Judge Weighing Shelter Cap Was Early Healey Supporter

Massachusetts State House, Boston

Photo: Wangkun Jia / iStock / Getty Images

BOSTON (State House News Service) - The Superior Court judge who will decide whether Gov. Maura Healey's family shelter plan can move forward is no stranger to the governor.

Back in 2014, Debra Squires-Lee hosted a cocktail fundraiser in her home for Healey, who at the time was running in the Democratic primary for attorney general against former Sen. Warren Tolman.

"Thank you to Debbie Squires-Lee and Jeff Lee for hosting a wonderful event tonight for me in #Hingham #mapoli #maag," candidate Healey tweeted at 8:40 p.m. on March 11, 2014, accompanied by a snapshot.

Suggested contributions for the "Hingham cocktail party" fundraiser ranged from $100 to $500, according to an invitation posted to Healey's website that winter. Campaign finance records show a $300 donation from Squires-Lee to the Healey campaign was processed a week later, following a $150 gift from the previous autumn.

Squires-Lee, then a partner at Sherin and Lodgen, was picked for a Superior Court judgeship by Gov. Charlie Baker in 2017 after she initially sought a spot on the Supreme Judicial Court.

The judge is now set to rule sometime Wednesday on whether to temporarily halt Healey's plan to cap the number of families in the Massachusetts emergency shelter system. Boston-based Lawyers for Civil Rights brought the suit last Friday, seeking a temporary restraining order to stop the state from "undermining" its right-to-shelter law and effectively no longer guaranteeing housing for qualified families.

A Boston native and career business attorney, Squires-Lee told the Governor's Council at her pre-confirmation hearing in 2017 about childhood experience living in tents with her itinerant family in the American west.

"From the time I was 10 until I was 15 we were an itinerant construction worker family," she said, recalling time spent in Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming. She added, "We basically lived paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes we lived in tents in state parks, but my brothers and I loved living out west. We swam and fished. We played very elaborate games and I read a ton of books."

Written By Sam Doran/SHNS

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