OK, the electability issue is put to bed. I don’t think anyone doubts now that after a successful convention Gabrieli would be in a close three-way race in the primary, and, importantly, would have the funds to go toe-to-toe against Healey’s inevitable negative ads, and the business background to be immune to the long-standing GOP fiscal responsibility scare.
So, politics aside, here’s why I’m really hoping Chris Gabrieli is our next governor.
He knows how to create economic growth, and how to make it dovetail with public values. I don’t think the importance of his specific business experience should be overlooked. More than ever, the financial industries are the at the helm of state, national, and global economies. It’s often hard for policymakers to know how their ideas will affect markets, or how they will be received by the investment world. Gabrieli has proven he has the acumen and the confidence to engage this world directly, but with a values-based approach. I think leadership at this level is essential to the economic health of the state going forward.
He is a policy guy who knows how to bring big, new ideas to real-world fruition, and to delegate their ongoing growth to smart people. He is both an entrepreneur and a manager, in both the private and nonprofit sectors, in HIGH TECH, traditional industries, and public services.
He is a problem-solver, a positive thinker, a coalition-builder. His worldview is oriented by getting things done cooperatively. He has a steady temperament. He’s likely to work very well with the legislature, nonprofits, and business.
He is very in tune with the needs of businesses and the dynamics of the economy, but grounded in egalitarian, pro-worker, pro-consumer values. And he’s independent enough to be able to build consensus among a majority of the state’s population on major issues.
His communication skills have been disparaged: but I see him as similar to Mike Dukakis, wonkishly intelligent but able to articulate simply and with certainty.
Here are a handful of issues which together describe Gabrieli’s approach:
-His strategy for public investment in stem cell research combines economic growth with progress toward life-saving discoveries. This kind of thing comes directly out of his experience putting his financial acumen to work advancing the public good. This is how progress happens.
-His success in convincing the state to invest pension funds in local economic development is another great example. The fund’s growth is looked after while affordable housing and job-growth projects are bolstered. It sounds simple, but it takes someone with his record of investment success to give such ideas credibility.
-For about five years, his main focus has been education, and he has made himself an expert and a player, creating a number of after-school and other educational support initiatives.
-He has the most sensible and democratic position on the income tax rollback.
-He’s willing to draw distinctions between legal and illegal immigrants on, for example, driver’s licenses. In general, such distinctions are necessary to be fair to legal immigrant and native born workers.
-He believes in the essential fairness of gay marriage.
If you think there’s a policy issue that ought to be addressed, please bring it up. And let me know if you’d like more specific evidence for any claim I’ve made. Some of it is from the candidate’s issues page. I’ve tried to avoid mentioning the other candidates, but I don’t mind if people respond with comparisons, which are inevitable and healthy.
(FYI, until yesterday I’ve been totally unaffiliated with the campaign; I’m now signed on as a volunteer and will be at the convention in that capacity.)