Does Massachusetts really need a lieutenant governor? – Boston Herald

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll’s stealth campaign for Democratic lieutenant governor is another reminder that Massachusetts doesn’t really need a second banana.

Lieutenant governors only exist in the Bay State for two reasons: to lead the increasingly bizarre Governor’s Council meetings and to be around when the governor leaves the state.

There’s absolutely no need for the plum post, which comes with benefits like a state police chauffeur driven SUV and almost no formal responsibilities.

Republican Karyn Polito has been Charlie Baker’s second in command for the last eight years and had little impact except inserting high-paid patronage appointments into state government and the judicial branch. She also acted as a liason to municipal officials across the state.

A few days ago Baker was traveling out of state, leaving Polito theoretically in charge. The only problem was she picked those days to be out of state too, meaning Secretary of State Bill Galvin, a Democrat, was acting governor. Polito at least made sense politically as a running mate for Baker, because she balanced the ticket and helped in the key city of Worcester and surrounding suburbs.

Driscoll, who topped the lieutenant governor race in the September primary, has been a complete afterthought in Democrat Maura Healey’s sleepy campaign for governor. She did get a cameo in Healey’s latest TV ad, throwing a basketball, so that’s something.

But Driscoll has refused to debate her Republican lieutenant governor opponent, Leah Allen, and generally stays close to Healey’s hip pocket. She was originally scheduled to meet Allen in a single radio debate on Oct. 24, but Driscoll then mysteriously canceled, citing scheduling reasons, according to Republicans.

That means Massachusetts voters won’t get to hear how Driscoll plans to handle the job of lieutenant governor, and how she will split duties with Healey.

But she’s an unnecessary sidekick. In Massachusetts, the lieutenant governor nominee runs with the gubernatorial nominee as an all-in-one ticket so no one will actually be voting just for Driscoll in November.

Healey certainly doesn’t need her to drive out voter turnout in Salem or anywhere else. No one is going to be voting for Healey because of Kim Driscoll. She doesn’t balance the ticket, which is what running mates usually do.

This past weekend, Driscoll had two separate events where she was Healey’s stand in – at a union convention in Braintree and a canvass launch in Peabody.

Healey has not yet articulated what Driscoll’s responsibilities exactly will be if the two Democrats win the governor’s race.

And no one is really asking because we all know the lieutenant governor does virtually nothing.

So why not just eliminate the job and save some taxpayer money?

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