We recently caught up with Steve Borelli, a lifelong North End resident running for Governor’s Council in the 6th District against incumbent Terry Kennedy of Lynnfield and Richard DiMeo of East Boston. The Democratic Primary is scheduled for September 8, 2016. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.
NEWF: Tell us about growing up in the North End and how it relates to your running for Governor’s Council.
SB: I grew up on Hanover Avenue and moved twice, from the 1st to the 2nd floor, and then back. My brother and father both ran for public office and I am following in their footsteps. Growing up in the North End taught me about taking care of people. My father was one of the original street workers.
In the North End, I have seen the impact of the ongoing drug crisis. As a police sergeant, I dealt with people in their most fragile state. I remember their faces and stories. I still keep in touch with many of them.
NEWF: What experience would you bring to the job?
SB: As a former police sergeant and special investigator, I bring 30 years of experience in law enforcement to the Governor’s Council. I served in the MBTA Police and trained other officers in criminal investigations over 13 years. In 2006, I was appointed Assistant Clerk Magistrate in Somerville District Court. I received my law degree in 1997 from New England School of Law and hold a B.A. from Suffolk University.
NEWF: Your campaign slogan is “You be the Judge”. Tell us why you are running for Governor’s Council.
SB: The incumbent has had no opposition for four years and I want to bring more transparency to the Council. I want judge candidates to disclose conflicts of interest and recuse themselves from those cases.
As I previously said, I have seen first-hand the impacts of the opioid crisis and want to fight for those suffering from addiction and trying to recover.
My visits to our senior centers have revealed that the elderly are being taken advantage of by financial scams and are embarrassed to go to court. We need a court dedicated to elderly issues.
NEWF: How do you respond to the questions from your opponent regarding your disability pension from the MBTA police?
SB: I worked for 13 years as a Police Sergeant and was forced to retire due to a major asthma attack. I receive a $24,000 disability pension which was misreported by the Herald. The MBTA was forced to disqualify me from being a police officer based on the medical advice of my doctor. Growing up in the North End of Boston in the 1960’s and 1970’s, it wasn’t a time when there were very strict environmental standards on carbon emissions. While serving in the MBTA through the 1980’s, the onset of asthma resulted in my discharge from a job that I loved because I could no longer perform the duties incumbent upon a police officer.
However, I would also like to say that since retiring from the police force, I am incredibly proud to have been instrumental in helping to solve a sexual assault case that had gone cold over many years. Initially responding to the call in the 1980’s, I have never forgotten the victim or the description of the assailant. When an unrelated case developed a lead with a similar description, I initiated a follow-up to the investigation which finally led to the arrest of the perpetrator nearly 20 years after the crime was committed.
If I’m elected to the Governor’s Council, I will not return to state service because, under the law, collecting two state salaries at the same time is strictly prohibited. For the incumbent to be unaware of that, speaks volumes about how poorly our residents are being served. In fact, I have promised to donate 25% of my Governor’s Council salary to local charities – a pledge the other side doesn’t want to make.
NEWF: How do you think the courts could be better?
Courts have gotten away from protecting the people. I want judges to be trained in how to best deal with the opioid crisis and with elderly issues. When candidates come before the council, I want them to disclose any and all conflicts, including financial, family or political relationships. If they are confirmed as a judge, I will ask them to recuse themselves from cases where a potential conflict exists. It’s outside the role of the Governor’s Council, but I also think judges should be reappointed every 7 years.
NEWF: What local endorsements do you have so far?
SB: I am honored to be endorsed by State Senator Joseph Boncore, State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, City Councilor Sal LaMattina, Winthrop Town Councilor at-large Philip Boncore and Town Councilor Linda Calla and the Local 7 Iron Workers. The Ward 3 Democratic Caucus has not endorsed a candidate.
About the Governor’s Council
The Governor’s Council provides advice and consent to the Governor on the nomination of judges, payments from the State Treasury, and the issuance of pardons and commutations. The Council meets in public session each week and is comprised of eight Councillors elected from across the Commonwealth to serve two-year terms.
The 6th District of the Governor’s Council contains portions of Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk Counties and includes 20 cities and towns: Boston*, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Marblehead, Medford, Melrose, Nahant, Reading, Revere, Saugus, Somerville, Stoneham, Swampscott, Wakefield, Winchester and Winthrop.
*Boston Wards & Precincts are Ward 1, Precincts 1 -14; Ward 2; Ward 3, Precincts 1-6, 8;
Ward 5, Precincts 1, 3-5, 11; Ward 21, Precincts 4, 6, 7; Ward 22, Precincts 1,2 & 5.