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DiZoglio announces equity audit plan if elected Massachusetts state auditor

By Alex LaSalvia

BOSTON — State auditor candidate Diana DiZoglio told a Thursday news conference she would use the office to focus on ensuring the state’s social justice and diversity commitments are met.

DiZoglio, currently the state senator from Methuen, who is running against Chris Dempsey for the Democratic nomination, pledged to audit and report on Massachusetts’ support of minority-owned businesses, the government’s own record on diversity and equity, and how government policies affect climate and housing justice.

“Massachusetts government is great at making progressive promises but, too often, it fails to actually live up to those ideals,” DiZoglio said. “Our policies feed a self-sustaining status quo where people with generational access to power prosper … and the most vulnerable people are pushed aside and marginalized.”

The plan calls for analyses of state spending and contracting with minority-owned businesses to find where efforts to promote diversity and equity have fallen short. DiZoglio cited a WGBH report that found the state spent 24% less money in contracts with minority-owned businesses in 2018 than it had 20 years ago.

In a similar vein, she said the office would focus on efforts to comply with the implicit bias training included in the state’s police reform law.

Her wide-ranging agenda would also look at equity in areas ranging from pay policies to the state’s cannabis laws to environmental justice. She also pledged to audit the use of non-disclosure agreements, an area she has targeted as a member of both the House and Senate.

Citing her own background as growing up “housing insecure,” she said she would analyze impacts of transit-oriented housing and potential cost savings that could come from renovating existing structures instead of building new ones.

“Every dollar wasted is another family that potentially goes without housing,” she said

DiZoglio also received an endorsement from Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, along with Sens. Adam Gomez, D-Springfield and Lydia Edwards, D-Boston.

Cyr emphasized DiZoglio’s working-class background as evidence of her ability to use the auditor’s office to help working people and referenced their shared history as restaurant workers.

“Both Diane and I spent more years of our life waiting on tables than anything else,” Cyr said. “If you’ve worked in a restaurant, if you’ve waited on tables, you certainly can do anything.”

DiZoglio and Dempsey are looking for the right to assume the office now occupied by Auditor Suzanne Bump. No Republicans have announced their candidacy for the office at this point.

Dempsey, a Brookline native, has announced plans to monitor the state's spending of federal COVID-19 relief money, incorporate carbon accounting into audits, and this month put forward a proposal for a 15-point audit of the Massachusetts State Police aimed at making the agency more transparent, accountable and responsive.

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