Candidate for: Governor
Occupation: Businessman-Venture Capitalist
Education: BA, Biosciences, Syracuse University; MBA, Finance, Syracuse University
Campaign Website: www.jmacforgov.org
Questions & Answers
Question: How would you spur economic development and job creation throughout the state?
I believe that Government should create a platform for small business growth across the Commonwealth. Western Massachusetts has abundant resources including an educated workforce, strong educational institutions, and lower housing costs. We need to create Enterprise Zones with tax incentives for businesses to locate and develop local real estate, including increasing the historic tax credit for re-development of historic structures. Funding for transportation and infrastructure projects needs to be more equitable across the Commonwealth and not just focused on the Boston metro area. Finally, we need to encourage businesses to partner with local education institutions to make sure the students coming out of these institutions, whether vocational school, community college, or four year colleges, have the skills to immediately enter the workforce.
Question: What are your priorities in education?
As Governor, one area I will focus is on Early Childhood Education. We need to realize that we disproportionately invest in older children rather than investing early so our kids don’t get behind from the beginning. There are scores of data that support investing in early childhood education results in lower dropout rates, lower incarceration rates, higher test scores in reading and math, and higher incomes.
In addition, I support lifting the cap on charter schools. I have repeatedly said that charter schools are not the only answer to better public education. But they need to be part of the answer. Charter schools allow us to be creative when it comes to building new education models that have better outcomes. Whether we take examples from charter schools or regular public schools, we need to take what is working for our kids and duplicate those practices across districts.
Question: What would be your two transportation project priorities and why?
My transportation priorities are fixing the current structural deficiencies of the Commonwealth. Currently, one in ten Massachusetts bridges are structurally deficient. In addition, the majority of the MBTA rail cars were built in the late 1970s or early 1980s, with their expected life span being 25 years. We need to invest in our current system to make sure that it is safe and effective before we look at expanding service or taking on new projects.
I believe there are long term investments in the Commonwealth, particularly, when it comes to RTAs, that we need to invest in to have transit oriented development outside of the Boston metro area. In addition, we need to build public-private partnerships to share costs when it comes to improving our transportation infrastructure. We are currently doing it in Somerville at Assembly Square and with New Balance in Brighton. Replicating these types of projects across the Commonwealth will be one of my priorities.
Question: Should Massachusetts take steps in response to climate change, and, if so, what steps would you recommend?
We absolutely need to take steps to combat climate change. If we had a direct hit from Hurricane Sandy a few years ago, we would have had serious financial and structural damage to the Commonwealth. We have been a leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy generation in the nation but we need to encourage alternative methods of transportation through building complete streets with bike lanes and sidewalks.
We also need to continue to work with other New England states to bring down our carbon footprint regionally, because we can’t do this on our own. Finally, we need to move towards renewable sources of energy, as they become more economical, while in the short term ending our reliance on dirtier fuels like coal.
Question: Within the framework of the Affordable Care Act, how would you improve health care in Massachusetts?
There are many ways to increase costs and improve outcomes when it comes to healthcare. The first thing I would do to bring down the cost of healthcare would be to introduce a team based model when it comes to treating patients. We are already moving towards a global payment system to encourage better outcomes, and in conjunction with that we need providers, from primary care to the specialists, to be talking to each other in a coordinated fashion about each particular patient to drive better outcomes and bring down costs.
Secondly, we need to focus on primary care. Every resident needs to have a relationship with their primary care physician that focuses on preventative medicine, which will lower costs down stream. Better treatment earlier, particularly when it comes to chronic diseases, the costs and the outcomes are greatly improved. We need to eliminate co-pays and deductibles for primary care to lessen the barriers people have in seeing their primary care physician and to encourage the most cost efficient care with the best outcomes.