Oh Crap, Is That Today?! Our Last-Minute Guide to the 2014 Midterms

Photo By MassDems.org

Valerie Adamski

BOSTON, Mass.—On Nov. 4, people across the Commonwealth will head to the polls to choose a new governor, attorney general and other elected officials in a little-known ritual called “midterm elections.” Don’t worry — we forgot, too. But we’ve got you covered with this handy guide to where the statewide candidates stand on some of the issues that matter most.

Governor and Lieutenant Governor

Martha Coakley (D)/Steve Kerrigan (D)

Poverty and housing: According to Coakley’s campaign website, she supports programs and incentives to increase the number of affordable housing units for low- and moderate-income households. She also wants to tackle the underlying issues of homelessness, such as behavioral health, and supports transitional assistance such as counseling, job training and childcare. Masslive.com reported that Steve Kerrigan also supports programs to get the homeless back on their feet, as well as getting them out of hotels and into permanent living situations.

Healthcare: Coakley believes in lowering the costs of healthcare, increasing transparency, increasing efficiency, improving communication between providers and supporting medical innovation. She also supports increasing the availability of mental health care and substance abuse programs. According to Kerrigan’s 2014 endorsement questionnaire, he also believes in lowering healthcare costs while keeping Massachusetts on the cutting edge of medicine. Kerrigan has called for the enforcement of health parity laws for mental health.

Climate: Coakely supports energy audits for all Massachusetts homes, the expansion of public transportation to cut greenhouse gas emissions, clean technology innovation and dedicating at least 1% of the state budge to environmental protection and preservation. Kerrigan has expressed concerns regarding the environment, property rights and safety about the proposed Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline.

Violence and gun control: Coakley believes in shifting funding from prison expansion to crime prevention and rehabilitation programs that address the underlying cause of criminal behavior. She supports comprehensive gun control. Kerrigan is a supporter of Governor Deval Patrick’s 2014 gun law.

Charlie Baker (R)/Karyn Polito (R)Scaling Beacon Hill

Poverty and housing: According to Masslive.com, Baker wants to revamp state housing laws so that Massachusetts residents have priority access to housing programs over immigrants who enter illegally. He also wants to make subsidized housing more temporary, create programs for families about to lose their housing and create a “runway to self-sufficiency.”

Healthcare: According to Baker and Polito’s shared campaign website, Baker is pushing for Massachusetts to return to its previous healthcare system, in place before the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act. They also call for transparency for healthcare costs so that patients have purchasing decisions. Baker wants to increase pay for primary care physicians (PCPs) to encourage them to see more patients so the average wait time to see a doctor drops from 45 days to a more reasonable time frame.

Climate: Baker supports finding alternative energy sources, which include the Cape Wind Project. He informed the Boston Globe that he has no plans to undo the progress on the project if elected. He also stated he supports the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision to extend the Pilgrim plant’s license and the expansion of natural gas pipelines.

Violence and gun control: Baker believes in the rights of law-abiding citizens and sportsmen to own a gun, but he also supports measures to disarm and prosecute criminals in order to end illegal weapon trafficking. He believes mental health reform should be part of gun law measures.

Evan Falchuk (United Independent)/Angus Jennings (United Independent)

Poverty and housing: According to the Falchuk-Jennings campaign website, their administration plans to increase affordable housing across the spectrum, from getting individuals off the street to creating moderately priced housing for families.

Healthcare: They have plans to make healthcare more affordable by breaking up the “monopolistic systems” that control the State’s healthcare system. The Falchuk-Jennings website also contains a plan to create a fee schedule for Massachusetts hospitals.

Climate: The Falchuk-Jennings administration is focused on three main points for climate change. They include better infrastructure to combat natural and manmade disasters, minimizing the state’s reliance on fossil fuels and investing in renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar. The Falchuk-Jennings campaign opposes the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Violence and gun control: This administration believes in a person’s Second Amendment right to own a gun and in protecting those rights through government regulations.

Scott Lively (Independent)/Shelly Saunders (Independent)

Poverty and housing: No information.

Healthcare: No information.

Climate: No information.

Violence and gun control: According to his campaign website, Lively believes that more guns in the hands of responsible citizens will keep the public safer from criminals.

Jeff McCormick (Independent)/Tracy Post (Independent)

Poverty and housing: According to the Daily Free Press, McCormick’s plan focuses around growing jobs and making the housing market more affordable.

Healthcare: McCormick discussed healthcare with the Health Business Group and believes consumers should have more information and choices when it comes to choosing their healthcare options.

Climate: In a Boston Globe interview, McCormick stated that he believes in cutting carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy. He supports closing the Pilgrim plant if there is a reliable source of energy to take over the lost power production. This administration does not support the Kinder Morgan pipeline. McCormick believes the United States has enough natural gas pipelines and that the time and money spent on the Kinder Morgan pipeline should be invested in renewable energy sources instead.

Violence and gun control: McCormick believes in controlling guns by implementing a better tracking system, according to an interview with The Daily Free Press.

