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POLITICS: Campaigns

Former lawmaker running to be Massachusetts attorney general

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Politics,Associated Press,Massachusetts,Campaigns

BOSTON — Former state Sen. Warren Tolman entered the race for attorney general on Thursday, making him the third Democrat to seek the office currently held by Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Martha Coakley.

Tolman, the 1998 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor and a 2002 candidate for governor, said in a statement announcing his candidacy that he would bring passion and extensive experience in government and the private sector to the attorney general's job.

"I want to fight for the woman who is getting foreclosed on; the families that are sick and tired of being held hostage in their homes and want to get guns off their streets; people who want clean water and air and want those who pollute to be stopped and punished," Tolman said.

The 54-year-old Watertown resident is currently an attorney with the Boston law firm of Holland & Knight, where he works in the government and real estate departments.

He told the Associated Press that if elected, he would focus on a range of issues including civil rights, consumer and business protections, and pocketbook issues like the soaring costs of college tuition.

"I look at the attorney general's office as a tremendous opportunity to have an impact on a wide area of issues that have frankly been my life's work," Tolman said.

State Rep. Harold Naughton of Clinton, chairman of the Legislature's public safety committee, and Maura Healey, a former top deputy to Coakley, are also vying for attorney general.

No Republicans have entered the race although Gloucester state Sen. Bruce Tarr, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and Peter Flaherty, a former prosecutor and adviser to Mitt Romney when he was governor, have been mentioned as possible candidates.

Coakley in September entered the race to succeed Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.

In 1998, Tolman ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Scott Harshbarger. He also served two terms in both the Massachusetts House and Senate. While in the Legislature, Tolman pushed for a law requiring tobacco companies to disclose the ingredients in their products.

Four years later after running with Harshbarger, himself a former attorney general, Tolman ran for governor under the state's old "clean elections" law, which provided public funding for candidates who agreed to campaign fundraising limits.

Tolman lost the Democratic primary to former state Treasurer Shannon O'Brien, who lost the general election to Romney. Tolman said he learned important lessons from both campaigns.

Even though he hasn't run for office in more than a decade, Tolman has been a regular political commentator on television and radio during the intervening years.

"I feel pretty comfortable that I'll have the resources to get my message out and I think my message will resonate," he said.

Tolman said running for attorney general also brings him full circle in his career: He spent two summers as an intern in the office of former Attorney General Francis Bellotti.

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