Attorney general candidates offer competing views on MBTA, climate change at latest debate

Originally published August 10, 2022 (here)

By Stephanie Ebbert

The Boston Globe

With less than a month to go before the primary, three Democratic candidates for Massachusetts attorney general squared off in a live debate on Wednesday, sharpening their profiles as they detailed their approaches to issues from public transit and abortion to climate change.

In a back-and-forth over the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Quentin Palfrey directly blamed Governor Charlie Baker for the transit system’s failures and the upcoming closure of the Orange Line, which will inconvenience hundreds of thousands of riders.

Liss-Riordan denounced the poor maintenance of the public transportation system as a “travesty” and said that as attorney general she would ensure laws are being followed.

“I’m particularly concerned about the outsourcing of much of the work that the T has done,” Liss-Riordan said.

The forum gave the candidates an opportunity to solidify their profiles as the political season ramps up. Palfrey, who is accepting public funding and has sworn off the support of independent expenditure committees, emphasized his independence and suggested Campbell would be beholden to the status quo. Liss-Riordan, a plaintiff’s lawyer who has represented working people in groundbreaking class action cases against corporations, cast herself as the only candidate with relevant experience litigating consumer and civil rights cases.

“The office of the attorney general would be a continuation of the work I have been doing as a private attorney general for years,” she said. “This is the job I was made for.”

Liss-Riordan amplified a theme that was the focus of her third television ad Tuesday, highlighting her willingness to take on big corporations as a workers’ rights attorney.

“This is the type of high-stakes impact litigation that I have been doing and winning for the last 20 years,” Liss-Riordan said.