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Kevin Hayden for Suffolk County D.A.

Melvin B. Miller
Kevin Hayden for Suffolk County D.A.
“Hayden’s clearly more qualified.”

Pundits of different political hues have been declaring that the impending election is one of the most critical in the nation’s history. Indeed, many citizens sense that a major change in the character of the nation is imminent. Historians say that America’s social division is as great now as before the Civil War. If that is so, Black voters should troop to the polls in great numbers, and they should be knowledgeable about the candidates they support. This concern should be prevalent even in the state level races such as the election of a Suffolk County district attorney.

With so much at stake, this is a good time to consider the voting process. Voters have to depend extensively on the media for information about political candidates. However, the statements of many politicians and their acolytes are so unreliable it is sometimes better for voters simply to rely on common sense.

A good example of this questionable journalistic information is the Boston Globe report that suggests Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden intentionally tried to coverup an investigation involving a transit police officer.  While allowing that there may have been a snafu in the process, Hayden insists that the investigation of the matter is still fully underway.

When one considers the changes occurring in the district attorney’s office at the time of the alleged offence, it was clearly a perfect setting for things to go wrong. Rachael Rollins had just been appointed U.S. Attorney even as she was still in the process of implementing her unique revolutionary system of prosecution in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. The case involving MBTA Transit Police officer, Jacob Green, came into the DA’s office during her tenure as DA.

Gov. Charlie Baker selected Hayden to serve as DA to succeed Rollins who was sworn in as U.S. Attorney on Jan. 10, 2022. A highly respected and experienced lawyer, Hayden had been serving as chairman of the Sex Offender Registry board, and had 11 years of experience as an assistant Suffolk County district attorney from 1997-2008. After about a month on the job, Hayden decided to run for the office of DA himself.

In politics, voters must choose one of the candidates. In the race for Suffolk County District Attorney the candidates are Kevin Hayden and Ricardo Arroyo, a young lawyer who has recently been elected to the Boston City Council. He has not as yet achieved much of value for the community, but Arroyo has established a list of endorsements on his campaign literature. Apparently there are many who are willing to let their names stand for “nothing as yet.”

There was, however, an opportunity for Arroyo to distinguish himself as the new city councilor for District 5. Roxbury Prep Charter School had been trying in vain to get approval to build a new school in his district on Belgrade Ave. The brand-new building would have replaced a run-down auto repair shop, but area residents were opposed. There are reports that the opposition was racially driven.

Undoubtedly there will be opportunities for political success for Arroyo in the future. He is a young, ambitious lawyer. However, his skill level is not comparable to Hayden’s who has 20 more years of high-level professional experience.

It is unreasonable and unfair to imply that Hayden had intentionally violated the law, if the problem in the Green case had reached that level. Hayden has always been regarded as a man of high principal and character. It is disheartening to see Black activists turn on a member of the community. As the son of the late Robert Hayden, a distinguished author and historian of Black history, one can assert that Kevin is the product of a great family line. As they say, “the apple does not fall far from the tree.”

With the expansion of more promising business and professional jobs for Blacks in the future, it will become more challenging for competent Blacks to consider political elections as a real opportunity. The message from activists in the Suffolk County DA election is to run for public office if you expect your reputation to be pilloried.

Common sense requires that Kevin Hayden should continue as the Suffolk County district attorney.