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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Governor's Council Eighth District

The Massachusetts Governor's Council, also known as the Executive Council, is composed of eight individuals elected from districts, plus the Lieutenant Governor who serves ex officio. The eight councillors are elected from their districts every two years. The Council meets weekly to record advice and consent on warrants for the state treasury, pardons and commutations, and recording advice and consent to gubernatorial appointments such as judges, clerk-magistrates, public administrators, members of the Parole Board, Appellate Tax Board, Industrial Accident Board and Industrial Accident Reviewing Board, notaries, and justices of the peace. Base salary is $36,025.

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    Mary E. Hurley
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

State your relevant background and qualifications, particularly as they relate to the judicial nominating process.

How would you respond to someone who says that the Governor's Council is outdated? Why is this body still essential in the Commonwealth?

What is important to you when evaluating candidates for the parole board?

What would you do to improve diversity on the courts?

Are changes needed in the way the Governor’s Council approves candidates?

I’ve spent 43 years in the Massachusetts court system as an attorney, practicing law and as a judge for 20 of those years. In addition, I served as a five-term Springfield city councilor before becoming the city’s first woman mayor in 1989.
The Governor’s Council is still an essential part of government as it provides for checks and balances with the executive branch. In terms of the nomination of judges, clerks, parole board members, appellate tax board members as well as worker’s compensation administrative law judges.
When evaluating candidates for the parole board, I ensure that they have the education, background and experience to evaluate whether someone can be released from incarceration to lead a more productive life, while also considering the inmate’s risk of reoffending and the safety and welfare of the community.
I solicit bar associations and judiciary members to help recruit minority and women candidates for judgeships and clerkships. During my tenure, we increased the number of women judges by nine. I also hold information sessions for the Governor’s Legal Council, the Judicial Nominating Committee Executive Director, and members of the judicial nominating committee, on the application, screening and the interview processes and the way candidates are selected through nominations to the governor.
With the onset of COVID-19, it has become apparent that using remote methods for interviews and allowing members of the public greater access to come and speak at hearings is necessary. We should permit testimony using remote access technology, especially for people in my district in western Massachusetts who currently bear the burden of traveling to Boston.