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Diana DiZoglio, Candidate for State Auditor of Massachusetts

As a part of my Meet the Candidate Series, I sat down and talked with Diana DiZoglio, Candidate for State Auditor of Massachusetts.

Senator Diana DiZoglio is a candidate for Massachusetts State Auditor and the current State Senator for Massachusetts’ First Essex District, which includes the Cities of Amesbury, Haverhill, Methuen and Newburyport, the Towns of Merrimac and Salisbury and portions of the Town of North Andover.

Topics discussed in this episode include:

  • Diana’s background (01:19)
  • Diana’s most proud accomplishments as a State Senator. (07:04)
  • The State Budget as a reflection of its values (10:07)
  • The Fair Share Amendment, aka “The Millionaire’s Tax” (14:21)
  • Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Residents (16:45)
  • Closing Statement (17:58)

Connect with Diana DiZoglio

For more information on all things Jimmy Tingle

Transcript – Please note, this Transcript is AI Generated. It has not had the discerning ears of a real human to edit it, as such, there are bound to be a few errors

Jimmy Tingle 0:00
Hello, everybody, welcome to the Jimmy tingle show. I am Jimmy and I want to introduce you to a new segment of our show the Meet the candidate series. It is intended to give candidates running for public office, a platform in a voice so voters know who is running for office, why they’re running and what they hope to accomplish if they are so fortunate to be elected. So please feel free to share these interviews with your family and friends and citizens around this fine land because an educated and informed population is essential for a healthy democracy. And isn’t that what we all really want a healthy democracy? Enjoy the interviews stay healthy. My name is Jimmy tingle, and I approve this message. Hello, everybody. This is Jimmy Welcome back to the show. This is the Meet the Candidates section of our show where we try to give a platform to people who are running for office here in Massachusetts. My next guest is Diana does Oglio she is a state senator representing Merrimack Valley the North Shore Greater Lawrence and greater behavioral and many other towns in that area. She is now running for State Auditor. Before we get into what the state auditor actually does. I want to introduce you to Diana Diana, welcome to the show.

