In the contests for constitutional offices in Massachusetts, we like Mary Z. Connaughton for state auditor and William Galvin for secretary of state.
Connaughton, a Republican from Framingham, earned a well-deserved reputation as an advocate for reform when she served on the board of directors of the Turnpike Authority. That instinct will serve her well as state auditor.
Connaughton, as she likes to say in her campaign ads and literature, is the only candidate for auditor who actually is an auditor. Connaughton is a certified public accountant with experience as an audit senior manager at Ernst & Young, one of the world's leading accounting firms. She holds an MBA from Assumption College and is currently a partner in a business development firm.
Connaughton hopes to increase the profile of the auditor's office, expanding its role as a fiscal watch dog for the taxpayers, rooting out waste and excessive spending.
One proposal is particularly promising: Connaughton wants the auditor's office to provide an independent analysis of the costs and benefits of major legislation under consideration in the Legislature, in much the same way as the Congressional Budget Office does at the federal level.
That kind of review would help taxpayers determine if the starry-eyed promises of legislators are all they are cracked up to be.
Connaughton would also turn the scrutiny of the auditor's office on the Legislature itself, which currently is exempt from such review. Connaughton thinks that is wrong and so do we.
Connaughton's would place her own performance under review annually by the National Association of State Auditors. No area of government should be exempt from public scrutiny, she says.
For her commitment to transparency in government and innovative new ideas, Connaughton is the clear choice for state auditor.
William F. Galvin has been secretary of state in Massachusetts since 1995. In that time he has compiled an impressive record of accomplishment.
Under Galvin's tenure, the ranks of registered voters in Massachusetts have expanded to more than 4 million. Yet the state's elections have been well run and free of any proven claims of fraud. Remember the notorious punch cards that plagued the presidential election in Florida in 2000? Galvin had rid Massachusetts of them three years earlier.
Galvin has been a leader in the pursuit of investment fraud, and the various agencies under his purview (Elections Division, registries of deeds, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, etc.) are models in terms of customer friendliness.
His Republican and independent challengers, on the other hand, have conducted virtual stealth campaigns and have not earned the voters' consideration.