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Candidates Showing Differences As Governor's Race Heats Up

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
Martha Coakley after Monday's debate, which kicked off what will become a heated six weeks leading up to the November general election.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The gubernatorial candidates are viewing Monday's debate as the true beginning of the campaign for the corner office on Beacon Hill.
Most of the five candidates have been on the trail for more than a year either to win primaries or get a head start in an independent campaign. But, in Monday's debate the jockeying for position and try to separate themselves from the pack really took off.
"This was our first televised debate. I think there are differences here in earned sick time, early education, investing in people, good mental health care, the kind of things most people in Massachusetts, when they really focus on this race, will see that I will be a good governor, a great governor," said Democratic candidate Martha Coakley after the debate at Springfield's CityStage. 
"I think that as we focus on our ground game, we'll get the vote out. This race has really just started. We're going to continue to push every day."
The attorney general is in a tie with Republican Charlie Baker in the polls. On Monday, two separate polls showed Baker and Coakley with more than 40 percent of the vote each and the three independents in single digits. So it is no surprise that they were focusing on each other's debate responses.
"I think we disagree on taxes generally. I think most voters in Massachusetts would like to see state government tighten its belt a bit because that's what they felt they've been doing for the better part of the last six or seven years," Baker said following the debate. "I said I am not going to raise taxes. The attorney general has left that wide open."
Coakley said Baker believes in tax cuts in hopes that the benefits "trickle down," which she said doesn't work. Baker used the gas tax as an example, saying Coakley supports linking the tax with inflation while he feels it any increase should be voted on.
"I think there are a lot of differences between Charlie Baker and me. Not just tonight but in the course of this race. I believe in early education and paying for it," Coakley said. "I believe in earned sick time. I believe women should have access to health care without question. I believe I will be willing to invest in our kids, our workforce development, our people in Massachusetts."
While the two leaders say there are dramatic differences between them, many of the hot topics during Monday's debate drew similar responses. Both said they support the MGM Resorts casino project in Springfield. Both said they want to continue investing in both early education and higher education — though their level of commitment differed. Both supported moving forward with medical marijuana as planned. And both talked about working with cities and towns to create an economic development policy.
Charlie Baker, left, is polling at just more than 40 percent. He and Coakley are in a dead heat for the corner office.
"I think the most important thing I bring to the table is a comprehensive vision to grow jobs and build great communities across the commonwealth. We've put that on our website. We've put specific details on that since we got into this race," Baker, a former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care executive, said.
While the two parties battle out their differences, the independents find themselves far behind. Evan Falchuk, Scott Lively and Jeff McCormick trail significantly in polling.
"It is not easy," said Falchuk when asked about closing the gap in poll numbers. "If it were easy, every one would do it."
But he isn't giving up. The entrepreneur says both of the parties are just giving "vague platitudes" in the race and his plan is to present specific viewpoints. He hopes to attract those who haven't picked a side yet.
"It is still early in this race. There is a lot of voters who aren't sure what they'll do," Falchuk said.
While Falchuk seems to be positioning himself as one outside of the current system, McCormick says he just as good, if not better, than the two party candidates.
"Charlie is not a typical Republican candidate. He has experience that Martha doesn't have. And Martha has experience on the legal side. I think we need real business experience to grow the commonwealth," the Boston venture capitalist said.
For him, the debate is all about exposure as he makes the point that he has just as legitimate a shot for the corner office as the front-runners. 
Lively proved to be the least like any of the others. The evangelical Springfield pastor made waves with anti-gay remarks and a dismissal of climate change as a "scam." He's a well-known international anti-LGBT activist and a civil case accuses him of heavily influencing Uganda's harsh laws against homosexuals.
"The voters now know there is only one pro-life, pro-family candidate, who holds genuinely conservative viewpoints on the issues. I'm happy to be that candidate," Lively said.
One of his remarks triggered a sharp response from Baker, who felt Lively's statement that sexual perversion was corroding the state was a personal insult. During the debate Baker told Lively that was offended by the remark.
"I brought it up because it was pretty clear he was talking about my family. If you are going to talk about my family, you are going to hear from me. That is the way I am built and the way I work," Baker said after the debate.
Lively had another view saying, "that was a cheap shot by Charlie. I was not attacking his family. I am talking about the whole spectrum of sexual behavior outside of marriage."
When asked about offending others in the first state in the country to legalize gay marriage with such comments, Lively said, "these are people who are very easily offended. They have a completely opposite world view. I am sorry that they feel that way but I am not going to start legitimizing sexual perversion just because they are unhappy about it."
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Gubernatorial Candidates Spar In Springfield Debate

