Charlie Baker and Christy Mihos, Republican candidates for governor, both said last night that a sea change has started in Massachusetts, spurred in part by Scott Brown's Senate win last week.
Charlie Baker and Christy Mihos, Republican candidates for governor, both said last night that a sea change has started in Massachusetts, spurred in part by Scott Brown's Senate win last week .
"We really have a chance to make a very big difference in the direction this state is heading in," said Baker at the Framingham Republican Town Committee caucus in the Oaks Building Library in Summerville at Farm Road.
"Voters are listening. They are engaged and they are paying attention," he said. "This is going to be a great opportunity."
During his speech, Baker said the current state administration led by Gov. Deval Patrick hasn't been paying attention to the needs of its constituents and has neglected to do the same belt-tightening citizens and small businesses have.
"They need to be playing by the same rules as us," he said, vowing to slash wasteful spending and cut taxes if elected. "They clearly haven't gotten the message that we are in a recession."
Baker touted his experience in both the public and private sectors, saying he has led turnarounds before and, with the help of a Republican Legislature, will be able to pull Massachusetts out of its financial rut.
During his tenure in the Weld/Cellucci administration, Baker said he assisted with 16 tax cuts implemented during that period.
He also said he brought Harvard Pilgrim Health Care back from the brink of financial ruin when he took the reins as CEO in 1999.
"I know how to do this. I know how to turn things around," he said. "I can take a big ugly problem and make it better."
Mihos said he thought Brown's win last week had brought new life to the party, and that momentum needs to be maintained.
Citing Republican Committee Chairman Ed McGrath's assertion that "the next governor of this state (is) sitting in the room," Mihos said, "I'm damn sure of that after last Tuesday. It's never been teed up like this before."
Mihos said he was hoping for a lively Republican primary between himself and Baker in order to drum up support for the party.
"The best thing that can happen post-Scott Brown is a Republican race where we are on the news every single day," he said.
Mihos said that, if elected, he would fight to eliminate tolls on the Mass. Pike west of Rte. 128, consolidate state government by trimming spending and unnecessary state jobs and bring down health care costs.
Both candidates fielded many questions from the audience on illegal immigration. They agreed that illegal immigrants should never be offered licenses or tuition to state schools and that employers who hire illegal immigrants should face penalties.
McGrath, who is running against state Sen. Karen Spilka, and Mary Connaughton, who is running for state auditor, also gave brief speeches to the crowd last night, stressing the importance of electing a Republican Legislature.
MetroWest Daily News