IT’S GOVERNOR BAKER NOW

1 Charlie and karyn

^ LtGov  Karyn Polito and Governor Charlie Baker : to be inaugurated today at noon

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Here and Sphere endorsed Charlie Baker for Governor, and both of us who write Here and Sphere personally supported his candidacy. So it’s no surprise that we are happy to see him take office at noon today.

We think he will do exactly the job of governance that this state badly needs ; make state administration less confusing, less wasteful, less disappointing to those who need its services. We think that Baker will bring coherence to each agency’s mission; effectiveness to the state’s technology; and focus to budgeting. Baker campaigned on these grounds, and his presentations embodied his resolves. If you ask the voers to choose you for your mangerail mastery, there’s no better way to prove it than by running a masterful campaign. Baker did that and more. it was a campaign as bold as well targeted. We see no reason why his governance of the state won’t show the same leadership example.

Deval Patrick, who leaves office today, asserted even more boldness than Baker — but mch of the time failed even to identify a target, much less focus on it. Patrick did establish, for a very long time to come, social values that we all now embrace : equality, inclusion, the dignity of everyone. Foresight on budget matters, however, was not a strong point, nor was his legislation well crafted. He misplayed the game : instead of winning gthe Speakier of the house — the state’s single most important lawmaker — to his proposlas before annoumncing them, pattrick anouncved them and then waited for the Spdasker to respbd. ioften the Spoeaker said ‘nothing doing.” Patrick, knowing his popularity among Democratic actkivists, may have wanted to pressure the Speaker, who too is a Democrat; instead, the Speaker’s push back highlighted the weakness of the goverbor — any goverbor, but paticularly a Democrat.

This was a political failure; and Patrick was never a politician, not at the beginning, not at the end, by which time he seemed to have long since lost niterest in the details of governance.
In some measure Patrick’s failure at things political mirrored that of his predecessor, Mitt Romney, who never even tried to be political. At least Patrick tried, and on values issues, succeeded.

Charlie Baker has already proced himself a master of Massachusetts politics. as his campiagn to the cities and interest group constituencies showed political insight, so have bhis picks for top administrative positions confirmed it. Political party affiliation has played scant part in Baker’s selections, more of whom are Democrats than not. Republicans have wondered wny; Democrats deem themsleves pleasantly surprised; yet nheither get the point : that Baker really does see his job not as a boosting of partisans but as better state administration, for the good of all.

It’s a mission he can fulfill. Baker doesn’t need Speaker DeLeo’s permission, or accord, to accomplish this mission. all he needs is to pick solid administrators — and a solid core of net-level managers, because it’s a that next level down that state administration really gets delivered — and see that they do the job he’s entrusted to them.

There will be struggles. Baker has to find ways to close what looks to be a very large budget deficit; and then comes next year’s budget, which will be all and only his. He will need to confer with the Speaker beforehand,and he knows it. Baker’s selection of east Boston state Representative Carlo Basile as his board appointments secretary sent a signal, I think : no legislator had a closer working relationship with Speaker DeLeo. It’s a relationship which has legs. Baker’s budgeting decisions will not cahllenge the Speaker, they will include him.

Including the Speaker is really the key to loosening his monopoly of legislatibve power. It will be hard for the Speaker to block passage of budget allocations that he has helped to negotiate. I think that Baker understands this dynamic.

Of course all of this remaions to be seen. or now, it’s a new day in Massachusetts, a new tone, a new look and a new way of doing. Our incoming governor is a policy wonk, a brilliant explainer of otherwise complex governance issues, a man intimidated by no one and as caring as was Deval Patrick and as determined to surprise skeptics as to live up to believers’ expectations.

—- The Editors / Here and Sphere

Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

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