It's Patrick For Governor


NOV 2006 - Every so often an election takes on historic importance, not
only because of who the candidates are, but because of the policy changes that
hinge upon the outcome.

This year’s election pits Democrats Deval Patrick and Tim
Murray against Republicans Kerry Healey and Reed Hillman. While the race and
gender of the two gubernatorial nominees have made national headlines, our
Association is most interested in the changes that will be brought forth by the
person who holds the corner office for the next four years.

NOV 2006 - Every so often an election takes on historic importance, not
only because of who the candidates are, but because of the policy changes that
hinge upon the outcome.

This year’s election pits Democrats Deval Patrick and Tim
Murray against Republicans Kerry Healey and Reed Hillman. While the race and
gender of the two gubernatorial nominees have made national headlines, our
Association is most interested in the changes that will be brought forth by the
person who holds the corner office for the next four years.

Healey, who is no stranger to our members, has made the
issues of public pension and healthcare reform a central piece of her campaign
platform. As we have reported, she would end the guaranteed defined benefit
pension plan for all newly hired public employees (police/fire exempted) and
replace it with a risky 401(k) plan.

Following Romney’s lead, Healey has taken a negative tone
with public retirees and continues to promote policies that are counter to the
interests of our members.

While new to Massachusetts’
politics, Deval Patrick captured an impressive 50% of the vote in September’s
primary. Many voters, from across the political spectrum, are drawn to his
optimism, openness and honest approach.

Both candidates for Lt. Governor, Reed Hillman (R-Sturbridge)
and Tim Murray (D-Worcester) are well known to Association officials. Hillman
served in the House as a three-term Rep, while Murray
is the current mayor of Worcester.

Murray has a
long record of support and dedication to public retirees. He has worked closely
with the Association on behalf of our Worcester and central MA members. Murray’s
father, Tom, is also a retired teacher and
member.

“In her ads and press releases, Kerry Healey has been
relentless in attacking our pension system and misleading the voters into
believing there is a savings to be had, especially by removing the autonomy of
our local retirement systems. We know this is not true and that her policies
are designed to take away retirement rights and stifle our hopes of a higher
COLA base,” said Association President Ralph White. “I have to believe Massachusetts
can do better.

“Patrick may be new to our members, but we have known his
running mate, Tim Murray, for many years. Tim has a strong understanding of our
public retirement system. And as the son of a public school teacher, he
remembers where he came from by having a healthy respect for public service.”

Respect Is Key

Sixteen years ago, Bill Weld took the Massachusetts
political world by storm when he won a come from behind victory to claim the
governorship as an outsider. As hard as Weld’s policies were to swallow, our
Association maintained good relations with both the governor and those working
in his administration.

Although we often clashed over political differences, our
Association was treated with a high degree of respect by Governors Weld and
Paul Cellucci. We enjoyed an open dialog with the governors and their top
aides, in which ideas were discussed and compromise reached.

Under the administration of Mitt Romney and Kerry Healey,
our Association has repeatedly been treated with disrespect, while our members
concerns are met with contempt. There has been no attempt by Romney, Healey or
their underlings to open a dialog or work with Association leaders.

While Deval Patrick has yet to take specific stands on the
complex issues surrounding public retirement, which are of great importance to
our members, both he and his staff have reached out to our Association on
several occasions to gain an understanding of our position. After four years of
disrespect from the corner office, it is refreshing that Patrick is inclined to
take a different approach.

It can’t be overstated that our members have much at stake
in this election. Beyond filing and supporting legislation, the governor sets the
policy tone each January with the submission of the annual state budget. He or
she also appoints all eleven members of the state’s Group Insurance Commission,
three members of the Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) Board, and
three members of the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission
(PERAC).

“Firm commitments to support our agenda are secondary to
being treated fairly and with respect. Kerry Healey has not shown any
willingness to work with the Association,” explained Association Legislative
Liaison Shawn Duhamel. “Having a governor who
is willing to listen and open to alternative points of view is critical to our
members.”

So far, Deval Patrick has demonstrated that approach, while
Healey has not.

Deval Patrick is our Association’s choice for governor.

Tags: