WHO IS RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR IN MASSACHUSETTS? – Marilyn Armstrong

I had to look it up. I actually didn’t know who else was running for governor. Shame on me.

Shame on us!

We were watching the millionth advertisement for Charlie Baker, our current governor. He’s a Republican, but not the kind you find in Washington D.C. Massachusetts’ spawns very liberal Republicans. They are so liberal, it’s can be hard to figure out to what party they belong.

Our Republican governors run on everybody’s money — Democrat and Republican — because he manages to be nice to everyone, or at least nice enough to keep them on his side, more or less.

Charlie Baker is not a bad governor or a bad guy. He has basically followed the path of previous governors, except he has been more parsimonious. He hasn’t done anything very different from other governors or “Republicanized” our laws. He briefly waved at supporting Trump and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts came down on him like a mountain.

He backed off faster than a speeding bullet. This is the bluest state in the U.S. and a really red Republican was not going to do well here.

Since then, he has streamlined the budget until we now have a billion dollar surplus in the state treasury. Golly! That’s a fair bit of change. I have nothing against dealing wisely with finances. But where is the money coming from?

On the surface, a billion buck surplus sounds great, right?

Except in order to accumulate that billion dollars, he simply stopped doing stuff which urgently needs doing. The roads have gone unpaved. The rails are downright unsafe. Bridges are crumbling.

We are short 13,000 nurses statewide and many hospitals have closed. There are large areas without any local hospitals and barely any doctors.

Fall at UMass Amherst

The University of Massachusetts is as expensive as many private universities — and that is for people who are Massachusetts residents. The curriculum has been cut, too.

Meanwhile, our public schools are not improving. In another effort to financially cut back, MassHealth, our state’s version Medicaid has been slashed. A lot of people who have no other medical insurance now are forced to pay some dollar amount monthly.

It usually isn’t a lot in gross amounts but it can seem an awful lot to a family who depends on it. Still, compared to other American states, it’s about as good as American medical care gets. It even includes some care for eyes and teeth! It used to have more, but each year there’s less.

So then, I asked Garry which Democrat is running against Charlie Baker? He said “Someone with a Spanish last name,” but he couldn’t remember the actual name. Jay Gonzalez hasn’t had any television ads — or at least we haven’t seen them. None.

Basically, we have a choice of voting for Charlie Baker or someone about whom we know nothing because he apparently has no war chest for getting out the vote.

This bothers me.

I should at least know who else is running. It shouldn’t be that one guy has all the money, all the advertisements, all the endorsements, so naturally, we all vote for him. That’s not how it’s supposed to be.

The thing is, with all the advertisements about the great things Charlie Baker has done, he hasn’t done anything in this part of the state. The bridges are as bad as ever. The roads are worse. The schools are mediocre, ranging to pathetic.

BOSTON, MA. – SEPTEMBER 26: Gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez speaks to media at The Massachusetts Statehouse on September 26, 2018, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Patrick Whittemore/Boston Herald)

All public schools teach is how to pass required tests. Students learn nothing. They memorize what teachers expect to find on the exams. Good memorizers get good grades. Not such good memorizers do poorly.

Bad teachers, not enough teachers, huge classes. A lot of kids fall by the wayside.

When money goes to “help” schools, it always goes to some “charter school” in Boston or suburban Boston where the leaves are green and so is the money. And, because the population in Worcester county doesn’t come close to Boston or any of the areas near it, we can vote our hearts out, but unless it’s a local representative, we don’t have much effect on the election. Essentially, unless it’s a very local representative, our votes don’t count. Not nationally or regionally.

Areas with very with small populations don’t get much say in American politics.

So I’m voting for the other guy.

Because when I look at Charlie Baker’s slick advertising? What I I see is Boston. I see him cutting the bottom out of our upper and lower educational systems, failing to help improve our medical facilities, not helping the nursing schools engage students or helping hospitals pay for more nurses. I’m sure we can get him to pass a law about it, but that won’t solve the problem and will probably make it worse because the rest of the issue is that we need nurses and the money to pay them. And a law isn’t going to make that happen. Laws need funding and enforcement and some concept of the potential side effects of the law.

