By Matt Murphy
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON -- Republicans will begin to fill out their 2014 election roster on Monday when Mike Heffernan, a Wellesley entrepreneur and former banker, plans to announce his candidacy for treasurer, according to campaign officials.
Outside of the races for governor and lieutenant governor, the Republican Party has been slow to fill out its roster of contenders for statewide offices. Heffernan, an unknown commodity and newcomer to politics, will be the first Republican to enter any of the races for treasurer, attorney general, secretary of state or auditor, though party officials say the GOP will field a full slate of candidates in November.
Heffernan, 52, spent nearly 20 years working as an executive at Citigroup before co-founding a mobile technology start-up called Mobiquity in 2011. Headquartered in Wellesley, Mobiquity now has over 300 employees in 11 offices around the world, including two in Massachusetts.
"I'm running for Treasurer to use my years of leadership experience in the financial sector to better protect tax dollars, keep our state pension system secure, increase economic competitiveness that creates more jobs, and ensure robust investment in public education," Heffernan said in a statement provided to the News Service, confirming his decision to enter the race.
He said, "Massachusetts has a proud history of producing some of our country's brightest minds. Our schools nurture the creative spirit that propels our state forward in spite of our steep challenges. As the Commonwealth's next Treasurer, my top priorities will be to increase local aid, improve our schools and invest in our communities."
Heffernan intends to formally announce his campaign on Monday with the launch of www.mikeheffernan2014.com and Facebook and Twitter pages. Though he plans to spend the day speaking with party leaders and fundraising, over the next couple of weeks he will start publicly campaigning and meeting with voters, according to an aide.
On the Democrat side, Treasurer Steve Grossman is running for governor, clearing the path for a competitive primary. Wayland state Rep. Thomas Conroy and Deborah Goldberg, the second place finisher in the 2006 lieutenant governor's race whose family founded the Stop & Shop supermarket chain, have already entered the race for treasurer, and state Sen. Barry Finegold, of Andover, is expected to join the field in the coming weeks.
One of the first challenges for Heffernan to secure the nomination and establish himself as a credible candidate will be to familiarize himself to voters. Rick Gorka, who worked as press secretary on Charlie Baker's 2010 gubernatorial campaign and as travelling press secretary on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid, has signed on to return to Massachusetts to work for the Heffernan campaign.
Heffernan grew up in Southborough and graduated from Algonquin Regional High School. After working his way through Georgetown University where he got a degree in economics, he went on to get his business degree in finance from New York University and a master's of public administration degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Heffernan pledged to work in a bipartisan fashion on Beacon Hill, where Democrats hold an overwhelming majority of seats in the Legislature and all statewide Constitutional offices. "Too often politicians in Washington and on Beacon Hill put partisanship and politics ahead of the priorities of the people who elected them," Heffernan said. "We can and must do better here in Massachusetts, and I am eager to help lead the way."
His campaign said he intends to increase local aid for cities and towns, controlled through the budget process by lawmakers and the governor, by running a more prosperous and efficient Lottery, which funds local aid.
Heffernan spent nearly two decades working in Citigroup's Markets & Banking division, most recently overseeing seven U.S. regional distribution offices in institutional equities. He also once led the Boston office for U.S. equity sales.
Mobiquity, which Heffernan co-founded in 2011 with the company's CEO Bill Seibel, specializes in mobile application development and in 2012 launched a product at the Boston Celtics season opener called FanShots that functions as an interactive photo-booth capturing images that can be shared through social media. Heffernan serves on Mobiquity's advisory board, but is no longer involved in the day-to-day management of the company.
He lives in Wellesley with his wife Peggy and their three teenaged children.