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Albano Picture 20 years Old

From: Mike Franco, MBA, K.
Sent on: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 6:39 PM

Republican Governor's Council candidate Mike Franco says opponent Mike Albano will embrace 'judicial activism' if the Democrat wins seat on judge-picking panel

By Conor Berry, The Republican The Republican, Tuesday, October 09, 2012

SPRINGFIELD — The latest salvo in the Governor's Council battle to fill a seat on the judge-picking panel includes accusations of judicial activism and union pandering, among other things, turning a state competition that typically attracts only passing interest into a slugfest.

However, all the slugging is coming from one candidate, Republican Michael Franco, who has turned Democratic opponent Michael Albano into his personal punching bag. Since last week, Franco, 49, of Holyoke, has been shadow boxing with Albano, 61, a former Springfield mayor who has yet to punch back – and reportedly has no plans to do so, saying he intends to wage a positive campaign.

Franco has already called Albano, whose tenure as mayor was overshadowed by a federal probe, the "kickback kid," an allusion to a recent headline in The Republican that referred to Albano as the "comeback kid." Now, Franco is calling Albano a "hard-left progressive" who will engage in "judicial activism" if he's elected to the eight-member panel that recommends judicial candidates to the governor for approval.

Franco, in a news release, said Albano has "injected controversy" into the race because of his "legacy of corruption" as Springfield's mayor from 1996 to 2004. Albano was never charged with any crimes, but some of his staffers were indicted and convicted on federal charges. Franco has also likened Albano's stewardship of Springfield to Sherman's March, the scorched-earth campaign that left much of Georgia in ruins during the Civil War. "Mike Albano's reputation as the 'Kickback Kid' for presiding over a legacy of corruption in Springfield has injected controversy into the election, as has his commitment to only a small portion of constituents," Franco said.

According to Franco, Albano has already come out as a "vocal, hard-left progressive." He cites Albano's recent support for unionized Baystate Health System nurses as apparent evidence of the former mayor's progressive streak. More than 200 nurses who failed to reach agreement with management on overtime and other issues held a one-day strike last week at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. Amy Swisher, a spokeswoman for the Greenfield hospital, said the strike did not affect patients, who received "seamless care" as picketers protested outside.

"In a blatant move to pander to unions, (Albano) marched with picketing nurses" in Springfield last week, Franco said. Prior to the Greenfield strike, members of a nurses union that was holding a convention in Springfield joined demonstrations outside Springfield's Baystate Medical Center to show support for Franklin County nurses embroiled in the contract dispute.

Albano, who has pledged to run a positive campaign, has so far ignored comments by Franco, who says he plans to issue a half-dozen releases before the Nov. 6 election. The first two issued by the candidate have pointed out Albano's alleged weaknesses. Franco has said Albano's record of "financial and political destruction" in Springfield is fair gameBy Conor Berry, The Republican The Republican in the race.

Franco said Albano will be a judicial activist if appointed to the council, "projecting his own personal beliefs" and allowing judges to "social engineer policy and law from the bench." Albano has yet to publicly speculate about what sort of councilor Franco would make if elected to the panel. "My model is to run a positive campaign," he told The Republican last week.

Franco, a veterans agent investigator for the city of Holyoke, said he would only confirm judges who understand their role is "to interpret laws already passed by the Legislature," not judges who might try to legislate from the bench. Franco said he is a "staunch police supporter" who would be a "strong voice" for crime victims and law-abiding citizens.

Albano has been auditing legal proceedings this week in Springfield as part of his ongoing effort to gauge the judicial needs of western Massachusetts courthouses, many of which are grappling with cuts and job vacancies. Albano has scheduled a press conference for noon today outside the Hampden County Hall of Justice.

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