Bob Oakes: The issue of rolling back the state income tax rate has dominated parts of this campaign, rolling it back from its present 5.3% to 5% even. Your plan on this would gradually roll the tax back if tax revenues rise and rise by more than the rate of inflation, and only then would part of that money go toward cutting taxes. Isn't that a way of seeming to offer a tax cut without ever having to deliver?
Gabrieli: No. Look, tax is an inportant issue in Massachusetts. People feel the great cost of living in this state and they want to know whether the state government wants to do anything about it. They voted for it and they want to see if there's a candidate who will step up and deal with it. And there are some different choices. There are a couple of people in this race, in my mind it is the Healey/Reilly plan to say, 'we can do it tomorrow,' but I don't actually understand how that's possible. I can't find the numbers in their plans and I think that's more of an election year promise. Mr. Patrick has had some different positions. He's said at times that we should stay where we are, that taxes are fine, and other times he's raised the issue of, 'maybe some day.' We'll see. I think it's important to put forward a specific plan. I've run through it. I'm going to devote 40% of all revenue increases, above where we've been, to tax reduction. It's not the only priority, it's a high priority. If we just add the average growth of the last 25 years, it'll be done in my first term to be at 5 .0. It's a financially responsible and balanced approach to cutting taxes.
Oakes: Speak to the taxpayer who might be watching or listening tonight who says, 'I know state finances are tough, but so are mine. I was part of the majority when Massachusetts residents voted to approve the tax cut in the year 2000, I'm still waiting and I want it.'
Gabrieli: Absolutely, and what I'd say to them is you've heard the election year promise before. In fact Gov. Romney and Lt. Gov. Healey said that they were going to do it. That was four years ago- Lt. Gov. Healey's saying it again- she'll do it. Saying you'll do it, knowing the legislature is not with you and having having no particular numbers is not a plan to get it done, it's a promise. People would like a candidate for governor who would actually get it done. That's why I've laid out a plan that can be implemented, a plan that you can read on my website, a plan you can challenge, a plan whose numbers you can look at, I will be the Democratic candidate and the Democratic governor who will get taxes to 5.0.
Reilly: Everyone knows where I am with taxes- roll them back, and now is the time. Chris, I have to tell you, I'm very disappointed in you. In this morning's Boston Globe, there was a report on the personal finances of Marie St. Fleur. It was a was a confidential report, a personal, private information like someone's credit report. The access to that report was limited, very limited. The only person that had access to that report and a reason to give it to the Boston Globe is your campaign chair, the campaign chair of your campaign right now.
Former Gov. Shaheen: Mr. Reilly, I'm going to have to interrupt you. Mr. Patrick?
Patrick: Are we still on taxes? Look, we focus on the wrong tax. The tax to cut is the property tax and the only way to cut the property tax is to take the state surplus right now and return it to cities and towns in the form of greater local aid. And we cannot aford to do that, Bob, and at the same time roll the income tax back. Yes, we can get to 5% one day and frankly, the concept that Chris has laid out is right, but the principles and the measure are unrealistic, and I hope we get a chance to talk more about that.
Janet Wu: Mr. Reilly, you brought up the question about Marie St. Fleur. I'd like to take a slightly different angle on it. Your candidacy has revealed many inconsistencies and signs of indecisiveness. On the issues, you've switched your position in just the past year on the tax rollback, on gay marriage- you said you support it but yet you allowed a ballot question to ban it. But it's your management skills that have many voters scratching their heads at this hour. From the Big Dig to selecting a running mate, you've behaved erratically. Now we learn your campaign knew about the financial problems of your second choice for lt. gov., Marie St. Fleur- who you mentioned a little earlier- before you publically announced her as your running mate. How can you be trusted to run the state of Massachusetts if this is how you're running your campaign?
