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Mass. State Auditor Bump backs Dempsey over DiZoglio to replace her in Democratic primary

A white woman with glasses stands behind a podium smiling

Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne Bump has endorsed Chris Dempsey in the Democratic primary race to succeed her.

Bump, a Democrat, is stepping aside after three terms.

“The role of the auditor is to be an objective analyst of how well government is performing, financially and terms of government service, and the right skill set, the right mindset, the right value set are really important in selecting the next auditor," she told WAMC. "They have to be able to approach on their work objectively.”

As state Democrats gear up for their convention the weekend of June 3rd, Bump is throwing her support behind Dempsey in his race against State Senator Diana DiZoglio.

“Chris Dempsey brings to the office the right skill set, having worked both in policy and in the executive branch of government, the right mindset, maintaining the objectivity and the integrity of the office, and the right value set, understanding that this is a position that is supposed to improve state government for the taxpayers and for people who depend on its services,” said Bump.

“I'm running as the son of public school teachers, and I saw my parents digging into their own pockets to pay for school supplies for their students, as we know public school teachers across the commonwealth do to this day. But I've also worked inside of state government as the assistant secretary of transportation for Governor Deval Patrick, and outside of state government, as the co-founder of the grassroots group No Boston Olympics, which stood up to protect taxpayers statewide, including those in the Berkshires, from a $15 billion Boston Olympic bid," said Dempsey. “Auditor Bump is leaving some big shoes to fill. She's served us since first being elected in 2010, and she's professionalized the office. She's been a watchdog for taxpayer interests and good government since she's taken that role, and she took this decision about an endorsement very seriously. She weighed the two candidates and she's coming in strongly on our side. I'm very much honored to have her support.”

He says his platform is built on three policy points. The first concerns oversight of federal stimulus spending as billions pour into the state from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“We want to track that money in as close to real time as possible, so that we don't spend it all and then audit, realize we didn't spend the money well, and not have it to spend,” said Dempsey.

The second is about climate change and environmental justice.

“That will include making the office the first in the country to incorporate carbon accounting into our audits of state agencies," said the candidate. "We'll also create an auditor’s commission on environmental justice that will include voices from across the commonwealth, including voices from the Berkshires, to have a seat at the table on Beacon Hill to inform our work.”

The third would expand reform and oversight efforts of the Massachusetts State Police.

“I have great respect for our troopers who are on the front lines and who give their best every single day," said Dempsey. "But as a whole, that agency has led us down. As taxpayers, we've seen a series of scandals, and the auditor is one of just three positions on Beacon Hill that has the ability to oversee and reform that institution.”

In recent years, the Massachusetts State Police have been embroiled in controversy ranging from deliberately hiding payroll data and overtime pay fraud to pervasive discrimination against female troopers and those from marginalized communities.

DiZoglio, who has served in both the Massachusetts House and Senate since 2013, says she’s unfazed by Bump backing her opponent.

“I am running for this office to make sure that all families in Massachusetts, regardless of our family background, bank balance, or zip code, have an opportunity to have access to and accountability from our state leaders and our state agencies," DiZoglio told WAMC. "Right now in state government, that's not happening the way that it could in a way that it should. And I've been fighting for transparency and accountability for the last 10 years, and that's something that I will take with me to the auditor's office.”

DiZoglio has been endorsed by unions like the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts and the National Association of Government Employees, as well as Western Massachusetts politicians like State Senator Adam Gomez of the Hampden district.

The primary is September 6th.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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