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Editorial: Elect Jay Gonzalez for governor, Maura Healey for attorney general

  • Jay Gonzalez, who is a Democratic candidate for governor, speaks during an interview at the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018.

  • Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, left, introduces Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey at a town hall discussion Healey held at the Northampton Elks Lodge on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018.


Friday, November 02, 2018

When residents of Massachusetts look to other parts of the country and see the rollback of protections President Donald Trump and his supporters have pushed regarding health care, unions, immigrant and LGBTQ civil rights, and access to safe abortions, they might look at our own moderate Republican governor, Charles Baker, and think we don’t have it so bad.

But “not so bad” is not good enough to earn a second term leading the state through one of the greatest periods of political turmoil in recent memory.

In contrast, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez, a veteran of former Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration, has bright, bold ideas for the state and the experience and courage to implement them.

While Baker and even many in Gonzalez’s own party have dragged their feet on addressing climate change, health care, immigrant rights and raising revenue to support schools and infrastructure, Gonzalez has taken strong progressive positions that will put Massachusetts at the forefront of developing policies the rest of the country can emulate.

Gonzalez, a former health insurance company CEO, says he wants a single-payer health care system that would eliminate health insurance companies. While we would like more details of how the state would pay for this policy, leadership on this issue is important when health insurance is too complicated and too expensive for many of the state’s residents. Northampton’s popular state representative, Peter Kocot, who died earlier this year, worked hard to get legislation exploring a single-payer system through the Legislature. Baker, another former health insurance executive, failed to support or show leadership on the issue, and the bill was defeated.

Baker also failed to support the so-called Fair Share Amendment to the state’s Constitution, which would have allowed for a 4-percent tax on income in excess of $1 million, adding $2 billion to the state’s coffers. The amendment was ready to land on the statewide ballot vote in November — the final hurdle in a four-year constitutional amendment process — but voters were robbed of a chance to weigh in by a split decision by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. Four of the five justices who voted to strip the amendment question from the ballot are Baker appointees.

Gonzalez is experienced with the state budget, having served as Gov. Patrick’s finance secretary during the recovery from the Great Recession. He supports restarting the process on the Fair Share Amendment, and in the meantime implementing a tax on college and university endowments over $1 billion. Two of the nine institutions that would be impacted — Smith and Amherst colleges — are located in Hampshire County. While some have argued against this tax, these large endowments at wealthy institutions represent resources that can be used to benefit all in the state rather than a select few.

With regard to the environment, Baker has received a “C” grade from the state’s environmental advocacy organizations during his time as governor. Gonzalez supports carbon pricing, opposes pipeline expansion and supports robust expansion of renewable energy sources.

Baker has rejected much of the most virulent rhetoric and some of the inhumane policies his party embraces these days, notably in his canceling of the state’s National Guard presence at the border over President Trump’s family separation policy. While he signed into law protections for transgender people and a repeal of the state’s abortion ban, Baker still has not done enough to stand up for our most vulnerable residents.

Gonzalez is a strong supporter of the Safe Communities Act that would keep state law enforcement officials from sharing documentation status with federal immigration officials. He also supports legal driver’s licenses and in-state tuition for undocumented residents, which Baker rejects. 

With a president who insists on dividing the country, and a Republican Party that refuses to stand up to him, Massachusetts needs a strong leader to counter and resist this destructive force at every turn. That leader is Jay Gonzalez.

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Democrat Maura Healey is seeking a second four-year term as state attorney general and is being challenged by Republican James R. McMahon III, a lawyer from Bourne, in the Nov. 6 election. 

During her first term, Healey, of Charlestown, has been a strong advocate for tougher gun control laws, shown a commitment to fighting the opioid epidemic and has sued the federal government on numerous occasions to protect Constitutional and civil rights on behalf of Massachusetts residents. 

In addition to bringing in $800 million to the state last year through the AG’s office, Healey has also created a Student Loan Assistance Unit and Community Engagement Division. Her decision to go after predatory for-profit schools and unlawful student debt relief companies while helping students and families navigate loan repayment is particularly impressive.

Healey has built a solid record since taking office in 2015 when she became the country’s first openly gay state attorney general. She has brought energy, vision and leadership to the office, and we strongly endorse her re-election.