Diana DiZoglio 1:19
Thank you so much Jamie for having me on the show and giving me the great opportunity to speak with your your viewers and your listeners about why I’m running for state auditor and share a little bit about my personal journey. And what I’m passionate about and what I think we can do in the State Auditor’s office a little bit about myself first. My name is Diana does Oglio I am a current state senator representing portions of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore. very humbled to have served for 10 years now I’m currently in my 10th year of service in the legislature. And just a little bit about my background I was I was born to a 17 year old single mom in the city of Missoula and grew up housing insecure we moved around quite a bit during my childhood, mostly between the cities of Lawrence and McEwen depending on where my mom could find work as a young nurse’s aide back then went through the public school system and of graduating from within High School and then going off to our local community college, where I was able to obtain an associate’s degree that was affordable thanks to our legislators investments and families like mine. From there, I ended up earning a seat at Wellesley College where we’re so grateful to have earned to see that but the only reason I was able to actually attend was because of a full financial need based scholarship and knowing that Jimmy is really what inspired me to give back to my community in whatever way I could. So since I couldn’t do so financially, I went into more nonprofit and community service work I had worked at a young teen girl’s home as a domestic violence survivor myself during childhood, I wanted to work specifically with young teen girls who had also survived domestic violence in the home and I served as a living mentor at that home I also worked at Girls Inc, helping to run their after school programs as a volunteer coordinator. And I also served as a cultural arts coordinator at the United Teenie Quality Center, expanding their diversity, equity and inclusion programming, working specifically with inner city youth. simultaneously through those years, I continued to do what I did to pay my way through college, which was waitress and clean houses. As many working families know, you might love what you do for a day job, but it doesn’t always afford you with the opportunity to live with a standard of dignity in the community that you’re working hard to serve. This is one of the reasons why I’ve been such a passionate advocate for our labor organizations to make sure that working families have a voice, deliver the standard of dignity in their communities. But Jimmy, you know, look, it was during that time that I was doing all of these different jobs that I got offered a job working in the House of Representatives as a legislative aide, there was a state rep that needed someone who spoke fluent Spanish, and a deep community ties. And I had both of those things to offer. And frankly, I needed health insurance. So I went in, I applied for the job. And I ended up getting the job and it opened up my eyes to all of the wonderful things that our state legislature can do to assist families in our communities from investing in education and health care, fighting against climate change and forum, environmental justice fighting for a robust transportation system fighting for mental health services and substance addiction services. I could go on and on. I learned about all these great things. But I also during that very short time and you know my story I learned about the flip side of how our state government can operate when there’s no accountability. As a younger woman in my 20s Many, many years ago, I was actually sexually harassed while I was working in that building in our house of representatives. And the way that it was thought appropriate to deal with that harassment was to dismiss me from my position and require that I sign a nondisclosure agreement that prevented me from talking about literally anything I’d seen witnessed or experienced behind those closed doors up on Beacon Hill. That was a taxpayer funded non disclosure As your agreement by the way, and my severance package was held hostage until I agreed to sign it, but I didn’t let them get rid of me or keep me quiet. And I didn’t leave state government like they told me to do, I instead decided to run for state rep myself. And a little over a year later made my way back into that same chamber as the youngest woman serving in the House of Representatives at that time. What year was that? That was back in that was back in, I believe it was, it was around 2010 2011, because I ran for office subsequently in 2012. But since then, Jimmy, look, when I got elected, I knew it was my responsibility to fight like hell for other families in our communities, like my family was, and maybe for different reasons. But for who, like my family was have either been dismissed, or ignored or disenfranchised by a system in our state government that’s just not working for all families in Massachusetts the way that it could, and the way that it should. And I took on that battle regarding those taxpayer funded non disclosure agreements in the House of Representatives. That’s a fight that I took with me to the State Senate, where I’m currently serving. And I’m so proud to say that with the support of my colleagues, we’ve been able to pass my bill unanimously to ban the abuse of those taxpayer funded non disclosure agreements, which again, is not only something that silences victims, but it’s also a gross abuse of our tax dollars, we’ve been able to pass that bill. But unfortunately, Jimmy, not everybody in state government is a fan of transparency, and accountability and equity. So this is why we have so much more work to do not just on that issue, but on so many other issues concerning transparency, and accountability. And as a state senator, I’ve been standing up and speaking out about things like the Holyoke soldier’s home tragedy, for example, where we lost 77 veterans, due to mismanagement at that home, I’ve been calling for investigations and oversight into that situation, but as the auditor, I’ll be able to look into that a lot further, and I’ll be able to audit that situation.

Jimmy Tingle 6:52
Okay. It’s very compelling. How long did you serve as state? Rep? Six years? Six years? And how long did you serve as State Senator?

Diana DiZoglio 7:01
Four years?

Jimmy Tingle 7:02
Four years? Okay,

so now you’re running four years in total?

What were you most proud of as state senator in? Why are you running for auditor? And what does the auditor do? Because I want to know, and I know, my listeners want to know,

Diana DiZoglio 7:15
some of the some of the things I’m most it’s hard to pick one thing, right, but some of the things that I think we’re most proud of, has been our ability to help increase transparency, accountability, and equity. Those are things that have been important to me, since, you know, day one, I’ve learned through the years, you know, about, you know, the need to make sure that we have, you know, the support of our colleagues to make sure we’re passing some of these things into law. And I wouldn’t have been able to do any of the work that I’ve done on this and get anything done without the support of my colleagues. So I do want to say any of the work that I say we’re proud of, I’m saying that alongside of, you know, thanking my colleagues in the State Senate and in the house for the support of these things. For example, you know, passing the nondisclosure agreement language, that was something that we were able to do in coordination with others in the Senate who agreed with us. But we have a lot more work to do. Because like I said, we have these areas where we do need a light shine on what’s been happening, where we haven’t seen the accountability that we need. I want to just finish by answering your first initial question alongside of my background, and I’m running about what is the state auditor? Do? I think that’s important? Yes. So the state auditor, a lot of people have asked me why I would ever leave my job in the Senate of advocating for our local communities, and legislating, to go and do something like count beans in the back room. And I have to set the record straight on that insistently, even with my own family and close friends, on what the auditor actually does and is charged with doing, the state auditor here in Massachusetts is an elected role that, you know, has the responsibility of being the state’s chief accountability officer. It’s, it’s that quality control manager, so to speak, that not just that doesn’t just do want to taste of audits and financial audits, but that is also charged with doing qualitative audits and looking at our state agencies and organizations and making sure that they’re operating as efficiently and effectively as possible. Certainly, there are accountants and there are CPAs. And there are auditors that do work in the auditor’s office, which is over 200 people currently, but the auditor herself is charged with being the state’s chief accountability officer, and managing that office and connecting with residents across the Commonwealth to hear from all of you about what your concerns are regarding the state agencies. She’s then responsible for taking that information back to the office and charging her team with conducting the necessary investigations and audits that need to occur and then producing a report that is, you know, hopefully helpful in moving forward. Things like legislative policy initiatives to me make the necessary changes that might need to be implemented according to the audit that is released.

