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letters | gubernatorial hopefuls and the transparency test

Questionnaires’ confidentiality is sensible, not sinister

While Massachusetts voters look for any sign of the warmer weather, what a pleasant surprise it was to open the Globe recently and find that the unofficial start of campaign season — Scot Lehigh’s usual screed against so-called secretive candidate questionnaires — had come early this year (“Baker, Kayyem lead pack on transparency,” Op-ed, Jan. 22). Let’s hope the weather follows suit.

Many candidates for office prefer that questionnaires such as those used by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO do not end up in the public realm, not because of any sinister promises contained within, but because it is easy for political opponents to take just part of a written response from its original context and use it for negative campaign fodder.

We have no interest in letting our questionnaires be used against candidates who choose to fill them out, or to turn them into a vehicle for public grandstanding from candidates who have no genuine interest in gaining our endorsement.

Why doesn’t the Boston Globe editorial board, of which Lehigh is a member, make video or a transcript of its candidate interviews available to the public? I would guess that Lehigh and the rest of the board want candidates to engage in meaningful discussion on a range of issues without worrying about how a snippet of the conversation, removed from context, might sound in a negative ad.


Steven A. Tolman
Massachusetts AFL-CIO