Massachusetts voters have a clear choice in the Sept. 4 primary to elect our Republican candidate for governor. Incumbent Charlie Baker and his challenger, ultra-conservative pastor Scott Lively, are polar opposites, both politically and socially.
Lively, who somehow managed to convince enough delegates at the Republican State Convention to put him on the ballot, makes no bones about his wholehearted support of President Trump, vocal anti-gay activism, and vehement opposition to LGBT rights.
Lively would be considered a far-right fringe candidate just about anywhere, never mind in liberal-leaning Massachusetts. He simply serves as an unavoidable inconvenience who’ll disappear on Sept. 5.
Baker, in his four years as the chief executive officer of the commonwealth, has lived up to his fiscally conservative, socially conscious label.
He’s conducted himself in the best interests of all citizens, not just a particular political party or point of view. He’s demanded accountability and transparency from every government office and agency.
Baker’s also demonstrated, like previous holders of this office, that a Republican governor and Democrat-dominated Legislature can have a productive working relationship, based on collegiality and respect.
This dynamic has allowed the governor and lawmakers to help turn “Taxachusetts” into an inviting environment for business. As a result, Massachusetts took in $1.1 billion more in tax revenue than projected in fiscal 2018, and has maintained that higher-than-anticipated pace in fiscal 2019. The state’s jobless rate in June remained steady at 3.5 percent, compared to the 4 percent national unemployment figure.
The team of Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito also inherited a dysfunctional MBTA, beset with financial, personnel and mechanical problems that had been allowed to fester. Since taking charge, the “T,” under the Baker-designated Management and Financial Control Board, has made strides by reducing its massive deficit and improving its on-time performance.
The Baker administration also took aim at this state’s opioid-abuse epidemic. Anti-drug initiatives supported by Baker, the Legislature and medical community — including prescription monitoring, educational outreach, and funding for 1,100 more treatment beds — has made a positive impact.
The governor also proved to be a staunch backer of law enforcement and legal immigration, by assisting in the defeat of a bid by the more-liberal Senate to turn Massachusetts into an illegal-alien friendly, sanctuary state.
And no governor in recent memory has been a greater friend to the Nashoba Valley, funding important projects and establishing community ties.
In gearing up this campaign, Baker asked voters for another four years to complete unfinished business, including keeping a fragile transit system on track, strengthening the tools needed to control the opioid epidemic, ensuring a more-efficient Registry of Motor Vehicles, and addressing the high cost of residential real estate by loosening zoning restrictions that limit construction of new housing.
We believe Baker has earned the right to finish what his administration set out to do. Baker’s popularity rating is the highest of any sitting governor in the nation, a sign that his balanced, open approach to government is working wonderfully for Massachusetts’ 6.6 million residents.
The state is headed in the right direction and we see no need to change things. On Sept. 4, say no to bigotry and yes to fiscal and social responsibility by voting for Charlie Baker in the Republican gubernatorial primary.