O'Brien Is Association's Choice For Governor

NOVEMBER 2002 - Most Qualified To Lead State - As
the Commonwealth moves ahead into 2003 and continues to deal with the
current fiscal crisis, our Association leaders believe that the
candidate for governor who is the most qualified for that office in
this November's election is Shannon O'Brien, the Democratic candidate.

"We
feel that O'Brien will re establish the role of governor to that of the
state's commander-in-chief, a role that the office now lacks," said
Association President Ralph White. "As the state's 'real leader' she
will be able to work in greater harmony with the Legislature as both
strive to lift Massachusetts out of its current fiscal morass.

"Shannon
O'Brien has the proven ability as a manager, policy expert and
politician to lead the Commonwealth out of the tough economic times
that now exist. We are confident that she will do so with the
compassion and creativity that are necessary to protect our state's
most vulnerable citizens - many of whom are our members."

As
our members are well aware, the Association has a long tradition of
supporting those public officials, regardless of party affiliation, who
have a record of standing with public retirees. We have endorsed a
number of Republicans as well as Democrats over the years.

During
her four years as State Treasurer, O'Brien has proven to be a true
friend and supporter of public retirees. She was the first treasurer in
nearly a decade to use the power of her office to better the lives of
our members. That alone sets her apart from the Republican nominee Mitt
Romney.

From the very beginning of
Shannon O'Brien's public service as a state representative in the
1980s, she has demonstrated a compassion for the issues that are
important to our members. As a state senator and during her last four
years as treasurer, she has developed a strong knowledge of our public
pension system. This knowledge will be invaluable in addressing
retirement issues from the corner office.

In
her role as chairman of the State Retirement Board and Pension Reserves
Investment Management (PRIM) Board, and as a member of the Teachers'
Retirement Board, our Association has had the opportunity to work
hand-in-hand with O'Brien.

Clearly,
Shannon O'Brien has an outstanding record of advocacy and support of
public retirees that our Association can wholeheartedly embrace.

Pension Fund Attacks Groundless

Public
retirees are becoming increasingly upset that their hard-earned public
pensions are the target of political attacks. Our members are being
forced to witness a daily smear campaign aimed at the management of the
Commonwealth's pension fund.

The
attacks have been targeted at State Treasurer Shannon O'Brien. As
treasurer, O'Brien is chairman of the Pension Reserves Investment
Management (PRIM) Board, which invests some $27 billion dollars in
public retirement funds.

O'Brien's
opponents, the Republican Party and its nominee Mitt Romney, have
attempted to blame O'Brien for the downturn in PRIT's investment
returns. It started when Romney's designated "pit bull", lieutenant
governor candidate, Kerry Healey, stood on the State House steps, on
the morning after the September primary elections, attacking O'Brien's
management style.

"The fact remains
that the Commonwealth's pension fund (PRIT) performed in the top third
of all large pension funds in the country over the past four years,"
said Ralph White, who is a member of the PRIM Board which oversees the
fund. "And for the first six months of this year, we are in the top
quartile in the earnings of our pension fund.

"It's
true that we, like all multi-billion dollar employee pension funds,
have had losses during the depressed market which began in March of
2000. But we've still maintained an average annual earnings of 10.55%
over the last 10 years, while the median return for all public pension
funds during that same period was 9.39%."

When
one reviews the facts, only one conclusion can be reached. These
attacks on O'Brien are groundless and should be looked upon by our
members as shabby politics.

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