I would ask you to read that title two ways, first as to what makes a person a model public servant, and second as to a public servant known to all of us who fits that description. Reading this note and then listening to this podcast about Massachusetts State Treasurer, Deborah Goldberg, will be my attempt to answer that question as an impartial apolitical observer. When I interviewed Deb on TV for my book “Voices of Brookline,” over nineteen years ago on February 6, 2003, as she lovingly held in her arms her small dog “Sawyer,” one more clairvoyant than me might have discerned that day the background and characteristics that have propelled her to her present and long held position as the State Treasurer of Massachusetts: love, family, hometown, civic responsibility, public service, commitment, inventiveness, and more. From that day to this Deb has developed, developed, and developed, and that shows no sign of stopping as she contends for her third term in that office. We will examine more closely from where Deb has emerged. Her mother Carol is a Rabb, a family famous in the state for parlaying a small grocery store in the North End of Boston into the famous chain known as Stop and Shop, under the guidance of the late Sidney Rabb, and that family’s commitment to charity and public responsibility. Carol herself, a woman whose independence and insistence on the right of women to be equal, rose to the be the COO of Stop and Shop. Certainly Carol was a key factor in her daughter’s development. Deb herself credits working as a youngster in a family run market honed her family and public values. Her father, the late Avram Goldberg, himself an astute businessman who became the Chairman and President of the company working in tandem with his wife, was the son of Judge Lewis Goldberg who served an incredible 41 years as a Massachusetts Superior Court Judge. These two families merged their attributes from the time Deb was a little girl. Little wonder she grew up committed to her family, town, and state, aiming at public service “as the right thing to do.” As an exampe of this you’ll hear that when her mother received a dog as a present, both Carol and Deb became lovingly attached to that dog, engendering in Deb an empathy for all dog lovers, and a sense that such folks could contribute to Brookline community. Later, as a Selectperson, Deb would support the now well established Green Dog Program which provides a place for dog owners to allow their dogs freedom to exercise, socialize with other dogs, and to themselves make new friends. One of its many venues was the Still Street Playground where JFK and later estimable attorney, Charles Kickham, played ball when they were alter boys at close by Saint Aidan’s Church, now converted into condos. Deb’s passion for that relatively small program shows in all of her public endeavors whether in Brookline or as State Treasurer, and whether the issue is small or large, such as announcing on November 18, 2021 new draft rules that would allow the State Pension Fund, which controls 95.7 billion dollars, to vote against directors of companies that are nor aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement. Certainly that innovative approach to her office marks Deb as a woman who loves her job. When I interviewed Deb back in 2003 she was already alert to the coming changes to be wrought by the so-called Communications Revolution, and whether our values would survive that revolution, Finally my esteemed interlocutor, Jordan Rich asks me whether Deborah Goldberg is a model of what a public servant should be. By now, my answer is a foregone conclusion.
People, Always People.