Brady: As Auditor, I’d Be Tax Watchdog

October 4, 2018

Republican state auditor candidate Helen Brady, of Concord, meets with The Sun editorial board Wednesday afternoon. Watch video at lowellsun.com. Sun / Alana Melanson Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LOWELL -- Putting forward a bill to allow the state auditor to audit the state Legislature would be among Helen Brady’s top priorities if elected as the state’s first Republican auditor in nearly 90 years.

Massachusetts hasn’t had a Republican in the office since the administration of President Herbert Hoover: Alonzo Cook, who served from 1915 to 1931.

Brady thinks it’s beyond time to change that -- that’s why she’s challenging Suzanne Bump, an Easton Democrat who has held the office since 2011.

“I have the practical experience to walk in there and do what I have to do,” Brady, of Concord, said in a Wednesday afternoon editorial board meeting at The Sun.

When she tells people she’s running for auditor, she said nine times out of 10, she’s met with, ”‘Who is the auditor?’ and ‘What does the auditor do?’”

To Brady, it means auditing financials, performance, technology and, “in a nutshell, be a watchdog for the taxpayers,” she said.

Brady, who serves as Boston Pops sales and business director, has worked for the Boston Symphony Orchestra in several different roles over the past 30 years. She said her experience managing and analyzing budgets, among many other duties, have well-positioned her to take on the role of auditor.

Brady said she was inspired to first run for office two years ago after hearing an impassioned speech by Taunton Republican state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell calling for Republicans to run and challenge the Democratic status quo in much of the state. Brady’s campaign that year against state Rep. Cory Atkins caught the attention of the state GOP, which encouraged her to run for auditor, Brady said.

Brady disagrees with critics who say she should have gone for the 14th Middlesex District seat again instead of seeking a statewide auditor seat, where she said she feels she can have the biggest impact.

“Where is the leadership of the one office that can make a difference, and it hasn’t?” she said. “It’s been marginalized, maybe by design.”

She said she would ensure the auditor’s office is staffed with auditors well-versed in different areas like health care and transportation and that they regularly meet to discuss where their areas of expertise intersect.

Brady said she believes Bump, not a private firm, should be investigating the State Police overtime scandal. Brady questioned whether personal friendships or party politics were behind the decision, and likened the Democratic control of the state to “a monarchy.”

“Everybody knows everybody up there because they’re in the same party,” she said. “It’s ‘one lane, don’t get out of it, or you’re out of the club, and we’ll find a way to get you.’”

In addition to putting a closer eye on the spending decisions of the state Legislature, Brady said the other public entities she feels are most in need of a review are the Department of Children and Families, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and UMass Boston.

She said DCF has a lot of caring and dedicated employees, but they work in an archaic system that needs to be overhauled.

Regarding the MBTA, she said it’s unacceptable that one of the most advanced cities in the world has one of the oldest public-transit systems that people can’t trust to run on time.

As a UMass Amherst alumna, she said she’s passionate about the UMass system and wants to get to the bottom of “why UMass Boston is always in turmoil.”

Brady said UMass Boston is on a beautiful piece of property in a great location and offers Boston-area residents an affordable college education in their neighborhood -- yet, it’s treated like the “ugly child” of the system. She said it should be a “top institute” that’s not constantly in the news for negative reasons.

Earlier this year, many questioned how UMass could spend millions to acquire the former Mount Ida College campus as a satellite for UMass Amherst when UMass Boston faces a significant deficit. Brady said she doesn’t mind the Mount Ida deal, and hopes it will also benefit UMass Boston students.

Libertarian Daniel Fishman, of Beverly, and Green-Rainbow candidate Jed Stamas, of Northampton, are also running for the seat.

Follow Alana Melanson at facebook.com/alana.lowellsun or on Twitter @alanamelanson.

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