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
The candidates took to Springfield's City Stage on Monday in the first debate before the election.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The five candidates for governor sparred in the first debate leading into the November general election.
In the only debate scheduled in Western Massachusetts, the five candidates fielded questions from Jim Madigan, the public affairs director from WGBY-TV.
The candidates are Republican Charlie Baker, Democrat Martha Coakley, and independents Evan Falchuk, Scott Lively and Jeff McCormick.
With a casino proposed for the city, Madigan kicked off the debate by questioning the candidates' opinions on the ballot question to repeal the law that  allows them. 
Baker said he's been a "one casino person," with that one being in Springfield. He plans to vote against the repeal but, if it passed, he said he would still continue to discuss the Springfield site through the legislative process. MGM Resort's Springfield casino proposal will tie into streetscape and generate more entertainment at the civic center, he said.
"I happen to think that this proposal is more innovative and more creative than some of the other ones. From my point of view, I've always been a one-casino person so if the question is passed, my goal would be to simply engage the site here in Springfield and not the other two," Baker said.
Coakley says the MGM proposal for Springfield will be a kickstarter to the economy and she, too, will vote against the repeal. But, the ills of a casino need to be mitigated, she said.
"We know there are ills and problems associated with casinos. But, I do think that since Springfield voted for it we can use it to maximize the development of the economy for everybody," Coakley said.
Falchuk is also voting against the repeal because "we already voted on this." But he said Baker and Coakley saying they would still support the Springfield project if the voters opt to repeal it is an an example of what is wrong with the current government.
Lively said he'll be voting to repeal the casino law. Lively opposes the gambling industry as a whole, calling it "immoral." He says the state shouldn't be turning toward an industry that "exploits" people.
"It is the last thing we want to see happen in Western Massachusetts," Lively said. "I am a pastor and I'm approaching this from a biblical perspective. I think the problem with economy in the state is a problem of sin. It is a problem of abandoning the standards of God and embracing humanistic alternatives."
McCormick, too, said he doesn't believe casinos are the key to the economic future. There are better ways to increase revenues, he said, ways that do not come with increases in crime while hurting the local entertainment and restaurant economies.
"There is so much potential that we have not tapped into," McCormick said. "We need to do that and I have a bold economic plan to do that. It can be done."
In a broader economic view, Coakley emphasized the investment in regional economies. She referenced growing up in North Adams in saying that she understands the impacts of regional economies and what happens when "the economy goes south." She said the state needs to invest in projects on the local level — such as building a theater in Holyoke. Additionally, she said "finishing that last mile of broadband is essential."
Falchuk agreed, saying, "there is no one size fits all." He called for doubling historic preservation tax credits, and improving the rail line from Springfield to Hartford, Conn.
Lively said the state's economy isn't as good as it was when he was a child growing up in Shelbourne Falls. He says that is because the state has embraces a "Marxist" perspective. He said he would decrease the size of government, which has become too controlling.
"I would go back to localism. I would streamline the government and attempt to give money back to citizens that is now being taken in excessive taxation," he said. 
McCormick said he would try to create business clusters. He said he would create an innovation and investment fund to attract small businesses to set up shop and give them resources to grow. The technology fields will be creating hundreds of future jobs, he said.
"The growth is going to come from small businesses," he said.
Baker said he would sit down with every mayor and figure out economic plans for each cities and town, making a list of three or four things to do to do it. In Springfield, the economy is based on north/south transportation and there is a lot of aerospace manufacturing.
"One of the things the folks in Springfield and other places need is to know what the plan is," he said.
Next the candidates tackled higher education. Falchuk called for a much higher level of funding to make it affordable for people to go to college. He said there needs to be much more of a priority on it.
"We have a state that gives really big tax breaks to companies rather than funding higher education," Falchuk said. "I think the priorities we have in Massachusetts are completely backwards."
Lively said he wouldn't increase funding for it because "there is enough of a tax burden." The state is wealthy but has billions of dollars in debt. 
"Every one around this table is coming from a liberal, big government perspective ... It is all about more and more and more money being taken from the taxpayers," he said. "I would go the opposite direction. I would work to give more money back to the taxpayers."
McCormick said education in the state starts in technical and vocational schools and then state universities and community colleges. The graduates of those program will stay in the state and create the economy of the future, he said. The funding needs to keep up but he also said "education can be cheaper." 
Baker agreed with McCormick that  there should be more online education. He says education is what separates Massachusetts from other states and the state should continue to invest in education. He wants more co-op programs and to expand the University of Massachusetts' footprint in Western Massachusetts.
Democratic candidate Martha Coakley is tied with Republican Charlie Baker as front runners in the election for governor.
"We should be serious about creating three-year degree programs. If somebody wants to get their degree done in three years, why should they pay for four?" he said.
Coakley said education needs to be approached from early education all the way to a career. That starts with improving literacy in the early ages to science, math and engineering in older grades and then the colleges need to be aligned with businesses.
"We should be providing pathways for kids starting in the seventh grade," she said. "We should be making our community colleges affordable ... Our colleges should be aligned with our businesses."
When asked about universal preschooling, Lively doesn't support it. He said would put a voucher system to increase other types of education including religious, home and charter schools in hopes to have more parental involvement.
"We shouldn't be taking our children away from their parents and giving them to the government at earlier ages. We should be helping parents have more time," he said.
