Fresh and well rested after the last Environmental League debate, which he didn't attend, Charlie Baker is back in action, calling for a series of five televised gubernatorial debates between now and Election Day.
I highly suggest that the first three debates be limited to just two candidates: Charlie Baker and his running mate Richard Tisei. Here are three ideas for debate topics that would highlight the stark differences between these candidates.
#1 – Pensions: In an interview with Howie Carr, Baker endorsed Rep. Karyn Polito's proposal to ban politicians from collecting pensions, calling it a “conflict of interest.” Later Tisei fired back, telling State House News Service, “I’ve paid in for 26 years. I’m not going to give up my pension.” I sense a smackdown!
#2 – Transgender-Rights: Tisei is a lead sponsor of a bill that would add transgender individuals to the state’s anti-discrimination laws, but Baker distributed fliers at the state Republican Party convention referring to the legislation as the “bathroom bill,” and promised to veto the bill if elected governor. Put down that remote!
#3 – SouthCoast Rail: Tisei recently boasted to the Fall River Herald-News that he’d come up with a plan to fund the “much-anticipated” SouthCoast commuter rail project with casino revenue. And on the very same day, Baker told WSAR-AM that SouthCoast rail was a pipe dream because no one has come up with a viable plan to fund it. Should be TiVo-worthy.
Location: Political observers expect the first of these epic debates to be held in Baker’s hometown of Swampscott, with the second 11.6 miles away, in Tisei’s home turf of Wakefield. The third will be held in a neutral location, somewhere in between.
(Full disclosure: I work for Lt. Gov. Tim Murray’s committee.)