Why Kevin Hayden Should Continue to Serve Suffolk County as our District Attorney
To the Editor,
I had never heard of Kevin Hayden until he was appointed District Attorney. I knew Ricardo Arroyo. Arroyo is a household political name that has lasted at least two generations and three city councilors. I met with Felix Arroyo in 2016, and I endorsed Ricardo Arroyo when he ran for the city council in 2019.
I was therefore initially inclined to stay out of the District Attorney race or support Ricardo Arroyo. Arroyo’s political philosophy and mine are closely aligned, and he is undoubtedly a gifted politician.
But today, I am endorsing Kevin Hayden, a public servant, over the politician. The bottom line: I have seen his work. He is as dedicated a public servant as I have met, and I’ve seen him demonstrate it on multiple occasions.
As soon as he was appointed, Hayden immediately got to work. I began to get regular updates about shootings and acts of violence in my district, which includes three of the four cities that make up Suffolk County. Like Rachael Rollins, our former district attorney, he was forthcoming, upfront, and direct with his information. He made himself a resource to my office. I assumed correctly that on certain policies, he and I would disagree, but he has listened, showed me that he could change his mind, and was willing to be creative and constructive about the District Attorney’s role.
For example, I called Kevin recently, enraged after a major fire in Revere displaced 150 people. The landlord, after keeping many of the units in deplorable conditions, commenced eviction actions and changed the locks on rent-paying tenants. I remembered that in some cases (though incredibly rare), criminal charges could be pursued against a landlord. I was very happy to learn that Kevin had already reached out to the Mayor of Revere. He attended the large community meeting, shouldered the anger and frustration of the tenants with Mayor Arrigo, and committed to investigating the landlords for possible criminal wrongdoing.
When we were so close to passing an eviction sealing bill, I called Kevin again. I explained how many people need a second chance after having been evicted. I talked about how opponents were using public safety as a reason to keep an eviction permanent and public. Kevin reviewed the bill and drafted a passionate letter in support, noting that housing stability is a public safety issue. Kevin Hayden was the very first law enforcement official to support the HOMES (Housing Opportunity and Mobility with Eviction Sealing) act in the four years of fighting to get it passed. As District Attorney, he effectively countered many of the safety concerns the Governor expressed when he vetoed the bill two years ago.
It is essential that a District Attorney can see the connection between housing and public safety and even more so that the District Attorney is willing to advocate for policies that support working families. I know that when he continues to be the District Attorney, he will prosecute deadly workplace safety violations and wage theft.
Hayden is showing up to shootings in the middle of the night, and to community meetings with young people and police. He sets a table where law enforcement, community, and nonprofits can refine justice together.
For example, I recently walked in on a meeting with assistant DAs, community members, and North Suffolk Mental Health. They discussed expanding the Services over Sentence pilot program, started under Rachael Rollins. Hayden invested in the program, contributing $450,000 from the asset forfeiture fund, and expanded the initiative to include wrap-around services, from helping those taking part find housing, childcare, jobs, and recovery coaches. The program keeps participating defendants out of jail.
I have seen the coalition for Hayden. It is racially and politically diverse. He boasts support and endorsements from the entire county and people from all walks of life. I believe they see what really matters, and that is Kevin’s vision and heart, backed up by over two decades of public service work. Experience isn’t everything, but it is important. The District Attorney leads an office of almost 300 people and needs to inspire their trust. A strong record of service, experience within the office, trial experience, a commitment to just outcomes, and a fair and ethical approach to prosecution provide that leadership.
No one would accuse Kevin Hayden of being a politician that can “work the room.” But no one can deny he worked exceptionally hard to be “in the room” and to lead today.
Hayden is a compassionate Black Bostonian who cares deeply about our community. I hope voters pick the public servant who has dedicated his life to serving and protecting our most vulnerable. Please vote for Kevin Hayden on September 6, 2022.
Senator of the First Suffolk and Middlesex