratic candidates for governor about the possibility of teaming Cheung with their candidates.
“There is a need on the Democratic ticket for someone who is forward thinking with real-world experience who can help our party win in November,” Cheung said in a statement. “I have talked it over with my wife Yin, and I will be making my decision in the next few weeks.”
Cheung has scored the highest vote total during the past two elections in Cambridge. He has degrees from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and MIT’s Sloan School of Management and has served on the executive committee of the state Democratic Party.
Former Boston city councilor and mayoral candidate Michael Ross said he got to know Cheung while organizing joint council meetings between the two cities and agreed with him on job growth and economic development policies.
“He and I see eye to eye in those areas,” Ross said. “I think he’s a probusiness Democrat, a probusiness progressive.”
A Cheung adviser said the councilor would probably formalize his bid by the end of the month.
According to his campaign website, Cheung “can be seen commuting around Cambridge on a homemade electric scooter.”
Kayyem acknowledges marijuana use as youth
Juliette Kayyem is not afraid to admit it.
She smoked marijuana.
“I had smoked pot in my teenage years,” she said, recalling how her parents grounded her for a month after she admitted using the drug. “To be honest, I don’t remember the details of how many times. It was a few.”
The Democratic candidate for governor, a former state and federal homeland security official, is using the frank acknowledgment to push her plan for criminal justice reform.
“Society has changed, and we need to make our corrections and prisons and criminal justice system change with it,” she said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Kayyem, 44, said the state’s criminal justice system and the trajectory of spending on prisons is at odds with the core values of Massachusetts, which she called “a progressive and forgiving state.”
Kayyem ticked off three priorities on changing the state’s criminal justice system: overhauling sentencing laws to “put fewer people into jail for nonviolent crimes”; get more people into drug courts and veterans courts; and boost “comprehensive support services” for people who get out of prison to increase reintegration and reduce recidivism.
Citing her time in counterterrorism positions, she said that “no one can accuse me of being soft on crime.” But, Kayyem insisted, reforming the system, with a particular focus on nonviolent offenders, is extremely important.
Pressed for the specifics of her marijuana use as a youth, the Cambridge Democrat let out a laugh and declared that she had already said plenty.
But, Kayyem added, chuckling, she would admit to a few other things while she was at it: “I’ve also jaywalked, sped, and lied about my age.”
Kayyem first spoke about her marijuana use on Boston Herald Radio.
The Globe reported Monday that advocates are pushing to legalize the drug in Massachusetts through a 2016 ballot initiative.
Currently, Kayyem faces four other Democrats vying for the party’s nomination. They are: Attorney General Martha Coakley, Treasurer Steven Grossman, former Obama administration health care official Donald M. Berwick, and Joseph C. Avellone, an executive at a biopharmaceutical research firm.
On the Republican side, the current candidates are Charlie Baker, the 2010 GOP nominee, and Mark R. Fisher, a political novice from Shrewsbury.
Two independent candidates have also launched bids for governor: Evan Falchuk, an attorney and former business executive; and evangelical christian pastor Scott Lively. Venture capital investor Jeffrey S. McCormick, an independent, is seriously considering a run, as well.