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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Three Democratic hopefuls jockey for the corner office

Haley+Clegg%2F+Photo+Editor
Haley Clegg/ Photo Editor

The Massachusetts Governor’s race is inching closer as three Democratic candidates have emerged.

Former Governor Deval Patrick’s Budget Chief Jay Gonzalez, Newton Mayor and Suffolk University Law alumnus Setti Warren and environmental advocate and former Democratic nominee for Lt. Gov. Bob Massie have all announced their candidacy over the past year.

In a statement to The Suffolk Journal, Massie’s campaign explained how the candidate will fight for college students.

“For students, [Massie’s] platform seeks to help people just like them,” said Arjun Singh, a Communications Associate on Massie’s campaign. “The current economy is slanted to benefit wealthy individuals and corporations. If elected governor, [Massie] would reduce the economic burden of students and create a fairer state where they have a better chance of moving upwards.”

Warren released a statement to The Journal on why college students should support him.

“Many of those who go to college are saddled with crushing debt that limits their job prospects when they graduate. Many more can’t afford college at all,” said Warren. “I support making public college free, just like high school. There’s no reason public education should stop at 12th grade.

Gonzalez’s campaign had not responded for comment as of Tuesday.

In speeches and on their campaign websites, the candidates have all called for a more equitable economy, environmental protections and equality among women and minorities. The candidates have also used the same criticisms of Republican Governor Charlie Baker.

In April of last year, Gonzalez summed up the sentiments toward the Baker Administration in a WGBH interview, “It’s easy to be popular when you don’t do anything.”

“Everyone knows that rides the ‘T’ that the system is broken. It’s inadequate. It’s under resourced,” said Warren, according to CBS Local.

Warren blamed the governor for the status of the MBTA after riding the red line with a Suffolk student in September.

In early January, when the temperatures dipped below freezing, Gonzalez and other Bostonians used the MBTA to travel to his Cambridge campaign headquarters from his home in Needham, according to Boston Magazine.    

With the MBTA, the candidates might be tapping into the needs of the commonwealth. “The number one issue I hear complaints about is the ‘T.’ It’s not even close,” Gonzalez said to the Boston Globe last month.

Their criticisms of the MBTA and Baker’s ineffectiveness may not be enough to unseat what many refer to as “the most popular governor in the country,” Charlie Baker.

Although Baker beat then-Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in 2014 by a margin of just 1.9 percent, according to Politico, his approval ratings in a recent WBUR poll stood at 73 percent, the highest of any governor in the United States.

Baker has separated himself from President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and taken progressive steps, such as passing a law that guaranteed access and affordability of oral contraceptives in the state, advanced rural access to high-speed internet and treatment for those affected by the opioid epidemic.

Where the Democratic candidates are an echo-chamber in their policy stances and talking points, they differ in experience.

Warren described himself to The Suffolk Journal as “a lifelong public servant and third generation combat veteran” with experience ranging from the Clinton White House, to a U.S. Senate office, to two-term mayor of his hometown.

Warren reflected on his time as mayor and ability to correct the city’s $40 million deficit and put them on a clearer financial track, actions he hopes to replicate on a statewide scale.

“We must do the same thing in Massachusetts,” said Warren. “We’ve got to make investments to solve these challenges – investments from free-public college to east-west rail to wrap-around addiction treatment –  but we’ve also got to be honest that it’s going to take new revenue.”

Warren’s candidacy has drawn the attention from young people to established Massachusetts policy actors. Former Governor Michael Dukakis, a long-time leader in Massachusetts politics, endorsed Warren in December.

“We need leadership in this state that’s dynamic, that’s committed, that surrounds itself with excellent people,” said Dukakis as reported by Boston.com. “That’s what I hope and expect we’re going to get from Warren as governor.”

Senator Jamie Eldridge of Acton, a progressive in the state Senate, has endorsed Gonzalez.

“Since the day that Gonzalez announced his candidacy for governor, I have seen him on the front lines fighting for a brighter and more compassionate future for all Massachusetts residents,” said Eldridge in his endorsement of Gonzalez. “I have seen him energize activists in my district with his progressive vision, and believe he would be a transformational governor.”

Gonzalez was the first to announce his candidacy in January 2017, and beforehand “served as [Governor Patrick’s] Secretary of Administration and Finance during the Great Recession,” according to his campaign website. Gonzalez’s prior experience is in the health insurance industry.

Singh added that Massie’s unique experiences with issues related to climate and social justice in Massachusetts, New York and South Africa make him fit to be governor.

“Massie’s background has provided him with the tools to understand all angles of the problem and implement solutions for how to put Massachusetts back on track to being a state that favors the many not the few,” said Singh, a communications associate on Massie’s campaign.

Other Democratic leaders in Massachusetts have yet to endorse any of the candidates. For one, their endorsements will likely occur after the Sept. 4 primary. Mayor Marty Walsh, however, may not endorse at all given his “bromance” with Baker.

Regardless of who voters choose to be the Democratic nominee in the primary this September, it is certain that Massachusetts has never elected a female governor and one will not be elected this time around.

All three of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates will be visiting Suffolk on March 8 at 7:00 p.m. for a Candidates Forum hosted by the Suffolk Democrats.

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Maggie Randall
Maggie Randall, Staff Writer
Author of the column 'Political Pulse,' author of 'Campaign Commentary' written throughout the 2016 election and The Journal's Washington D.C. correspondent.
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    Stiv MucollariFeb 21, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Great article, well written, and perfectly captures the political scene of Massachusetts. Though I must say, the only thing those three Democrats are running for is a landslide defeat at the hands of Baker.

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Three Democratic hopefuls jockey for the corner office