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Baker is the Clear Choice on Nov. 2

November 1, 2010

There are many issues at stake in this election, but none come close to the number one priority on every American’s mind: jobs. There is no way to talk about the 2010 elections and not mention the economy, and for good reason. When Americans are at work, we are a productive nation moving forward. As of right now, with record high unemployment levels, we are a nation in despair and moving in the wrong direction. In short, people are worried about high unemployment rates and staggering job losses.  On this, the most important issue in his platform, Baker really differentiates himself from the other candidates in the race.

Massachusetts recently spiked to its highest unemployment rate in 34 years, leaving approximately 320,000 people in the state without jobs.  Governing the state during this period of economic crisis was Deval Patrick ’78, who has done little to end the anti-business climate that is stifling growth and innovation in Massachusetts. This state has the talent to move forward, but that talent is quickly moving out, taking potential jobs with it. Patrick has been unable to turn this state around, and its time to give some new ideas a chance in Massachusetts. The candidate that offers the best direction for Massachusetts as a whole is Charlie D. Baker ‘79.

Patrick has tried very hard to define his candidacy by other issues, talking on public education, alternate energy sources, even the infamous Arizona immigration law, which has almost no bearing on Massachusetts state politics. However, he can’t hide that it was during his time in office that Massachusetts has watched as many other states have begun to financially recover and leave it behind.

Baker, on the other hand, has been eager to talk about the economy and jobs.  Baker’s plan would make a number of changes in Massachusetts, including instituting a 5 percent statutory tax rate for all businesses in place of what they have now, reducing the states income tax and sales tax to 5 percent to make its tax policies competitive enough to bring in new businesses, and in general he promises to make the state especially more small-business friendly, and keep it that way. This is the change Massachusetts needs, a governor committed to lowering unemployment and providing jobs for the citizens

With the inhospitable business environment that the current governor has encouraged, the one reason left, it seems, for employers to continue to invest in this state is education. Having served on the Massachusetts Board of Education, Baker understands what it has taken for Massachusetts to lead the nation in K-12 education and what it will take for the state to retain its position. Unlike Patrick, Baker does not support ending the MCAS and adopting national education standards that are lower than the ones we already have. He supports expanding the public school system by increasing the number of charter schools and is dedicated to closing the achievement by providing alternatives for students trapped in underperforming schools. Baker also pledges to reverse the actions of Governor Patrick and end the current cuts to higher education. If there is one thing that Massachusetts should be willing to invest in, it should be its children and its future, and Baker will ensure that they are not forgotten.

Unlike education, there are areas within Massachusetts that are not worth the investment—in particular the proposed Cape Cod Wind Farm. The project, while providing some renewable energy, actually increases energy costs to 18.7 cents per kilowatt, higher than the peak wholesale rate for the last decade. In stark contrast to Patrick, Baker recognizes that there are more efficient ways to care for our environment that do not place extra burden upon the residents and local businesses of Massachusetts during an economic recession. The cost of electricity in Massachusetts is already double the national average and triple the cost that businesses and homeowners pay in states that Massachusetts is competing with for jobs. Baker has committed to combating climate change, but his policies would ensure that Massachusetts has an efficient, cost-effective energy program—not one that forces more homeowners and more businesses out of the state.

2008 was about change, but not much changed about Massachusetts politics. Baker is a moderate candidate with new ideas that can provide a path forward for Massachusetts that includes jobs, better education, and more efficient environmental policies. Beacon Hill is disparately in need of innovative solutions and diversity of opinions—Baker can provide these and a better future for Massachusetts.

-Derek Bekebrede ’13 and Will Bergstrom ’13

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