We have a habit in this state and this country of passing laws and then trying to figure out how to make it work. On a national level, sometimes this works, but mostly, it doesn’t work anywhere. Passing laws is not a single-layer job.

Even though I’m voting “no” on mandatory nursing ratios, it’s not because I don’t believe our nurses deserve a better deal but because I live in an area where there are very few decent hospitals. If mandatory nursing ratios force another 200 hospitals to close and any of them is in Worcester County,  it’s going to be hard to get into a hospital. I’d rather have overworked nurses than no place able to care for me.

For some of us, this is a life or death set of issues in this election and I’ve decided I want to live.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

37 thoughts on “WHO IS RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR IN MASSACHUSETTS? – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Governments in office often seem to feel that they have to operate like a business and make a huge profit (surplus). Here the Liberal (right-wing) party will point the finger and say “Labor will spend all your money and raise taxes”. But what are they saving this money for? I do think a small surplus is a good thing but to have a surplus when your roads are falling to pieces, schools don’t have the teachers or materials they need and hospitals are getting closed makes no sense. This is what our tax money is supposed to be for. Or at least that’s what I thought.
    I am surprised that your Democratic candidates are keeping such a low profile especially in a state where you would think they would do well. Have they really got no money to run a good campaign?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely agree with you. He has saved the money by allowing everything to fall apart. It has been a bad weather year with a LOT of rain, which probably means that when it gets REALLY cold, the roads will crack into pieces. And finally, our crippled trains have not been fixed. They were in bad shape when I moved here in 1988 and in bad shape when GARRY moved here in 1970 … and now, they are in even worse shape. As soon as the cold hits, the rails will buckle because they were never properly fixed. A lot of people depend on trains, too.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I am embarrassed I didn’t remember the Dem’s gubernatorial candidate’s name. That’s on me. But it also reflects his low profile campaign. I know it takes money for the TV and radio campaigns. I’m not using that as a cop out. But grass roots campaigns require diligence, shoe leather, energy and effort. We haven’t seen any Jay Gonzales grass roots campaigns in our Valley. There are few signs on the roads but that’s about it.
      I hope this doesn’t reflect the Dems’ indifference locally, state and nationally. You just can’t whine about the current adminstration. That didn’tplay well in the ’16 election. Some Dem leaders have acknowledged they need to change their game. Address issues and how they’ll be pursued. Infrastructure, taxes, cost of living, health care, etc. Hold local rallies with specific talking points …and people will come! Advertise those rallies IN ADVANCE in the local media. Drop a few car and lawn repair spots for a couple of weeks and SELL your candidates.. Do door to door canvassing with articulate, reasonable people articulating the Dems program. This really OLD FASHION but basic politics 101.

      Complement old style campaigning with the social network messaging and it will give the Dems a clear voice.

      It shouldn’t take a retired, old fart TV news reporter to “school” the Dems. They should’ve been in HIGH GEAR by now with the midterms quickly approaching.

      A young, hispanic Texas political hopeful guested on the “Daily Show” last night. He was engaging, articulate and seemingly aware of the landmines in the midterm political field. It was good to listen to him. He had COGENT stuff to share. Where are the other Dem wannabees? We’d love to know about you and what you plan to do.

      As for Charlie Baker? We haven’t had a really “do something” Massachusetts Governor since Michael Dukakis in the mid 80’s. Duke, a subways and public transportation buff, was the last Bay State Guv to do anything about infrastructure. His relatively decent roads and bridges are now crumbling, ignored by promises that were never fulfilled. Unfortunately, Michael Dukakis was lured by the White House siren song…and it didn’t work out well for him.

      We’re like a state of small villages who need to be rescued. We need help. These days, men are cheaper than guns.

      The old man was right…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true Garry. It’s not enough to hope that people will vote for you because they don’t want the other guy. They should be out there promoting their policies. I like to know who I am voting for and how they plan to improve things. I hate negative advertising that just bags the other party. Don’t tell me what he is doing wrong, tell me how you are going to fix it.

        Liked by 1 person

            1. Omni, Medford certainly qualifies as big enough to get attention from political hopefuls seeking votes. This sounds like the benign neglect of the Clinton campaign in ‘16. The Dems promised they wouldn’t make that mistake again. Hello??

