- The biggest issue is the size and composition of the state budget. She says that people will willingly pay more taxes for more services, but their current anger at paying the same taxes for fewer services is perfectly justified — the left should respect this when it argues for larger budgets. The $22B budget could be enhanced by $1B directed away from tax breaks for corporations and $3B obtained by having everyone paying the same percentage in taxes (all taxes, not just income) as the poorest.
- I missed anything she said specifically about her Democratic opponents, but she did refer to the state’s “habit of electing millionaires” which could be taken as a dig at Patrick and Gabrieli. She is, however, running against the Democratic party, which she says gives the state “only the appearance of democracy”. The unaccountable and unchecked legislature is the problem (e.g., refusing to implement voter-approved campaign finance reform or a measure requiring corporations to report taxes paid). Many of the Democrats in the legislature are not really Democrats, and good people (some of whom she helped elect) get caught in the party system and become beholden to the bosses (though the current leaders are better than Finneran).
- The GRP does not now have official party status in MA, because it did not get 3% in the presidential race, the only statewide race in 2004. It will almost certainly regain this status in 2006 because the Secretary and Treasurer races are Democrat versus GRP and they only need 3% in one of those races.
- Q: What about fusion voting, as in NY state, as a way of increasing the influence of third parties? A: I don’t like it and much prefer instant runoff voting [where you could vote for Ross and still have your vote counted for the Democrat against Healey, for example — DaveMB’s example]. To develop our party we need to run candidates and win offices. If our votes help a Democrat win, even if they are identified as doing so by the fusion system, the winner is then an incumbent Democrat more influenced by the party machine than by any specific bloc of voters. This is particular important in MA since the GOP is so weak here. IRV is also an easier sell because it is simpler — San Francisco adopted it purely as a cost-saving measure because the law required runoffs. We did a study two years ago and concluded it was best.
- Q: How would you accomplish your goals as governor given what you said about the omnipotent legislature? A: I would build coalitions within the legislature [she would have a base comparable to Romney’s current one — DaveMB], travel around the state listening to people, use the governor’s power to set the agenda, publicize issues, and use the vast implementation power of the executive branch. I am by nature a listener and learner and would continue to be one as governor.
- Q: As governor, what would you do about global warming? A: Subsidize decentralized power production (e.g. solar panels on unused roofs rather than large farms, hydro turbines from now-unused mills), educate consumer choice (e.g. better light bulbs), set priorities for state action, preserve trees in new development and plant more, invest state pension funds in green industries. She favors Cape Wind, provided that the people get a decent return on their real estate. (She noted that state “incentives” for corporations always involve giving them money, while “incentives” for ordinary people always involve taking it from them.)
- She mentioned a germ warfare lab to be built in a poor section of Boston: unsurprisingly she opposes it as dangerous, immoral, and unlikely to bring any actual jobs to that neighborhood. Much better would be to build a lab for green energy production, which would lead to manufacturing jobs.
- On the minimum wage: The current state debate on a $1.00 versus $1.50 increase is a joke, I support a “living wage” which really ought to be around $17/hour (studies show $56K is a living wage for a family of three) but $10 or $12 is a good start. Money earned by people in our communities is the true basis of economic development.
She made a positive impression on the attendees — some asked about contributing to her campaign. She is still collecting signatures to get on the ballot. I didn’t sign, because in this election I don’t want to act against the Democrat even marginally, but I think the GRP is a good thing in general and would love to see them become the major opposition party in the long run…