Reilly: Well, thank you Janet for the question, it gives me the opportunity to finish my question to Chris Gabrieli. The only person who had access to that informational- confidential information- was the chair of Chris's campaign who was the former lawyer for Marie. St. Fleur. You know, wer're at a time right now, and that access to that report was extremely limited. The only person to have that was his campaign chair. We're at a time right now where people's financial reports and financial privacy is being abused, abused, and it's hurting people throughout this country. What does it say, and I say this to you, Chris, very seriously, what does it say about the character of the person who is running for governor that they will use something like this for a political gain and a damage?
Wu: Well, the question of course is that many voters will see a lot of what you're talking about here as inside politics and they would like to know why if you had this information about Marie. St. Fleur, you did not take it into account or why your campaign didn't think it was useful for you to know about it before you made the decision to announce her as your running mate?
Reilly: First of all, Marie St. Fleur had told me about problems that she had with student loans and taxes. She believes that they were being- I asked her if they were being dealt with- she believed that they were being dealt with.
Wu: And you simply trusted her on that issue?
Reilly: I did trust her. I've known her, she went to work for me right out of Boston College Law School. Worked for me for almost 18 years. I did trust her and I have confidence in her, but I also believe that she believed it. She thought they were being dealt with and they weren't being dealt with. What's wrong here is that someone would take confidential privacy information and turn it around for political advantage. I'm very disappointed in you, Chris.
Patrick: What's wrong is that apparently you knew about this information and then you told the public you didn't, and that's the reason why the question about trust is a valid one. But frankly, Marie St. Fleur's private affairs are her private affairs and I hope we can move on and use this time to deal with the issues that I think are really pressing and on the minds of the people of Massachusetts.
Gabrieli: Tom, I'm disappointed in you. I feel like I've run a campaign- I've only talked in this campaign about what I've done in my career and what I can get done for Massachusetts because I think talk is cheap, results matter. And that's what I've done all throughout my life. I'm well known to the voters of Massachusetts. I've been the nominee of our party four years ago. I think my character's pretty clear and I'm confident that voters who care about who can move this state ahead, who can challege Gov. Romney and Lt. Gov. Healey's record over these last four years, who can debate real things we disagree on like Capewind, where we really disagree and it's an important issue for our state. Why don't you use your time to talk about that? That's the future of our state, not personal attacks.
Andy Hiller: Mr. Patrick, during this campaign, you've talked about the fiscal shell game politicians play in Massachusetts. I'd just like to be sure you're not playing one too. Right now the state is spending more than it collects. At the same time, you're calling for lower drug costs, hiring and training 1,000 new police officers, greater investment in stem cell research and alternative energy, merit pay for entire schools, and property tax relief for elders. That was just the first look. But if you want more programs, you'll need more revenue or reductions in services we already have. You say you're not interested in a tax increase, so what programs would you cut to pay for your proposals?
Patrick: Andy, thank you for the question. I've put out a plan that calls for and finds $735 million of efficiencies in the budget we have right now, eliminating and limiting things like earmarks in the legislature which have grown exponentially in the last few years, enforcing medicaid fraud and wage in our laws, the kinds of jobs we should be doing if we were paying attention to our knitting and doing the job. There are all kinds of efficiencies of these kind that we have to squeeze out and there are other types of leadership we can show without public investment. We don't need public money, necessarily, to cultivate an industry here around alternative and renewable energy. What we need is public leadership. We need is a willingness to engage with that industry and encourage its location here because it appeals to all of our strengths- our concentraion of brain power, our concentraion of venture capital, our whole innovative tradition. That is a leadership issue, it's not just a money issue.
Hiller: During this campaign, is there anyone that you've just said 'no' to?
Patrick: Oh yes. I've said no to, frankly, I've said no to some of the teachers about the merit pay issue because I think that is something that conserves. I think there's a right way and a wrong way to do it- doing it by school encourages the collaboration that makes a school successful. I've said no, frankly, to some of the unions who have encouraged, frankly, much more aggresive compensation support than I think frankly, the market warrants. Yes indeed, I have.
Gabrieli: For 16 years, the voters of Massachusetts have not trusted a Democrat with the fiscal choices of this state, with the money of this state. And that's why I have felt it is a crucial piece of my campaign to lay forward a crystal clear plan of how we really could lower taxes to 5.0%, because I want to get on to the rest of my agenda and because I think the taxpayers of this state deserve to share in the gains of this state. And I do think it's a problem to think that we're going to beat Kerry Healey in the fall. We've run that movie before. If we want the same movie, let's take the same script. It's time to get a real plan out there.
Reilly: Deval, you've just criticized me for Marie St. Fleur. You had your own tax problems as well. You were a private lawyer and a high-ranking official at the justice department. The United States of America has imposed a tax lien on you to pay your taxes. Now, if Marie St. Fleur can't be lt. gov. because of her tax liens, why can you be governor?
Janet Wu: Mr. Gabrieli, you are not the only millionaire in this race, but unlike the other candidates, you have very few contributors. You've already spent more of your own money than any other gubernatorial candidate in the history of Massachusetts politics, your campaign is nearly all self-financed, you've refused to release your tax returns and by not accepting public financing, you've set the spending limit at over $15 million. Now this is your third attempt at elective office. How do you convince voters that you're not simply trying to buy your way into politics?
Gabrieli: Well, my wife's here, she just heard those statistics. (to wife) Sorry! My kids are there too, so there's a lot of people worried about this issue. But look, I do have 1,500 contributors. I got in this race late, a lot of people were elsewhere and I appreciate that. I do think 1,500 contributors is not nothin'. But the point is, all my life I've poured myself into the things I've gone after. I'm an immigrant's son, it's amazing to me that I'm in the good fortune that I can do that. Six years ago I decided to leave business and focus on how to make a difference. I put in $1 million directly, I raised $35 million from other people. There are thousands of kids in after-school programs as a result. This campaign, yeah, I'm putting everything I've got- my time, my energy, and significant personal resources because I care about this state. I don't need the job, I care about whether this state can finally get back on track, and I think we need a Democrat who's got the leadership skills and commitment to results to change the course of our future.
Wu: But as a politican, don't you feel that you do have a responsibility to show that you have broad-based support, which means small contributions, for not just a few thousand, but tens of thousands of people here in Massachusetts?
Gabrieli: The voters get a chance to decide whether or not I have broad-based support. Obviously I was able to get in very late and get hundreds of people to support me to get in this Democratic race at all, so I'm very confident that that support is there. I think that's what I've seen all across the state as I've campaigned. But you know what? Nobody asks me outside the media about that. What they ask me is , 'what are you going to do about making this state get back on track, creating jobs? What are you going to do about the cost of living in Massachusetts? The fact that I've been a success, that I know how to work with other people to get real results, I think most people would look at me and say, 'that's the kind of governor we want. Someone who knows how to succeed.'
Reilly: You can't buy the governor's office in Massachusetts, it's not for sale. What really matters is who's side have you been on? I've been on the side of the people of Massachusetts for 16 straight years, fighting for safer streets and neighborhoods, protecting their children, taking on the big corporations that you as well as Deval, were making millions of dollars on. The people vote in this- who's going to be on their side. Who's going to fight for them each and every day. I'm the only one that this podium that's done it over the last decade.
Patrick: We have at 20,000 donors, more donors than to any other state-wide candidacy in anybody's memory here in Massachusetts. We can 20,000 donors, Chris Gabrieli has one. People can decide and will decide whether a form of government that is about grassroots, encouraging people to check back in is what they want, or a form of government that is about the rich seizing it and taking advantage of it because they can pay for it is a choice we have. I would also say, just on the comment about our own tax liens, frankly Tom, if you had shown this kind of curiousity about the Big Dig, we'd all be better off right now.
Andy Hiller: Mr. Reilly, a major theme of your campaign is that you have experience in state government while your opponents do not. My question is about how voters have benefitted from your experience on the Big Dig. You've been investigating it from virtually the time you became attorney general eight years ago. Since 1999, how many Big Dig contractors, suppliers, or project managers have you put behind bars- convicted, not arrested or indicted- and how much money have you recaptured from any of them?
Reilly: First of all, over the last 16 years of this project, it's been managed by Republican governors who have signed a series of contracts with Bechtel that have protected- made my job- very hard. Despite that, Andy, we have saved tax payers $75 million. We have resulted in convictions of 10 people. We have six people under indictment now with the largest aggregate concrete- the largest concrete company- in the Big Dig. I have an active grand jury that is in the course of investigating the recent events in the Big Dig. Despite all the obstables against me, I am the only one who has taken this project on. I've gotten results, I've gotten real results, but I'll get more results. But I'll tell you the one thing I won't do. The one thing I won't do is put this case, this investigation, on a political calendar. I have always separated my job from the politics of my campaign and I'll do it here. We're going to do this the right way, we're going to get results, and we are going to hold people accountable, and that's a commitment.
Hiller: If you're elected governor, will you do for Massachusetts what you've done for the Big Dig?
Reilly: Oh, get to the bottom of it? I will hold people accountable and I will hold people responsible. I am very confident we have worked basically around the clock- a massive effort to break through the barriers that protected Bechtel, Republican governors signing contracts that approved cost overruns. I'm the only one that stepped up and dealt with that and I am very confident that we are amassing evidence, we will break through the barrier- $115 million gap in liability- we're going to break through that barrier and we're going to hold Bechtel, Modern, all the companies, anyone responsible for this, accountable for what happened. Justice will be served. That's a commitment.
Patrick: Well I hope so. The Big Dig is national- not just a Commonwealth, but a nation-wide embarassment. And frankly, you look at it, billions of dollars in cost overruns we've known about for years, structural defects we've known about for a long time, and the inaction and neglect for our elected officials. The lt. gov. and her predecessors, the governor and his predecessors, and the attorney general. Small wonder people say they want their money back. We need an independent review of the structural and financial integrity of this project and frankly, Tom, I don't think it's going to come from you. Not having received hundreds of thousands or at least over a hundred thousand in campaign contributions from these very contractos.
Gabrieli: Well, it is about accountability and it is a spectacular failure of accountability of the people we've elected and the people they've appointed, and I think people are mad and they should be mad, and there should be change. We have to do specific things, though. There's a lot of finger-pointing going on. Let's talk about what we can do going forward. You know that we have a whistle blower law in Massachusetts, believe it or not, that's barely ever been used? I guess there's either no waste fraud abuse or else it's not really being used well, so let's change it and make it work. But there's no question in my mind that there were many people who knew what was going on and should have stepped forward. Let's make it a year, not six months that you're protecting your job. Let's make sure if you're a private contractor, you know you're covered too.
Bob Oakes: Mr. Patrick, there's no greater priority for the Democratic party in Massachusetts than winning back the governor's office after 16 years of Republican governors, as evidenced at least partly tonight by the fact that the party chairman is sitting about 15 feet in front of you in the front row. Some wonder whether you're the right candidate. Are you too far to the left? Using the 'L' word, are you too liberal to win when the voters over the years seem to have spoken loudly about the need to use the governor's office to balance out the Democratically-controlled legislature on Beacon Hill, which many perceive now is going even further to the left?
Patrick: Well, first of all, I'm not running as a label, I want to be clear. I'm running on a record of leadership that includes government, also business at the highest levels, non-profits, community groups. I've led in all of those environments. I understand the language of those different environments, and there is no other candidate in this race, Democrat or Republican, who has that range of leadership experience. Secondly, we run a campaign that reflects a different view of how to govern. It is a grassroots campaign. It is about getting out into communities, where people live and where they work and asking those who have checked out to check back in. I'm not just asking Democrats to act like Democrats. I'm asking people to act as citizens and that's why we have built the strongest, broadest, deepest, most active, broad-based grassroots organization this state has ever seen, and I'm proud of that. That is how we will win. Now, we have great ideas but frankly, every candidate has great ideas. The question is, can we change the culture on Beacon Hill so that those great ideas have a chance? And I've had experience in each of those settings and I intend to bring it to Beacon Hill.