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  2. A billion dollar surplus is, i assume, the current yearly figure over annual expenditure? Any idea on what the State Debt currently stands at?

    Our’s is $39 billion – and there are only 2.5 million of us in W.A. – and that is just State debt, Federal debt per person works out even bigger being over $500 billion of which we’d owe about a tenth!. 😦

    And we think we’re the Lucky Country. We ARE – but it’s the private companies and Global companies that just happen to be getting all the luck and money while we get shafted with all the debt. And public bailouts of enterprises that are ‘too big to fail’. So the government sells all it’s assets and income producing services to cover the debt interest cost. We go without enough nurses and hospital staff, prison or hospital beds, computers in classrooms, police, etc. while the previously supplied utilities become ever more expensive after being privatised ‘so competition will keep the prices low’??? Sound familiar at all?

    “Areas with very with small populations don’t get much say in American politics.”… The don’t get much say in Any politics unless they are either exceptionally well ‘connected’, rich, or are a ‘marginal’ seat and the whole population is split very close to 50/50 then you can sit back and watch the pork-barreling begin. My area is considered ‘safe’ so we don’t get squat around election time.

    Be it in Aus, or in the US, living in country areas can seriously damage both your health and your assets these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A billion dollar surplus in Massachusetts? Not exactly. Not if they were doing their jobs. Fixing what’s broken (and plenty is broken). You know, EVERY year it snows and EVERY year they fire the Traffic Supervisor or whatever he or she is named. Of course, he/she isn’t to blame. It’s that they won’t spend the money to fix the rails. So we never have the newer safety improvements and we don’t pull up the old and lay down new tracks as needed. For months at a time, the rails don’t run and everyone gets mad. By election time, they’ve had a summer to forget — and they do. But this happens EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Ours are at the whim of the Prime Minister (read: his Party core) but can be no later than 3 years after the last one.

            We are having a by-election in one state today (not mine) that will determine if we have a Government with a majority in the lower house or if we have a hung Parliament.

            The seat is that of the FORMER prime Minister who got knifed in the back recently, much as he did to the previous Party Prime Minister. We’ve had 3 leaders from the one Party inside of 5 years of office. They have done exactly what the previous opposition leadership did in their 6 years of office and which they derided and ridiculed the other side for as indicating they were not worthy of leadership and swore they would never do such things as they were ‘united’ !

            The seat is a VERY safe seat for the Liberals with a 17.7% margin at the last election.

            It is likely they will lose to an Independent candidate thanks to the utter debacle of the former member’s removal from office.

            If they do it will be the largest loss in percentage terms of any Liberal seat in our nation’s 117 year history!.

            Here’s Hoping.

            Maybe you might get lucky and lose your ‘leader’ too?

            I can only hope.;-)

            Liked by 1 person

            1. It is a pity Trump isn’t running himself. Damned pity. Or, maybe not. This mid-term election can completely change the house of representatives and that is the part of our “parliament” where legislation begins. If we can turn it over, yes, we’ll have an impasse, but maybe we can get the babies out of jail.

              How did the world get so horrible and so FAST!

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Can the Senate change over as well? Or will that be the impasse?

                I don’t know either, except that Everything changes faster these days – except greed and self-interest. That never changes.

                Hope the Elections go well! 🙂 Our main election is due before next May. Exactly when we can’t say yet.

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              2. Agree, it would be nice if Donzo was running this year. He probably would be whistling “Dixie” among other things.

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              1. Our by-election is over – the Independent won in a landslide – 20% swing away from the Government replacement candidate for the EX-PM’s solid safe seat. 🙂

                ‘We’ got our first ‘miracle’ – i hope you get yours! 🙂

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  3. In Illinois the issue is which billionaire to vote for governor. I think neither will actually represent the people. It doesn’t matter much. The Democratic legislature runs the state, and not very well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think Charlie Baker is quite yet a billionaire, but he’s definitely working on it. Jay Gonzalez is very green. He’ll lose this election, but he has time to get his act together. I’ll vote for him anyway because we should have at least two candidates running!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agree. Charlie Baker is likeable. But we’re not talking about personalities. We’re talking about decades old problems — infrastructure, health care, public transportation, law and order, etc ad nauseum. As Marilyn pointed out, it’s nice to have a billion dollar budget surplus in our state — let’s put some of that money to use FIXING things…and I don’t mean political favors.

