In the hallowed halls of Suffolk University Law School, Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Don Berwick shared lunch with Bay State professionals, politicos, residents and media in hopes of better conveying the groundwork for his vision of the commonwealth should he be elected to Beacon Hill.
Berwick, a pediatrician by trade, kickstarted his career in politics following successful stints as CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and after accepting a presidential appointment as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As a Washington outsider, Berwick told those in attendance that he was “discouraged by what he saw in D.C.,” namely a self-servicing political disparity between greedy politicians and citizens in need.
But his new perspective on corrupt bureaucrats only added fuel to his fire for positive change, initiatives that he hopes to implement in Massachusetts to act as the example by which all other states ought to aspire to be.
“This state can be a beacon, a beacon for the country to follow,” he noted with confidence. “I think we can make this state a legend.”
He credits his drive to do good to his upbringing in a rural Connecticut town. Raised by his general practitioner father and activist mother, Berwick cited numerous times Wednesday afternoon a metaphor by which he also intends to govern. He reminisced that in his small section New England, people wouldn’t just drive by broken-down cars stranded on the side of the road. They’d all stop and help.
And that’s the attitude he wants to bring to the State House. He aptly calls it, “humility with confidence.”
With a deep-rooted penchant for helping people and armed with an arsenal of degrees from Harvard University, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Medical School, Berwick chose healthcare as his profession. Traveling the globe and soaking up original methods of treatment like an intellectual ShamWow – such as the native Alaskan Nuka system which aims at helping people achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness – Berwick experienced first-hand the innumerable healthcare and treatment imbalances of the world and of his own country.
But rather than focus his campaign platform on his expertise in the field, a tactic which pigeonholed the likes of Boston mayoral education candidate John Connolly, Berwick hopes to put to good use the experienced he garnered in healthcare to all the other avenues it afforded him throughout the years such as bridging mental and physical health, homelessness, the corrections system, gun reform, transportation, and marijuana.
What’s perhaps most humanistic about Berwick is his willingness to consider the judgement of those around him, and I’m not talking about politicos and pundits. Multiple times during the lunchtime session he was asked questions by audience members to which he had no answer or knowledge on the subject. Rather than spew some falsity to satisfy the crowd, Berwick welcomed them to contact him later to tap into a deeper knowledge of what was posed.
To sum Berwick’s campaign up in three simple words, he plans to abide by doctrine and lead Massachusetts based on the principles of social justice, equity and compassion.