Republican Chris Doughty Weighs In On Taxes, Business Climate, Abortion In Bid For Governor of Massachusetts

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Chris Doughty wants to make sure both major political parties have a voice on Beacon Hill next year.

The 59-year-old Republican from Wrentham understands that the Democratic Party will control both chambers of the legislature, but sees an opportunity for his side of the aisle to maintain the governorship.

Doughty, the president of Capstan Atlantic, a gear manufacturer in Wrentham, announced last week he’s running for governor. He spoke with NewBostonPost in a telephone interview this past Friday and explained why he is running to replace Charlie Baker, 65, a Republican who is planning to step down after two four-year terms.

“There’s really two reasons,” Doughty said. “One is to keep the balance in the State House. I think that’s part of the miracle of Massachusetts is that we consistently elect governors from the private sector that are conservative to keep the balance in the State House. The other reason is:  I want to fix the affordability problems in the state, particularly for our citizens and also for our businesses.”

Doughty (the “o” in the first syllable is long, and rhymes with “go”) said that he thinks his experience in the private sector would be helpful as governor.

“I think there’s several elements to that one,” he said. “One is that I have lived with both good and bad policies that have come from the State House, so I know what it feels like at the end of the row. I think because of that, I’ll be sensitive to what policies we put in place and what we do in the State House and how that will impact businesses and their employees. Also, I think the attributes of running a business are similar to some aspects of running a State House. Teamwork, being fiscally aware, making sure you can meet the budgets, being centered on the needs of the citizens.

“You know, in a business, you become centered on the needs of the customer. In this case, the citizens become your customer and you’re kind of being focused on their needs and make sure that you’re fulfilling them.”

He also noted that this experience would help him work across the aisle. He said in his line of work, it doesn’t matter if someone is a Democrat or a Republican. Asked how he would work with state legislators on the other side of the party divide, Doughty responded:

“The way I have my whole life in the business sector. We never ask ‘Hey, which party are you in?”‘ We just start out with ‘What’s the mission? What’s the task that we’re all trying to solve?’ And I think it’s healthy to have different opinions. In business, that’s how progress is made. You have different life experiences and different perspectives and you bring them to the table and you kind of find the right direction with that tension of different thoughts and different opinions.

“It’ll be a huge loss in our state, I believe, if we don’t have both voices at the table.”

One major legislative priority for Doughty would be lowering taxes.

“On day one, I would say to everyone that I would like to see us begin the process of lowering our tax burdens on our citizens–slowly over time because it takes awhile–and to improve,” he said. “In my business, I have to do both. I have to become more affordable and better every day, and I’d bring that to the State House.”

When asked if he would support the kinds of tax breaks that Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker proposed during last week’s State of the Commonwealth address, Doughty said yes.

“Yeah I think lowering taxes is wise. It puts more money in everyone’s pocket and lets them decide how they want to spend their hard-earned dollars. I grew up mowing lawns, so I know the value of a dollar. Every dollar we can leave in the citizens’ pocketbook and say ‘You keep it. You’re better at making decisions on how to spend your money than the government.’ I think that’s always good.”

Some of the tax cuts Baker proposed last week included:  raising the floor at which Bay Staters begin paying state income tax (from $8,000 to $12,400 for single filers, from $16,400 to $24,800 for joint filers and from $14,400 to $18,650 for heads of household); increasing the senior circuit breaker property tax credit for seniors earning less than $63,000 per year ($93,000 for married couples) from $1,170 to $2,340; allowing renters to deduct 50 percent of their annual rent from their tax bill up to $5,000 (it’s currently at $3,000); and doubling the state’s dependent care tax credit for people with children under 12, a disabled dependent, or a dependent over 65 years old (making it $480 for single filers with one dependent, $960 if a filer has two or more dependents, $360 for households with one dependent, and $720 for households with two ore more dependents).

Doughty also said that more government regulation isn’t the answer to making the state more affordable for individuals.

On his political philosophy, he described himself as a Chris Doughty Republican. He said that a Chris Doughty Republican is pragmatic, has common sense, listens to others, and tries to get things right. He also said that former president Ronald Reagan is his political role model and that he admired Reagan’s sense of humor, wit, communication skills, and how he stuck to his principles.

On abortion, Doughty said he is pro-life — and that protecting the unborn is an important issue to him.

“Yeah I’m pro-life. There’s exceptions, course, but yeah.”

The exceptions Doughty supports are for cases of rape and incest. 

Speaking further on the issue, Doughty said that he would support policies that reduce the number of abortions that take place in the Commonwealth. 

“It’s encouraging that it has fallen in half over time,” Doughty said. “We’re going in the right direction as a society and as a people. And anything I can do to keep us moving in that right direction. I can think of fewer things that are a lose-lose-lose than abortion.”

As Doughty points out, the number of abortions that take place in Massachusetts has fallen dramatically over the past four decades. While there were 44,044 abortions in the Commonwealth in 1979, the figure dropped to 16,452 in 2020, the most recent data available.

Shortly after he announced his run, Doughty received endorsements from a pair of state representatives:  Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk) and Peter Durant (R-Spencer). Doughty told NewBostonPost he has been encouraged by the amount of support he has received thus far.

“I’m really grateful for those who have come forward, I’ve been overwhelmed with how many people have contacted me to offer their support, their help,” he said. “I think there was a real appetite for someone like myself to get into the race.”

Doughty is one of a few Republicans in the race for governor. Other candidates include former state representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump in October 2021; and former Lowell city council candidate Darius Mitchell. On the Democratic side, the candidates include:  attorney general Maura Healey, Harvard professor Danielle Allen, and state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain).

The GOP primary is set for September 2022. The general election is in November.


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