BOSTON — This week, we caught up with auditor candidate Sen. Diana DiZoglio to learn more about her bid for the position and what Massachusetts resident should expect if she wins next year's election. This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.
Tell us why you decided to jump into the race and what you can bring to the state auditor role?
I've been working in the Legislature and fighting for working families in my community for nearly the last 10 years. And when I first ran for office, I had run after what was a very tumultuous circumstance. I was sexually harassed in the House of Representatives, was subsequently dismissed, and given a nondisclosure agreement that was taxpayer-funded from the former speaker of the House.
But I didn't let them get rid of me. I didn't let them keep me quiet. And I did not leave state government like I was told to do. I instead decided to run for state representative myself. And a little over a year later made my way back into that same chamber as the youngest woman serving in the House of Representatives at the time.
I've been fighting for [constituents] every day since I took office to hold the powerful accountable to make sure people at home are getting a government that works for them and not just for the politically powerful.
As state auditor. I won't need to keep simply calling for audits and investigations. I will be able to take my nearly 10 years of fighting for equity, accountability, and transparency in the Legislature and I will investigate and I will audit these matters and more to hold the administration accountable and shine a light in the dark areas of our government.
Are there any agencies or departments you want to look into first?
During the pandemic, I stood up multiple times to the Baker administration demanding equitable access to the vaccine, but also demanding greater transparency and accountability around the contracts that were being awarded during that time to companies in the private sector with no [request for proposals].
Contracts were and continue to be awarded, and no one knows how or why they're being awarded.
One of the first agencies that I would audit would be the Department of Public Health regarding pandemic-related contracts that were awarded during the time that the vaccine distribution process, in particular, was occurring. We know we had a failed website. We know that vaccines were funneled to mass vaccination sites instead of going into our underserved communities.
As you said earlier, you have done a lot of work around nondisclosure agreements. How do you plan to continue that work as state auditor?
As state auditor, I will have the authority to be able to audit and investigate state agencies and this administration regarding how many nondisclosure agreements have been given out to employees across the commonwealth and how much in taxpayer dollars has been spent to cover up abuse by silencing public employees. And I will audit and I will investigate the abuse of taxpayer-funded nondisclosure agreements.
Last week, Chris Dempsey said he is "the only candidate with experience in the executive branch of state government" and the private sector when contrasting himself to you. How would you respond to that?
If Chris Dempsey wants to compare his record at Bain Capital Corporation with my record in the Senate of taking on the Beacon Hill establishment, fighting for transparency, accountability, and workers' rights, I look forward to it. During the last year and a half alone, I have gone toe to toe with Gov. Charlie Baker to fight for our community's most vulnerable families, to get equitable access to the vaccine, housing, health care, and pandemic-based relief.