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Fisher Talks Free Markets and Government Promises

Mark FisherSmall business owner, erstwhile unemployed guy, and self-identified MA Tea Party Republican Mark Fisher wants to be governor here. He spoke with me today about his vision of what government should and should not be about.

On his campaign site, he details his planks. There and personally, he makes no bones about being a full-platform MA Republican. That is, you can hold him personally accountable for the planks in the recent MA GOP version. (You can see it courtesy of RedMassGroup here; the party does not openly publicize it.)

Click below to listen in to Fisher’s positions. He starts, like the famous the-rents-too-damned-high guy, with the call on the front of his own site, “NO TOLLS.” That is one of his political and moral certainties. He says the MA Pike has been paid for since over 30 years ago, the ads and service area fees pay for road maintenance, so the tolls should go away. Moreover, both the sales-tax and income-tax hikes, billed as temporary, need to each return to 5% as the voters chose. He sees all three as moral issues — “If we can’t trust our government,” he said, “there’s no use talking about anything else.”

I had thought we’d mix it up on health-care. I asked him about it when he appeared recently at a Rappaport Center round table. He claimed that the solution to health-case cost hikes was to let the free market settle it, that said free market had not gotten its chance to work fully. I contended and still do that deregulation from the Weld administration permitted wild capitalism at its worst by the large providers, leading to regional monopolies and price inelasticity. When we got to that near the end of today’s half hour, he deflated me by not disagreeing. He still contends that letting providers across state lines offer various policies in the style of auto insurers would drive down prices, but he agreed that the likes of Partners gobbling up hospitals and doctor groups created regional monopolies.

Fisher drew in his company, Merchant’s Fabrication, with its 7 employees. He spoke of his travails in keeping health care affordable to them, particularly in light of not even being able to get competitive quotes from providers because he pays 100% of this employees’ deductible.

We were farther apart on areas like marriage equality. His Tea Party mind has it that the resolutions to such conflicts need “to be settled in culture.” Of course, he’s down on what he calls activist judges legislating from the bench. You can listen in as he points to the likes of the Boy Scouts easing off on their anti-gay policies as these forces came to bear.

Listen in as he differentiates himself specifically from Charlie Baker. He also feels sanguine headed into this weekend’s MA GOP convention. He has to have 15% of the delegates voting for him to get on the primary ballot. He recognizes that many delegates around the state don’t want to spend the time and money for the convention (Boston this time), but his people have called the delegates and he feels sure he has plenty of votes.

Double Baker note: Fisher has been asking the Baker campaign for a debate. Today, Fisher said that’s not going to happen before the GOP convention because the other camp refuses. Also, Baker’s people are the only gubernatorial hopefuls’ that have not agreed to speak with us. Check our posts and archives for all the others, except Martha Coakley, and her people have scheduled a show with us for next month.

icon for podpress  Mark Fisher [30:48m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Full-Platform GOP Fisher Runs for Governor

Mark FisherFrom the GOP mug with an obvious tea-bag tag he carries, Mark Fisher does not hide his Republican or Tea Party leanings. In fact, he is quick to call himself a full-platform believer in both the MA party and a TP believer.

He’ll join us next Tuesday to stake out and define his turf. We’ll ask about the larger race for MA governor, as well as the closer Republican primary. He is not shy about, well, about anything. You can prime yourself with a visit to his campaign site.

To hear him live, go here Tuesday, March 18th, at 2:30 PM Eastern. Afterward his show will be available to hear or download at the show link, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.

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Falchuk’s Big Fat Populist Vision

Evan Falchuk mugEvan Falchuk seems intent on taking the sport out of MA politics. Like weather talk, bemoaning the shortcomings of Dems and then Republicans is our MA sport without colorful hats and jerseys. He is confident that his new political party will shut your mouth.

Click below to listen in to his vision of the United Independent Party that is at once synonymous with Falchuk and then is is vision of the new commonwealth political order. He starts with the cliché about not having to vote for the lesser of two evils, then zooms into specific details on what he and the UIP would do differently.

