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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Initial Attorney General Debate

This year’s Attorney General debate is a hotly contested and controversial election. Republican Cape Cod native, James McMahon, is challenging incumbent Democrat, Maura Healy. Healy has held the seat since 2015, and her challenger stands in staunch opposition to many of the actions she has taken while in office. The position of Attorney General stands to appoint someone to be the chief law enforcement officer of each state. The Attorney General prosecutes those who violate state law. Following the official endorsement of the Massachusetts GOP at the MAGOP State Convention and winning the primary against patent lawyer, Dan Shoes, with 61 percent of the votes in the primary, McMahon plans to oust Healy in this year’s Attorney General debate.
Their first debate was held on Oct. 3 and was hosted by WGBH. During the debate, the candidates exchanged some harsh words. The 30-minute debate is on YouTube, but there are several key moments to be mentioned.
When discussing the Trump administration’s travel ban, around eight minutes into the debate, McMahon said, “I think by Maura Healy going in and doing what she did with respect to the travel ban was against our public safety interest.” A few minutes later, when Healy was asked if she would make Massachusetts a “sanctuary state.” Healy calmly responded saying, “No, that’s not my call, I’m the Attorney General. My job is to enforce the law.” Throughout the debate, there were several defining moments in the way the candidates interacted with each other.
Throughout the event, there were staunch differences in their overall demeanor and body language. In the debate, Healy held an upright posture, while much of the time McMahon was slightly slouched. Furthermore, Healy was quite soft spoken and was rarely agitated. McMahon would occasionally attack Healy’s stances with a somewhat condescending tone. These contrasts in body language were evident throughout the debate.
Surprisingly, while Healy and McMahon are in staunch disagreement in matters regarding the rights of transgender individuals, women’s reproductive health, and gun rights, they both see the opioid epidemic as the most important issue facing our state at this time. In an interview with the Boston Globe, when asked what the most pressing issue facing the Commonwealth, McMahon said. “The opioid crisis [. . .] I would seek to reshape how the state prosecutes and punishes offenders.” When asked a similar question, Healy replied similarly, “Responding to the opioid epidemic will continue to be my top priority.”
Generally speaking, the office of Attorney General avoids discussing matters of partisanship but rather focuses on enforcing legislation that is passed. McMahon has repeatedly criticized Healy for her stance against Trump as well as her attempts to sue the Trump administration for supposedly unconstitutional legislation.
Throughout the first Massachusetts Attorney General debate, each candidate did an adequate job exposing themselves to the Massachusetts voting base. The second debate on Oct. 24, 2018 was hosted by the University of Massachusetts Boston’s McCormack Graduate School. Before the Oct. 24 debate, both candidates only agree that the opioid epidemic is a key issue that they will combat. Other than that, in regard to gun laws, sanctuary cities, and the Trump administration, the candidates stand in staunch opposition.

About the Contributor
Matthew Reiad, Opinions Editor