When he came to town this week to participate in the Grand Re-Opening of the Student Prince Restaurant (where he and Mayor Dom Sarno cut a “Ribbon of Sausage” to formally mark the re-birth of the downtown landmark)– Governor-Elect Charlie Baker and his staff were kind enough to include some time with us here at WGBY on his schedule.
Although his political opponents sometimes like to paint him as a cold, bean-counting guy more interested in the bottom line than in how government policies impact people — what (admittedly limited) experience I’ve had dealing with Charlie Baker has always been pleasant and that was the case again when he was here in our studio. As he walked in the door, a community volunteer who was here to answer phones for an evening pledge event ran up to the Governor-Elect and asked if he could get a picture. “Sure” said Charlie Baker. Now, you have to picture this because remember the Gov.-to-be stands about 6 foot 5 — maybe taller — and I’m guessing that the gentleman asking for the photo was maybe 5 foot 6. No problem. Charlie Baker stretched his long legs off out the side and scrunched down until he and his new friend were on about the same level and the “selfie” was snapped. Handshakes were exchanged and I think the Gov.-Elect had made a friend for life.
Likewise, during our taping Charlie Baker spoke with passion about his hopes for making life better for the people of the Commonwealth by improving the economy and better leveraging the strengths and reputations of the great institutions of higher learning in our state to attract new businesses and create new jobs.
Just before tape rolled and the interview started, the Gov.-Elect and I joked that this wouldn’t be too tough an interview because –as he put it– he hasn’t done anything to upset anybody yet. We laughed but we both knew that wouldn’t be the case for long. As soon as he takes office January 8, Charlie Baker will have to make some tough decisions about state spending as he prepares the Fiscal Year 2016 budget and faces down a deficit some say is as great as three-quarters of a billion dollars. The choices will be hard and the interview questions in the future will inevitably get harder. That’s just how it works. For now though, whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, liberal or conservative -or none of the above — let’s all wish all the best to a new Governor who clearly cares a lot about his state and the job he’s about to take on. We all won’t always agree with him on some — maybe most –of what he’s trying to do at any given time — but we can agree not to be disagreeable about it. That’s how America and democracy works best. When we all worry more about just getting something accomplished than we do about who gets the credit or who got more of their sides’ ideas into the final product — that’s when good things happen.
Good Luck, Governor Baker and come back and see us anytime.