By Ling-Mei Wong
The seventh gubernatorial forum with Charlie Baker took place April 14 at Viet-Aid in Dorchester, while the final forum with Jeff McCormick took place April 16 at the Metropolitan Community Room in Chinatown. The “Corner Office” forums are organized by Gov. Patrick’s Asian American Commission and sponsored by 25 Asian American organizations.
Mass. Treasurer Steve Grossman returned to Chinatown for a second town hall meeting April 23 at the Metropolitan.
Baker is the Republican candidate on his second run for governor. His platform focused on job creation, education and strengthening communities.
“We can’t be a strong Commonwealth without strong communities,” Baker said. “Communities have identities, fundamental to who they are and where they live.… I will work with communities around main streets.”
Baker worked in public office as Mass. secretary of administration and finance and secretary of health and human services. He was CEO of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.
Baker’s promise to work with the existing tax base differentiated him from the other gubernatorial candidates. “I’m the only person to say if state tax revenue grows, local aid needs to go to cities and towns,” he said. “The state budget has gone up six percent, but it has cut funds to cities and towns.”
Gaming in Massachusetts should be limited to one casino, Baker said. However, as more casinos are being built, he would work to understand their impact on local businesses and the state lottery.
Independent candidate McCormick was the eighth and final speaker of the gubernatorial series. He is the cofounder of venture capital firm Saturn Partners, which funded Constant Contact and Boston Tours.
“I’m the product of typical Irish immigrant roots,” McCormick said. “I’m proud to say over the last 20 years, I’ve built many companies and jobs.”
McCormick grew up in upstate New York and played lacrosse while at Syracuse University. While he has not held public office, he said his analytical skills and willingness to listen distinguish him.
“Energy is a tremendous opportunity,” McCormick said, citing alternative energy and improvements to traditional energy as possible drivers of state job growth.
McCormick took a stance against casinos as a solution to job growth, as most of the jobs are low-wage ones and gambling has negative effects.
“Compulsive gambling is 30 to 40 percent of a casino’s revenue stream,” he said. “These people should not be cashing their paychecks at the casino. … Capital like that could benefit hundreds of companies in software or local retail.”
Except for independent Scott Lively and Republican Mark Fisher, eight of the 10 Mass. gubernatorial candidates spoke at the “Corner Office” forums: Joseph Avellone, Baker, Donald Berwick, Martha Coakley, Evan Falchuk, Grossman, Juliette Kayyem and McCormick.
Grossman’s campaign held a second town hall meeting to discuss transportation and jobs. His first “Corner Office” forum took place on March 10.
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