Wednesday, March 20, 2013

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, MARCH 20, 2013…. As Mike Lake sees it, the lieutenant governor’s office can be a blank slate – a platform to do as much or as little as you want, or as the governor in the Corner Office will allow.

With that in mind, the second runner-up in the 2010 Democratic race for auditor officially launched his campaign on Wednesday preaching an opportunity to seize Massachusetts’s place in the global economy.

“The great thing about the lieutenant governor’s office is that there is pretty much plenty of opportunity to envision its role in the 21st century,” Lake said. “I think with my skills coupled with any administration that we can really make a huge impact in the Commonwealth, particularly in around education and entrepreneurship and opening Massachusetts to foreign direct investment.”

Lake, a Melrose native who is executive director of the World Class Cities Partnership at Northeastern University, sent an email to supporters on Wednesday morning announcing his candidacy as a Democrat for lieutenant governor. He joins Stephen Kerrigan, a former aide to Sen. Edward Kennedy and Attorney General Thomas Reilly, as the two declared candidates in 2014 race so far. Kerrigan recently organized President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, and ran the Democratic National Convention in 2012 in Charlotte.

Lake finished third in the Democratic primary for auditor in 2010, behind the eventual election winner Suzanne Bump and former Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis, but he said the campaign went “as good as I had hoped.”

Reminding of how he entered the Democratic state party convention as a relative unknown with little support and left with 25 percent of the delegate vote, Lake said the 2010 campaign helped him build relationships and respect with party activists and community leaders around the state.

“People in Massachusetts are looking for new leadership and turning to a new generation,” Lake told the News Service in an interview on Wednesday.

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray is not running for re-election and decided earlier this year against running for governor or any other statewide office in 2014, creating an opening for one of the more overlooked statewide positions in state government. Under Gov. Deval Patrick, Murray has embraced his role as the administration’s chief liaison to cities and towns, and built a portfolio around homelessness, substance abuse, veterans’ issues and military base strength.

Lake said he would like to continue to be the point of contact for municipal leaders, but envisions a greater role in developing business ties with international partners.

“The part I would do differently is I’d take more of a global approach to the office and start leveraging and building relationship so Massachusetts is seen as the best gateway for foreign business to access the U.S. market,” Lake said.

Asked about his experience in that field, Lake said he helped facilitate talks between Catalonia and Massachusetts that resulted in a trade partnership being signed by Gov. Patrick and the Spanish region last year. He said he has also worked with Massport on links with a similar port in Lisbon, Portugal.

“Massachusetts like everybody else is operating in a global economy, but needs to be doing more to compete in that global economy,” he said.

In his letter to supporters, Lake also touched on education, the death of his father at the age of 36, and his mother’s job cleaning homes to provide for the family. “Because of the investment our government made in me through public education and the struggles and sacrifices my parents endured, I was the first in my family to go to college,” he wrote.

While the Democratic gubernatorial field for 2014 is still taking shape, Lake said he’s impressed with the number and quality of the potential contenders, including former Obama health official Dr. Donald Berwick, Treasurer Steven Grossman, Sen. Daniel Wolf, Congressman Michael Capuano and Salem Mayor Kimberly Driscoll.

“I’d be happy to work with any of them,” Lake said.


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