39, ENGAGED, OXFORD
"Don't judge her because she's beautiful," cautions one of our panelists. "Caissie is also a tough-as-nails advocate for public safety and victims' rights."
She is also the new mother of Sydney Carrington Caissie-Desautels, born October 9.
Caissie's first term on the Governor's Council was an eventful one, thanks to a scandal-triggered shake-up to the state Parole Board — whose members the Council vets and approves — in addition to judges.
She must be doing something right; she was unopposed for re-election this year.
Job title: Governor's councillor from the 7th District
Held Since: January 2011
Marital/relationship status; children; pets: Engaged. New mother of a beautiful baby girl, Sydney Carrington Caissie-Desautels born 10/9/12. I have two black labs: Reagan and Lincoln.
Originally from: Oxford
What you do: The Governor's Council is a constitutional body of 8 members elected from the people in our respective districts. I represent 65 cities and towns.
We are the final approval of all lifetime-appointed judges and clerk magistrates. This includes all of the judges who take the bench in Massachusetts, right on up to the members of the Massachusetts Supreme Court.
The Governor's Council is also the final approval of the members of the Massachusetts Parole Board and the Appellate Tax Board. The council approves the spending warrants we receive from the Comptroller's office (this is more administrative than deliberative). The council approves Notary Publics and Justices of the Peace.
The day-to-day tasks include vetting all nominees that come before the council. The vetting process includes extensive review of nominee information and application materials, telephone conferences with nominees, reference checks, review of cases and decisions involving the nominees, and preparation for the confirmation hearings.
Of course there is the ongoing constituent service component to the elected position, and councilors engage in regular dialogue with the governor's office to advocate for the courts in our respective districts.
One experience that made you glad to do this work: Two experiences. The first came when the Governor removed five members of the Parole Board, after they paroled Dominic Cinelli — a career criminal who was serving three life sentences — and he then murdered Officer John "Jack" Maguire in Woburn, MA on December 26, 2010, during a robbery attempt. The council was faced with five new appointments to the Massachusetts Parole Board. By far, one of my proudest votes since being elected to the council was being on the prevailing side of a five-to-four vote to put a victims' rights advocate on the parole board.
The other was my proposal in December 2011 that all nominees who come before the Governor's Council should be sworn in at their confirmation hearings "[t] o swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help them God." When I was elected I learned that judicial nominees had not been sworn in at their confirmation hearings to tell the truth, and this amazed and disappointed me. I was proud to garner the support of a majority of my colleagues, across party lines, and my motion passed.
Other jobs: I am employed as an attorney in private practice with an office in Southbridge, and I am a special prosecutor for the Middle District of the Worcester District Attorney's Office. I am also a Selectman in my hometown of Oxford, where I am entering my 13th year of service.
Other activities: I am a corporator for the Webster Five Cents Savings Bank and a member of the Harrington Memorial Hospital.
Path to Beacon Hill: I took an early interest in government. I was elected to my local Board of Selectmen at age 23, and served as a legislative assistant in both the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives while I attended law school.
In 1998, I considered running for Governor's Council, because I believe it can have a tremendous impact on public safety. The time was not right for me, and I decided to enroll in an MBA program at Nichols College in Dudley, where I became a graduate assistant and assistant Women's Basketball coach.
In 2010, the time was right for me to run for Governor's Council. I did and was fortunate enough to get elected.
Personal style: I try to treat everyone with respect, and to be an honest critic and conscientious. I take pride in the work I am honored to do for the people in my 7th Governor's Council District and the Commonwealth.
Favorite thing about working in the State House: We are in the cradle of liberty here in Massachusetts. There is something special about that, and being a small part of the process is an awesome responsibility. Being at the State House puts a person in the right place to make a difference.
One thing you would change to make State House work more "beautiful": Open more windows in the beautiful ol' building to help offset the oxygen deprivation caused by the levels of self-important bloviating that sometimes occurs in the echo-chamber of Beacon Hill.