Keiko Orrall Confirms Rumors, Announces Bid for State Treasurer
Boston - State Rep. Keiko Orrall, a Lakeville Republican, launched her statewide campaign for treasurer on Tuesday promising to bring a "fiscally conservative" approach to an office that oversees the Lottery, school building and the state pension fund.
Orrall, one of two state members on the National Republican Committee, also tied her herself closely to Gov. Charlie Baker, describing herself in a video as a "strong partner" in the governor's efforts to reform the operations of state government.
The News Service last week reported that Orrall was strongly considering giving up her seat in the Legislature after seven years to pursue the treasurer's office, which is currently held by Democrat Deb Goldberg. Republicans have not held the treasurer's office since Joe Malone left the office in 1998 to challenge acting Gov. Paul Cellucci for the GOP nomination.
As she notes in her campaign launch video, the former public school teacher of Japanese and German Irish descent will be the first Asian-American woman to run for any of the six constitutional offices in Massachusetts.
"As treasurer, I will fight every day to protect your interests as a taxpayer. I promise to work across the aisle to pursue fiscally conservative policies that will make your taxpayer dollars go farther," Orrall said in a statement. "As a taxpayer, you should know how your money is being spent. As a retiree on a public pension, you should be confident the best investments are being made to ensure your hard work has paid off. As a small business owner, you should rest assured that state government is not trying to overreach and overregulate."
Orrall, 50, made her campaign announcement Tuesday morning via Twitter, directing followers to her website where she had posted a message and video focused heavily on the story of her family as immigrants, including her Japanese father who was born on a sugar plantation in Hawaii.
Last Friday, Orrall scrubbed her Twitter feed of all previous posts. Her campaign announcement was her first new Tweet.
In the Legislature, Orrall has been a vocal critic of nationalized school testing standards and has received high marks from pro-life, anti-tax and gun rights groups. She also opposed plans for a tribal casino in Taunton, and has been vocal about the need to provide communities surrounding the proposed site with more mitigation money.
Born in Cincinnati, Orrall graduated from Smith College in Northampton and worked as a teacher in the Lakeville public schools before she was elected to the Legislature in a special election in 2011, flipping a seat that had been held by Democrat Stephen Canessa.
Orrall, in her announcement, highlighted her work on legislation to ensure that small businesses would not be penalized for missing a state tax filing deadline caused by confusion between the state and federal tax systems and her support for sales tax relief and regulation reform.
Orrall is the first Republican to enter the field for treasurer this campaign season. While Democrats hold the offices of attorney general, treasurer, auditor and secretary of state, the race for attorney general against incumbent Maura Healey had been the only one so far to draw Republican candidates.
Goldberg said she welcomed the opportunity to defend her record over the past three years.
"I am proud of the work I have done as Treasurer and welcome this opportunity to highlight our work over the last three years. As a steward of our state’s finances, we have promoted fiscally responsible policies while breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for people all over the state," the treasurer said in a statement.
Goldberg has hired Steve Maher, who has worked for several past Senate presidents, to manage her re-election campaign.
Orrall has company among Republicans at the State House who have tried to make the leap, including Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who in 2010 as a state representative ran for treasurer.
Though Polito lost to Democrat Steve Grossman, she parlayed the exposure she received into a slot on the Republican gubernatorial ticket with Baker four years later. Administration and Finance Secretary Mike Heffernan also ran from the private sector, and though he lost to Goldberg in 2014 he found his way into the Baker administration, first as revenue commissioner and then as Baker's second budget chief.