Primary guide: Attorney General
Here’s a look at the candidates on the Sept. 4 primary ballot, with biographies reported and compiled by Globe staff and correspondents. Candidates have also filled out a brief survey at our request.
The state’s top law enforcement official and chief lawyer.
Healey, 47, was elected as the state’s Attorney General in 2014 — her first time running for office.
Prior to that, Healey spent seven years working in the attorney general’s office as chief of the Civil Rights Division, chief of the Public Protection Bureau, and chief of Business and Labor. Since the 2016 election, she has repeatedly challenged in court the Trump administration’s more controversial policies, including the travel ban on some predominantly Muslim countries and the separation of immigrant families who crossed the border. Healey, who lives in Charlestown, was the first openly gay attorney general in the US.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in your first term?* We’ve taken our office more directly into neighborhoods, bringing our services and assistance to tens of thousands of residents across Massachusetts while continuing to be a revenue generator, bringing over $800 million for hardworking taxpayers last year alone.
If re-elected, what are your top two priorities for your second term? Responding to the opioid epidemic will continue to be my top priority. I’ll continue to fight for those who are dealing with student loan debt, rising health care costs, energy bills, sub-prime auto loans, and wage theft to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at the American Dream.
Looking back on your first term, is there anything you would do differently? Or is there something you wish you would have known ? It would have been helpful to know that two years into my term the federal government was going to turn its back on nearly every responsibility and partnership my office relies on. Fortunately, Mass. residents are coming forward, stepping up and leading on the issues. That work will continue.
What do you tell people who are visiting Charlestown for the first time, and what do you recommend they do there? Climb the Monument, visit Old Ironsides, grab a coffee at Zume’s or a burger at the Warren Tavern and spend time sitting on a bench at Training Field.
James R. McMahon III
McMahon, of Bourne, is an attorney who, according to his campaign website, served in the Mass. Army National Guard and who says he has been a trial lawyer in the state since 1988. He describes himself as a lifelong resident of Cape Cod who lost his oldest son to opiate addiction. He won the state Republican Party’s endorsement in April.
What’s the most pressing issue facing the Commonwealth, and how, as attorney general, would you seek to address it?* The opioid crisis. Ever since my son Joel became a casualty, after serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work to make sure other young adults wouldn’t see their futures dashed. I would seek to reshape how the state prosecutes and punishes offenders.
What are the top two ways you differ from your opponent? Personal and professional experience as a lawyer for more than 30 years, and the father of four. Unlike my opponent, I have served [as an attorney] in every level of our state court system and have a unique understanding of key differences that exist in our judicial system. Why? Because I’ve successfully been there, done that.
Grade President Trump on his job performance thus far. Please use the A-to-F scale and, if you prefer, include a short explanation. B+... Impressed by President Trump’s actions to rebuild the economy, Justice Neil Gorsuch confirmation, and efforts to combat illegal immigration.
What’s the best clam shack in the state, and why? The Clam Shack! Best for many reasons, but love the fact that it’s a family run small business and only open a few months a year. Oh, and the views!
Daniel L. Shores
Shores spent much of his legal career as a litigator in Washington D.C., working on intellectual property and business cases. While in D.C., he was a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association, according to his website. Shores, who was born and raised on the South Shore, moved back to Massachusetts and ran for the Ninth Congressional District in 2013, but he placed third in the four-way primary race. Since then, Shores has been practicing in Boston at his own firm and lives in Hingham.
What’s the most pressing issue facing the Commonwealth, and how, as attorney general, would you seek to address it? Without question, the opioid epidemic. As AG, I would direct the resources of the office away from compulsively suing the White House like the incumbent, and instead toward educating our children to prevent addiction, helping those who suffer from it, and cracking down on major drug traffickers.
What are the top two ways you differ from your opponent? I will remove politics from the office and restore the law. My primary opponent is obsessed with politics and does not share my reform agenda. I have big law litigation experience and public administration experience. My opponent is a career solo practitioner with no public admin experience.
Grade President Trump on his job performance thus far. Please use the A-to-F scale and, if you prefer, include a short explanation. B+. The economy and (so far) North Korea are solid accomplishments. Lots of work to do in bringing our great country together.
What’s the best clam shack in the state, and why? My wife, Lindsay, and I now live in Hingham, but we do love certain spots on the Cape. Does delectable sushi count? Inaho Rt. 6A in Yarmouth Port!
Read more from the Globe about this race and its candidates:
The Globe’s primary guide was written by Globe correspondents Matt Stout, Marek Mazurek, Sophia Eppolito, and Jamie Halper, as well as Joshua Miller, Maria Cramer, Michael Levenson, Milton J. Valencia and Stephanie Ebbert of the Globe staff.
It was compiled and edited by Shira Center, and produced by Christina Prignano.