Thursday, March 09, 2006

Impressions From Last Night's LG Forum (Now With Audio)

I didn't get a chance last night to comment on the Lieutenant Governor forum I went to yesterday, so I'll just briefly give my impressions. First of all, I just want to say that I think all four candidates are great, and they all bring their own unique strengths to the ticket. Thanks to the Harvard Dems for putting it on. The forum was moderated by former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen, but I thought she was kind of wasted. All she did was ask a couple of questions that the students provided her in advance and then pick people out of the audience during the Q & A session.

This is the first time I've heard Deborah Goldberg since Tim Murray joined the race, and she seems to be going for a 'jack-of-all-trades' approach. She played up her experience in business and creating jobs while at Stop & Shop, moved on to talking about her experience as a Brookline Selectman and how cities and towns were suffering, and explained that the most important issue we face is the health care crisis. It seemed to me that she's trying to present herself as a blend of the best of the other three candidates.

As for Sam Kelley, I'm glad he's out there forcing people to talk about health care. I also find his demeanor very calming, but at the same time you can tell he has a lot of passion for his topic.

Andrea Silbert summed up her campaign as "jobs, jobs, jobs," stressing her work as founder of the Center for Women & Enterprise. One thing that Silbert pointed out is that the Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor has practically no job description, so she thought that an entrepreneurial LG could really make a difference. Frankly, though, I'm skeptical because the reality of the situation is that as LG she could really only do whatever the Governor lets her. That said, having someone on the Democratic ticket who's all jobs, all the time would be great given that the GOP has settled on a law-and-order ticket.

Worcester Mayor Tim Murray, as usual, had a big presence. He focused on the budget cuts that cities and towns have faced in the past few years. One example he gave was with funding for MCAS tutoring and how it's gone from $50 million to $12 or $13 million under this administration. Murray pointed out that Healey likes to hold herself as the state's liaison for cities and towns, yet under her they are really struggling.

Here is the complete audio. I thought about breaking it up into several files, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader. The file is huge, though, and I'd appreciate it if you want to listen if you'd save it to your machine rather than play it off the server. Also, it cuts off during Sam Kelley's last answer to the last question. Most of the forum is there, though.