LG Murray says what everyone knows

Wants to be governor; Patrick not leaving


LT. GOV TIMOTHY MURRAY wants to be the state’s next governor. That much he made clear on Thursday. His plans to make that happen, however, are still a work in progress.

As expected, Murray did not announce his intention to run for the top job in two years. But in a speech heavy on biography and highlights from the past six years of Patrick-Murray administration, the Worcester Democrat on Thursday gave a preview of what candidate Murray might sound like.

“Like many of you in the room, I would like to be governor. I think it’s okay to say that out loud,” Murray told business executives attending a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast speech.

Joking at how quickly after last week’s election people in Massachusetts have turned their attention to the races in 2014, Murray admitted to “peaking” at what it would take to put together a campaign for governor two years from now, but said, “I will not be making any announcements – yet.”

“I’m mindful that in my job as lieutenant governor, I am one of the closest observers of what the job of governor fully entails. For those of us who will look at 2014, Democrat or Republican, it comes down to a very personal decision for each of us, both the impact on our families and the impact each of us thinks we can have on the future of this state and of each person who lives here,” Murray said.

Murray seemed confident he wouldn’t be thrown into the role before 2014 should Gov. Deval Patrick jump for an appointment in the Obama administration. “The governor is not going to Washington. I can assure you of that,” Murray said.

Democrats like Treasurer Steven Grossman have joined Murray in indicating publicly that he is considering running for governor when Patrick leaves office. Sen. Dan Wolf, when asked by the News Service on election night about rumors he was thinking about a run for the Corner Office, did not deny the possibility.

On the Republican side, 2010 candidate Charles Baker has stayed active in GOP politics, fundraising for many candidates this cycle, and US Sen. Scott Brown remains a possibility after his defeat last week by Elizabeth Warren.

Former Gov. William Weld, who recently moved back to Massachusetts, and former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey are potential statewide candidates, though neither has signaled publicly whether they’ll run for office again.

Asked what his timetable might be for making a decision, Murray said he was in no rush, suggesting his post as lieutenant governor may afford him more time than some other lesser known candidates.

“I’ve been around the state more than anybody perhaps other than the governor the last six years. I know the issues, I know the people. I know the challenges. And I know the opportunities so I’m not going to rush into anything. I’m going to make my decision in due course and prepare accordingly,” Murray told reporters after his speech.

Once considered a sure bet to try to climb the ladder to the governorship, Murray’s reputation has taken a hit following an early morning car crash in November 2011 and reports about his associations with disgraced Chelsea housing chief Michael McLaughlin.

Murray, in his speech, ticked off a list of accomplishments of the Patrick-Murray administration since taking office in 2007, including many initiatives assigned to him by Patrick involving veterans, rail expansion, STEM education, and creating economic development opportunities in the 24 so-called Gateway Cities like Worcester.

Recalling the 2006 campaign, Murray said Patrick spoke about “hope” while he focused on the “blocking and tackling of government.”

“He liked to say he had worked at the highest levels of government. I said I had worked at the lowest. The voters put us together because, I believe, they liked that combination,” Murray said.

Alluding to his upbringing as well as Gov. Patrick’s, Murray said “you learn a lot of the same lessons growing up in Worcester as you do on the South Side of Chicago,” including the importance of community, “generational responsibility,” and hard work.

Regardless of his political future, Murray said the state should continue to focus on investing in education with a particular emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math. He called for investments to be made in transportation infrastructure “so your employees, these highly skilled and trained Massachusetts residents, can get to your company.”

And hitting on his recent work to develop a strategic defense of the state’s military bases in the face of possible closures, Murray said the administration must work with the federal government to protect the bases and research initiatives that are a major part of the state’s economy.

Murray also said leaders should find ways to promote growing industries, including manufacturing, and stay focused on lowering the cost of health care without impacting quality of care.

“I am optimistic about this Commonwealth, and I’m optimistic about our future, and I look forward to working with each of you in the coming years,” Murray said.

Joe Zukowski of Verizon said after the breakfast it was “not for me to say” whether Murray sounded like a candidate on Thursday, but added, “For an industry that relies on human capital as a key component, focus on STEM and connecting business with talent is critical in the years ahead.”

Warren Tolman, a former state representative, senator, and candidate for governor in 2002, said Murray performed “well.”

Meet the Author

Matt Murphy

State House News Service
“It was a litany of accomplishments of the Patrick administration and he’s right to trumpet them,” Tolman said.