I write this the weekend before my last week of my internship in the governor’s office. Although the internship is winding down, the State House has been very busy, especially the Governor’s Council, which I have been working for this summer. The political environment in the state house has been pretty contentious lately, especially regarding the judicial branch of the Massachusetts government. As a result of a couple of tragedies that have occurred in the state this summer, where repeat law breakers have murdered a couple police officers and other innocent people in the state, many outraged people have questioned why judges in the state have failed to keep violent criminals in jail instead of out on bail or parole. Because the Governor’s Council is group of elected councilors who review and make decisions on the judicial appointments made by the governor, the councilors have come under fire a bit as well because they gave jobs to the judges that have been causing problems. As a result, the hearings that have been occurring lately for recent appointees have been long and very thorough. Some of the main issues that the councilors have been grilling appointees lately on are the ones relating to public safety- maximum and minimum sentences, bail hearings, second amendment issues, ect.
Usually after the council holds its hearings on Wednesdays, Lieutenant Governor Polito chairs an official meeting of the council, where they formally vote on appointees, but last Wednesday, instead of the Lt. Governor chairing the meeting, Governor Baker took her place and was the head of the meeting. Although I have seen him in passing many times as I spend a good amount of time in his office, (Council meetings and hearings occur in his section of the state house, and actually occur in the room next door to his office. ) it was cool to see the most powerful Massachusetts government official, Mr. Baker, at work. The parents of a slain police Sean Gannon officer from Yarmouth, who was shot and killed by a man who was already on probation for previous crimes and was wanted for violation of these probationary terms for owning an unregistered firearm, addressed the council and Governor Baker as well on Wednesday, imploring them to put more thought into who they appoint to be a judge, as they have a hand in keeping violent criminals off of the streets. This tragedy occurred last April, and was very sad, but very important, to hear the words of his parents regarding the responsibility the Councilors have to promote public safety by appointing well qualified judges who recognize their role in creating a safe state for Massachusetts residents.
Next Monday, the Governor is meeting with us interns for an hour to answer some of our questions and tell us a little bit about what being the Governor of Massachusetts is like, so stay tuned!