Jimmy Tingle 10:07
So they say that the state budget is a reflection of our values, you can tell a state or a country’s or a city’s values by the budget and the allocations of funds. Do you think our current budget gets accurately reflecting our values in the state?

Diana DiZoglio 10:23
I think that we need to put a lot more of our investments into things like mental health, substance use disorder, education and services for our most vulnerable populations across the board. We have a lot of folks who are not just, you know, feeling disenfranchised, from a system and state government that’s not working for everyone the way they put in should but they are disenfranchised from the current system and state government, I can tell you that as a senator, I’ve seen how the lack of transparency and accountability in state government has had a direct impact on working families in my communities, who want nothing more than to be able to have a seat at the table where the decisions are made regarding how we’re spending these dollars. So whether it’s climate change, whether it’s transportation, whether it’s education, whether it’s health care, whether it’s any of these things, and beyond the real challenge, Jimmy has been getting working families, the voice that they deserve during the processes and procedures that actually allow for these dollars to be spent in these different areas. And right now, working families don’t have a voice that they deserve. Because there’s a largely centralized process up on Beacon Hill where only a handful of legislative leaders and leaders in the administration really have a say, in those final decisions. Many times I will just be forthcoming here as a senator, many times I will not even be given an hour to read and reflect on a piece of legislation that I’m expected to vote on. Before we have to take the vote. Now if I as a Senator, I’m not given ample time to consider legislation or funding priorities for the Commonwealth for my district. What does that say about how working families are being treated regarding this process? So my, my issue here has been, regardless of of where we’re spending the money, or how we’re spending the money, we need to first start with allowing families in our communities, who are the taxpayers who are funding these budgets that we are voting on, we need to allow those taxpayers a seat at the table where the decisions are being made. And right now, that’s not happening the way that it could in the way that it should. That’s one of the reasons why I’m running for state auditor to help to open up the process in whatever way I can. And make sure all working families regardless of our family background, bank balance or zip code, have a seat at the table before, not after those decisions are made. Tell me

Jimmy Tingle 12:49
in order to increase transparency, do you need to then work with the Senate or the legislature or the governor to enact certain legislation that allows you to do that? Or is that something that the auditor could do on their own? How does that work?

Diana DiZoglio 13:04
So the auditor can work on legislative policy, and has in the past, our current artists or auditor works with legislators and files, policy proposals based on the audits that her office has conducted, I certainly plan to continue that good work, and to make sure that when we’re identifying gaps in the system, that we are following up on those audits and our findings with, you know, taking action in whatever way we can. And as a legislator, obviously, I have, you know, I’m in my 10th year of serving in filing legislation and not just filing it but passing legislation into law. We’ve passed dozens of proposals, you know, whether it be standalone bills or amendments, through the process over the course of the last 10 years and been successful in that regard, I will take that experience and that know how of also going line by line and that state budget to the auditors role, and will have the experience and knowledge of you know, having already served in the legislative capacity to take that work with me, and take the knowledge from those audits and parlay that into legislative policy proposals that we hope can obviously pass and be impactful in making sure that we’re remedying the challenges that are potentially identified.

Jimmy Tingle 14:21
So before we get to a closing statement, I just want to ask about a few of the hot button issues that are front and center here in the state. Recent votes on the fair share amendment. Are you supporting that?

