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Brookline physician Elizabeth Childs faces a tough 4th Congressional District primary race against fellow Republican Sean Bielat, who won national attention two years ago when he challenged Rep. Barney Frank. But Childs picked up four backers Wednesday who might raise her profile, especially among independent and Republican women voters.
Former Gov. Jane Swift, former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and former state Republican Party Chair Jennifer Nassour all pledged their support for Childs.
Healey worked with Childs in the Romney administration, where Childs served as mental health commissioner.
"Her leadership in building a state-of-the-art mental health hospital in Worcester was critical to its success," Healey told a crowd of Childs' supporters. "That facility is an important legacy of the Romney-Healey administration, delivering improved health services for those most in need while saving taxpayer dollars by consolidating two antiquated hospitals."
Childs is campaigning on a platform of strong fiscal responsibility, and says she supports adding a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
"If we really want to help our poor get back on their feet, if we really want to help those who are sick, we have to have a fiscally sustainable balanced budget so that we can do that. And we don't now," Childs said in an interview.
Childs hasn't always been a member of the Republican Party. She says she was born into a Republican family, and stayed with the party until the 1980s.
"In the late '80s, when they changed the platform, and I was a physician and a woman," Childs said, "I felt like I was no longer welcome in the Republican Party."
Childs became a Democrat and kept that affiliation for about 18 years. Then, as the mental health commissioner, she says she decided she didn't want to be "beholden" to the interests of unions. Furthermore, Childs says, Democrats "were not being honest with the American people about our fiscal challenges."
According to Childs, U.S. Sen. Scott Brown inspired her to run as a Republican.
"It was very clear to me that I could be a pro-choice Yankee Republican and go back to my roots," she said.
Childs will face Bielat in the September primary. Whoever wins that race will likely compete against Democrat Joseph Kennedy III in the general election.
This program aired on March 7, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.
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