Former Health Care CEO Jay Gonzalez On Bid For Governor

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Jay Gonzalez, who is running for governor of Massachusetts, at WBUR (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
Jay Gonzalez, who is running for governor of Massachusetts, at WBUR (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Candidates are ramping up their challenges to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who continues to rank as America's most popular governor. A poll last month gave Baker a 75 percent approval rating. Moreover, just 17 percent of respondents said they disapprove of the job Baker is doing.

Two Democrats have officially thrown their hats into the ring so far: Bob Massie and Jay Gonzalez. Monday, we spoke with Gonzalez about why he should win the corner office.


Jay Gonzalez, former president CEO of CeltiCare Health and New Hampshire Healthy Families and former secretary for administration and finance under Gov. Deval Patrick. He tweets @jay4ma.

Interview Highlights

On Early Education

"Early education and child care is one of many issues that we need to make progress on. This is an area where this could be a game changing for children in our state, particularly lower income children — the research is really clear on this — and for their parents. If they had access to affordable, good quality child care and preschool, it would allow them to go back to work. This is an area where we're doing virtually nothing right now, that can make a huge difference for kids and their parents. ...

"We have tens of thousands of families in this state who can't afford early education. We've got a workforce in the early education area that's getting paid an average of $25,000 a year. Forty percent of them are on state assistance. It's way too expensive for families to send their kids, and so this could be a game changing for kids in terms of giving them the solid start they need to be successful in school and allow their parents to go back to work. This is an example of an area where this could be a huge difference for kids and families, where our governor right now is not, has no plan for moving us forward or for taking us to where we need to be."

In Support Of The Millionaire's Tax

"This is something I think we desperately need. Our governor has said no new taxes. He's taken no position on this ballot question. This is another example of him sitting on the sidelines and not taking a position.

"We've got to be honest about the fact that we need additional revenue for our transportation system, the T ... for education, for things like what I just talked about in terms of early education and care, which will make a huge difference for families in this state.

"I'm being honest with people, we need that revenue. I think this is a fair way to raise it, which is why I support it. We're asking those who've done great during this economic recovery to pay a little bit more so that we can invest in supporting those families who've been having a hard time getting ahead."

On Baker's Management Of The State Budget

"Governor Baker's been mismanaging the budget. He's been irresponsible in how he's been developing the budget. He has not been following policies we put in place when I was there, like not budgeting against volatile capital gains tax revenue. And as a result he's been in this situation where he's constantly having to go back and plug holes in the budget and scramble at the end of the fiscal year to get it in balance. And it's resulted in emergency cuts to really important programs like opioid addiction treatment programs and other programs that people depend on. And he's setting us up for a fiscal crisis."

On His Record As The State Budget Chief

"When I was there, during the Great Recession, we successfully managed the budget. We did so while preserving important investments in public education at record levels and in infrastructure at record levels, and achieved the highest bond ratings in state history, when I was there. Gov. Baker has has failed to manage the budget. He's been scrambling to close budget holes, he's been cutting funding for programs that need it, and he's put our bond ratings at risk — they're on negative watch. And this is supposed to be his whole case for being governor: that he's a great manager. He has not been managing well."

On His Family

"My mom's from Cleveland, and went away on a foreign exchange program in college, and came back married to a 19-year-old Spanish man, and pregnant with me. My father, who came to this country, didn't speak English, had never been to college, and he — through a lot of hard work and the sense of optimism and appreciation for the opportunities here — worked his way from laying bricks in a city sewer system to becoming a successful small businessman. And he is a real hero to me, and proves this point through his example that we can do anything we put our minds to."

This article was originally published on May 08, 2017.

This segment aired on May 8, 2017.


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Kathleen McNerney Senior Producer / Editor, Edify
Kathleen McNerney was the senior producer/editor of Edify.


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Meghna Chakrabarti is the host of On Point.



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