Newton Candidate Blurring Party Lines In Governor Race
Independent candidate Evan Falchuk meeting with voters earlier this year.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In 2012, Newton native Evan Falchuk grew tired of the bickering in politics. And instead of siding with the Democrats or the Republicans, he decided to side with the 53 percent of Massachusetts voters who are unenrolled.
Falchuk is a founding member of United Independent, a designation he hopes to turn into a recognized political party, and is running for governor. His platform is relatively simple — to take a practical, pragmatic approach at solving the state's problems.
"People want to be involved in the decision-making process," the 43-year-old said in an interview on Tuesday. "We're finding our appeal is across the political spectrum."
He uses the state's recent transportation bill as an example of how politics have not fixed a problem. Falchuk says the state's transportation infrastructure is absolutely a problem but prior to the governor pitching his plan earlier this year, residents had ranked it very low in their priorities. In just a short period of time, the governor and Legislature battled over a transportation bill, and passed one that is not enough to fix all the problems. Meanwhile, residents were, for the most part, left out of the process.
"I believe the state is not transparent enough with how we spend taxpayer money," he said. "We need to have to confidence and faith in our government ... voters feel they can only do so much."
So Falchuk's No. 1 priority is to implement fundamental change in how government works. Not just communicating with voters better — though that is an issue, he says — but leading the way so that from the governor's office down, decisions are made in a much more democratic way.
"We've got a political system that is broken," he said. "My No. 1 priority is to rebuild faith in our government."
By getting more people involved and blurring party lines, Falchuk believes he can begin solving some of the state's problems. Particularly he would like the change the tax system to become more progressive, lower the cost of living and doing business, address the economic inequalities among residents and identify barriers that slow small businesses. He calls for going through the budget line by line and analyzing if each department is spending the money correctly.
But Falchuk says to revamp the system, there needs to be a strong, innovative and smart leader at the helm. He believes he's the one for the job.
"I'll put my resume up against anybody else running for governor," he said, but added that isn't why he should "be hired" — it's the extra effort he's willing to put in that elevates him against the rest.
Falchuk was a Washington, D.C., attorney working on Securities and Exchange Commission cases before becoming an executive of Best Doctors Inc., a research company that ensures patients get the right diagnoses. Since he joined in 1999, the Best Doctors has grown from six employees to some 600 people.
But after becoming frustrated with politics, he's resigning his position to concentrate on his political campaign.
"You can either complain about it or you can get a shovel and dig. Nothing happens until people do something," Falchuk said.
Other candidates who have announced for the gubernatorial race in 2014 are Dan Wolf, Joseph Avellone and Don Berwick. Treasurer Steve Grossman is also expected to join the race.