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Republican businessman launches campaign for governor in Massachusetts

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Chris Doughty, a Republican business owner from Wrentham, announced his candidacy for governor in a campaign video

Chris Doughty is the second Republican in the field of candidates

The president of a manufacturing company has joined the race for governor in Massachusetts as a self-described moderate Republican.

Chris Doughty, in a campaign video, touted his experience creating jobs.

The only other Republican in the race is former State Representative Geoff Diehl, who has been endorsed by former president Donald Trump.

WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Doughty.

Paul Tuthill 

Why are you running for governor?

Chris Doughty

Well, it's a great question. You know, we, my wife, Leslie and I, we are right here in 1987, and got a great education here, raised six children, built a thriving successful business. And that we, and we've gotten to know so many people across the Commonwealth, that we have just felt a desire to give back to the community, and to and to help, and we see the challenges our state is facing, and the citizens with affordability. And I've got some ideas and solutions that I want to offer to the citizens.

Paul Tuthill 

Okay, well, let's start what are some of those ideas and solutions?

Chris Doughty

Well, I think simply stated, is bringing some common sense pragmatic, kind of free market ideas to the discussions about affordability, the reduction of regulations and other things that we've done in our state over the course of time that I've just raised the cost of living here. You know, it impacted my own family, my adult children just couldn't afford to live in Massachusetts, and the solutions being offered or so many, so many of them had to do with more regulation and putting more controls on things versus the direction, I think we should take our state, which is less of those things.

Paul Tuthill 

So you would oppose things like rent control and things of that sort.

Chris Doughty

Yeah, in fact, I think to some degree they can even talking about it can make it worse, I think we have to let the free market, in the reduction in regulation start bringing down costs. You know, there's a lot of other states that we can look to that are doing things that are more long term and quicker in reducing the cost of living in their areas that we can apply here in Massachusetts,

Paul Tuthill 

Governor Baker, in his State of the Commonwealth address, proposed a series of tax cuts that he said would make the state more affordable. Do you support those?

Chris Doughty

You know, Paul, anything that brings down taxes or holds the line on taxes I'm in full support of, and I think it does illustrate a very important point for all of us, which is that by having Republicans and fiscally conservative Republicans in the state house is very beneficial. And I think it's part of the miracle of Massachusetts is that we have consistently elected Republican fiscally conservative governors as a offset to the spending initiatives that come from the legislature. And so I think that's part of the message and story that I bring to the campaign is, is that we should, you know, make sure we have that voice. It makes our government better, it makes the government more resolute in their decisions when we have both voices at the table.

Paul Tuthill 

That winning formula, if you will, for Republicans running for governor in Massachusetts, going all the way back to Bill Weld in 1990. has been to campaign as a fiscal conservative, but a social liberal. Now I read you oppose abortion rights, is that correct?

Chris Doughty

Well, on a personal note, I lean to pro life with exceptions. But I also recognize this as established law in Massachusetts, and that the next governor's won't be involved in those discussions anyway.

Paul Tuthill 

Well, we could be, you know, depending on what the Supreme Court does with Roe vs. Wade.

Chris Doughty

Well, I think it's pretty well established already the what the citizens and the electorate here in Massachusetts want, I would certainly not want to change any of that.

Paul Tuthill 

So tell me a little more about you. Your background, your experience, what do you think prepares you to be to be governor now? You've never run for elected office before, correct?

Chris Doughty

That's correct. Well, you know, Paul, I'm the if you if you look at the other candidates, I'm the only one that has created jobs in the state. I can go to CEOs outside of our state and I can tell the stories with a genuine honest voice about the advantages and disadvantages of our state. I have a real sense being a job creator, what we need to do in our state to to bring jobs. Also, you know, I've raised six children, and they have four grandchildren so that the public schools are a very important part of my life stories, and I understand what we what we need to do is state also coming from the private business, I'm accustomed to getting things done and to be action oriented and to have clear measurables and to have cross functional teams and working together to solve problems. I think that private business experience is critical in statehouse, particularly in the corner office to move our state forward in it with the right speed and the right tempo and the right focus and the right missions. So I bring all those, in fact, I'm the only candidate that brings all those to the statehouse. I'm the most natural of the candidates to serve as a governor. I'm already doing all the tasks, if you think about it, and someone that's grown a small business to a large business, I'm already doing all the things that a governor does. I enjoy budgeting. I enjoy financing. And our state has a large budget, a lot of financing. I'm very comfortable with living in a world of limited resources and working with teams on how to allocate those resources. I'm very accustomed to working in a setting of multiple stakeholders and coming together to solve problems in a proactive effort. Because I've been doing it my whole life for 30 years. That's the job I've had.