McCormick cited a lack of proficiency in reading at the third-grade level and that can be improved with more early education.
"They have to learn to read before they can read to learn. I am strongly in favor of early education," he said. "We need to put children on the right track. They will get further and further behind if we don't."
Baker said he supported "targeted investments in early childhood education." The concern, he said, is that whether children will benefit from the programs. He said oftentimes the students lose all of their benefits from preschool if the kindergarten through Grade 8 level isn't up to par.
Coakley countered Baker's claim that preschool doesn't always give children a leg up. She said the state needs to invest in all levels of education.
"We should be good partners in all of our communities to level the playing field," she said.
Falchuk reiterated his point on priorities. While there are 40,000 students on waitlists for preschool across the state, the legislature approved $1.2 billion to expand a convention center in Boston.
"Our legislators are saying nice things but aren't showing up with money when it counts. Maybe that's the problem."
McCormick led of the next question about the state of the roads and bridges by saying government needs to "get creative" in generating revenue. He says the state needs to partner with private businesses. The roads and bridges need to be "up to snuff" for businesses to transport good and residents to get to work.
"Beacon Hill has to change. It has to become friendly for business. It is Beacon Hill's job to help businesses, especially small businesses, grow," he said.  
Baker agreed with increasing public and private partnerships. But he said part of his local economic plans developed with the mayors of the cities, the roads and bridges will be included. 
"We have to find a way to do things better and cheaper and in some cases faster," he said.
Coakley said the roads and bridges fits into her regional economic plan and said some $400 million could be allocated for infrastructure improvements.
"For the last year, I've been meeting with mayors in Massachusetts — with Mayor Sarno, with Mayor Alcombright, with Mayor Mitchell, you name it," she said. "We've all been talking about what those regional projects in infrastructure need to be. We can hit the ground running."
Falchuk said "we have systematically" underfunded the infrastructure. And to fix up the roads and repairs, it is going to cost money.
"I think we should put tolls on the border crossings for the people who are coming in from New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont. There are estimates of more than $1 billion can come in to make sure our infrastructure is up to snuff," he said. "Historically, all of our governors have been looking at running for president and look at New Hampshire and say 'I don't want to tax those guys.' I do."
Lively said his history as a contractor has shown him that "you have to invest in your infrastructure." And he will support funding for those projects. However, he says he doesn't like the system of contracting. He says "we always get stuck with extra costs." He said he'd make contractors pay the cost of overruns in project budgets.
More importantly, Lively said the state's "moral infrastructure" is what is lost. He said "killing unborn babies and promoting sexual perversion in school" is "corroding us" even worse. That triggered a back and forth between Baker.
"That was a veiled reference to gay people. As the brother of a gay man who lives and is married in Massachusetts, I want you to know that I found that offensive," Baker told him, in which Lively reiterated his "belief in the Bible."
Lively later said Baker was "taking a cheap shot" on him.
Moving on, the candidates were asked if they would support medical marijuana being distributed in pharmacies.
"You ought to be talking about a separate process for the time being," Baker said, adding that the state should monitor the facilities that will be opened and if all goes well, revisit the idea in a few years.
Coakley said since pharmacies are regulated federally and marijuana is against federal law, distributing medical marijuana there creates legal turmoil. Now the focus should be making sure the people who need it are getting it, she said.
Republican Candidate Charlie Baker hopes to take the corner office on Beacon Hill.
Falchuk expanded on the question and said now is the time to look over all of the state's drug laws. It isn't about "being tough on crime," he said, and called for a complete overhaul of drug policies.
"Our jails are filed with people on low-level drug offenses," he said. "It is the 21st century and it is time to have sensible policies."
Revealing more about his history, Lively said "I inhaled. I inhaled a lot." And marijuana was a gateway drug for him to become an alcoholic. 
He said he opposes all forms of marijuana now.
McCormick balanced both viewpoints saying he sees how it is a gateway drug but he also sees the benefits. Politics have been getting in the way, he said, and the government needs to play a "huge role moving forward."
As for energy, Coakley said she wants to move toward renewable but recognizes there needs to be a bridge. She opposes the Kinder Morgan natural gas projects and calls for the governors of the other Northeastern states to come together and determine the best course of action.
"I do not believe the Kinder Morgan program, the way it has been addressed, is the right solution," she said.
Falchuk called Kinder Morgan's proposal a "wake up call" for everyone in Massachusetts to answer the question of energy needs. 
Meanwhile, Lively rejected the notion of climate change, calling it "nonsense" and "a scam." He said natural gas is a good resource.
McCormick agreed that there needs to be a bridge source but said the state has to be smart about it. There are massive volumes of energy needed and the state needs to find projects that will last a long time.
"I am a huge fan of solar and wind. But it can't take the place of everything overnight. The volumes are huge," he said.
Baker said a 37 percent increase in energy costs is something the state should have been trying to correct years ago. He said everybody knew three coal plants were being shut down and nobody had put in a place a plan to address the shortfall.
"We're still debating whether or not you can pursue something in the already existing right of ways," he said. 
Addressing global warming, Baker said he believes it is real and it should be a concern — maybe with the use of Canadian hydro-electricity. Democrats have been taking shots at Baker's 2010 statement in which he said he wasn't sure about climate change.
The debate at Springfield's City Stage was put on by The Springfield Public Forum, The Republican newspaper, Western New England University, WGBY-TV, MassLive.com, CBS 3 Springfield, New England Public Radio, WWLP 22 News, WGGB ABC 40/FOX 6, The Berkshire Eagle and the Valley Press Club.
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Democratic Leaders Rally Support For Coakley, Party Slate

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal was one of the speakers at Saturday's grand opening of the Democratic campaign's Berkshire office.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A cadre of elected officials rallied supporters for the statewide Democratic candidates Saturday morning in the new Berkshire campaign headquarters.
The Democratic Coordinated Campaign held a grand opening of a Berkshire office on South Street in Pittsfield with an array of elected officials on hand.
"Over the last four years, led by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick and supported by the Democratic congressional delegations and Democratic elected officials up and down the ticket, we have put Massachusetts back in the leadership business again," said state Sen. Benjamin Downing, who is the chairman of the coordinated campaign. 
"Democrats have a record to run on. For their 16 years of governor, Republicans have a record to run from."
The group threw their support behind Martha Coakley and Steve Kerrigan for the executive offices and a Democratic ticket including Deborah Goldberg for treasurer; Maura Healey for attorney general; William Galvin for the secretary of the commonwealth; Suzanne Bump for auditor; and on the federal level, Edward Markey for U.S. Senate. There are also a series of unopposed races.
Part of the coordinated campaign is emphasizing the difference between the Republican leadership of the past and the Democratic leadership of Patrick, Downing said.
The governor said having Coakley as his successor is a vote for the future of the commonwealth. While many may talk about Patrick's "legacy" as he leaves office, the governor said he doesn't see it that way. 
"This election, frankly just like the previous election and the election before that, is not about me. It is about whether we are in fact going to have the kind of leadership that is about the next generation and not the next election cycle," the governor said.
Patrick called the Democrats the "party of opportunity."
The officials at Saturday's event also included U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, state Reps. Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Paul Mark, District Attorney David Capeless, Sheriff Thomas Bowler and North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright.
"I'm going to do as much as the campaign asks me to. We were out last Thursday at three or four events with Steve Kerrigan. I've been out a couple times with Martha Coakley. I'll be out with her at two events [Sunday] — one is in Worcester and one in Dorchester," Patrick said. "I'll do as much as I can. I think it is a really important election."
Neal said he already threw a fundraising event to help replenish campaign funds expended during the primary. He said Coakley's campaign is about continuing what Patrick started. 
"We've got to move on to keeping his legacy alive by electing Martha Coakley as the governor of Massachusetts," Neal said.
Coakley, currently the attorney general, is a Berkshires native and graduate of Drury High and Williams College.
Capeless said he, too, is holding a fundraiser for Coakley but encouraged other Democrats to get those outside of the party involved. He rallied volunteers to talk to independents and others in hopes to get their votes.
But raising funds is only one step in the process. Officials called on volunteers to knock on doors and make phone calls to talk to potential voters.
"We have work to do. It has to be done in the usual ways. It has to be done by talking to your friends, neighbors and co-workers. It has to be done by talking to folks who don't already agree with us," Patrick said.
Downing said Coakley didn't lose the election for U.S. Senate to Scott Brown in 2010 because Brown did anything special but because he was able to get the Republican voters to the polls while Democrats only got 60 percent.
"I have seen a commitment to make sure that doesn't happen again," Downing said.
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Democrats, Republicans Open Berkshire Campaign Offices

