Candidate for: Governor
Education: Harvard, B.A.; Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, M.B.A
Campaign Website: www.charliebaker2014.com
Questions & Answers
Question: How would you spur economic development and job creation throughout the state?
The top priorities of my campaign are creating great jobs, strong schools and healthy communities in every corner of our state. Only with a thriving economy, where every citizen can find a great job and has access to the quality education and job training necessary to create opportunity for their families will our Commonwealth truly recognize its full potential.
Massachusetts is home to the most hard-working, creative and intelligent people in the world and we need an administration that will work with our businesses and working families to unleash our entrepreneurial spirit. I worked with Governors Weld and Cellucci on bipartisan reforms that allowed us to cut taxes 27 times, control spending, and reform our education and welfare systems. That bipartisan approach led to the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and it is the same approach I will bring to my administration.
In addition to ensuring that those presently in our labor force can obtain the skills they need to advance in their careers, I will expand access to charter and vocational schools so that our next generation of workers is prepared to grow our economy into the future.
Question: What are your priorities in education?
As a former member of the state Board of Education, closing the achievement gap and maintaining Massachusetts’ best-in-the-nation status will be among the top priorities of my administration.
Many of the best schools in the country are located right here in Massachusetts. And while many of those schools are a national model for success, others simply aren’t getting it done for our children and families. We need to identify and replicate the innovative approaches that are working so that the quality of your education isn’t determined by your zip code. I would lift the charter school cap to provide more options for families struggling with underperforming schools and I would expand access to vocational schools and career training so that our students can transition immediately into fulfilling careers. And I would partner with our small and community colleges so that every child who wants to can have the opportunity to earn a degree.
I have proposed a detailed plan to make college education more affordable that includes innovative ideas to increase access, reduce student debt and connect school to work. It is available on my website and I encourage you to review it.
Question: What would be your two transportation project priorities and why?
Transportation in Massachusetts is an issue that needs addressing, but the solution to our challenges is not just to spend more and more money. Massachusetts needs to develop a strategic and comprehensive plan that looks at our transportation needs in the context of statewide and regional economic and community needs. We also need to consider cost savings and ways to achieve our objectives in more cost-effective ways. My biggest priority as governor will be bringing a cooperative (state, local and regional) approach to long-term strategic planning that addresses our present and future transportation needs, while protecting taxpayers.
Question: Should Massachusetts take steps in response to climate change, and, if so, what steps would you recommend?
Massachusetts, and every state, needs to take steps to address climate change. Our approach should be balanced, reducing our carbon footprint and planning for the future while guaranteeing access to affordable energy for our consumers and growing economy. I think the state needs to pursue several avenues to achieve a reduction in our carbon footprint. First, we need to continue to chase efficiency through education and technology, and incentivize individuals and businesses to make more energy-efficient choices. Second, we should work with the other New England states to pursue renewable energy sources such as land-based wind and hydro. Third, we should pursue ways to upgrade and improve the grid, also in conjunction with our neighboring states.
As a global innovation center, the development and manufacturing of emerging green technologies can be a job-creating catalyst for our economic future. As Governor I will partner with these industries to secure Massachusetts’s place as a leader in green technology.
Massachusetts must also prepare itself for the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels.
Question: Within the framework of the Affordable Care Act, how would you improve health care in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts is home to the best hospitals, nurses, doctors and researchers in the world – and our health care system has been a national model. Massachusetts’s health care was working, covering 98% of our citizens and offering reasonable measures to control costs. Recent debacles such as the failure of the Health Connector website have threatened access and quality of care for thousands of our families and this simply is not acceptable. As Governor I will petition the federal government for a waiver from the Affordable Care Act that allows us to manage our own health care, providing the quality and affordability that have made us the national model for success.
We also can and must do more to address the rising costs of health care. I believe that our first step in tackling this issue is to introduce transparency in price and performance into a system that is sorely lacking it.