Paul Tuthill 
Can you can you ramp up a campaign, though, as a first time candidate? With a with zero profile statewide? Can you ramp up a campaign in a relatively short period of time? I'm going to primaries only eight months from now.

Chris Doughty

Yeah, Paul, I've spent a great deal of time, as you can imagine on this question. I'm fairly analytical. And so I have stared at this question a lot. Here's my conclusion. A successful campaign requires four elements. First is the right candidate. Because voters know if someone's got it, they have what it takes to be for whatever position they're campaigning for. The second one is the right message, a message. That's not just sounds good, but it's true. And then the third one is a good team, and a lot of hard work. And I bring all four to the table. If you look at my resume, you'll see a here's a guy that is really well trained and qualified for this job, too, is the message, the message I bring a balance in the State House affordability, bringing jobs pro growth, I think that the citizens and voters are going to hear that it's going to resonate with them, because it's true. And the third one is just hard work and bringing people together. And again, I've been doing that my whole career. I think the campaign is building out quickly. And we have a lot of people that are rallying behind I think ultimately will prevail, because we have the right things in place.

Paul Tuthill 

I read that you're putting some of your own money into the campaign to jumpstart it. Is that right?

Chris Doughty

That's correct.

Paul Tuthill

How much?

Chris Doughty

We'll start with a seed investment of our own 500,000.

Paul Tuthill 

Now you're the second person to formally announce a run for the Republican nomination. The other candidate Jeff deal has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump deal has said he agrees with Mr. Trump's false claims about fraud in the 2020 presidential election. What about you?

Chris Doughty

Well, Jeff will run a good campaign and his own campaign, my campaign will be focused on the issues that I think are most important. I think in the case of President Trump, he would look at a man like me and say, Oh, here's a man who has done what I was talking about. I could have moved hundreds of jobs overseas, but I didn't. It'd be American workers matter to me. And that's been my life story is creating American jobs. And I think in the end, Donald Trump and I would understand each other.

Paul Tuthill 

But what about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election?

Chris Doughty

That I believe Joe Biden is the is the president of the United States.

Paul Tuthill 

Now the current governor, Governor Baker has made it clear he didn't vote for Mr. Trump in either 2016 or in 2020 . Do you vote for him either time?

Chris Doughty

I did the second time, you know, his message about the Chinese trade practices really resonated with me. And, frankly, the Chinese trade practices were hurting my business and they were hurting many of my customers businesses, particularly in the in the Midwest, and in the south. And I think anyone that was willing to push back on those trade practices, you know, I supported

Paul Tuthill 

What do you think of the current state of the Republican Party in Massachusetts?

Chris Doughty

You know, I had the opportunity over the last couple of months in preparing for this announcement to talk to many of them. In fact, I've personally called probably 50 of the town chairs, and they've all told me that there is a strong appetite or another candidate to get into the race. Someone with my background, my resume someone with my my focus and my message on affordability. And so I think there's a There's a great deal of support for another candidate to come into the, to this campaign, this race.

Paul Tuthill 

So finally, how do you want to make your initial introduction to voters here in Western Massachusetts?

Chris Doughty

Yeah. Okay, Paul, is it these are my people, I come from manufacturing, I don't come from downtown, you know, a high rise I, I run a manufacturing company I've built, you know, facilities across the country. I know what we can do in Western Massachusetts, all the way through Central Massachusetts, basically, into the suburbs to bring in which kind of jobs we need. I will walk into the governor's office with a very ambitious goal for job creation. But I'm not going to target what industry I'm going to go out to the communities and to the citizens and figure out what are the industries that work best in your community in your area, and then let's go find them. This, there is one candidate that can do this, that can go out to those types of businesses call on the CEOs and say, Hey, this is what we haven't met Western Massachusetts, here's some land, here's some opportunity, here's our people. Look at what we can bring for you to relocate your jobs here. And Phil, believe me, because of my background, my experience 30 years of creating jobs, and I can speak with authority and with a genuine voice. And so I think the people of Western, you know, Massachusetts, all the way through the central part of the state that relies on, you know, manufacturing and those kinds of jobs. I'll have a real message for them a real clear voice of what we can do.