“A Nuts and Bolts Mr. Fix-It”

Gov. Baker Praised For Major Reforms, Common-Sense Approach

BOSTON — Governor Charlie Baker has “ended up being exactly as Candidate Baker advertised: a nuts-and-bolts Mr. Fix It,” according to a column in today’s Boston Globeby Meredith Warren. Warren’s column praised Governor Baker for achieving fiscally responsible priorities  – like the temporary suspension of the Pacheco Law for the MBTA – despite a Democrat-controlled Legislature that has historically resisted reform.

Year one with Mr. Fix It

By Meredith Warren

IF YOU’RE THE type who got a thrill from Governor Mitt Romney’s rivalry with top Democratic leaders, or who delighted in Governor Deval Patrick’s dramatic rhetoric, then Massachusetts politics in 2015 has been an utter disappointment.

Turns out Governor Charlie Baker ended up being exactly as Candidate Baker advertised: a nuts-and-bolts Mr. Fix It, who doesn’t indulge in partisan fighting and political theatrics.

It seems a majority of Massachusetts voters actually prefer boring to blustery. In a recent poll that gauged support for governors across the United States, Baker earned a 74 percent approval rating from Massachusetts residents, a level of support no other governor could reach.

[Baker, DeLeo, and Rosenbeg] have teamed up several times on initiatives that normally would have been the subject of partisan back-and-forth. Who would have guessed that Baker would convince Democrats to temporarily suspend the Pacheco Law (a law favorable to unions) and set up a control board at the MBTA, much less expand the earned income tax credit, all in his first year?

Baker also does his homework. Instead of offering knee-jerk reactions and quick fixes, he prefers to investigate and consult data to make long-term decisions.

When snow crippled the MBTA last winter, Baker set up a commission to find out what went wrong and make recommendations for how to move forward. He brought together social workers and administrators at the Department of Children and Families to develop a comprehensive plan to correct major failures at the agency.

A more recent case in point: When pressed to allow Syrian refugees into Massachusetts, Baker insisted on pausing to ask questions and gain assurances of safety. Others tried to turn the situation into a political fight, but Baker’s pause to find out details before making a decision fit precisely with his basic approach to governing.

So, for those of us who enjoy political intrigue, we’re going to have to get our fix watching “House of Cards’’ on Netflix. For now, at least, there’s not a lot of high-intensity drama playing out in the halls of Beacon Hill.

But, then again, Netflix doesn’t have a real state to run. Charlie Baker does.

(Click here to read the full column)


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