You can also check his ideas and platform at his Rappaport roundtable presentation, on his campaign site, and on my commentary at Marry in Massachusetts.

Falchuk is a big vision guy. That includes:

  • Healthcare — squelching the monopolies created that drive up costs and give patients no choices
  • Taxes — repealing the 1915 commonwealth constitutional amendment mandating a flat tax, setting up a commission to define what makes sense heading to progressive tax regs
  • Infrastructure — similar to taxes, defining what makes sense for the next three or four decades and working toward that instead of patch, patch, patch
  • Economic growth — building for more citizens as well as more jobs, while doing what’s necessary to foster health of small and medium businesses

Falchuk also has plans beyond this election. He sees the UIP fielding candidates at multiple levels in MA. He certainly figures he’ll have the resources for this gubernatorial run. He claims to have hundreds of passionate volunteers augmenting his staff, and a vigorous fund-raising effort, including his personal $2 million contribution.


icon for podpress  Evan Falchuk [31:41m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Falchuk runs for MA Gov. with his new party

Evan FalchukFalchuk? United Independent Party?

It’s time you got with the program. Running headlong in the hunt for MA governor is Evan Falchuk. He has strong platform planks and a great conviction that voters here don’t want a Dem or GOP top exec this time. You can get a sense of his positions in my blog post here.

He joins us Tuesday, March 11 at 2:30 PM Eastern and you can go here then if you want to hear him live. Afterward, his show will be available at that URL, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page to hear or download.

We’ll talk his populism, his planks and his strategy.



Avellone would be Gov. Patrick, but more so

Balancing praise with self-promotion in evaluating the pol you want to replace can be tricky. Today, Joseph Avellone managed that well. He is one of five Dems eager to follow Gov. Deval Patrick, who leaves term limited after eight years.

Avellone said Patrick “has created a very exciting and compelling vision for our commonwealth,” adding, “we don’t need a new vision.” Instead, he wants to continue and expand on Patrick’s drives for new industry, education improvement, and healthcare cost containment.

With an impressive and diverse résumé, Avellone has been surgeon, COO of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of MA, biopharmaceutical exec, and more. Click below to listen in as he describes how he’d build on Patrick’s work and layer on his own ideas.

We talked of his year-old Commonwealth Pledge he is driving, at first for Dem candidates and for all if he wins the primary. That would expand the People’s Pledge to include instate PACs and lobbyists, effectively shutting off outside money from the campaigns. We got into an ease of expertise and passion — healthcare cost control. We also spoke of his detailed education plans and his problem/solutions sets there from pre-K up. However, we did not have time for his Office of Recovery or energy and environment ideas. See his site’s Issues area for those.

icon for podpress  Joe Avellone [31:42m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Avellone promises jobs and health-cost control

avellone Another physician in the 2014 run for MA governor is Joe Avellone. A surgeon who went on to be a health-care/pharmaceutical exec, We’ll talk his big, progressive goals, like tens of thousands of new jobs and wrangling health costs, all without raising taxes.

He has tons of relevant experience (like COO of BC/BS) and limited elected background (six years as Wellesley selectman). Check the link above to his campaign site for his issues/proposals.

If you can join us (changed to 2 PM, on Thursday this week), do that on March 6th, Thursday at 2:00 PM Eastern here. Afterward, his show will be available at that URL, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.


McCormick Promises Jobs Podcast

McCormick“I’ve never accomplished anything in my life by taking the easy roads,” Jeff McCormick said. “I never had access to the easy road.”

As an independent candidate for MA governor, he knows he’s on a tough one. We spoke today a lot about what he wanted to do if he wins and a bit about he he expects to do that.

I opened by drawing a contrast with another MA venture capitalist, Willard Mitt Romney. Like him, McCormick has earned piles and has lots (dare we say binders) of successful companies he can cite that he helped fund. Unlike Romney, McCormick actually is self-made, coming from a blue-collar home in upstate NY, without a rich, powerful, politically and corporate connected father. In that vein, McCormick is good at brief descriptions. When asked about his campaigning, he said because of his background, “I’m really comfortable in diners, much more than in ballrooms.”

