From Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein:
Following today’s gubernatorial debate on WRKO, gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein noted that “In this debate, Tim Cahill, Charlie Baker, and Deval Patrick cozied up with the disgraced former House Speaker Tom Finneran to give the voters of the Commonwealth a very narrow vision of the state’s future. The failing policies of the Beacon Hill machines were endorsed as great ideas and real solutions were kept off the table. We’re going to work hard to break up this tedious deception and let the voters hear a real alternative to business as usual in Massachusetts.”
The debate was hosted by Finneran and included only three of the four gubernatorial candidates. The Green-Rainbow Party candidate, Stein, was excluded from the debate, whose producers declined to return numerous phone calls from the campaign requesting that Stein be allowed to participate.
After noting that the three candidates invited by Finneran found themselves agreeing on issue after issue, Stein offered the following critique of the debate:
“The debate we heard this morning would have been much less tedious with the inclusion of the one candidate in the governor’s race who doesn’t have longstanding ties to Beacon Hill and who isn’t taking money from the deep-pocketed special interests that drive so much of the agenda there. As a result of my exclusion, WRKO listeners were left with the impression that there are very limited options for dealing with the major crises we face in terms of employment, funding services, and providing health care and education to our citizens. On issue after issue, I offer a starkly different position that needs to be heard. For example:
• All three agreed that the solution to health care costs is to cut services and narrow choices for consumers. Single-payer health care – the solution that is currently working in many developed countries around the world, and for which I have been a longstanding proponent – was not mentioned once.
• All three agreed that casinos and slot machines should be used to give Beacon Hill more money to work with. If I had been allowed to participate, I would have pointed out that casinos cost the state more than will be returned in taxes, to say nothing of increased social costs and the relative low quality of the employment provided.
• All three agreed that a needed response to the state budget crunch is to fire more state government workers. Deval Patrick boasted that he has already cut 2600 jobs Charlie Baker said he would cut $1 billion more. If I had gotten a chance to speak, I would have pointed out that the goal of the next governor should be eliminating waste – such as high insurance overhead and unnecessary corporate entitlement programs – not layoffs among workers providing essential services.
• All three agreed that the Massachusetts health care system that imposes penalties on people who do not have insurance is a great idea. If I had been present, I would have pointed out that the health care mandates are imposing economic burdens upon working people and are not providing adequate health insurance.
• All three agreed that MCAS should be used to drive education reform. If I had been present, I would have noted that over-emphasis on MCAS has harmed education in Massachusetts, and that we need to rethink our approach to high-stakes testing.
Exclusionary and manipulated debates such as this are an insult to the spirit of democracy here in the Commonwealth. WRKO gave the voters a sham debate in which three candidates from a narrow segment of the pro-establishment end of the political spectrum discussed non-solutions and carefully avoided grappling with real issues. Voters should demand that the public airways be used to host debates that include all candidates and which force the candidates to answer for their failed policies and their neglect of needed solutions. We didn’t get that today.”