Chris Doughty: ‘I almost feel like a governor already’
CHRIS DOUGHTY has no experience in politics. But he believes leading the state is similar to leading a large business. “There’s not one part of the governor’s life that I’m not familiar with, that I feel uncomfortable doing,” Doughty said. “In fact, I feel like I was sort of designed for this job. It just very much fits my skill set…. I almost feel like a governor already.”
With Gov. Charlie Baker opting not to seek a third term in office, two Republicans – former state Rep. Geoff Diehl and Doughty – are running to replace him. Doughty is a political newcomer who considers himself a moderate and welcomes comparisons to Baker. He has focused his campaign on fiscal issues, particularly lowering the cost of living.
“Our citizens are being crushed by the high cost of living here, and we’re losing our families,” Doughty said, speaking on this week’s Codcast.
Asked if he sees himself as a politician in the model of Baker, Doughty praised the current governor for his executive skills, his hard work, and his enjoyment of “complex business problems” – all traits that Doughty said he shares.
Doughty grew up in California, attended Brigham Young University, and spent two years in Argentina as a Mormon missionary. He moved to Massachusetts with his wife Leslie to attend Harvard Business School, then settled in Wrentham. He bought a small manufacturing company in the 1990s, Capstan Industries, and expanded it to become a 700-employee company with six factories that make auto and appliance parts.
Doughty said he decided to run for governor because he saw a need for a candidate with his skills. “I made many phone calls to see if there were others that were from the business community that could come in with a fiscally conservative message that was electable, and didn’t find someone, so I eventually made the big decision to step out and put my skills and my capacities and my motivations to the test with the voters,” he said.
Doughty said he wrote a job description for the governor’s role and found he was already doing all those things. “I’ve been doing it for 30 years – hiring people, getting rid of people that are underperforming, building teams, cross-functional teams, having high expectations, budgeting, finance, bonds.”
A key part of Doughty’s platform is making government simpler and cutting costs by eliminating bureaucracy. He cited the example of an affordable housing developer he met who had to get approvals from five government agencies.
“As governor, I would come in and say to all the state employees, here’s our objective: We’re going to improve our services, and we’re going to lower our cost by 3 percent a year,” Doughty said. Doughty said he believes he could make that cut without eliminating services, by simplifying government and making it more efficient.
Doughty said he would not raise taxes or additional revenue, arguing that Massachusetts already has high health care, electricity, and grocery costs. “I think that’s like walking into a job saying I’m going to raise prices,” he said.
Asked about transit expansions – like the proposed Springfield to Boston passenger rail – Doughty said his priority would be maintaining the current system. “I’ve seen it so often in business where people get excited about expansion and they overlook the immediate needs that are creating risk,” Doughty said. “I’d much rather fix a bridge that could fall then talk about greater expansion somewhere else.”
On energy, Doughty called climate change “one of the great challenges of this generation.” He said given high electricity prices in Massachusetts, he would focus first on increasing energy supply. He said increasing hydropower in particular “makes a lot of sense to me.”
Doughty said previously that he generally opposes abortion rights except in cases of rape or incest. But he said on the Codcast that he would not attempt to change Massachusetts’s permissive abortion laws. “I do not want to be a governor that divides the people further. I want to be a governor that unites and talks about things that we can all agree on,” Doughty said. “So things that are social issues are very divisive, and we’re all exhausted of all the things we’ve gone through recently that have divided us as a state.”
Although the lieutenant governor and governor candidates are nominated separately by political parties, both Doughty and Diehl already chose running mates. Doughty tapped former state representative Kate Campanale earlier this month, while Diehl on Monday announced his pick of former state representative Leah (Cole) Allen. Doughty said he and Campanale talk daily, coordinate their schedules, and are learning to work together. “You kind of get two candidates in one, which is nice because we just don’t have the fundraising apparatus that the other party does,” he said.
