For most who take an inquisitive look at the realm of national politics, the game seems simple enough: It’s a bipartisan world, and we all just live in it. And while that mantra may ring true for many states nationwide, Massachusetts in particular sticks to its Democratic roots. Liberalism and progressivism reign supreme in the Bay State but one candidate for Governor of Massachusetts is hoping to infuse those notions with a sense of fiscal pragmatism and a prudent management style.
United Independent Party candidate Evan Falchuk is simply fed up with the antiquated way of doing things on Beacon Hill. Too him, the current legislature is too reactionary with not enough forward thinking. Contemporary policies and procedures hinder more than they foster, and when it comes to campaign finances, well, it’s a “corrupt system.”
Some of those account for Falchuk’s decision to form a the United Independent Party in lieu of simply running as an independent. Speaking at Suffolk University Law School’s Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service Falchuk told those in attendance, “I founded United Independent Party based on the ideas that everyone is equal, everyone’s civil rights must be protected and the government must spend our money wisely.”
His basis for government and leadership are simple and, even better, attainable. In general, he’s calling for “smart, brave reform about politics, our economy [and] our government.”
All of those items he hopes to achieve can be done by combating a slew of degenerative issues that obstruct practicalities like effective healthcare, job growth, education, alternative energy sources and a balanced budget.
But perhaps what was most refreshing about Falchuk’s lunchtime roundtable session was that rather than just simply note that these are problems while require the full attention of the governor, as each of the gubernatorial candidates who spoke at Suffolk before him did, he offered up viable, feasible, rational solutions and a new way of looking at legislative roadblocks “that has been missing for far too long” from the commonwealth’s political scene.
For one, Falchuk was the only candidate at to discuss taxes at Suffolk. It’s his intention to create an independent budget office to conduct unbaised reviews of the at least $200 million in questionable spending per the state budget, to undertake a major reform of the regressive flat tax in Massachusetts that only six other states adhere by, and to stop giving unnecessary tax breaks to corporations that aren’t in need of them.
After all, noted Falchuk, “money is not speech, corporations are not people.”
As for healthcare, which has an almost parasitic stranglehold over the budget, accounting for approximately 40 percent of it to be exact, Falchuk wants to take the fight to the major organizations and entities responsible for rising costs. A staggering 72 percent of the healthcare market is controlled by the hospital system, which often merges with similar institutions and subsequently levies an irrational and inequitable fee system that leads to excess costs. Saving just five percent on those costs could result in freeing as mush as $2 billion annually.
Having worked on the executive team of Boston-based Best Doctors Inc. and with the likes of the National Coalition on Health Care, few candidates understand the healthcare game the way Falchuk does. And it’s safe to say none are willing to take them on.
“As hospitals consolidate and get bigger, they increase their prices,” he said. “They use their market power in that way, and that passes through to consumers and businesses in the form of higher insurance premiums. It has to stop.”
When the candidacy pool ebbs, Falchuk flows, as exemplified by his unique take on education. Most, if not all, other Beacon Hill hopefuls have praised the need for a narrowed focus on STEM education in the classroom to help bolster the need to fill high tech, green energy and precision manufacturing jobs. Sure, those are fundamental points of education and crucial for planting the seeds for a carrer out of high school and college, but for children they create a standardized way of thinking that may prove detrimental in the long run.
Emphasizing the importance of the creative arts to keep young, impressionable minds unbounded, the 44-year old Auburndale resident called for a stress on “drawing, instruments, acting [and] singing… awakening a creative impulse is exactly what we need.” By not cutting programs that promote this type of learning, the indie candidate thinks the Massachusetts school system will render children “energized, creative and thoughtful.”
What’s sure to be one of Falchuk’s biggest points of contention with Democrats and Republicans is the campaign finance system that essentially rules out anyone that doesn’t consort with either party. He wants to amend this system that allows for, per a series of donation transactions, both parties to solicit as much as $15,000 in individual appropriations. By law, and complying with the same standards, independent candidates can receive up to $1,000.
It’s safe to say that in the broadest sense, Falchuk wants to even the playing field in order to give the government back to the people. Whether kickstarting one’s own campaign, fighting for healthcare without compromising the quality, putting the learning centers back on track from public universities to elementary, or taking on any other issue poised to hamstring socioeconomic progressiveness, Massachusetts is about the people. In that respect, the governor acts as both the visionary and the enforcer.
Falchuk personifies the political adage “the buck stops here,” often used by decisive President Harry Truman. To him, the governorship is about making change where change is necessary for the betterment of society.
“I decided to do something about it,” explained Falchuk when expressing his discontent with the way government is run in Massachusetts. “That’s why I’m running for governor.”