Experience shows: Reilly for governorBy Herald editorial staffMonday, September 11, 2006 - Updated: 05:09 PM ESTThis year’s race for governor isn’t nearly as much about issues as it is about trust, leadership and experience. And there’s only one man running in the Democratic primary who scores high on all three, and that’s Attorney General Tom Reilly. During his two terms as attorney general and before that eight years as Middlesex County district attorney, Reilly has amassed a long and honorable record of public service - and of accomplishment. Yes, he has been a no-nonsense prosecutor throughout that time, but he has been far more. On Sept. 11, 2001, there were those in state government who wanted to call off a special election to fill the seat of the late Rep. Joe Moakley. It was Reilly who said no. ‘‘If there was one day that we were going to show the strength of our democracy, it was going to be that day,” Reilly said during last week’s debate. Someone had to be the grown-up. On that day and on countless other occasions it was Reilly who calmly and resolutely played that role. That’s exactly what he did to save Harvard Pilgrim Health Care from imminent collapse, and preserve health insurance for more than a million people. We shared Reilly’s obvious frustration at not being able to haul high-ranking officials of the Boston archdiocese out in handcuffs, still his report on clergy sexual abuse pointed the way toward reform, toward preventing such crimes in the future, and last week toward legislation aimed at extending the statute of limitations on sexual crimes against children. And when it became a public embarrassment to have the ethically impaired Bill Bulger remain as president of the University of Massachusetts, it was Reilly who went public, telling him it was time to go. That kind of courage, that kind of integrity is hard to find in public life these days. Yes, being governor requires a grasp of a far broader range of issues. But there too Reilly has given every indication he is as solid as he has been for the past eight years as AG. He is a stalwart supporter of MCAS as a graduation requirement, merit pay for teachers and early childhood education. On taxes, Reilly has heard what voters said in 2000 when they overwhelmingly approved the rollback of the state income tax to 5 percent. ‘‘I feel very strongly about it,” Reilly said. Wow, a leader who believes people mean what they say. But a governor needs to be about more than policies and position papers. A governor needs to have strength of character. Tom Reilly does, and the Boston Herald is pleased to endorse him in the Sept. 19 Democratic primary.