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
The Republicans opened an office in the former Pizza Hut in Coltsville.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Both the Republican and Democratic parties have opened campaign headquarters in the city for the November general election.
On Friday,local Republicans held an open house at their new headquarters in the former Pizza Hut on Dalton Avenue and on Saturday, Democrats held a grand opening of their South Street office. Both offices will be the Berkshire headquarters for the statewide election.
"There will be anywhere from two to five [here] people at night. We'll be open every day from 9 until 5 on weekdays and on weekends by appointment," said Berkshire County Republican Association Chairman Jim Bronson.
Democratic Western Massachusetts Field Director Jon D'Angelo said their office will be open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. The 2 South St. location will be the home of their efforts for canvassing and making phone calls.
"With 37 days left, we've got work to do," D'Angelo said on Saturday during the grand opening that featured Gov. Deval Patrick and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal. "This is going to serve as our hub."
The Democrats have Martha Coakley at the top of the ticket for governor and Steve Kerrigan as her running mate. Deborah Goldberg is the Democratic nominee for treasurer and Maura Healey for attorney general. William Galvin is seeking re-election for secretary of the commonwealth and Suzanne Bump is running for re-election as auditor. On the federal level, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey is up for re-election.
The Republicans have Charlie Baker at the top of their ticket forgovernor with Karyn Polito for lieutenant governor. John Miller is running for attorney general; Mike Heffernan for treasurer; Patricia Saint Aubin for auditor; and David D'Arcangelo for secretary of the commonwealth. Brian Herr is challenging Markey on the federal level for U.S. Senate.
"What a tremendous team we have here," Republican State Committee member Michael Case said at Friday's open house. "This is a great team and it is a team. They are all politicking together."
The Republicans believe that without an incumbent running for the governor's office, they can win the election. Case and Bronson both gave speeches to help rally the 60 or so Republicans who attended the open house. The Republican office was opened by the Berkshire County Republicans Association with help from the state party.
"This is one of the few times in recent history where we have an excellent chance to take over the corner office on Beacon Hill," Bronson said. "Our best shot right now is with Charlie and Karyn."
Case said the independent voters are the key to the election. 
"We're from Massachusetts. Two-thirds of my friends are Democrats and I am amazed at how many of them are telling me they don't like [Coakley] and are voting for Charlie," Case said. "If we can get them, we can get our targets, which are the independents."
On the Democratic side, nearly 100 people filled the South Street space, including an array of elected officers. 
"We have work to do. It has to be done in the usual ways. It has to be done by talking to you friends, neighbors and co-workers. It has to be done by talking to folks who don't already agree with us," the governor said. "These candidates are not running to be officeholders for Democrats. They are running to be officeholders for everybody and that means getting out and listening to everybody."
Democratic Western Massachusetts Field Organizer Jon D'Angelo welcomed Gov. Deval Patrick to the Pittsfield office.
Neal called for Democrats to stay competitive in the race even with the Citizens United decision, which has changed the way campaigns are financed. He called for volunteers to focus on the upcoming race.
"Citizens United was a disaster for American politics but that is the rule. We have to figure out how to address this to make sure our candidates are competitive," Neal said.
Neal said it is important to elect Coakley because it will continue the legacy Patrick started. Patrick, however, says it isn't about him.
"This election, frankly just like the previous election and the election before that, is not about me. It is about whether we are in fact going to have the kind of leadership that is about the next generation and not the next election cycle," he said.
With both party offices now open, both campaigns are calling on volunteers to help with canvassing and phone calls. 
"We know when we get our vote out to the polls, we will elections," said Chairman of the Democratic Coordinated Campaign state Sen. Benjamin Downing. "It is about organization and it is about communication."
Bronson emphasizesd that the campaign in the Berkshires will be "somebody who lives in the Berkshires calling people who live in the Berkshires." 
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Treasurer Candidate Heffernan Calls For More Efficient Money Management

