Independent candidate for Governor of Massachusetts Jeff McCormick might most familiar to Bostonians through his body of work with local venture capitalist firm Saturn Partners. Included in, but not limited to, the company’s portfolio are the likes of Boston Duck Tours, Twin Rivers Technologies and Constant Contact, all successful in their own right. But why is this biologist by training looking to helm the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts?
The answer is simple. He’s had a successful career thus far in his life and wants to give back.
And that’s a great motive to want to lead people. But that doesn’t necessarily make him the best choice.
Speaking at Suffolk University Law School’s Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service as part of the higher education institute’s roundtable series featuring all of the declared gubernatorial bidders, McCormick outlined his blueprint for how he would build a successful Bay State should he succeed incumbent Governor Deval Patrick on Beacon Hill.
In doing so he illuminated three striking pros and cons which could easily come into fruition, or not, should he take over the helm of Massachusetts. Here are some of our takeaways:
Pro: He’s a successful entrepreneur
Being as business-minded as McCormick is could play in his favor. After all, the cliché goes that running any kind of government is much like running a business. As a venture capitalist, McCormick has honed his ability discover effective solutions to problems while creating jobs and exposing himself to next-generation innovations that could easily propel Massachusetts to the forefront of, for example, clean technologies and green energy.
His economic acumen has also afforded him knowledge of how to save money, where to spend it and how to use it effectively.”We ought to keep the budget where it is,” opined McCormick when prompted about the state budgetary process. “After you make long-term investments that need to be made, without a doubt, then you can look at taking taxes down… I know how efficient the world can be.”
Con: He’s not particularly willing to play the game
Politics takes a great deal of charisma and finesse and if not gone about in an eloquent and charming manner, things can start to fall apart. Just take a look at look at the Obama administration in Washington D.C. He went to the capital with the intention to change the way things are done, but last year the country was subjected to a government shutdown.
When asked by an attendee why he wants to run for office when he couldn’t even name state Senators or Representatives, he countered by contending that supporters and lobbyists almost always wok with their state legislators when the need something. Perhaps not the most inspiring answer, but it illuminates two things: First, he wants to solve problems and not perpetuate them. Second, He wants to circumvent a system that, while perhaps tired and even antiquated, will ruffle a lot of feathers not necessarily to the benefit of Bay Staters.
Pro: He wants to take an outsider’s approach to state government
Not wanting to play the game can also have its benefits. For example, McCormick talked extensively about bringing in outside perspectives to help bring unbiased views to respective problems. Though he didn’t delve into specifics, he suggested that a single digit percentage of the state budget could be beneficially eliminated when considered by outside sources.
“[We] must bring outsiders in that look at items with a fresh set of eyes,” noted McCormick in order to eliminate possible bias. When a system has been in place for so long, those tending to it can often overlook the flaws that develop over an extended period of time. With his venture capital experience, McCormick is likely to be able to zero in on the best applicable outsider in order to better understand how to make certain facets run smoother and generally better.
Con: He’s running as an Independent – no partisan affiliation
I understand why someone would want to run as an Independent; you’re not handcuffed by your party and you’re seemingly able to cater to the needs of those unwilling to commit to the left or the right, thereby connecting with both ends of the political spectrum and those in between. But joining a party allows a candidate to do extensive fund raising.
A quick look at OCPF data shows that McCormick loaned his own campaign $75,000 in funds in order to better compete against the likes of Charlie Baker, one of two Republican candidates and probable candidate for the right one, who will be sure to collect thousands from Republican supporters and political action committees. In that regard, while running an Independent campaign is certainly as noble a pursuit as any, it’s not always the most feasible.
Granted these are only a few takeaways form McCormick’s visit to Suffolk University and more detailed information on some of his campaign issues can be found on the Rappaport Center’s website here. But many of his ideas and initiatives will stem from the aforementioned umbrella sentiments so keeping them in mind will be very important come the primaries.
For more information on McCormick’s campaign, check out our coverage to date here. In the meantime, let us know what you think of McCormick as an Independent candidate thus far in the race in the comments section below.