Regrets for clear thinking

Every once in a while things happen in Massachusetts that make a native's head spin. A perfect example occurred this week as a political candidate spouted craven nonsense.

It started with Lt. Governor Kerry Healey's announcement of the selection of her running mate in the upcoming race. Her selection has virtually no real world impact because the governor and lieutenant governor run independently in the primary, and if you don't win your respective spot, you don't get on the ballot in the general election.

Healey is vying to replace Mitt Romney as governor and now has selected former state representative and former head of the state police, Reed Hillman as her preference for a running mate. I first heard the news in a short blurb on the radio and was a bit curious to know who Reed Hillman is and what qualifications and experience he might have for the job.

I should have known better than to expect the Boston Globe to have any kind of in depth look at the guy. The headline was

"Hillman voices regret on policy"

with the following in smaller letters,

"Former colonel introduced as Healey's choice".

The policy that is in question here was a 1997 decision to put pregnant Massachusetts state troopers on light duty. Apparently Hillman had the audacity to put in place a policy to lessen the exposure of pregnant women to such things as gunfights, high speed chases and physical confrontations with suspected criminals.

Mr. Hillman had the misguided notion that he was protecting those women and that perhaps their condition might interfere with the performance of the duties of a police officer. Little did we know that this would result in a lawsuit by 4 female troopers that took issue with the practice  and considered it discrimination.

On the surface any clear thinking judge in any other court room in the land might have simply tossed such a suit in the trash. If you guessed that's what happened here then guess again! In 2002 a Suffolk Superior Court jury found in favor of the four women and awarded a million dollars in punitive damages.

The net result was at the press conference announcing his selection as Healey's running mate Hillman instead of standing behind common sense and suggesting that the jury's decision was a stupid one, Hillman instead voiced regret and issued a mea culpa that was then trumpeted by the Globe. We are now all assured that Mr. Hillman can be trusted to guarantee women's rights.

Phil Gallagher   3 16 06

Every once in a while things happen in Massachusetts that make a native's head spin. A perfect example occurred this week as a political candidate spouted craven nonsense.

It started with Lt. Governor Kerry Healey's announcement of the selection of her running mate in the upcoming race. Her selection has virtually no real world impact because the governor and lieutenant governor run independently in the primary, and if you don't win your respective spot, you don't get on the ballot in the general election.

Healey is vying to replace Mitt Romney as governor and now has selected former state representative and former head of the state police, Reed Hillman as her preference for a running mate. I first heard the news in a short blurb on the radio and was a bit curious to know who Reed Hillman is and what qualifications and experience he might have for the job.

I should have known better than to expect the Boston Globe to have any kind of in depth look at the guy. The headline was

"Hillman voices regret on policy"

with the following in smaller letters,

"Former colonel introduced as Healey's choice".

The policy that is in question here was a 1997 decision to put pregnant Massachusetts state troopers on light duty. Apparently Hillman had the audacity to put in place a policy to lessen the exposure of pregnant women to such things as gunfights, high speed chases and physical confrontations with suspected criminals.

Mr. Hillman had the misguided notion that he was protecting those women and that perhaps their condition might interfere with the performance of the duties of a police officer. Little did we know that this would result in a lawsuit by 4 female troopers that took issue with the practice  and considered it discrimination.

On the surface any clear thinking judge in any other court room in the land might have simply tossed such a suit in the trash. If you guessed that's what happened here then guess again! In 2002 a Suffolk Superior Court jury found in favor of the four women and awarded a million dollars in punitive damages.

The net result was at the press conference announcing his selection as Healey's running mate Hillman instead of standing behind common sense and suggesting that the jury's decision was a stupid one, Hillman instead voiced regret and issued a mea culpa that was then trumpeted by the Globe. We are now all assured that Mr. Hillman can be trusted to guarantee women's rights.

Phil Gallagher   3 16 06