What’s this election really about?
We’ve taken to calling it 16YORG: 16 years of Republican governors.
That’s an unacceptable risk. If Baker gets in, are we ready for another 16 years? That would bring us out to 2030.
As noted, I understand the frustration with the candidates. The differences between Coakley and Baker don’t seem to be the yawning chasm that we’d like. But in the immortal words of Donald Rumsfeld, you go to war with the army you have.
Let’s look at the differences. They’re important.(All quotes from the respective issues pages.)
Coakley on Jobs and Economy
Providing earned sick time so that no employee is forced to choose between keeping their job and caring for their health, or the health of a loved one. Today, nearly 1 million workers in Massachusetts, many of them low-wage workers and women, don’t have a single day of earned sick time; extending earned sick time to these workers will increase productivity and reduce income inequality.
Baker’s economic plan:
Charlie will not raise taxes, period. He will work to reform a tax code that has grown overly complicated – benefiting only special interests while harming workers, families, and small businesses.
Charlie opposes the automatic gas tax hike supported by his opponents. Charlie will demand accountability and transparency from Beacon Hill, forcing the legislature to publicly cast their votes before increasing any taxes that affect workers, small business, and the economic future of Massachusetts.
By investing in measures to get people back to work and give them the tools to achieve economic stability, and by stopping abuse, welfare can be reformed so that it provides a true safety net for those who need it. Charlie has announced a series of welfare reform priorities to help people achieve economic independence, support parents and families, ensure the integrity of the program and prevent abuse.
Winner: Coakley. Does Baker really think welfare reform will stimulate the economy? And by the way his plan also raises the work requirement age from 60 to 66.
Coakley on gun control
Shift funding from prison expansion to focus on crime prevention and prisoner rehabilitation, including diversion, education and job training programs for court-involved or incarcerated individuals, and an expanded network of supports for individuals transition back into society, including behavioral health counseling. This effort will bring down costs, reduce recidivism and improve public safety.
That’s a substantial idea; Baker has nothing.
Coakley on education:
Ensure universal access to high quality early education, beginning with universal access for children in our Gateway Cities, because the foundation for success is laid early on.
Expand learning time to allow for more one-on-one instruction, enrichment programs like art and music, and professional development. And reduce the singular emphasis on teaching to the test, so that educators are empowered to help every child succeed.
Improve and expand Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, especially computer science, because those skills will be critical for young people hoping to enter our rapidly evolving workforce.
Every School a Great School
We can have great schools across the Commonwealth that ensure opportunity for every single child, no matter where they live. We can and should replicate the innovative solutions developed in successful schools across the state to close the achievement gap and deepen the connections between schools and employers. As Governor, Charlie will work to build on the state’s successful intervention in Lawrence by creating an Excellence School District to enable and encourage dramatic improvements in the state’s lowest performing schools and districts.
Massachusetts has some of the highest performing charter schools in the country, providing a quality education to students in some of the lowest-performing districts in the state. As Governor, Charlie will work with the legislature to increase the number of charter schools and remove the arbitrary restrictions on the number of students who can attend them in the lowest performing districts.
A four-year, full-time college program is increasingly unaffordable for middle-class and working families in Massachusetts. As a result, students are graduating from college with mountains of debt that bear little resemblance to their post-graduate earning capacity. By simultaneously working to make higher education more affordable, and better connect school to employment, Charlie hopes to see every high school graduate succeed right here in Massachusetts.
Coakley on workers’ rights (a section Baker doesn’t have):
In order to continue to protect the rights of workers in Massachusetts, Martha will:
Work closely with the next Attorney General to continue to hold employers accountable for wage and hour violations, and to protect workers’ right to organize and form unions.
Fight for improvements, like earned sick time, that will benefit all of Massachusetts’ workers and working families.
Expand worker training, ESL, and ABE programs, to ensure that workers in Massachusetts’ have the right skills to take on the high-quality jobs of tomorrow.
Baker also has a health care section, which Coakley does not. Its lead item is:
Waiver from the ACA
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Massachusetts has been a disaster, costing hundreds of millions of dollars for a botched website and temporary coverage for people who couldn’t sign up, as well as increasing premiums and policy cancellations for people who liked the plans they had. Massachusetts should be able to return to its own system that worked and as governor Charlie will aggressively pursue a waiver for Massachusetts from the ACA.
In nearly every case, it’s something vs. nothing, or something good vs. something not good. To be fair, I do think Charlie Baker is about as good as Republicans get. He’s pro choice, and not anti-gay. But the fact that that bar is so low is telling. If Baker wins, he brings an entire administration with him: all kinds of executives making decisions in departments across state government.
And to be fair to Coakley, I would prefer a more forceful liberalism. On guns, for example — would she lose a SINGLE vote if she came out for gun registration? Massachusetts could (and should) lead on that.
Oh well … you don’t get everything. But you get a choice. And with Martha Coakley as governor, more of the people government serves will have more choices.