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The issue: Public safety
Healey has a background in criminal justice and has worked to increase penalties for sex offenders and drunk drivers. As lieutenant governor she has pushed for antigang legislation, advocated using GPS technology to track sex offenders and those convicted of violent crimes, and backed a bill that would require rapists to be tested for HIV.
Before becoming lieutenant governor, she worked for the consulting firm Abt Associates, where she conducted research for the US Justice Department on topics such as child abuse, domestic violence, gang violence, and witness intimidation.
Healey favors reinstituting the death penalty in Massachusetts.
Her running mate, Reed V. Hillman, is a former colonel in the State Police.
Mihos is a death penalty supporter. He is not in favor of the "primary offense" seat belt law, which empowers law enforcement officials to stop motorists for failure to comply with seat belt laws, and he opposes laws that mandate helmet use by motorcyclists.
In December, Patrick released a position paper that called for better coordination between federal, state, and local governments and community leaders to reduce gun violence and gun trafficking. "Gun violence is on the rise in many of our cities today, and illegal gun trafficking from neighboring states is a big part of that problem," Patrick said. Among the specifics in his plan: limiting firearms purchases to one per month and making private sellers such as those at gun shows subject to the same reviews and checks as licensed dealers. He also called for increased police staffing so more officers can walk beats and "become a presence" in local communities.
Patrick's background includes a stint as President Clinton's assistant attorney general for civil rights, the nation's top civil rights post. In that job he worked on the investigation of church burnings throughout the South in the mid-1990s, prosecution of hate crimes and abortion clinic violence, cases of employment discrimination, and enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Patrick is a death penalty opponent. "I have defended people on death row and had to enforce it as a prosecutor and I know that it doesn't work," he says.
Grace Ross (Green-Rainbow Party)
Ross has been a life-long activist working with low-income leaders to abolish poverty, which she sees as a contributing factor to high crime rates. Ross says, "For many of our lower income youth and youths of color the only opportunities seem to be the street and drugs, the prisons or being cannon-fodder for an unjust war. Let's show our children through proper funding of schools, summer jobs, internship programs, that they are valued by us all. Make guns harder to get and easier to turn in. Track the bullets and the guns..."
Ross relates public safety with increased funding for schools. She says, "We need to fully-fund schools and after-school programs; we need to address the funding imbalance in lower-income communities and consider school funding through one statewide mechanism."
Ross takes issue with the state's National Guard members not being in Massachusetts to help deal with a Katrina-size catastrophe. She would like to see the troops being used "to help our citizens survive in times of need."
* Compiled by Boston.com Staff from published reports in the Boston Globe, the candidates' campaigns, and other sources.