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As great as we are and as well-resourced as we are, we are still leaving too many people behind.”

Gouveia on her agenda for pushing for those on the margins

Jim Braude began Tuesday evening’s GBH debate among the three Democrats running for lieutenant governor by asking a standard opening question to candidates: Why are you running for this office?

But in the case of the state’s lieutenant governor, what he really meant was, why in the world are you running for this office? It comes with no prescribed powers other than serving on and chairing the Governor’s Council and stepping into the governor’s role if the state’s top elected official leaves or is unable to serve.

A long-range hope to eventually run for governor themself may be hovering in the back of any LG candidate’s mind, but that’s not something any politic player would air. Instead, the three Democrats all made a case for what they could do as the right-hand deputy under Maura Healey, the presumptive Democratic nominee and strong favorite to capture the governor’s office.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll played up her 16 years leading a Gateway City and the role recent lieutenant governors have played as the administration’s key liaison to local government. State Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow touted the geographic balance he brings as the only candidate from outside I-495 as well as his background in the Legislature and former stint in federal government in the Obama administration. State Rep. Tami Gouveia of Acton talked up her background as a social worker with a doctorate in public health in pointing to her interest in pushing an agenda for those on the margins. “As great as we are and as well-resourced as we are, we are still leaving too many people behind,” she said of the state.