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Massachusetts' anti-Trump GOP governor ends time in workplace – The Washington Submit


BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, an anti-Trump Republican who simply received reelection 4 years in the past, realized his earliest political classes listening to his Democratic mom and Republican father hashing out the problems of the day.

“My dad and mom have been married for 60 years earlier than my mother died they usually by no means voted for a similar particular person,” Baker, 66, advised The Related Press. “The dinner desk was only a hilarious sequence of conversations about every kind of issues.”

These listening abilities — there was a motive he was given two ears and one mouth, his mom would say — proved essential as Baker, a part of a practice of socially reasonable, fiscally conservative New England Republicans, took the helm of a liberal-leaning state dominated by Democrats in 2015.

Baker battled blizzards, a teetering public transit system and once-in-a-generation pandemic. He additionally drew the ire of former President Donald Trump by refusing to endorse or vote for the guy Republican in 2016 and 2020. Trump in flip, laced into Baker, calling him a “RINO” or Republican In Identify Solely.

“Baker is unhealthy on crime, disrespects our police, does nothing for our Veterans,” Trump mentioned in a 2021 e mail.

Baker remains to be reluctant to have interaction Trump straight, saying the GOP “has to decide going ahead about how they wish to deal with that message and I hope they make the appropriate one.” By necessity, Baker cast a bipartisan path. He may do little with out Democrats.

“I’ve all the time thought this can be a crew sport. I’ve by no means felt prefer it labored if we considered it purely by the lens of win-lose,” mentioned Baker. “The American public is nowhere as excessive as social media and the events would lead you to imagine.”

As he prepared to leave office next week, the 6-foot-6-inch (2-meter) former Harvard basketball participant is waiting for his subsequent job main the NCAA. The nation’s largest faculty sports activities governing physique oversees some 500,000 athletes at greater than 1,100 colleges.

Baker steps into the job in March.

“It’s an enormous a part of how numerous younger folks discover themselves, construct a basis of their worth techniques and their perception in themselves and it’s a method numerous youngsters within the U.S. find yourself going to varsity,” mentioned Baker.

Amongst Baker’s followers is his successor, Democratic Lawyer Normal Maura Healey, who final month grew to become the primary girl and first member of the LGBTQ neighborhood elected Massachusetts governor. She takes workplace subsequent week.

Healey has praised Baker, calling him “a valued accomplice” who centered on widespread floor in an period of divisiveness.

“Governor Baker ought to be pleased with his file of service to Massachusetts and the nation,” Healey mentioned when Baker introduced he wouldn’t search a 3rd time period. “I’m grateful to name him a buddy.”

The state’s antiquated public transit system bedeviled Baker as governor.

Below Baker billions have been poured into changing tracks, fixing indicators and updating electrical techniques whilst officers handled runaway trains, subway cars belching smoke, and rush hour trains operating on weekend schedules.

Earlier this yr a complete department of the subway, the Orange Line, was closed for 30 days to let employees full 5 years value of repairs. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s troubles even drew the eye of the Federal Transit Authority.

One bit of fine information got here this month with the opening of a new extension of the Green Line subway from downtown Boston to close by Medford.

“The factor folks in elective workplace want to grasp is that you’re going to get credit score for enlargement as a result of it’s seen. You’ll not get credit score for all of the stuff you do on the core system, which is the rationale why lots of people received’t do it,” Baker mentioned.

Satirically, one in every of Baker’s harshest critics is the pinnacle of the Massachusetts Republican Get together, a Trump loyalist.

GOP celebration chair Jim Lyons has sided with the previous president, who misplaced by double digits in each elections in Massachusetts, in opposition to Baker.

“President Trump was 100% appropriate when he declared earlier this month that ‘RINO’ Gov. Charlie Baker ‘has accomplished nothing for the Republican Get together,’” Lyons mentioned final yr. “No Republican governor in America has accomplished much less to advocate for Republican rules than Gov. Baker.”

By far the largest problem Baker confronted was the coronavirus pandemic.

Through the pandemic’s first 100 days or so Baker held daily, livestreamed news conferences as leaders tried to get their arms across the quickly evolving public well being nightmare.

One of many greatest classes from these early months is the necessity for clear and fixed communication in instances of disaster, he mentioned.

“When individuals are actually anxious about one thing and when there’s a lot data, a few of which is in direct battle with one another flying round, it’s actually necessary for public officers to be out and to be seen frequently,” Baker mentioned.

Baker has mentioned he hopes Healey presses for the event of renewable vitality, one in every of his priorities. Baker had pushed unsuccessfully to place $750 million into a clean energy innovation fund.

Though he doesn’t have any instant plans to leap again into politics, Baker wouldn’t rule it out.

He mentioned greatest surprising lesson he’s realized as governor was how a lot he and his administration can be embraced by the general public.

“If you spend as a lot time in entrance of the media as we do, folks deal with you such as you’re their neighbor. You could be the nice or the unhealthy neighbor, however they deal with you want a neighbor they usually inform you every kind of attention-grabbing issues,” he mentioned. “That has been extremely necessary to me.”

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