Diana DiZoglio 14:35
Yes, so I’ve actually voted for that four times in the state legislature and was proud to cast my vote in support of that. I you know, we are advocating for its passage we know about the ballot initiative, and I’m strongly supporting that I was actually the first elected official, I believe, to my understanding in my district my Senate district currently does I’d have pledged to support this proposal moving forward. And you know, the intent was to help inspire others to, to sign on, just for those who don’t know what the fair share amendment is Jimmy by the millionaire’s tax, tax and and proceeds from, from the fair share amendment would go towards education and transportation. Now, I will say as a legislator, I have been highlighting the need to make sure that these funds are allocated to where the language of the current proposal says they must be allocated to I’ve seen all too often, however, during my time in the legislature that when we do have proposals that pass on ballot initiatives, and I’ll take cannabis, for example, example, recreate recreational cannabis use. I, you know, a lot of times voters will say that they want the funds to be allocated specifically to certain causes. But then when the bill goes through the legislative process, the bill gets changed. And the funds that are allocated are the revenue that’s brought in, there’s language it’s implemented, that says things like, subject to appropriation, right, which makes all of that revenue, actually not guaranteed to go to those initiatives. But you know, can allow for those funds to be distributed elsewhere, depending on who happens to be the speaker, who happens to be the senate president who happens to be the governor during that time. So I want to make sure, and I’m fighting like all right now to make sure that you know, that when we pass this, hopefully, that we have a lot of accountability, around making sure that the funds that are supposed to go to education and transportation actually go to educational transportation, and that’s something that I will continue my work on as State Auditor in whatever way I’m able to,

Jimmy Tingle 16:45
in terms of the driver’s license issue that was recently voted on. Do you how did you vote on that? What do you feel about that?

Diana DiZoglio 16:52
Yeah, I believe this is a matter of public safety and working families need to be able to get to work, drop their kids off at school and go to their doctor’s appointments. And this is

Jimmy Tingle 17:03
driver’s license for undocumented residents.

Diana DiZoglio 17:05
Yeah, right. Yes. And, you know, families who are trying to go through the process, to get their unnecessary paperwork to, you know, to get to where they need to be in the immigration process at the federal level, they need to be able to drive to those appointments to and to get to them safely. Furthermore, you know, is brought to our attention by the Police Chiefs Association, that this is a matter of public safety, for officers for residents, as well alongside of the tremendous need for working families, you know, regardless of their status to be able to access health care, education and work opportunities here. So yes, so we, you know, stood with public safety, we stood with our undocumented residents and making sure that all families in Massachusetts are able to get access to the services that they that they needed.

Jimmy Tingle 17:58
Thank you. And I just want to get, I want to just address, we’ve got two minutes left, just give me one minute on another issue that you we haven’t talked about, that you’re passionate about, and then a closing statement, because we have two minutes left. And if there’s something that we haven’t addressed yet, please let me let us know. And then a closing statement of, you know, where people can find you how they can volunteer, how they can make a contribution, how are they going to be able to do this?

Diana DiZoglio 18:25
So I will just say, I look, y’all heard my story. This was never something that I thought that I was going to be doing in a million years, growing up or even entering into, you know, professional work, you know, in my younger years, but I’m circumstances being what they are, I did end up running for public office, and it has been the honor of my life, to be able to serve the communities that I grew up in. And I have been standing with working families for the last going on 10 years now in public service, voting alongside of you working alongside of you and making progress alongside of you. And thanks to many of you, I would love the opportunity to be able to continue that good work, but I can’t do it without you. So I invite you to visit my website it is WWW dot Dianna for That’s Diana for where I lay out my full social justice and equity audit plan, outline and underlying what I want to do as your next state auditor to help make sure that once again, all families in Massachusetts regardless of our family background, our bank balance or zip code, have access to and accountability from our state leaders and our state agencies. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have been here with you today. Jimmy and there is a donation link as well on my website and an opportunity to sign up to volunteer and if residents want to take part in that I want to say in advance a very humble and respectful. Thank you. I hope to have your vote on September 6, the day after Labor Day. Make a plan to vote aye And I thank you all again for the opportunity to be here today. My name is Diana does Oglio running for State Auditor?

Jimmy Tingle 20:06
Thank you so much Diana. Diana does Oglio ladies and gentlemen, you can find her at Diana for is

Diana DiZoglio 20:14
that correct, Diana for Thanks so much,

Jimmy Tingle 20:18
Diana Thank you, Diana, pleasure to talk to you today and good luck on the campaign and I’ll see you on the trail.

Diana DiZoglio 20:24
Awesome. All right. Thanks so much.

Jimmy Tingle 20:27
Thank you for joining us today. This has been a humor for humanity production. Our mission is your mission humor for humanity at Jimmy Thank you

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