Bob Oakes: You used the word 'labels.' You may not be concerned about being labeled, but don't you think that the eventual Republican candidate, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, the "law and order, I'm taking the 'no new tax pledge,'" Kerry Healey, is gleeful about the prospect of labeling you a tax and spend liberal? It's already out on the airwaves with ads painting her as a conservative.
Patrick: By the time this is over, I will be called everything but a child of God. It's happening already in the primary, for goodness sake. That is part of the politics as usual and frankly, that is why so many people check out. I mean, we put out a plan on public safety for example, that includes both a call for 1,000 new cops in Massachusetts and treatment on demand for drug addiction. One view is a conservative view in some people's minds, the other is a liberal view- the are both right. And they both have a place, it seems to me, in moving Massachusetts forward.
Gabrieli: You know, it has been 16 years, I don't think the people care though whether the next governor of Massachusetts is a Democrat or a Republican. I think they care that it's someone that can do the job. They don't think that it's either Democrat or Republican to build a tunnel that doesn't fall on our own people's heads. They don't think it's liberal or conservative to think that we actually have to change schools, not just spend more or spend less. And you know what, they don't think that it's either left wing or right wing to just go forward and share the gains in our economy with taxpayers and with smart investments, and that's why I think so many people have come to support my campaign in this short period of time because they want someone who will take that perspective and bring us all together and move ahead.
Reilly: By the way, Chris, you mentioned the whistle blower law. Six people are under indictment because of that. I wrote that law, ok? And we are implementing that law. Let me tell you what matters here, folks- what side you've been on over the course of the last 10 years. Well, I was on the side of protecting people who were being exploited by Ameriquest Co., the largest predatory lender in this nation's history. Deval Patrick was on their board, making at least $350,000 a year. So it's a question of who's side- I've been on the side of the people, you've been on the side of Ameriquest, the largest, most notorious predatory lender in the history of this country.
Shaheen: How should the governor respond to these kinds of attempts to poach Massachusetts businesses out of state?
Reilly: Well, first of all, Jeanne, we need a governor right now, and we don't have one. We need a governor who's going to show up every day and fight hard for Massachusetts, and I will do that. First of all, we have to identify the companies that are already here in Massachusetts, and help them. Help them grow and help them develop. The barriers to their growth, we have to find answers for them. We have to go to compete in other states. I went down to New York last year and met with a large corporation, and I'm attorney general right now, and I asked them what I needed to do to get them to expand in Massachusetts. They told me different things- permitting and all that- and at the end of the meeting, they had all their executives from all over the country, the fellow from Kansas City said 'you are the first person, the first person from Massachusetts, governors from all over the country go into that board room and fight for jobs, you're the first person from Massachusetts to come in here and ask how do I grow the economy in Massachusetts, how to I create jobs, how do I get you to expand here?' That's the kind of leadership Massachusetts is going to get.
Gabrieli: Well, I think- I've had some experience creating jobs over my career, starting my own company that became quite successful, helping other people start companies, I think I know a fair amount about what we have to do here in Massachusetts. First thing to understand is that the Massachusetts economy, its greatest strength is creating jobs here. It's a bit of a pipe dream to think that we're going to get people from other parts of the country to move here- our costs are higher, regulations are challenging- but we're the best in the world along with northern California only, in creating those jobs. So my focus is how to support innovation. The most important thing I've proposed is a billion dollars over a decade to invest in advanced science and technology, the areas that are going to drive the industry into the future. Stem cells- we're going to get cures for some of the most important diseases, if things work out, and bolster our life sciences. Alternative energy- where Massachusetts is poised to be the Silicon Valley of those fields. That's really important. That's leadership that's going to take a long time to pay off. Focusing on small business- I'm someone who will understand most people in Massachusetts work for small business. The whole debate about large companies is you know, it's important to keep those we have here, but it's more important to start asking, 'why is it so expensive? Why is it so regulatorily difficult? How do you get capital to run a small business?' Those are a couple of the ideas in my economic growth and jobs plan, and I think it's a piece that's central because jobs equals opportunity for individuals and growth for the state.
