|Marshfield - In August when the gubernatorial race started to heat up, Democratic Governor Deval Patrick on WATD called for one issue-driven debate per week, from Labor Day until Election Day; WATD started making the calls, and invited all the candidates.
Democratic Governor Deval Patrick and Republican Charlie Baker, who were contacted numerous times, each ignored the request or never got back to WATD-FM.
Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein was the only one to accept the invite, and came to WATD’s studios on Wednesday night. Stein is a physician and a 1979 graduate of Harvard Medical School.
“I come here, to the political world, not as a politician but as a medical doctor, having worked for 25 years trying to get people the care they need in a broken system that just keeps getting closer to collapse.” said Stein. “That’s how I really learned personally that politicians just aren’t listening to us and that we never get the health care we need, not to mention the strong schools that we need or to get good jobs back, unless we really fundamentally take our government back and make it work for us.”
Stein said the party she represents came about with the merger of two parties– the Green Party and the Rainbow Party, which was associated with Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition.
“These were two groups that came together and said that there are environmental issues here, there are social and economic issues– let’s put them together in a politics that’s basically about people and is basically about our democracy and gets out from under the pay-to-play politics that we see happening around us,” said Stein. “It’s regrettable that the insider candidates are not here tonight; that’s what we are seeing in many aspects of the race.”
Stein said there is a lack of engagement in this election cycle; she says the public is only hearing about the three big insider candidates.
She said her opponents are a part of “business as usual” on Beacon Hill, and she says business as usual is not meeting the public’s needs.
“All three of my opponents are cutting, or saying that they will cut, the critical services that ordinary people need to hang on, instead of cutting what we really should be cutting: the waste and the sweetheart deals like, for example, the massive health insurance bureaucracy which gobbles up are tax dollars,” said Stein.
Stein says the debate should be about cutting massive healthcare waste, rather than cutting healthcare all together.
She says the state can do much better, and can turn wasted dollars into jobs- specifically green jobs.
“Remember that we have approximately a twenty eight billion dollar budget in Massachusetts,“ said Stein. “Few people know the staggering statistic– if you add up all our various health costs we are spending half of the budget on healthcare: 14 billion dollars when you add up Mass Health, Commonwealth Care, Healthcare for Employees, GIC, etc.”
On the subject of gaming, Stein is against expanded casino gambling.
“The last thing we need is another corrupting industry on Beacon Hill,” said Stein. “I think it’s true– we need jobs, and we do have a jobs emergency, but let’s create some jobs that actually strengthen our community, that provide good wages. Secure jobs that have a career pathway, as opposed to dead-end, insecure, low-wage, low-benefit casino jobs.”
Stein said she opposes Ballot Question 1, which would repeal 40b, the state’s affordable housing law, because there is no plan in place that would replace it. She also opposes Ballot Question 2, the repeal of the alcohol tax, and Ballot Question 3, the rollback of the states sales tax from 6.25 to 3 percent.
Patrick and Baker are locked in a dead heat for the governor’s office, while Cahill, an independent who has lost campaign staffers and even his candidate for Lt, Governor Paul Loscoco, is considered a distant third in recent polls. Stein is considered by some to be a long shot candidate.