Though he is asking voters to choose him in the GOP primary, Doughty has a spotty history of voting in state primaries. The last non-presidential state primary election that Doughty voted in was in 2009. Not all those years had competitive Republican races, but in both 2014 and 2018, Baker was facing a primary challenger. Asked why he did not vote those years, Doughty said he was a father of six children, running a business, and traveling around the state. “Sometimes I was just out of town,” he said. “I certainly always had my heart and my mind on a good, well-run state government.”
GLX a major victory for the MBTA: Today’s opening of the Union Square branch of the Green Line extension is a big deal for riders, but it’s an even bigger deal for the T and its ability to credibly pursue federal funding. Read more.
GLX validations: Riders will need to obtain validation receipts to ride on the new Green Line extension. Read more.
State prisons half empty: With the state’s prison system half empty, MassINC research director Ben Forman says it’s time for the state to double down on reforms. Read more.
Autism services suffering: Hanna Rue, chief clinical officer at LearnBehavioral.com, says MassHealth is struggling to provide autism services because costs are rising but reimbursement rates are not. Read more.
Russian sanctions: Thomas A. Barnico of Boston College Law School says Gov. Charlie Baker’s executive order imposing sanctions on Russia walks a fine legal line. Read more.
Message for Mayor Wu: Andrew Levinsky of Regis College urges Boston Mayor Michelle Wu to make a bold statement in support of Taiwan, which is facing growing aggression from China. Read more.
Streamline benefits: Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Jay Livingstone say it’s time to establish a universal application for obtaining state social service benefits. Read more.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
Gov. Charlie Baker is renewing his call for legislation that would expand the charges eligible for a “dangerousness hearing” that could result in a defendant being held without bail before trial. (Boston Herald)
The bad jokes and political banter returned in-person as pols gathered for the first time in three years for the St. Patricks’ Day breakfast in South Boston. (Boston Herald)
Even in Massachusetts, some school committees are getting caught up in the nation’s culture wars. (WBUR)
Roger Kavanaugh, a Select Board member in West Stockbridge, says he intends to step down because of bias and a lack of transparency in city government. (Berkshire Eagle)
COVID-19 antibodies found in 15 percent of Massachusetts deer tested. (GBH)
The Gloucester VA clinic would be closed and replaced by one in Salem, according to a recent report recommending closures and consolidations of Veterans Affairs clinics. (Gloucester Daily Times)
Uncertainty and anxiety are growing over Tufts Medical Center’s plans to close in-patient pediatric services. (Boston Globe)
Ukraine rejected a Russian call to surrender the port city of Mariupol, which has been decimated by Russian bombardment. (Washington Post)
Republican gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl has tapped former Danvers state rep Leah Allen as his unofficial running mate. (Boston Herald)
Criminal justice reform advocates say Maura Healey lags her Democratic rival for the gubernatorial nomination, Sonia Chang-Diaz, when it comes to backing needed changes in the system. (Boston Globe)
Five candidates, all Democrats, are running for the 8th Essex state representative seat vacated by Rep. Lori Ehrlich. (Salem News)
A 2019 Salem City City Council election will be back in court April 1, on appeal of a verdict that upheld Megan Riccardi’s one-vote win over Jerry Ryan to win the Ward 6 seat. (Salem News)
Schools in the South Coast area are using federal COVID recovery funds to bolster their after-school programs. (South Coast Today)
WBUR’s Sharon Brody and her sons share a very personal connection to the opening today of the Green Line extension to Union Square in Somerville.
The state is weighing plans to expand the availability of electric vehicle charging stations. (Eagle-Tribune)
About 30 people participate in a hunger strike in South Hadley to protest the construction of a gas-fired power plant in Peabody to serve municipal light companies. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)
The Boston Globe and Boston Magazine offer different theories on who shot David Ortiz. (Media Nation)PASSINGS
Leominster native Capt. Ross A. Reynolds, 27, is one of four US Marines who died in a plane crash while participating in a NATO training exercise in northern Norway. (USA Today)