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  4. I just voted (filled in my ballot). Many of the referenda apply mostly to populated areas — Denver and Colorado Springs, that whole corridor. Not much applies to us. My friends and I were talking yesterday and decided the San Luis Valley could secede from the USA and do fine on its own. Maybe this is true of other rural areas, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rural areas are the unloved step-children of larger states. It wasn’t this way when we became a country because MOST people lived in the country, only came to town to do business, then left. America’s industrial revolution arrived the same year they wrote the Constitution. There’s definitely an irony in there. Yes, we could secede and it would be exactly the same as it is now. We get absolutely NOTHING from the state. We give them more in taxes than we ever get back and when they divide up the annual goodies, we’re always on the short end of the straw.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Martha, sounds good. We could make our own mistakes. We. Might even deal with some of the pertinent issues. The blame could begin and end locally.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have my own ballot here to fill out (I mail it in…a perk of the ‘disabled’). It’s odd to me how some of us are in the wrong place – politically speaking. I am in Utah, which if not the reddest state, one of them. I’m ‘purple’ in loyalty…neither the blues nor the reds in Utah deserve my support (IMHO), I usually end up going with the independent guys or the Libertarian or Green people. I really want to put an “Impeach Trump” sign in my window, but I don’t want horse shit flung at my house or worse – stones. The ‘governor’ in Utah is a dip wad, Republican and so disgusting in his waffling that I don’t see how he keeps getting elected, but he does. The Mayor of my town (whom I respectfully regard) is I don’t know what affiliation, but has (IMHO) done a good job and got my support last year when he ran. Most of the senators and congresspersons (geezus we have to be so careful about not saying “MAN” any more don’t we?) from Utah are old, and members of the “good ol’ boys’ club that exists in Washington D.C. or Maryland, where most of them RESIDE. The one that’s been in office since I was a teenager (!) is apparently ga-ga, but he keeps getting elected. He’s red. Bleah. Utah is pretty disgusting. But it doesn’t really sound like your neck of the woods is a whole lot better. And our roads are semi-usable. They SHOULD be, they keep fixing ’em. Over and over and over…24/7 – 356. Yeah.

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    1. I have heard this EXACT same story from New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain and everywhere in the U.S. with which I’m in touch. Apparently, if you live in a rural area, your vote really doesn’t count much, except at the very smallest level. It doesn’t matter your color or religion. If you aren’t part of a heavily populated area that’s a close call vote, you can vote, but it’s not going to change your immediate world.

      But, THIS time it matters, not only because of local issues but because our independence and standing as a nation in the world is on the line. If the U.S. is going to mean anything, we have to be a grown-up nation with an adult president who acts like he respects his own country — and have sane laws. Oh, and did I mention freedom?

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  6. I met Jay Gonzalez once after a 5k race we both ran.
    I don’t agree with many of his policy positions, but he is a smart guy who knows the issues well.
    I have contacted his campaign 3 times for a yard sign and bumper sticker. So far nothing. My first contact was during the primary.
    I fear he has an incompetent staff/campaign. I will vote for him but I think he will only get 40% of the vote or less.
    Charlie is a nice guy who doesn’t make waves. I’m voting for Jay primarily because he is a democrat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I voting for Jay because although he’s going to lose, Baker is the kind of governors we keep electing. They go with the flow, they don’t make changes. Regardless of party, they will go wherever the tide takes them. I think we need two parties — at least. And I wasn’t kidding when I said Baker has not done anything for anyone who doesn’t live in Boston. He doesn’t even seem to KNOW there are other parts of the state. I suppose you can say I’m voting against him because he really needs to know that not everyone wants yet one more do-nothing guv.

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    2. Omni, you’re the first person I’ve heard who’s had personal contact with Jay Gonzalez. Maybe I’ll check him out on Line and see if I get a response.

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  7. Tonight (Sunday), we watched a PBS debate between Elizabeth Warren and Geoff Diehl —Senatorial debate. interesting.

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