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
Mike Case and Mike Heffernan pose for a photo in the local Republican campaign headquarters in Pittsfield.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With Massachusetts being a "wealthy state" Mike Heffernan says there is no reason homelessness should be increasing.
Heffernan has spent 30 years in the financial industry and when he looks over the state's financials, he believes they could be a lot better. The state may be growing its tax revenue but that isn't translating into job creation, he said.
As the Republican candidate for the treasurer's seat, he hopes to change that. By managing the state's finances better, Heffernan says more money could go toward local aid to help towns reduce the cost of living and property taxes. He looks at the number of homeless families as a "litmus test" showing that the money isn't working the way it should be.
"I started looking at the state numbers and I realized we are on an unsustainable path of higher taxes, higher fees," Heffernan said. "I had to get involved. I'm pretty moderate in most things; I just believe government can be more efficient and shouldn't be crowding out the private sector."
The state has placed an emphasis on education and is leading the country in success. Heffernan says the government needs to bring the private sector into the fold to help on the job creation end. He's calling for state regulations on businesses to be cut by a third. 
"We're 45th in job creation and we're 1st in education," he said.
He says the office is the second most important in the state and he wants to use it to help bring issues Democrats haven't been talking about to the forefront. Having another viewpoint can help drive focus on issues that otherwise wouldn't be talked about, he said.
"It is hard and soft power. The treasurer is a constitutional officer and the hard power is being able to appoint people to the boards that oversee the [Alcohol Beverages Control Commission], the Lottery and the pension system. And making the ultimate decision of if we should issue debt or not. The soft power is going early on, the day after I am elected, I'd go to the leaders and say how can we solve the common goals," Heffernan said.
For example, the state's pension system is first on his mind. The system vastly underfunded, he said, and has been constantly ranked as one of the worst in the country. Some of those revenues need to be put toward offsetting those obligations, he said.
"We are a very wealthy state. Tax receipts are up more than $6 billion over the past five years and that money should be going to our obligations. Our pension obligations are like a very expensive credit card. It is 8 percent debt. What they've done is not funded the pension system as much as they could for less effective programs," Heffernan said. 
The Southborough businessman spent most of his career with Citigroup, rising to oversee the company's seven U.S. regional distribution offices. In 2010, he moved on to founding Mobiquity Inc., an information technology company. 
While at Citigroup, Heffernan couldn't be politically active because of the ethical issues that could arise. Now that he is on his own, he wants to give back since his career work has been similar to that of a treasurer.
"Massachusetts is a very expensive place to live but it doesn't have to be," Heffernan said.
He said he'll put more of the state's funds into the community banking partnership program, which loans the state's reserves to community banks to provide a portfolio for loans to smaller businesses. And he'll lower the barriers for banks to participate.
"There are 60 communities that have much higher unemployment and 12 communities that dabble in double digits. We can target those markets," Heffernan said.
The treasurer sits on the Massachusetts School Building Authority board and he sees that as a way to advocate for more money for schools. His career has been focused on getting financing for businesses; the MSBA, he says, is financing towns and districts.
When it comes to local aid, Heffernan said the largest source comes from the Lottery system. "Every dollar we can get out of the overhead is a dollar we can give back to towns," he said.
Heffernan launched his campaign in January but did not have a primary race. Now he's ramping up to reach as many voters as possible. He will be on the ballot against Democrat Deborah Goldberg and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Ian Jackson.
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Where to vote in Berkshire County

