Jay Gonzalez’s Jabs About Vision Thing Parried By Charlie Baker — Beacon Hill Recap

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/10/14/jay-gonzalezs-jabs-about-vision-thing-parried-by-charlie-baker-beacon-hill-recap/

By Matt Murphy

The consensus seemed to be that Jay Gonzalez needed a moment.

It didn’t have to be as dramatic as breaking down into tears over a down-on-his-luck fisherman that may or may not exist, but a moment nonetheless. One to change the trajectory of his race against Governor Charlie Baker and get voters to remember his name.

Yet another poll this week reminded that Gonzalez is trailing the incumbent by 39 points, give or take.

Unfortunately, for Gonzalez the lasting memory of Tuesday night for many many voters might be Ian Kinsler doubling to deep left in the third and setting the stage for the Yankees elimination party that would follow.

Neither Gonzalez nor Baker could do anything about the fact that their first debate was going head-to-head on TV against a Red Sox-Yankees playoff tilt, but those who did choose to tune in got a good feel for exactly what this race has been about.

Gonzalez delivered all his hits, from wanting to be a governor who “aims high” and fights for the “little guy,” to accusing Baker of being too focused on “small-ball, status quo stuff.”

As the debate veered from transportation to education and Gonzalez’s tax plan, Baker, who had until this point not really engaged with Gonzalez’s criticisms, pushed back, at times effectively. He tackled the Democrats’ main dig at his four years in office — a lack of vision — and went right at Gonzalez’s record as budget chief under Deval Patrick. He even branded Gonzalez’s endowment tax proposal as insufficient to cover all of the Democrat’s promised spending.

“If I was a status quo governor, there’d still be thousands of homeless families living in hotels and motels in Massachusetts — there aren’t,” Baker said. “If I was a status quo governor, we wouldn’t have a huge offshore wind and hydro program going on to replace a third of our fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy.”

Gonzalez had a response for that too, though: Not enough. The theme for Gonzalez was that whatever Baker’s been doing, he hasn’t been doing it fast enough, or good enough.

Maybe Baker’s spent some money on the T, but he hasn’t spent enough money. An offshore wind farm? Great, but Massachusetts should be taxing carbon emissions too. Sure, Baker signed a law protecting a women’s access to abortion, but he endorsed Geoff Diehl for Senate, who would vote to confirm judges like Brett Kavanaugh.

The question of this election is whether the “status quo” governor critique will sell at a time when the economy is roaring, people are working and, generally speaking, voters are happy with the direction of Massachusetts.

And on Wednesday, October 17 he’ll get another crack at Baker, and another chance for a moment.

The debate was followed up Thursday afternoon with a forum on environmental issues at the Museum of Science. Baker and Gonzalez didn’t share the stage, but got an hour each to themselves.

Baker had to apologize for failing to deliver on his 2014 campaign promise to boost state spending on the environment to 1 percent of the total budget, but he also got to tout the push he’s made into the offshore wind market.

The state earlier this year helped oversee a process that led to utilities selecting an offshore wind project proposed by Vineyard Wind, one of three bidders for the Massachusetts contract. Deepwater Wind, another bidder, won a Connecticut contract at the same time, and Orsted was left in the cold.

That is until this week, when Danish executives declared: “If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em.” The European wind power giant announced that it had purchased Deepwater Wind, which has already built a small wind farm off of Block Island and will be putting more turbines in the Atlantic for the Nutmeg State.

Both Baker and Gonzalez seem to agree you can’t go wrong with wind. And it’s certainly not prone to explosions under high pressure, which the National Transportation Safety Board cited this week as the cause of the Merrimack Valley gas incident.

One area where Baker and Gonzalez do clearly diverge is on Question 1.

While Gonzalez supports mandated nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, Baker announced this week that he had decided to oppose the ballot measure put forward by the Massachusetts Nurses Association. He based that conclusion in large part on the estimated cost and other findings in a Health Policy Commission report that he read over the weekend.

For those keeping score at home, that leaves Baker as a no, yes, yes on the three questions.

Also for those keeping score, thousands more drug convictions based on testing done at the now-shuttered state drug lab in Amherst between 2009 and 2013 were thrown out by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

The opinion, written by Justice Frank Gaziano, seemingly closed the book on the so-called “Farak defendants.” The court went with what it described as its “remedy of last resort,” ordering that all convictions tainted by even the most remote association with chemist Sonja Farak, who admitted in 2014 to tampering with drug evidence, could not stand.

The justices also admonished two former assistant attorneys general for prosecutorial misconduct for failing to fully disclose all they knew about Farak’s substance abuse issues to defense lawyers.

On the same day that the SJC was making headlines, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling was making news of his own across the channel. Fresh off dismissing corruption charges against the late senator Brian Joyce, Lelling’s office had another public official to target.

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia was cuffed and charged with bilking investors in a business app that he never quite developed of more than $200,000 to finance a “lavish lifestyle” of fancy hotels, meals, clothes, and a Mercedes.

Correia denies that he did anything wrong, and after shedding the ankle chains went back to work at City Hall, refusing to resign even as pressure began to mount Friday from Gov. Baker and others for the mayor to step aside.

STORY OF THE WEEK: Glued to the TV, but maybe not for #mapoli

SONG OF THE WEEK: Gonzalez’s pitch to voters….Whatever Baker can do, I can do harder, better, faster, stronger.