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Republican James McKenna said Wednesday he is running for attorney general against Democrat Martha Coakley to break up the "boys and girls club" on Beacon Hill.
The former prosecutor from Millbury said Coakley has avoided prosecuting fellow Democrats and also used political correctness to determine her stance in pursuing illegal immigrants.
He vowed to create a corruption strike force stocked with prosecutors, police officers and sufficient staff if elected in November.
Coakley lost a high-profile U.S. Senate campaign to Republican Scott Brown in January. She was poised to run for re-election unopposed, but McKenna mounted a last-minute campaign and gathered nearly 28,000 votes two weeks ago to qualify for the Nov. 2 ballot.
"The Beacon Hill boys and girls club is a free-for-all of waste, fraud and corruption, where holier-than-thou attitudes prevail and the special interests run the show. I'm listening to the people, and they say, `No more,' and I agree," McKenna said on the first of three announcement stops across the state.
Yet the 49-year-old, first-time political candidate stumbled while trying to define his stance on capital punishment, the federal Defense of Marriage Act and when confronted with records showing he had missed voting in the 2000 presidential election, the 2004 and 2008 presidential primaries and several municipal elections.
McKenna said he supported the death penalty for those who kill police officers and the two men who brutally murdered 10-year-old Jeffrey Curley in a landmark 1997 case, but when asked if he had any exceptions, he repeatedly said he supports safeguards to ensure it is not misapplied.
"I would favor a reasoned approach to the implementation of the death penalty here," he said.
Coakley has won the first round in a lawsuit against the DOMA, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, but McKenna would not say if he would continue the case. "With respect to DOMA and every matter like that, we will not try to create policy; our objective over the next four years will be to enforce the law," he said.
As for illegal immigration, McKenna vowed to build a consensus across the state that it is wrong, hinting he would oppose so-called sanctuary cities, require proof of citizenship at arraignments and favor deportation of illegals convicted of felonies.
"This is the problem of an attorney general who has calculated that some idea of political correctness is more important than enforcing our laws," said McKenna. "Along with the people of Massachusetts, I say, 'illegal' is illegal."
McKenna also defended his voting record, despite the missed elections in his records.
"I've done a good job voting, and I've worked vigorously on a number of different campaigns," he said. "I'm very proud of my record."
This program aired on September 29, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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