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2014 MA Lt. Governor Race Taking Shape

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While the Massachusetts governor’s race has garnered plenty of attention, in November, voters will also elect a new lieutenant governor.

The race to fill the seat left vacant by Tim Murray in May is shaping up with five declared Democratic candidates and one Republican. Steve Kerrigan has served in many roles in the Democratic Party on both the state and national stages, including as a political director for late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. If elected, he says he wants the next governor to give him the task of a top-down review of every aspect of state spending to ensure efficiency.

“There is $10 to $15 to $20 billion in what I call stranded costs, in tax incentives and in tax programs that encourage businesses to grow in Massachusetts and that are given out to help them,” Kerrigan said. “There’s very little bookkeeping on.” 

Mike Lake is CEO of Leading Cities, a nonprofit agency involved in public policy analysis and economic development with communities in the U.S. and internationally. The Democrat says he wants to serve as a liaison for state government, working with communities and businesses both in and outside of the commonwealth. He says he will focus on establishing livable working wages, safe communities and an education pipeline that continues into adulthood.

“Somebody to sell Massachusetts to businesses domestic and abroad so that they know that Massachusetts is the best place to bring their investment and to bring their jobs so we can employ the unemployed and bring greater strength to our economy,” said Lake.

James Arena-DeRosa is a former regional director of the USDA and Peace Corps. He says he wants to draw upon his experience to serve as a bridge between federal, state and local governments. The Democrat is focused on wage fairness, education, and the state’s food economy.

“I think we can create thousands of jobs by providing the right kind of support to our local farmers and local processors especially in western Massachusetts,” Arena-DeRosa said. “I’d also fight for universal breakfast in every elementary classroom in Massachusetts.”

Jonathan Edwards is a four-term, 10-year Selectman in the town of Whately. The Democrat says his community-based background would help him form consensus and partnerships between the state and local levels. Edwards says the state’s economy revolves around sustaining commitment to the energy and technology sectors.

“We need to make sure that we know what clean tech is going to look like not just today, but in 5, 10, 15, 20 years,” Edwards said. “The state that has their eye on that vision ball is going to be the state that captures the hundreds of thousands of clean tech jobs that are right around the corner.”

Karyn Polito is the lone declared Republican candidate so far. The former state representative and 2010 nominee for treasurer is supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker. Baker lost to Governor Deval Patrick in 2010. Fellow Republican Mark Fisher has also thrown his hat into the governor’s race. Polito says she and Baker will work to decrease the cost of doing business in the commonwealth and reevaluate state regulations.

“We’d like to take the success stories and duplicate them everywhere,” Polito said. “So it shouldn’t be just your zip code that dictates the quality of the education for your kids, the safety of your neighborhood, or the level of job opportunity.”

Cambridge city councilor Leland Cheung has also been mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. He could not be reached in time for broadcast. Former lieutenant governor Tim Murray left in May to head the Worcester Chamber of Commerce.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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