Patrick: Growth has got to be our way forward. And frankly, the Ohio governor is going exactly what Mitt Romney promised he would do when he ran for governor of Massachusetts. He was right, by the way. He was right about the governor's opportunity to serve as chief salesman and booster of the state. I've seen that in my business career, where the elected official comes and makes a case for why his or her jurisdiction is a good place to do business. But you can't do that successfully if what you're selling is the butt of your joke, and this governor has gone all over America using us as his laugh line. When I am governor, that will stop. There are also, I think, important reasons to appreciate the different economic environments we have to sell here. RND, we talk about our economy being an RND- a research and development economy- it tends to be more research economy, the development goes out of state. But why not think about a different part of the state than Kendall Square, for example. Due respect to Kendall Square. We have a magnificent company here called Evergreen, which is very involved in solar technology, a very promising aspect of what I think is a really economic opening around alternatives and renewals. They just opened a brand new manufacturing facility in Germany. $75 million, why in Germany? Nobody asked them to think about Springfield or Fall River. Nobody engaged at the state level about how to make that work and make it sensible for Evergreen and for the people of Massachusetts. You've got to be about smarter, faster speed of business, speed to market, permitting and approval- that's in our economic plan. We've got to connect good ideas with the capital they need- that's in our economic plan. And we have to be about innovation and the next thing, I believe, will be alternatives and renewables.
Reilly: Sounds like Mitt Romney. I mean, that's what he was saying four years ago. We tried to have the corporate executive of businessperson run this state. It's hasn't worked. It's been an absolute disaster- lost jobs, lost companies- it goes on and on. It's time for a real change to get somebody who knows what they're doing, knows how to operate in government and get things done. That's what this state needs right now not another corporate-
Patrick: Why are you so hostile to business? Business helps. No goose, no golden egg, is the way Paul Tsongas used to say it, and Democrats I think, have got to get over their discomfort with the private sector. In fact, I don't think you're actually uncomfortable with the private sector. You mentioned Ameriquest just a minute ago. Well Fleet did the same thing, was accused of the same thing. Your campaign chair was involved in helping them straighten them out, got paid money. You didn't have anything to say about either the accusations against Fleet or the involvement of your friend and mine, who helped them out. You're not hostile to business, act like it.
Reilly: Every attorney general in this country went after Ameriquest and your company and your board. And we got a massive settlement of $350 million-
Patrick: And you know perfectly well that I was brought in to be a part of that solution, I helped deliver that settlement and I am proud of that and you should be proud of it too.
Gabrieli: I got some more ideas on how to grow the economy. Let me tell you one that I've already done because there are a lot of promises being made and I think I have quite a bit of experience in this. I went out to the Public Pension board and I challenged them to look at their policies. They had a policy that said that they didn't care whether investments were made in that large, $30 billion fund, whether they were in Massachusetts, Indiana, or India. I said, you know, that's doesn't make sense. If you could make as good an investment in Massachusetts as you could make somewhere else, same returns but it's located here, the people of Massachusetts, the people paying for that pension fund, the people who are going to retire on that pension fund would benefit. And you know what, right now they went to that changed plan, $175 million more invested. Some of you may have seen where Magic Johnson's fund is doing transit-oriented development in Charlestown. That Magic Johnson real estate fund received its investments as part of that program, it's part of how they're giving back to Massachusetts. As governor, I will go out to the other 106 pension funds and I will go back to our state pension fund and challenge them to do more. I'm going to go to Harvard, I'm right here, I'm going to go to Harvard and tell them as soon as they get a replacement for President Summers and MIT and any of the other private foundations and private colleges and say out of your endowment too, you ought to put up 2 percent of the money here. You can do it, you can create jobs, it would cost taxpayers nothing, it's smart, it's the future and it's something I've already done.
