Yes, this Massachusetts man is proud to once again boast a terrific new face on the political scene. She may only be known within the boundaries of the Bay State, and even in the Obama White House, but soon that may change. Kayyem has announced she's going to run for Deval Patrick's seat as governor of Massachusetts.
So what's so special about her? A lot of things. Hightlights from her Kayyem for Governor website include:
...a civil rights attorney, litigating cases involving the rights of children and defending progressive and just causes. She helped bring the first federal anti-bullying case and was part of the team that argued for The Citadel to open its doors to women.
She spent several years overseeing the 8,000-plus member Massachusetts National Guard, the commonwealth’s strategic security planning, and the distribution of homeland security funds she was tapped by President-elect Obama to be part of his transition team before being chosen as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security.
For her exemplary leadership in the wake of the BP spill, coordinating 60 federal agencies over five states, Juliette was awarded the Coast Guard’s highest civilian honor.
As a young, female candidate with no elected office in her background, she's being favorably compared to stalwart freshman Senator Elizabeth Warren. Aside from gender similarity, there's quite a bit more.
Here's what The Daily Beast writes about the recently announced candidacy of Kayyem:
The 2014 gubernatorial hopeful bears some striking similarities to Warren. After all, Kayyem is a lawyer from Cambridge who taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government but has never held elected office. Warren is also a lawyer from Cambridge who was a political novice before being elected in 2012 and who taught at Harvard, though she was a professor at the law school.
Kayyem is modest about any comparison to Massachusetts’ first term senator, telling The Daily Beast, “While it’s a compliment to be compared to Elizabeth Warren, I am very realistic that she is just an amazing person. I hope I can generate that kind of enthusiasm but I’d be foolish to assume” that will happen on its own.
A neophyte politician, she faces a number of obstacles, the largest of them is name recognition or lack thereof. She will be running in a Democratic primary against candidates including state treasurer and former DNC chair Steve Grossman, Donald Berwick, the former administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicare Services, and state senator Dan Wolf.
The winner will likely face Charlie Baker, the GOP’s popular 2010 gubernatorial nominee, in November 2014. That's just over a year away and finding your way through that crowded primary will prove daunting. But there's a special people's quality to Ms. Kayyem. Her teacher background, her strong writing talents and her Homeland Security background seem to make many in her state feel confident. That's a major part of leadership -- exuding confidence. And she's going to need to demonstrate it very quickly.
Massachusetts’ unique system for nominating a candidate where delegates are elected in caucuses to a state convention held in the early summer before a primary. To make it to the September primary ballot from there, a candidate needs win the support of 15% of the delegates at the convention. The result, according to Peter Ubertaccio, a professor of political science at Stonehall College, candidates need to start organizing early and win the progressive activists who dominate the caucuses. In Ubertaccio’s opinion, if Kayyem can “demonstrate early strength” in the same way that incumbent Governor Deval Patrick (in whose administration Kayyem served) did in 2006, “she’d be a pretty formidable player.”
From John Adams to John Kennedy, from Edward Brooke, Elizabeth Warren, John Kerry, Tip O'Neill and current Governor Duval Patrick, Massachusetts has had some winners. They have had their Dukakis's and Romneys as well. But larger than life characters are what we do well in the commonwealth. And the next governor of this great state might just be joining that list of winners.
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