Monday, August 4, 2014
Breaking Bread with the Candidates - Mike Lake, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor

In Massachusetts, if the Governor should step down, become incapacitated or pass away, then the Lieutenant Governor (LG) is the first in line to discharge his/her powers and duties. The LG doesn’t become governor, just “acting governor.” Our forefathers didn’t want this “acting governor” to get too big for his britches. In 1780 when the state constitution was adopted, it would have been a “him.”
For the most part, the LG does whatever the governor decides to trust him or her with doing. All too often, this means that they are the tour director for Cub Scout Packs visiting the State House.

Since last June, Mass hasn’t had a LG. Tim Murray, who was holding the position, was in hot water for some dubious statements made after a car crash; so he resigned for a higher paying job.

Mike Lake is a thirty-six year old Democrat primary candidate for LG. Originally from Melrose, he now resides in Cambridge.

Mike is not your ordinary thirty-six year old. Before he had even finished college, he served on President Clinton’s staff as Special Assistant for White House Operations. After Clinton’s term was up, Mike finished his degree at Northeastern with a record 5 majors, then went on to become, first, a bank examiner, then, the Director of Development for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. He currently is the President and CEO of Leading Cities. In this role, he works with leaders from cities around the globe to solve community problems and promote inter-city joint ventures.

I met with Mike and his Communications Director, Sheila Lalwani at Stonebridge Café in Brockton. Over breakfast, Mike told me his father died when he was five and his sister was three. He was raised by his working single mom and his grandmother. He explained that, while a college student, he served as a White House intern. While there he impressed some of the leadership and ended up with a Presidential Appointment as Special Assistant—this before he finished college. He also later went on to become the youngest Bank Examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; that job led to a position with the former Irish Prime Minister and eventually Director of Development for the United Way of Mass.

Mike has never drunk a cup of coffee. That’s probably a good thing. This guy has some energy; add caffeine to that energy and his skin might have a hard time holding his insides in. Mike’s energy is positive, palpable; he radiates a contagious enthusiasm for Massachusetts’ potential for a very bright, very prosperous future. He explains, “As Lieutenant Governor I will be able to leverage a unique set of best practices to work with the Governor, address critical issues, and bring valuable business to the State.”

On his web site he further explains, “As a partner to cities around the world, I know that some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century will be solved at the local level from climate change and transportation to improving education and supporting startups and small businesses.

“My vision for a 21st Century Lt. Governor’s office is to serve as the point person in the administration for cities and towns, allowing them to have direct access to state government, to work with our next Governor to identify areas of investment and to find the resources necessary to put solutions into action. I will work with our municipal leaders to make sure each community has a role in our statewide economic development strategy.”

Worth noting about Mike Lake is his friendship with former Governor and Presidential candidate, Mike Dukakis. They struck up a friendship when Dukakis was a guest lecturer at Northeastern and Lake was a student. A long, enduring, mentoring friendship ensued. A Dukakis endorsement is a badge of honor, never given before the primary—until now. Fittingly so, Dukakis endorsed Lake very early in this campaign.

Mike Lake has a unique blend of energy, intelligence and business savvy along with a rare understanding of the co-dependence of business and government. He knows what needs to be done and how he can get it done. He is eager to have a hand in making Massachusetts and the world a better place for the future.

Mike also has that “force of nature” certainty. Mike Lake is going to be a force in Massachusetts’ future. He might become Lieutenant Governor in January, he might have to wait a few more years, but Mike Lake will play a large role in Massachusetts’ future.

Losing his father imposed responsibility and disappointment at an early age. So, yes, he is much practiced in the art of being a responsible human being, much more than one would expect from a thirty-six year old single guy.

What does he do to relax? He hikes: the Rockies, the Appalachians, even the Himalayas—Mike is not likely to sit still for long. Many people go through life trying to find that “something else.” Mike Lake is not one of those people. Mike Lake is something else. You can find his website at