LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR DEBATE
Healey faults Gabrieli for his business moves
By Corey Dade, Globe Staff, 10/26/2002
In the first debate among all five candidates for lieutenant governor yesterday,
Republican Kerry Healey for the first time criticized Democrat Chris Gabrieli's
past business dealings.
Healey was responding to Gabrieli's attack on her gubernatorial running mate,
Mitt Romney, for his involvement in Damon Corp., a firm that pleaded guilty to
defrauding Medicare. Healey pointed to a report in the Telegram & Gazette
newspaper of Worcester about the fall of a clothing store chain, which went
bankrupt after Gabrieli's former firm failed
to expand the business.
''Chris, there isn't a dime of difference between Mitt Romney's career in
business and your own. You have your own business failures that have been spoken
about in the papers this week,'' said Healey, adding that the Worcester-based
store, Maurice the Pants Man, was ''driven into the ground'' after Bessemer
Venture Partners, of which Gabrieli was a general partner, and two other
companies bought it. ''Some businesses succeed, some businesses don't.''
The remarks came in a wide-ranging debate that touched on the MCAS, the budget
crisis, and bilingual education.
Coming a day after a raucous debate of the candidates for governor, the running
mates stuck mostly to issues already defined by the gubernatorial campaigns. But
it was one of the first times in a public forum that Gabrieli came under direct
fire for his record as a businessman.
After the debate, Gabrieli defended his record, saying he only made money if
companies he invested in succeeded, as opposed to Romney, whom he characterized
as a corporate raider who profited from downsizing businesses through layoffs.
The presence of third-party candidates - Tony Lorenzen of the Green Party,
Richard Aucoin of the Libertarian Party, and independent Joe Schebel - tempered
bickering between Healey and Gabrieli.
At some moments when it appeared Gabrieli and Healey were baiting each, Lorenzen
interrupted. In one instance, sparked by statements by Gabrieli, Lorenzen
insisted moderator Joe Short- sleeve not indulge the repartee.
''The first thing an administration coming in has to do is be honest and ...
Mitt Romney and Kerry Healey, I think, get the prize'' on disingenuousness with
their answers, Gabrieli said. ''They won't sign a no new taxes pledge, but they
best reason to vote for them is that they won't raise taxes.''
Gabrieli continued by casting doubt on Romney's proposed budget cuts. When he
finished, Short- sleeve, a WBZ-TV anchor, tried to bypass Lorenzen, who was to
speak next, in order to let Healey respond. Lorenzen objected, viewing it as an
attempt to encourage another spat between the major-party candidates.
''Excuse me, but the point here is to stay in order. This is not a debate
between two candidates,'' he protested. ''Let us stay with the order.''
Lorenzen, a religion and ethics teacher at Cathedral High School in the South
End and the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein, argued against
the Unz initiative, Question 2 on the ballot that would replace bilingual
English immersion. He said the state should consider a blend of both ideas to
allow older students to remain in bilingual classes and place the youngest
students, who are thought to learn English faster, in immersion courses.
''In California, people in immersion programs are leaving immersion programs at
the rate of 10 percent a year. Already in Massachusetts, our bilingual programs
are moving people out at 25 percent a year,'' he said. ''We're already doing
better than what the ballot quesiton wants us to do.''
Aucion, of Waltham, the running mate of Carla Howell, railed against big
government and pushed for the passage of Question 1 to eliminate the state
income tax, echoing Howell's mantra. Abolishing the tax would leave ''$3,000 in
pocket on average in Massachusetts and will create 300,000 to 500,000
desperately needed new jobs in our state,'' Aucion said.
Schebel, a carpenter in Agawam who is running with gubernatorial candidate
Barbara Johnson, advocates increasing rights of fathers and grandparents in
child custody cases. ''The courts are set to continue to have parents fight at
each other,'' he said. ''It is time now that the Commonwealth adopt select,
The debate was taped at WBZ-TV (Channel 4) studios and will air today at noon.
Corey Dade can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story ran on page B4 of the Boston Globe on 10/26/2002. © Copyright 2002
Globe Newspaper Company.