State Election
Tuesday, Nov. 4

Voting is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation was Oct.15.

Candidates on the ballot in races for state office; all others on the ballot are unopposed. Links will take you to their campaign websites.

U.S. Senator
Edward J. Markey, Democrat
Brian J. Herr, Republican

Governor/Lieutenant Governor
Charlie Baker & Karyn Polito, Republican
Martha Coakley & Stephen Kerrigan, Democrat
Evan Falchuk & Angus Jennings, United Independent Party
Scott Lively & Shelly Saunders, Independent
Jeff McCormick & Tracy Post, Independent 

Attorney General
Maura Healey, Democratic
John B. Miller, Republican

Secretary of State
William Francis Galvin, Democratic
David D'Arcangelo, Republican
Daniel L. Factor, Green-Rainbow

Deborah B. Goldberg, Democratic
Michael James Heffernan, Republican
Ian T. Jackson, Green-Rainbow

Suzanne M. Bump, Democratic
Patricia S. Saint Aubin, Republican
MK Merelice, Green-Rainbow

Municipal Elections

The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015

You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.

2010 Special Senate Election Results

Election 2009 Stories

Election Day 2008




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Special Election Mark Primary Campaign Republican Party Debates Debate Election 2014 Mayor Selectmen Election 2013 Szczepaniak Preliminary Letters To The Editor Bissaillon City Council Bowler U.s. Senate Bosley Lieutenant Governor Boucher Democratic Party Cariddi North Adams Pittsfield Democrat Williamstown Macdonald 1st Mass Independent Governor Candidates Berkshire Brigades Town Election Town Elections
Popular Entries:
Bosley Looks to Wind Up Legislative Career
There's a New Sheriff in Town
Three Make Case for 2nd District Seat
Cariddi Clear Winner in 1st District
Longtime City Councilor Cariddi Kicks Off State Rep Campaign
Candidates Forum Scheduled for Aug 17
Bissaillon Campaign Hosts Pancake Breakfast
Baker Wins Governor's Race
Suzanne Bump Seeking Re-election as Auditor
Election Day 2010
Recent Entries:
Independent Falchuk Hits Threshold To Start New Party
Baker Wins Governor's Race
AG Candidate Healey Hears Concerns on Hospital
Candidate Kerrigan Stops in Pittsfield For Get Out The Vote Push
Suzanne Bump Seeking Re-election as Auditor
U.S. Senate Candidate Brian Herr Fighting for Name Recognition
Area Democrats Making Final Push For November Election
Coakley Stresses Commitment to Berkshires
Candidates Showing Differences As Governor's Race Heats Up
Gubernatorial Candidates Spar In Springfield Debate