Rob Galibois, Democratic candidate for Cape and Islands District Attorney, was on Island Tuesday for a campaign kickoff outside the Edgartown courthouse, followed by a reception with supporters at the Wharf.
Galibois was joined on the Island by his wife, Nikki, and his two sons, Maxwell and Cameron. Honorary campaign chairs Dan Wolf, the former state senator for the Cape and Islands, as well as Bruce Bierhans, a Cape attorney, were also on hand to show their support.
Though it was billed as a campaign kickoff on the Island, Galibois, who announced his bid in January, has visited eight or nine times already to campaign outside Cronig’s, Stop & Shop, and at Island town meetings.
“I keep hearing about a disconnect between the district attorney’s office and Island residents,” Galibois said during his brief remarks. He vowed to hire a community engagement officer to stay in touch with communities, as well as form coalitions in each community called the “DA and us,” where monthly meetings would be held to talk about criminal justice issues.
Retiring Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe has been an infrequent visitor to the Vineyard, even when one of his lead prosecutors, Laura Marshard, was facing sanctions for prosecutorial misconduct for her work on the Island. O’Keefe testified on Marshard’s behalf before the Board of Bar Overseers, and criticized Island defense attorneys who blew the whistle on Marshard’s misconduct, but never came to the Island during the tumult.
Galibois said he will be a presence on the Island if he gets elected, participating when he can in the community coalitions. “I love it here,” he said.
One of his campaign platforms is dealing with the opioid crisis and bringing residential treatment centers to the Cape and Islands.
In his opening statement, Galibois called the DA’s office the “conscience of the community,” and noted that it’s up to a DA whether to prosecute a crime, what charges to press, and whether diversion is an option. “In November we’re going to have the opportunity to elect a new district attorney — experience, integrity, accountability, and engagement are the cornerstones of public safety. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done. I look forward to getting to work,” Galibois said.
In answer to a question from The Times, Galibois questioned O’Keefe’s role in investigating Reid Mason, the son of Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Christopher Mason — a former top investigator for O’Keefe. Reid Mason, a Truro firefighter, was reportedly found intoxicated by Barnstable Police with unloaded firearms in his vehicle, and faces a clerk magistrate’s hearing in Barnstable District Court, according to the Boston Globe.
“We don’t know all the facts. We know that in any investigation, the integrity of the investigation should not be called into question due to the close relationship of the investigator and a potential target,” Galibois said. “It’s well-known that DA O’Keefe and Col. Mason enjoyed a very close relationship — 10 years, I believe, Mason was the chief investigator for the DA’s office on the most serious cases. Transparency, accountability, and integrity call for an independent investigator in this situation.”
Galibois is the lone candidate on the Democrat side. There are three Republicans running to replace O’Keefe, including Daniel Higgins, Melissa Alden, and Jack Carey.
Wolf, a veteran politician, said he first met Galibois four months ago, and decided to join his campaign in an effort to get a qualified Democrat elected as DA. He called on those assembled outside the courthouse to have house parties and to write checks to help Galibois in his campaign. “There is no position that’s more important than district attorney. We don’t really know that because for the past 40 years on the Cape and Islands, we haven’t really seen a district attorney who fills that seat with compassion and vision,” Wolf said. “We are very fortunate to have a candidate running this time, Rob, who is just an incredible human being … The more I get to know Rob, the more I like him. He will serve this Island really well, he will serve this district really well, he will serve the commonwealth well, and he will certainly serve humanity really well.”