Friday, July 01, 2005

Reilly and Patrick on TV

This week, we had an opportunity to see two of the 2006 Democratic candidates for governor on television in separate interviews. On Tuesday, Attorney General Tom Reilly appeared on Greater Boston with Emily Rooney and on Wednesday, Deval Patrick was interviewed by Jim Braude on NECN's Newsnight. You can see the NECN video clip here, and the website for Greater Boston is here, but they are much slower to put content up on their site. While there wasn't nearly as much overlap as I had hoped, both candidates touched on themes that are going to be important in 2006, the economy, education, and of course, gay marriage.

First, a couple of observations. Neither Reilly or Patrick really wanted to talk about marriage equality, and I can't say as I blame them. I think the best message from here on out is that whether you agree or disagree with the SJC, now that there are couples who are legally married it would be a tragedy to take that away from them. Other than that, there's nothing much to talk about. Both of them also mentioned that property taxes are through the roof. It will be interesting to see if a Democrat can pull off a message of lower property taxes, but certainly that's an issue that will resonate with every property owner in the Commonwealth. Patrick was particularly deft at shifting the conversation from taxes to the responsibilities that government has to its citizens, fixing bridges, roads, sewers, trains and schools. When people think of government programs, that is what we want them to think of, but Republicans have been very good at equating government spending with waste and entitlement programs.

Interview Excerpts Inside...
Here's Attorney General Tom Reilly on the new MCAS Science requirement:

I thought that was a very good move, that vote by the board of education, to include science. There's enough time. We know how to do it, we know how to do it right. We've done it before. The world that our kids are growing up in has changed. Math and science are even more important than they've ever been and they're competing against kids not just in Massachusetts and not just in our country, but throughout the world. And the quicker we get our kids on the track to a world class excellence in math and science the better our kids are going to be able to participate in the global economy and succeed and have the same opportunities -- different opportunities than we had, but math and science are absolutely critical to the future of these kids. So, we know how to do it. Is it going to take extra work? Is it going to take some emphasis on hiring good teachers, training good teachers? Yes it is. Is it going to take resources? Yes it is. But we can do it and get these kids on that track and they'll be better for it.
Reilly on the 1913 law banning couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their union would be illegal in their home states:
Actually that 1913 law has absolutely nothing to do the rights of Massachusetts residents to marry. It applies to out-of-state residents. It makes sense to me. Massachusetts should respect the rights of other states to make their own decisions on this issue if we expect them to respect our rights. ... There are other situations, for instance, someone underage from another state -- a state that has different types of parental consent laws. We should respect that, particularly on an issue like this, we should respect them. Things have gone very well in this state and I'm very proud of the way Massachusetts has handled this. I think we've done a magnificent job. I think people have realized that the world didn't end, things have gone really well.
And on marriage equality in general:
I understand that, but I think people have moved on. Certainly I know that I've moved on. It's time to focus on issues that affect us all. You know people are caught in the middle of this now, gay people that have gotten married. I can't imagine the state, and I certainly hope it doesn't happen, to tell someone that's been lawfully married in this state that they're no longer married. It doesn't seem right to me. It doesn't seem right to me and I don't think people in this state will go along with it. they want the focus and the energies and the direction of this state to be on issues that affect all of us.
Reilly on the Big Dig:
My focus is on recovery. Number one, fixing the problems and the leaks that exist today. We've made some progress. The Turnpike Authority will be announcing today or tomorrow on a proposed fix for that panel that you see the rupture. So, I insisted on that from the very beginning, that we either get a solution on a permanent solution on the problem of the leaks or we're not going to go far in cost recovery. So that's progress, we've got a ways to go. My job is to recover as much money as I possibly can for the taxpayers of this state and bring this project to a completion and fix those leaks.
Now, here's what Deval Patrick had to say on Romney's Health Care plan:
Well, it's a step in the right direction. It's not a far enough step in the right direction. There are a lot of good ideas out there and I'm looking at them this summer. I think that the good news here is that he's acknowledged that we have a very serious problem. We have a half-million people here who have no health care at all. We have many many more who are underinsured, who are just one serious illness away from financial catastrophe. And nobody is satisfied that the system we have is working well enough, so I think good thing that the governor is acknowledging how serious this problem is.
Patrick on Gay Marriage:
What I'd prefer is if we'd move past gay marriage, which is now the law of the land, which has not caused the sky to fall or the Earth to rotate off its axis, and back onto the issues that make a difference in most people's lives that have to do with getting and keeping good jobs and fixing the health care system and getting the public schools consistently excellent throughout the state.
Patrick on Tom Reilly:
Well, you know Tom and I disagree on a couple of the more electric public policy issues. I think he is in favor of the death penalty, although I think he's occupied more than one position on that. I am against the death penalty, having worked on it. I think he is today in favor of the SJC's decision on marriage equality. I have supported it all along, so I don't know if that is still a difference. Listen, the principle differences between us are our leadership experience and vision. My leadership experience is considerably broader than his. I respect his decisions, his choices to serve in public office for most of his career; I have not. And in terms of vision, I want an ambitious agenda for our schools, for our economy and for our health care.