Attorney General

Maura Healey (D)

Poverty and housing: According to Maura Healey’s campaign website, she plans to combat abuses and misconduct in the housing market, protect homeowners from foreclosure, fight against irresponsible landlords, expand low-income housing opportunities and promote opportunities for sustainable home ownership.

Healthcare: Healey plans to tackle issues such as the affordability and quality of healthcare and, she believes that mental health services should be just as available as healthcare for physical sickness and injury. She has previous experience investigating insurance and pharmaceutical companies and preparing reports on healthcare cost trends to provide transparency.

Climate: Healey believes the attorney general should seek savings for consumers by controlling energy costs, reducing energy use, making the Commonwealth’s fuel supply more diverse and reducing reliance on energy sources outside of New England. She previously oversaw the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Division. As attorney general, Healey will pursue violations including faulty hazardous waste management, falsifying inspection stickers to pass vehicles that have failing emissions controls, unlawful asbestos removal and other environmental concerns.

Violence and gun control: Healey believes in revising the prison system so there is more of an emphasis on mental and behavioral health programs, as well as rehabilitation programs and education opportunities to reduce recidivism. Healey will reduce and prevent gun violence by addressing the cause of violence, keeping guns out of dangerous hands and planning ahead for new challenges.

John Miller (R)

Poverty and housing: No information.

Healthcare: According to an interview with MassLive.com, Miller will focus on fraud, abuse and waste in the Commonwealth’s healthcare system. He believes the attorney general should coordinate an investigation and analysis of healthcare service delivery across the State and focus on underserved areas.

Climate: No information.

Violence and gun control: Miller told MassLive.com that he supports punishing those who use guns to commit crimes and those who own guns unlawfully. Miller believes existing Massachusetts laws and the Second Amendment protects citizens who follow the Commonwealth’s licensing procedure and lawfully possess guns.

Secretary of the Commonwealth

Bill Galvin (D)

Galvin has served as the secretary of the Commonwealth since 1994. According to his campaign website, he has focused on making it more convenient for people to vote as well as on protecting investors against financial fraud, on credit card pressures on students and on HMO costs. He implemented a system to ensure that citizens will not be registered more than once, and he cut voter fraud, according to the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts website. He has also made historical documents available to citizens.

Dave D’Arcangelo (R)

In the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts questionnaire, D’Arcangelo accuses the current voter system of being out of date and says that Galvin’s non-compliance with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act failed the men and women serving in America’s armed forces overseas. D’Arcangelo plans to protect investors by first gathering the facts to make business more productive. D’Arcangelo claims Galvin has made it more difficult for citizens to gain access to public records and that Galvin earned an “F” from the National Freedom of Information Coalition.

Danny Factor (Green – Rainbow)

According to the League of Women Voters of Mass. website, Factor believes in leveling the playing field for political candidates by supporting publically financed elections and encouraging participation in elections from the State’s diverse communities. He claims the current Administration does not adequately protect investors from large corporations and that the State should invest more in its people and its environment. Factor wants to implement an online records system so a public record is available online a week after it is processed.

State Treasurer and Receiver-General

Deb Goldberg (D)

According to Goldberg’s campaign website, her main focuses are wage equality, college savings plans, financial literacy, free tax preparation, establishing a state-owned public bank, establishing trust through transparency and fighting for diversity on corporate boards. She intends to model the state-owned bank after North Dakota’s. According to Goldberg, this would provide economic security and financial power to families and businesses in a tough economy.

Mike Heffernan (R)

According to his campaign website, Heffernan supports education improvement, financial literacy, economic growth generated by casinos, transparency, ending patronage, energizing the lottery, turning around Massachusetts’ “F”-rated pension system and better management of both State debt and citizens’ personal debt. He plans to enhance the State’s online checkbook and create virtual statements to provide better information of exactly what taxpayers’ dollars are going toward.

Ian Jackson (Green – Rainbow)

According to Jackson’s campaign website, he believes in a Commonwealth where the tax payers’ money should be invested in the future, including clean water, solid education, employment growth and a better banking system.

State Auditor

Suzanne Bump (D)

Bump’s main focuses since being elected state auditor in 2010 have been child welfare and education, integrity in public benefit programs and improving the municipal-state relationship, according to her campaign website. She believes in closely monitoring MassHealth, nutritional assistance, childcare and other public-benefit programs since they support some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens.

Patricia Saint Aubin (R)

According to her campaign website, Aubin believes the state auditor should act as a “watchdog on behalf of taxpayers.” In a Masslive.com interview, Aubin vowed to make the auditor’s office more transparent in order to gain citizen’s trust in the Commonwealth’s government.

M.K. Merelice (Green – Rainbow)

In an interview with Arlington Public News, Merelice stated that she believed the State’s resources “are more than financial,” going on to say the State doesn’t rely on its human and environmental resources as much as it should. Her campaign website says that she believes investment in sustainable use of State land and equal education will strengthen the economy.

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