Meet Juliette Kayyem, Running For Massachusetts Governor in 2014

Juliette Kayyem announced her candidacy for Massachusetts Governor in the 2014 election Wednesday. Kayyem is former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama, as well as a former homeland security official under current Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick (D), former Boston Globe columnist, and former civil rights lawyer. A pretty shiny résumé.

"My motivation is what motivates every person in Massachusetts: to protect and strengthen our families and communities," she said in a statement. "Ultimately, this is our common calling. Whether the challenge comes from economic hardship, violence, illness, global climate change, or the increasingly complex world our children will inherit, the measure of us as a people comes down to how well we prepare and protect each other."

Kayyem joins a growing list of candidates hoping to succeed Patrick, who will not seek a third term in 2014. Here's why we're impressed by Kayyem.

She stands out in a crowd.

As Boston magazine points out, Kayyem — who allegedly attended the Jay-Z/Justin Timberlake at Fenway Park earlier this summer (woman after our own hearts) — has a distinctively different image than the Baby Boomer crowd of white men she joins in the race. She's sharp and articulate, skillfully answering questions addressing a wide range of topics at a gathering of Democratic activists in Dorchester.

The Democrats who have officially announced plans to run for governor include state Treasurer Steve Grossman, state Senator Dan Wolf, Newton physician and former Obamacare policy official Don Berwick, and former Wellesley selectmen and biotechnology industry executive Joe Avellone. (Looking through their campaign sites, you can almost see computer printing out "STATUS QUO," can't you?)

She's a realist with strong priorities.

At the Dorchester gathering, Kayyem spoke about the need to address a number of important issues: Sustainable jobs, quality schools, affordable higher education, environment, and so forth. She emphasized the need to find politically workable approaches to these issues, underlining Governor Patrick's success in doing so. She also used the phrase, "I don't do luck" a handful of times, which sounds like a pragmatic yet catchy personal mantra.

She's also a total badass national security expert with an extensive background in terrorism.

In addition to her experience at the department of homeland security, she's a former lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and former Boston Globe columnist, speaking and writing on the subject of national security.

Her columns are highly informative and analyze sometimes tragic subject matter tactfully, like this article examining whether "stove-piping" was to blame for the FBI failing to stop the Tsarnaev brothers' deadly Boston Marathon bombings.

Bottom line: We're excited to keep our eyes and ears on Kayyem's new campaign.