Waiting for the governor’s race to get going

When Sonia Chang-Diaz challenged Maura Healey to agree to a series of three televised debates prior to the Democratic state convention in June, some political analysts dismissed the move as an attempt by a struggling candidate to gain ground on a better known and better financed rival.

There may be some truth to that analysis, but Chang-Diaz puts forward another theory — that voters deserve to know where the two Democratic candidates for governor stand on the major issues of the day. 

“This is standard-issue stuff,” Chang-Diaz said of her call for debates. “There are real differences between the attorney general and me.”

Chang-Diaz, a state senator from Jamaica Plain, points out that Healey herself called for monthly primary debates when she first ran for attorney general in 2014. And the Democratic gubernatorial primary race in 2018 featured three debates as well. 

Healey’s campaign responded to Chang-Diaz’s challenge with a vague promise to debate, but didn’t say when she would debate or how many times she would debate. Chang-Diaz’s campaign called the response a dodge.

The back and forth exchanges were fairly standard stuff in a race between a clear frontrunner and a challenger. But they also underscored the cautious campaign that Healey appears to be running.

Chang-Diaz is fond of pointing out that she jumped into the race for governor before Gov. Charlie Baker made his decision not to seek reelection, while Healey waited until the popular Republican governor bowed out before declaring her candidacy.

Chang-Diaz’s candidacy is all about introducing herself to voters, but Healey is acting as if everybody already knows where she stands. A recent Boston Globe story noted Healey’s campaign is “long on advantages” and “short on specifics.”

After nearly eight years as attorney general, Healey is a known commodity, to some extent. We know she sued former president Donald Trump a lot. We know she went after the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma in court. And we know she suggested the protests sweeping the nation after George Floyd’s killing in 2020 might yield long-term benefits. “Yes, America is burning. But that’s how forests grow,” she said.

Those stances and comments reveal a lot about Healey, but voters need more from a candidate for governor. A governor deals with a multitude of issues, from education funding to public transportation, from prisons to the State Police, from public health to climate change. Sorting out where candidates stand is what campaigns are all about.

Chang-Diaz’s campaign website has the standard issues page, where you can read about the candidate’s stances on education, climate change, racial justice, housing, economic justice, health care, transportation, policing, gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and voting rights.

Healey’s campaign website, by contrast, includes the video announcing her candidacy for governor and sections devoted to fundraising and recruiting supporters. With a little over two months to go until the Democratic state convention in Worcester, there is no tab yet for issues on Healey’s campaign website.

 BRUCE MOHL

 

FROM COMMONWEALTH

Sushchyk resigns: Probate Judge Paul Sushchyk resigns in the wake of a Supreme Judicial Court decision suspending him indefinitely without pay for grabbing the butt of a female court employee and lying about it. Read more.

MBTA diversions: The MBTA tells riders affected by the Green and Orange line tunnel diversions to stay at home if they can. If those diversions extend into the weekend, all 4 subway lines will be affected as closures are also planned on the Blue and Red lines for repair work. Read more.

OPINION

T zoning needs redo: Charlotte Kahn, the former director of the Boston Indicators Project, says the transit-oriented development guidelines issued by the Baker administration cram housing into already congested areas in eastern Massachusetts while discounting the growth potential of  cities and towns in the western part of the state. She says the guidelines need a redo. Read more.

 

FROM AROUND THE WEB

 

BEACON HILL

Senate President Karen Spilka continues to sidestep questions on legalizing sports betting. (MassLive)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The CDC weighs removing dosing limits for opioids. (Gloucester Daily Times)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Hints of progress are emerging from cease-fire talks between Ukraine and Russia that are taking place in Turkey. (New York Times

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs into law a bill barring classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t say gay” law. (NPR)

A federal judge issues a decision in which he says it was “more likely than not” that former president Donald Trump violated the law by trying to overturn the 2020 election results. (NPR) White House logs given to the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol have a 7-hour gap in Trump’s calls that day, a period that coincides with the storming of the building. (Washington Post

ELECTIONS

Gov. Charlie Baker weighs in with his first endorsement in a statewide race in this year’s election, throwing his support behind Anthony Amore, the lone Republican candidate for state auditor. (Boston Globe

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Gov. Charlie Baker heralds the opening of a New Balance manufacturing facility in Methuen. (Boston Herald

EDUCATION

Going against the test-optional grain in higher ed, MIT announced it will, following a pandemic pause, again require SAT and ACT scores as part of its admission process. (New York Times

ARTS/CULTURE

Plans were announced for a Holocaust museum to be built in Boston. (Boston Herald

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who has alopecia and jumped into the debate over Will Smith’s slap at the Oscars with a tweet thanking him and all husbands who “defend their wives living with alopecia” before quickly deleting it, issued a statement saying, “I don’t endorse violence in any form.” (Boston Globe

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Worcester’s Juvenile Court remains understaffed and backlogged, after a sixth judicial position added in 2018 remains unfilled due to retirements. (Telegram & Gazette)

Jacklyn Sutcivni, the former top Worcester housing official convicted of helping a developer steal $2.3 million in federal funds, is sentenced to 40 months in federal prison. (Telegram & Gazette)

A former UMass Amherst student is convicted of raping a fellow student in 2017 who, after a night of drinking, mistakenly entered the male student’s room and fell asleep in his bed. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

MEDIA

Dan Kennedy recounts a CommonWealth report about how scientists were quoted in Philip Morris sponsored content ads in the Boston Globe without realizing that was what they were doing. “This is just a mess,” Kennedy says. (Media Nation)