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Treasurer Timothy Cahill declared himself an independent candidate for governor on Wednesday, casting himself as a political centrist and fiscal conservative, while also proclaiming himself free of the Democratic pressures and "dogma" that continue to control Gov. Deval Patrick.
The two-term treasurer, who recently switched from a registered Democrat to the majority ranks of unenrolled voters in the state, said, "I do not enter this race to run against any individual or party; instead, I run because I believe we need new leadership to make Massachusetts a vibrant place once again."
He said the $28 billion in revenues the state collected last year is sufficient, adding, "I believe the way to turn Massachusetts around is to lower taxes and create a business-friendly state." He said he favored rolling back the 25-percent increase in the state income tax that took effect Aug. 1.
Taking an unnamed jab at Patrick, Cahill proclaimed: "We cannot waste any more time in state government spending money carelessly, hiring people for jobs that have been unfilled for decades, or buying out contracts and then trying to make up for it by raising taxes - that is not the way to help middle-class families."
The administration tried earlier this year to put Sen. Marian Walsh in a $175,000 job that had been unfilled, and then had to pay over $300,000 to buy out the contract of MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas despite protests from both Democratic and Republican supporters alike.
In response to questions, the treasurer also delved more deeply into his abandonment of the party he had been a member of since serving as a Quincy businessman, city councilor and Norfolk County treasurer.
"I will tell you that every day since I have unenrolled has been a good day for me, politically and personally," he said. "I feel somewhat relieved of the pressures of always having to perform to specific dogma or set of rules and expectations, where people tell me what to say."
Asked to elaborate who was telling him "what to say," Cahill replied, "Nobody was telling me, but obviously the party was, is, hard to break free from."
He specifically cited a hearing Wednesday afternoon in which legislative Democrats were trying to change the U.S. Senate succession process they had changed only five years earlier. Cahill said Patrick was being pressured into seeking power to temporarily fill vacancies by party officials seeking to restore the vote lost by the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.
In abandoning his Democratic affiliation, Cahill surrenders a label that serves as a touchstone for many voters, as well as an organization support apparatus. But he also avoids a 2010 primary showdown with Patrick.
Besides Patrick, former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care President Charles Baker and convenience store magnate Christy Mihos have declared they are running for the Republican nomination, although a Mihos aide said Tuesday he was considering switching into the Senate special election race.
On Wednesday, another aide said Mihos was remaining a gubernatorial candidate. Campaign spokesman Kevin Sowyrda said Mihos had been urged by state and national Republicans to consider entering the race to succeed Kennedy, but he decided to remain put after discussions overnight with his wife and supporters.
This program aired on September 9, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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