He wants voters to think of him as Jeff for Jobs. He cites his VC successes and his ideas of how to create tens of thousands here. Listen in as he describes how education and training will prepare the workforce. He also is keen on helping gateway cities outside the Boston and Worcester areas.

You can hear the VC background as he speaks of changing the culture of Beacon Hill to one of problem solving. Here he points to US Sen. from ME Angus King as a model. McCormick said that when people see you are solving problems, they want to join you and that’s an easier way to govern. McCormick ways he’d bring his work style over. “I’m part of the team. No one is voting for a CEO here.”

icon for podpress  Jeff McCormick [31:07m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


McCormick Pushes MA Job Growth

Jeff McCormick
Independent candidate for MA Governor, Jeff McCormick wants voters to think Jeff for Jobs. He joins us to discuss his platform and campaign.

Founder of VC firm Saturn Partners, he got degrees in biology, molecular genetics and finance first. He’ll explain how he plans to replicate and expand his success in growing companies to adding tens of thousands of jobs in the commonwealth.

His platform has planks for education, economic growth, health care, environment and energy. We’ll talk about how he expects to implement those and how he plans to leapfrog the big party pols.

McCormick has the requisite progressive social positions, such as women’s choice and marriage equality. Yet he exudes confidence that his policies would at once expand educational opportunities from K through college, control health-care costs, and add those thousands of jobs.

He says up front that being governor would be a huge change for him. He says he’s quite wealthy, mostly from his VC successes. Yet he longs for public service and to make major improvements, and is willing to lose lots of potential income by doing so.

He points to those successes as proof of his understanding of the economy, and in particular the MA economy.

If you want to hear him live, click here at 2:30 PM Eastern, Tuesday, February 25th. Afterward you can listen on demand there, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.


Scarlet Letter for Voting

It’s an atavism, a vicious one. Many of our states continue perpetually to punish ex-convicts who have, as the American ideal runs, served their debt to society. That is, after they are out of prison, not on parole and not on probation, they still can’t vote. In 11 states, that is permanent.

The U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is on the case. He has been speaking on the irrationality and counterproductive nature of such laws. For great background, check his speech last week on reforming criminal justice here. In it, he draws heavily on a report from The Leadership Conference, which you can see here.

Among the must-know findings are that 5.8 million Americans are thus disenfranchised. They are three times more likely to re-offend (33% in contrast to 11% for those allowed to vote after prison). The United States is the only democracy that follows this inane throwback policy.

Today, we ran down the basics, discussed the Democracy Restoration Act, itself imprisoned in a U.S. House committee since 2012, and suggested direct involvement. Learn a bit from these sources linked. Tweet or blog your thoughts. Contact your U.S. Rep. and maybe Senators. This bill could use some sponsors and visibility.

Otherwise, for near-term podcasts, we’re roping in some more MA gubernatorial candidates. Watch this blog for notices. Also, if you want more direct contact, consider the Suffolk Law Rappaport Center’s lunch roundtables with the candidates, which you can sign up to attend here.

icon for podpress  Perpetual Punishment [23:00m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Permanent Disenfranchisement of Millions by Old Laws

We’ve been on this before, but have new good company. A serious American cliché is that any of us can serve our debt to society in prison, thus behind rehabilitated and re-entering as full citizens. Not bloody likely.

Our Attorney General, Eric Holder, has put the lie to that. He is working to see laws past to remedy huge civil-rights wrongs. In particular, he lists the many states where convicted criminals permanently lose their ability to participate in democracy. They can’t vote, for the worst example.

Much of America thinks that’s swell, He cited detailed analysis and study proving that doing so dramatically increases recidivism. Meanwhile, many folk figure if you commit a crime and get convicted, there really is no such thing as serving your debt.

We’ll be talking it tomorrow. If you can join us live, go here at 2:30 PM Eastern, Tuesday, February 18th. Afterward, you can hear or download the show there, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.