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MA Gov Charlie Baker Accepts Nomination For Governor

A white man in a suit stands in front of a bookshelf.

Incumbent Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, accepted his nomination at his party's state convention in Worcester today to run for governor again this fall. Below are his comments.

Thank you friends.

I want to start by thanking my wife Lauren --- the love of my life for the past thirty years --- for putting up with me --- and for all she does as First Lady.  Everyone says I married up --- and they’re right.  

I also want to say a few words about the late Rob Cunningham. 

As many of you know --- Rob was a great guy --- and a great campaign manager.  Rob helped Republicans win a lot of races in very blue Massachusetts.  He was smart --- strategic --- and level headed.  And in 2014 --- as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Republican Party --- he helped us defend our incumbents --- win open seats --- and knock off a few Democrats too.

He passed away last year at the age of 44.  And we --- his friends --- miss him very much.

Fortunately his spirit lives on.  We’re joined today by his wife Jen and his daughter Casey who are here as delegates.  Thank you Jen and Casey for being with us today.

Thank you for nominating Karyn Polito and me in 2014.   Thank you for working hard for us throughout that campaign.   And thank you for standing with us on an election night that stretched into the early hours of the next day.

And because of all that ---

I’d like to start by asking you to give yourselves a big round of applause.

Gathering today in Worcester also has special meaning for us. 

The Lieutenant Governor reminds me on a regular basis that while we won the 2014 election by 39,000 votes state wide --- we won Worcester County by 47,000 votes. 

Where are the Worcester County delegates?   You put us over the top.  Take a bow folks.

For the past three and a half years --- the Lieutenant Governor and I have worked hard to live up to our commitments.  And we did. Great communities.  Great schools.  A strong economy.  And a thrifty --- creative state government that puts taxpayers first. 

We inherited a billion dollar deficit --- and we fixed it without raising taxes.

We cut taxes for working families --- increased spending on our schools by almost $500 million ---

and reformed state government by reducing the size and cost of the bureaucracy by hundreds of millions of dollars.

We didn't think it was time to give elected officials a pay raise --- so we vetoed it. 

We inherited a broken health connector --- and we fixed it.  Today --- the connector serves hundreds of thousands of working families and individuals who would have trouble accessing affordable coverage any other way.

We inherited an out of control Medicaid program --- and we fixed it.  We've reduced the rate of growth and made the program more accountable to tax payers.

We took on the opioid epidemic.   And for the first time in a decade --- deaths and prescriptions are down.  And our legislation has become a national model.  We have much more to do --- but we’re making good progress.

We shut down a $1 billion expansion of the Mass Convention Center in South Boston.

We rescued the Green Line Extension project by reducing its cost by $800 million.

We took on the special interests at the MBTA --- created a Fiscal and Management Control Board --- saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars --- and we're rebuilding its core infrastructure.

We said we’d make life easier for small businesses --- and we did.   We re-wrote and simplified our Code of Regulation --- and worked with small business associations on their issues.  As a result --- Massachusetts went from a D+ for small business friendliness in 2014 --- to an A- in 2017.

We invested in our vocational and technical schools.  $50 million in new funding to modernize programs that give high school students and young adults the skills they need to be successful --- without incurring a mountain of debt.  We’ve also made it possible for graduates to get associate degrees at many of these schools after they graduate.

We’ve offered early college programs --- our Commonwealth Commitment program --- and increases in state scholarships --- to make the price of college more affordable for moderate and middle income families.

We said we’d create jobs --- and we did.  There were more people working in Massachusetts in 2017 than at any time in state history.  Over 150,000 new jobs.  And major drops in the number of people looking for work in every corner of the Commonwealth.

G.O.P.  Growth.   Opportunity.   And Prosperity.  That's who we are.  And that’s what we are about    Every --- Single --- Day.

We’ve also worked hard to strengthen our party. 

Karyn and I attended over 100 events for candidates during the 2016 election cycle. 

We raised money for them.  Knocked on doors.  Made phone calls.  Did stand outs.  And spoke on their behalf whenever we had the chance.

As a result -- we accomplished something together during a Presidential election year that hasn’t been done in over 30 years in Massachusetts.  We held onto every legislative seat we already had.   And we added a new one --- Will Crocker down on the Cape.

We also worked on former Fitchburg City Councilor Dean Tran’s recent --- and winning --- State Senate campaign.  Taking a seat that had been held by Democrats for 25 years.

Simply put --- a fiscally disciplined, performance oriented Republican Party that can go toe to toe with the Democrats --- makes this state better and stronger.  Competition creates accountability. Constructive friction works.

And the choices we put before the voters in the fall will matter.  There is a difference between us and them.

Our opponents want to make Massachusetts a Sanctuary State.  We don't.

We support the death penalty for cop killers. 

Our opponents don't.

We support reducing the sales tax and making the sales tax holiday permanent.  Our opponents don't.

We believe state prison officials should be able to work with federal immigration officials to remove dangerous criminals who are here illegally.

Our opponents don't.

We believe that drug traffickers who kill our kids deserve to be tried for manslaughter.  

Our opponents don't.

We believe that the sale and distribution of fentanyl should be a crime punishable with a mandatory minimum sentence. 

Our opponents don't.

We believe you should be a legal resident of the Commonwealth to be eligible for a driver’s license. 

Our opponents don't.

Our opponents believe public health insurance should cover marijuana.   We don't.

And you know what --- I could go on and on. The short story is --- they believe in a bigger, more intrusive, less accountable state government --- we don't.

We need a strong --- united Republican Party to serve as a check on the Democrat majorities.   We need to put the best team on the field.   And we need to win in the Fall.  

Karyn and I have fought hard on behalf of the people of Massachusetts --- and once again --- we stand before you today and ask for your vote. 

And we look forward to working with you to ensure that we can continue to give the people of this great Commonwealth the state government they and you deserve.

Fiscally disciplined.  Performance driven.  And focused on building strong communities --- great schools and a booming economy from one end of Massachusetts to the other.

Thank you.  God Bless you.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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