How a Massachusetts Republican turned America’s hottest governor


Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is so busy doing his job, he hardly has time to be political.

He doesn’t choose fights. His speeches are unremarkable. He’s not secretly working for president, no less than so far as anybody can inform.

If he picked a staff jersey, it will say “Massachusetts,” not “GOP.” Many Democrats can’t discover it in themselves to revile him. In truth, some declare they just like the man. Even some who thought Hillary Clinton wasn’t liberal sufficient admit they’ve solid ballots for Governor Baker. Twice.

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Positive, he’s a Republican, however not that sort of Republican.

“Trump comes out with these insane concepts and most Republicans are like oh, yeah. And [Baker] has the heart to say – we’re not going to do this right here,” says Deb Corridor, a liberal whose vote helped him win reelection by a landslide this week. “I credit score him for that. I’m certain he will get flak for that.”

At a time when the cool youngsters within the Republican Occasion are calling their opponents liars and left-wing loonies, Baker is quietly charting one other path – working with the opposite facet to get issues carried out. And he’s not alone. Three of the preferred governors in America are Republicans in blue states, and they’re demonstrating a pragmatism that exhibits that it’s certainly potential to be affordable, civil, and productive in an period of utmost polarization.

“[Baker] presents a very totally different model,” says Peter Ubertaccio, a political science professor at Stonehill Faculty outdoors Boston. “It’s virtually the other of what you see in Washington.”

So what’s his secret?

“I believe the most important factor we’ve tried to do is to not take the bait,” says Baker, standing with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito outdoors the Owl Diner in Lowell, Mass., on the eve of Election Day. “I believe the most important problem in public life nowadays is to deal with frequent floor and never on the stuff that divides us.”

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Simply then, somebody drives by yelling, “Baaaaaaaaker!!” and he chuckles earlier than ending his thought:

“I believe individuals miss their alternatives once they don’t give it some thought that method,” he says.


Baker barely received elected in 2014. This week he received by two-thirds of the vote, and is ranked the No. 1 hottest governor in America with a 70 % approval ranking, in keeping with a survey of registered voters by Morning Seek the advice of.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) of Maryland, who ranks second hottest with 67 % approval ranking, additionally handily received reelection Tuesday in a state the place Trump received walloped in 2016. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) of New Hampshire is fourth hottest two years into his time period. And Gov. Phil Scott (R) of Vermont, somewhat farther down the record, secured a second time period by a 15-point margin.

In the meantime in Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock is sort of their mirror picture – a popular Democrat in a state the place Trump received by 20 factors in 2016. And Democrat Laura Kelly simply received the gubernatorial race in Kansas, beating out conservative ideologue Kris Kobach.

“Plenty of these people are people that get the truth that we’re alleged to be working for 100 % of the residents that we symbolize,” says Baker in Lowell, a Democratic stronghold the place he and Lieutenant Governor Polito have pushed ahead a $225 million new courthouse mission that had been tabled for a decade. Taking a look at her, he provides, “You and I’ve each had numerous individuals say to us at one time or one other, ‘You understand, I don’t agree with you on a regular basis, however I really feel such as you hear.’ ”

Polito has made good on their 2014 marketing campaign promise to go to all 351 cities and cities within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, listening to native officers and serving to advance their priorities.

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“You need to get one thing carried out, you gotta name Karyn,” stated Mayor Dan Rivera of the blue-collar metropolis of Lawrence, which was hit arduous by gasoline explosions this fall.

He was one among two Democratic mayors invited to talk on the marketing campaign’s Election Evening victory celebration, the opposite being Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken of Gloucester. Like various different Democratic mayors throughout the state, they laud Baker and observe his cue in placing apart celebration loyalties to work for the individuals.

“After we get up within the morning, we’re not going to be Democrats and Republicans … We’re HUUUMAAAAAN,” Mayor Theken bellowed from the stage. “This winter, if we’re going to have a storm, we’re all going to get snowed on collectively.”


And boy, has it snowed on Charlie Baker.

In 2015, simply as he had taken workplace, Boston was hit by a historic collection of blizzards that wreaked havoc on the MBTA transit system, leaving the town gridlocked for weeks and stranding commuters for hours.

So he spent greater than $100 million winterizing the system and took steps to enhance the MBTA’s accountability. He introduced an $eight billion plan to improve the system, together with progressively changing the present fleet of subway vehicles, which was greater than 30 years previous, and growing capability by 40 %.

“He jumped proper in and grabbed the bull by the horns,” says Mayor Thomas Koch of Quincy, Mass., who says the town is seeing main financial funding because of enhancements to the Pink Line connecting it to downtown Boston.

Mayor Koch, who was one of many few Democratic mayors to again Baker in 2014, additionally credit him with offering thousands and thousands in funding for a brand new park in downtown Quincy honoring Founding Fathers John Adams and John Hancock – each of whom have ties to the world.

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Many have in contrast Baker to Mitt Romney and William Weld, two GOP governors who additionally labored nicely with the Democratic legislature. That cooperation is to a sure extent a mirrored image of Massachusetts political tradition.

“The Massachusetts model of Republican is all about promoting stability to people … that Republicans and Democrats can work collectively, that they should work collectively,” says GOP state chair Kirsten Hughes.

However state lawmakers as we speak say there’s one thing particular about Baker. He’s relaxed amongst Democrats in a method Romney wasn’t, and is remarkably accessible.

“He’s most likely labored with the legislature higher than any governor,” says Ronald Mariano, the bulk chief within the Home of Representatives who started as a lawmaker in 1991 – the identical 12 months that Governor Weld took workplace.  

For example, Consultant Mariano mentions a compromise he reached with the governor on offshore wind energy. Baker, he says, was involved it will be too costly however listened to Mariano and different proponents. “Most likely one of many essential causes he’s profitable is he’s a keen listener, he’ll search enter on the problems and respects the method. You don’t all the time see that in governors.”

For Professor Ubertaccio, what’s most extraordinary about Baker is his means to defy the centrifugal forces pulling politicians throughout America into warring camps.

“We stay in such an period of utmost polarization that one would have anticipated that, in some unspecified time in the future, that might have caught up with Baker … and it hasn’t,” says the professor. “There’s a level to which individuals are simply craving for presidency to work, and Charlie Baker appears to be the sort of individual they’re on the lookout for.”

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