Martha Coakley

  • Spring 2015

Re-elected to her second term as Attorney General in 2010, Martha Coakley has devoted her career to protecting children and public safety, standing up for consumers and taxpayers, and fighting for equality for all. After growing up in North Adams reading Nancy Drew novels and watching Perry Mason, perhaps it’s no coincidence that Coakley has charted a career as a distinguished prosecutor on the state and federal levels before serving as Middlesex District Attorney and now as the Commonwealth’s first female Attorney General.

Coakley has successfully prosecuted some of the Commonwealth’s most dangerous criminals and brought landmark cases to protect consumers, civil rights, and the environment. In all of her roles, Coakley has demonstrated an ability to bring people together around a common goal, a passion to stand up for victims in the face of unfairness, and the vision to achieve innovative solutions to solve problems. First elected as Attorney General in 2006, Coakley quickly confronted the challenge of addressing the economic crisis that gripped our country shortly thereafter. Under her leadership, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office became a national leader in holding Wall Street accountable by bringing first-of-their-kind actions against investment giants such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Overall, her office recovered more than $440 million for Massachusetts homeowners and taxpayers and helped keep more than 15,000 people in their homes.

During these difficult economic times, Coakley has successfully worked to reduce costs for consumers and taxpayers and vigorously prosecuted cases of corruption and fraud. During the 2010 fiscal year alone, her office recovered more than $660 million for taxpayers based on her office’s budget of $37 million, a better than 17 to 1 ratio. Her office has saved families and businesses hundreds of millions of dollars by challenging utility rate increases, and recovered over $100 million in Medicaid fraud prosecutions - a record for the office. In 2010, Coakley issued a landmark report on the significant cost drivers of the health care system that has helped steer the debate on solutions to control costs for families and businesses. Coakley has also formed two new divisions, including a Public Integrity Unit, to combat cases of fraud and public corruption in her second term. Prior to her election as Attorney General, Coakley served for eight years as Middlesex District Attorney, the largest county in the Commonwealth. As DA, Coakley established herself as a passionate advocate for public safety, not only bringing justice to crime victims and their families, but also implementing innovative crime prevention programs in schools and communities. Coakley oversaw the successful prosecution of a number of high profile crimes, including the cases of several Catholic priests charged with sexually abusing children, the conviction of Michael McDermott on seven counts of first degree murder for the workplace massacre at Edgewater Technologies in Wakefield, and the conviction of Thomas Junta for the fatal beating of another parent at a youth hockey practice in Reading.

A native of Western Massachusetts, Coakley’s father was a World War II and Korean War veteran and small business owner and her mother was a homemaker. Coakley received her B.A. degree cum laude from Williams College in 1975, and her J.D. from the Boston University School of Law in 1979. Coakley resides in Medford with her husband, retired police Deputy Superintendent Thomas F. O’Connor, Jr. In her spare time, Coakley is an avid reader and enjoys downhill skiing, walking her Labrador Retrievers, Jackson and Jefferson, and kayaking on the Mystic Lakes.