^ Charlie Baker at the Reggie Lewis Center at a well-attended seniors Event
The future of Roxbury is not merely the matter of a neighborhood and the City we are part of. Roxbury also depends significantly on state services.
More than most communities, Roxbury relies on state agehcies fo deliver services effectively to our residents. The DCF must safeguard our children, many living in crisis. The Health Connector must work, so that our residents, few of whom are wealthy, can have effective, low-cost health insurance. Many of our residents end up in the criminal justice system; the last thing we need is a state crime lab fabricating evidence that sends our wrongly accused young people to jail.
We also need housing initiatives, not all of them for affordable housing. The state owns much land in the City of Boston, and in our community, that lies unused. One candidate has proposed selling or leasing that land to developers at low cost, exploiting Mayor Walsh’ s newly streamlined permitting process, to build upon — and thus also to provide construction jobs to our people.
That candidate is Charlie Baker. His opponent, Martha Coakley, has done a creditable job, as Attorney General. fighting predatory lenders; but on many fronts she has either been absent or weak. The recent 37 percent electricity rate hike, for example, was approved without, evidently, any input from her, even though the Attorney General is charged with overseeing utility rate requests.
Nor has Coakley mounted much of her own campaign. Such as it is was either donated to her via endorsement by much-respected higher-ups, notably First Lady Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. These endorsements actually advertise weakness. A governor candidate should lend credence to other political figures, not need them to lend credence to her.
But is this any surprise ? All year long, at dozens of Forums, this writer has seen from Coakley no policy commitments, few plans — and those never detailed — nor even much acquaintance with the details of key issues. Which is likely why her campaign has been run as a “vote Democrat,” generic, party thing rather than as an “I’m for Coakley” movement.
Meanwhile, Baker’s entire effort exudes leadership. You have seen it as well as we have.
Baker has campaigned intensely in Roxbury and surrounding communities of color, bringing a message of support for innovation, encouragement to economic opportunity, and determination to create better schools for all kids. He doesn’t just talk the talk. His support for a Roxbury innovation district walks the walk, as does his program to link local schools to the skills aspirations of local kids and the job opportunities actually available — and often begging, for lack of skilled applicants — in the area.
Baker also walks the walk on drug addiction re-hab and recovery, a major crisis not only in Roxbury. He’ll designate a cabinet level position targeting recovery and mental health emergencies ; and both are much needed.
Bettering the lives of our community’s people isn’t just a slogan for Baker, it’s a a passion. We can count on him to be present in Roxbury for many town halls, just like Mayor Walsh. We know this because Baker he has already done it, in the course of running the most city-intense, person to person governor campaign of any non-Democrat in decades.
But most of all, Baker has made it a first priority to remedy the ineffectiveness of so many state agencies, misdoings that have wasted taxpayer money even as they disrespect we the people who count on having those services accorded to us properly and honorably. Baker is glad to be known as the “expert manager” candidate. We think he is exactly that. We are glad to endorse his candidacy for Governor.
Mike Freedberg, Editor / Roxbury Here