Charlie Baker to go head-to-head with Coakley as Election Day nears

By Christina Yacono

(Cade Belisle/Collegian Photo File)
(Cade Belisle/Collegian Photo File)

In the race for the Massachusetts governor’s seat, Charlie Baker is neck and neck with his opponent.

At the Republican State Convention, Baker received an overwhelming majority win in his race for the Republican governor nomination against Mark Fisher. The primary results showed Baker was clearly more popular with about 74 percent of the votes.

He will now face the Democratic candidate, Martha Coakley, on Election Day this Tuesday. Unlike Fisher, Baker is a social liberal who supports abortion rights and gay marriage, which makes him appealing to even those who are Democrats. Baker’s policies regarding the economy are to provide job growth through raising the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour, expanding small businesses, repealing automatic gas tax increases and reforming the tax codes that are set in place now as opposed to raising taxes.

Many small businesses in Massachusetts must pay a $500 upfront fee and a corporate filing fee of $500 to the state. To rid the monetary obstacle to start a small business, Baker wants to rid the initial fee of $500 and reduce the annual fee to $125. He would also exempt businesses that make less than $500,000 and have fewer than 50 employees from the state’s corporate income tax.

When it comes to education, Baker openly spoke out against the Common Core, a set of educational standards for math and English, back in 2010. But since the Common Core has been set in place in the state, Baker plans to fight for education standards set by the state rather than Washington, D.C.

While Massachusetts comes in first for standardized testing across the nation, the state continues to struggle with providing the same quality education for students across the area. Baker plans to work on improving the performance of the state’s lowest performing schools and increase the amount of charter schools.

One of his main goals with higher education is to ensure high school students and college graduates are more connected with employees in the local area. Through this, he also plans to add more paid co-op and internship experiences to ensure students are more competitive in the work force.

Another goal is to make three-year degrees more approachable. Like the Accelerated Master’s Degree program at the University of Massachusetts, Baker wants to create Bachelor’s degree programs that would take three years to complete. This would be done through making new programs at existing schools and allowing high school students to earn college credits as well. Having only three years of college would allow the cost of higher education to be cut down by 25 percent.

With the latest poll showing Baker in the lead by four points, the race for the governor’s seat will be a close call right to the finish.

Christina Yacono can be reached at [email protected]