Independent Candidate For Governor Campaigns In North Adams
Evan Falchuk shaking hands with voters as he marched in the Fall Foliage Parade in North Adams on Sunday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Evan Falchuk has been keeping his boots on the ground in his campaign for governor.
On Sunday, that took him to the Fall Foliage Parade to meet Berkshire County voters.
Falchuk is heading an independent campaign as he looks to change state politics
by ending partisan fights. The party he formed, United Independent, aims to build more consensus on issues instead of political bickering.
"The level of interest out there for an independent movement and independent party that I've created is really, really strong," Falchuk said. "People are really eager to see there be an organized way to bring practical, rational, reasonable dialogue to the political process."
Falchuk marched in the parade, weaving his way from side to side shaking hands and meeting voters. He isn't spending his time worrying about primaries or gaining the support of party officials, but he is running a statewide campaign.
"I'm working seven days a week. Every weekend I am out in the cities and towns across the state," he said. "They go to activist meetings, the town party committees... As an independent I am running a statewide campaign with my team, all across the state and meeting people who are not political activists."
What he has been hearing is that the government is not doing what the people want.
"You hear it over and over again. You hear 'I'm dissatisfied with the process,'" he said. "People have, unfortunately, lost a lot of confidence and faith in state government and the reason is that the priorities that the elected leaders are pursuing is not matching up with what they feel are priorities."
In North Adams, the adage of politics being run out of Boston without a care for Berkshire County was what Falchuk heard. But, he said that is what he hears everywhere.
"I met a lot of voters who were surprised that a person from the eastern part of the state would come to North Adams," he said but added that happens everywhere and, "you hear that enough times and you start to think maybe no one is listening to begin with. It's not you. It's them."
Falchuk believes too often politicians vote for or against something based on if it helps their party at a particular time and not by what is good for the state as a whole. He wants to lead a change in politics by addressing issues at the core level with open and honest discussion.
For example, Falchuk says the state officials need to get together and look through the state budget line by line and reallocate any misused funds in a way that everyone can agree will address problems.
He wants to see more investment in small to medium-sized businesses by creating programs to help entrepreneurs take the next step, change policies that encourage large factory-type businesses and instead put the priorities into the small and medium sized ones.
He wants to lower the corporate tax rate, energy and health care costs to spur additional economic growth. He wants more job training so that the citizens can get those higher paying jobs and he hopes to break what he sees as nearly a monopoly in the health care system to lower costs there.
"With the rates where they are, we put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage," Falchuk said of the corporate rates. "But it is not about just cut taxes, it is about saying what is the right mix of things we can do to spur job growth... we need to pay for the government we say we want."
Falchuk outside of the iBerkshires office after an interview.
With all of those goals, Falchuk isn't setting forth particular policies. He wants those policies to come from consensus building.
"As country, we get stuck. Somebody proposes something and it immediately gets politicized. 'Oh, you want that, well I don't know care if it is a good idea or not, the fact that you want it, I am against it.' That's how you get stuck," Falchuk said.
The state's Tax Fairness Commission, which is taking a look at state tax policy, is an example of what Falchuk wants to see on all issues. That commission is looking at the entire tax code and will present findings to overhaul the entire system.
He knows that isn't easy to make such fundamental changes in politics, but it starts from the top down, he said. His election would symbolize a new era, he said, because by getting 3 percent of the vote, United Independent will be recognized as an official party and those who feel the way he does has an opportunity to run in elections across the state.
"This is something much bigger than one candidate in one election," he said. "I think people will look back on 2013, 2014 in American history and see it as something of a turning point in our politics."
He is running against two political parties with long histories of connections to voters and to donors. Falchuk has hired a finance director for fundraising and is focused on meeting voters outside of those networks in hopes to get the 53 percent of independent voters in the state on his side instead of being swing voters.
"We're going to have enough money to compete in the general election," Falchuk said of the fundraising efforts.
He later said, "if this were easy, I'm sure there would be a lot of people doing it. I'm up against the party machines who have a long history of saying this is how things are to be done. What we have is that most voters want to see our politics move in this direction."
He pointed to the federal government shutdown not as a matter of which party is responsible but rather a lack of leadership.
"I really don't understand the level of leadership being shown. It is not responsible," Falchuk said. "It is their job to make this stuff work. They have one job, to fund the government and they can't do it."
Falchuk has two more visits to Berkshire County scheduled in the coming month. Meanwhile, six candidates have entered the field for Democrats while one Republic is in the race.