Mark Fisher didn’t draw a big crowd. In fact, it was probably the smallest to gather at Suffolk University Law School’s Rappaport Center roundtable sessions, in which every declared candidate for governor thus far has had the opportunity to engage directly with Bostonians. But Fisher probably didn’t want a sizable gathering. If nothing else, a large showing would’ve diminished his political persona, as one who empathizes and connects directly with the Massachusetts general public.
Drawing on past experience, both good and bad, while touting the full platform of his Republican party, Fisher outlined how he thinks Massachusetts ought to be governed. And for him, that government is best which governs least.
“We don’t always get it right the first time, or the second time,” Fisher told those in attendance. “But this is the whole idea about the pursuit of happiness, not government imposed happiness.”
Mark Fisher is running for Governor of Massachusetts with the most blatant lack of legislative experience out of the entire gubernatorial field, on both ends of the political spectrum and everywhere in between. He owns and operates a small manufacturing business, Merchants Fabrication, in Auburn, Mass., a city neighboring Worcester. He joined the workforce before enrolling in community college, eventually earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
He’s a Tea Party Republican who knows full well the challenges laid out before him in the political sense – running under a red banner in true, blue Massachusetts.
But rather than cite a laundry list of problems plaguing our commonwealth due to the Democratic party, to which he hopes to combat with an arsenal of vague solutions, he appealed to the revolutionary roots that stem from New England and Boston, in particular, in hopes of invigorating spectators with his same small government sentiments.
Quoting local patriot Joseph Warren while reminiscing over the Boston Tea Party and the subsequent Intolerable Acts, Fisher posed hypothetically, “Do we fight for small government and individual freedom or do we allow big government to get bigger and bigger and take over and become more intrusive?”
As a Tea Party Republican, Fisher urged his audience to look past his partisan affiliation in order to better comprehend his overall plan, one that he thinks will benefit the Bay State overall. That plan includes, amongst other items, reformation of the state economy, a crackdown on illegal immigration, and a repeal of tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike. But the overall theme of small government shone threw each facet in a not-so-subtle fashion.
Before turning Merchants Fabrication into a successful small business, one that employees just seven, Fisher was laid off from five jobs, four companies of which relocated out of state. Perhaps more than any single person running to succeed Governor Deval Patrick on Beacon Hill, Fisher understands the plight of the common Massachusetts resident. To combat the socioeconomic disparity hindering the commonwealth and put more money back in taxpayers’ pockets, Fisher intends to revamp the EBT card system, curtail food stamps and change the topic of higher-ed discussions from more state funding to an emphasis on vocational and tech schools.
The EBT card system is decidedly flawed, and one topic that no other candidate has broached. Fisher contends that some $400 million in EBT fraud and abuse must stop, as well as the issuance of EBT cards to some 1,000 deceased people.
Similarly, he thinks food stamps have resulted in more abuse and fraud than rehabilitation. And that system is also in dire need of a fix.
“These programs are necessary and are there for the needy who need them, not for the greedy who abuse them,” Fisher explained, also noting that he doesn’t want to cut these programs, simply make them more efficient.
He also made his case against illegal immigration, not immigration in general, arguing that those who immigrate to the country illegally are the ones taking advantage of the system and are the ones in need of discipline. Two of his own employees are immigrants, here with valid green cards, and it’s them, said Fisher, who are most angry at the illegals. They’re essentially cutting the line and making the process more difficult for those abiding by the system, however convoluted that system may be.
Things like “Awarding in-state tuition and drivers licenses are awarding bad behavior,” noted Fisher and that Massachusetts must “turn off the benefits” and make our state less appealing for those seeking refuge to let them go elsewhere.
“It’s breaking and entering,” stated Fisher bluntly.
Finally, he turned his attention to another governmental stranglehold, tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike. In the 1950s tolls were enacted on the Pike with the promise that they would soon after be repealed, assuming the debt they were intended to subsidize was paid in full. That debt has been paid and repaid over, continued Fisher, and has generated $20 million in surplus funds. He thinks it’s time to take it down, but it’s more of a principle thing than a money thing.
“Any politician who breaks their word to their constituents doesn’t deserve their support any longer,” he said.
Despite any relevant political acumen and armed with just strong convictions and a broad agenda, Fisher could be “The Little Engine that Could” of the Massachusetts Republican Party and the entire gubernatorial race. He’s not afraid to shy away from any partisan spats with Republican naysayers, and has even challenged fellow right-winger Charlie Baker to an open tęte-ŕ-tęte debate.
Massachusetts is not shy when it comes to electing Republican governors either. Prior to incumbent Governor Patrick, Massachusetts was helmed by four straight Republicans, from William Weld’s administration in 1991 to that of Mitt Romney which expired in 2007.
Fisher is certainly a long shot candidate but one who’s arguably more personable than his rival Charlie Baker. The two are campaigning very different than each other but in ways that personify their approaches to government. While Baker is making headlines with his stances on certain issues posed to him by media and taking large public tours of organizations and institutions, Fisher is undertaking a grassroots campaign, aimed at speaking directly with potential voters in a no-nonsense way that echoes his no-nonsense view of state government.
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