On January 30th, 2017, former Massachusetts State Budget Chief, Jay Gonzalez, announced that he would run against Governor Charlie Baker in 2018. To date, Gonzalez is the only confirmed candidate running against the Republican incumbent, although there are numerous murmurings of other 2018 gubernatorial hopefuls. Here is everything you need to know about the Democratic candidate, Jay Gonzalez:
Gonzalez first entered the political scene in 2007, serving as former Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick’s Secretary of Administration and Finance. Calling himself a “fierce advocate for high quality early education for all children,” he served as the Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education. He also served as the Chairmen of the Board of the Massachusetts Health Connector where he provided oversight for the implementation of health care reform throughout the state. Prior to announcing his candidacy for Governor of Massachusetts, Gonzalez was CEO of CeltiCare Health, a company providing health insurance to mostly low-income individuals.
Where he stands on the issues:
Gonzalez’s main political platform revolves around universal access to affordable and high-quality early childhood education. He calls early education and childcare “one of the most favorable of all public investments,” and cites economic research which states a 13% annual rate of return on birth-to-five early education programs resulting from decreased reliance on public assistance and increased tax payments. To tackle this issue, Gonzalez states that he will improve access to early childhood education by both increasing the number of families eligible for state assistance, and also increasing the workforce.
Aside from his focus on early education, Gonzalez is also committed to ensuring public access to government records, protecting the environment, encouraging local agriculture, safeguarding women’s reproductive health care, and supporting the Safe Communities Act in Massachusetts. He has publicly criticized Baker, calling him a “status quo, wait and see Governor.” Gonzalez has called into question Baker’s silence around several key issues regarding Trump’s presidency, including transgender rights legislation and Massachusetts state police working in tandem with ICE to arrest undocumented immigrants.
In a recent interview, Gonzalez told Boston Public Radio, “From the American Revolution to marriage equality, Massachusetts has always been at the forefront of our country's biggest issues. President Trump threatens our values and threatens to take us backward. Now more than ever, we need a Governor who is going to stand up and fight for our values and fight to move us forward. I’ll be that Governor. I’ll work with a sense of urgency to make sure that every working family has a fair shot for a better future.”
Come to The Democracy Center on Wednesday, April 19th at 7PM to hear Jay Gonzalez speak in his own words about his run for Governor, and have the chance to ask him your own questions about his platform and stance on key issues facing our state and country right now.