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Tompkins best pick to fill Cabral’s shoes

Andrea Cabral has been an outstanding Suffolk County Sheriff. The team that she built around her is one that promises to continue to impress now that she has moved on to a new role as Secretary of Public Safety for the Commonwealth.

This week, Governor Patrick chose Steve Tompkins, one of Cabral’s longtime aides, as her replacement. It is a wise and practical appointment and one that should ensure that the sheriff’s department will continue to function smoothly without much, if any, disruption.

It is true that Tompkins is a savvy and well-connected political operative who was most recently instrumental in the Boston field operation for US Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s winning campaign. Those alliances with top policy makers will serve the sheriff’s department well when Tompkins needs to press his case on budget and policy matters.

But, more importantly, he has also been a high-level member of Cabral’s executive team from Day One and has a hands-on understanding of the system’s day-to-day operations that trumps any other candidate for the job. When Cabral was appointed to take over the department in 2002, Tompkins was her executive assistant and he helped her navigate the tricky work of assembling a new cadre of talent to run what was then a troubled department. Cabral and her team have brought a decade of stability to the county’s prison system and Tompkins has been a full partner in that turn-around.

Tompkins will need to run for election on his own in 2014 to keep the position. We have every confidence that he will prove himself worthy to fill Cabral’s shoes.
– ­Bill Forry

A pageant for the ages

The inauguration of an American president is always an impressive and moving event, and this week’s pageant, taking place as it did on Martin Luther King Day, added immeasurably to its historical nature.
The scene showing the nation’s first African American president pausing under the Capitol rotunda for reflection before the bust of ML King was just one of many poignant moments. In the words of the civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis, there’s a “straight line” between Rev. King’s 1963 “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and the inaugural of Barack Obama.

Let it be said, too, that Mr. Obama’s selection of Delaware’s Joe Biden to serve as his vice president has proven to be an inspired choice. Back in September 2008, on a campaign stop in Boston, then-Senator Biden told supporters that Obama was “the real deal,” and that he had been assured by his Senate colleague that he would have a significant role in an Obama administration. 

The Obama/Biden administration truly has functioned as an efficient team, as evidenced most recently by the VP’s role in fiscal cliff negotiations with intransigent members of Congress.

The nation can celebrate the fact that these two good men continue to hold the highest offices in our government.  Let’s keep them in our prayers.

– Ed Forry