Shaheen: Let me ask your opponents here if they agree that the state should be investing billions of dollars in trying to support stem cell research, job creation, RND. Do you all agree with that.
Patrick: Yes, I do enthusiastically. In fact, I commend Chris for his work in this area and our economic plan has a feature very like this. There is a federal program where public money is combined with private money, managed privately, it's called the SBIC or SBIR program. We ought to have a state analog of that very kind of thing and that's the kind of thing I think Chris is talking about, and we can target the kinds of investment and the places where that investment belongs. That is good for Massachusetts.
Gabrieli: In fact my partner in SBIC, I helped form this in making investments. For example, a cookie company, Dancing Deer in Roxbury, Massachusetts, is employing people who don't easily get jobs, who have problems with quarry checks and whatnot, women-owned business- and that's why I put that fund together.
Reilly: I support stem cell research and also investing in it, but Harvard's got plenty of money and if they need some more, we'll think about. I'm going to put my money, $500 million investing in the University of Massachusetts, all of its five campuses, all over this state. The regional, it's regional development, we're going to invest in upgrading the research and development capability and turn that wonderful idea and creative energy, and to turn those into jobs in regions throughout the state. In UMass Dartmouth, UMass Amerherst, and Worcester and Lowell and Boston, that's my plan. Harvard's doing pretty well for itself. If they need a little help, maybe I'll help them out. I'm going to help the University of Massachusetts.
Gabrieli: This is a point we've disagreed on. The two of you have a different view on that than me. I think if you're going to do merit-based research funding to support the stem cell research of the future, I want to support it where the researchers know how to do it best. I want to leave it to peer review, pick the best researchers, because you know what, the Shays and other families who are counting on us to get that money to work, to cure these diseases like diabetes and Parkinson's disease, they don't want to hear it as a political reason to award money. They want to hear that it went to the best researchers. It's what California's doing, it's what New York is doing, it's what New Jersey's doing and maybe someone who understands about how research really works and how it turns into the economy could be the right governor to make it happen well here.
Reilly: Go out to the medical school in Worcester. It's every bit as good as any other medical school and UMass is every bit as good.
Gabrieli: They should compete fully and if they've got the best researchers, great. But saying it should only go to people there- that would drive the researchers in our private sector to other places in this country.
Reilly: I didn't say only. We will supplement what Harvard's doing.
Patrick: You know, I think that there's a missed opportunity here and I think Chris and I do disagree on this, not on the importance of supporting stem cell research, I don't think, but the opportunity to create centers of excellence in public higher ed, and use that opportunity and those centers of excellence to lift those organizations and lift those campuses. That is how Harvard got started. That is how MIT got started. It didn't just happen, it wasn't always here. They made a judgement about what to invest in and why and how to attract the best minds and the best ideas. We can cultivate that kind of excellence at the University of Massachusetts system and in all of public higher ed and we had better get on with it because we are spending at the level of 47th in the nation right now, behind Mississippi and Alabama, when 85% of the graduates of higher ed stay right here after they graduate.
Shaheen: That's right. There was a study today that pointed out exactly what you said, that flunked Massachusetts in terms of affordability of higher education. But where are you going to get that money to provide that funding that the colleges in this state need?
Patrick: I like the California idea, the bonding that was done in California. You know, when Mitt Romney started to play politics with stem cell research here, California came right at us and one of the things they did was to pass this bond bill to raise public funds to invest in stem cell research. I'm very interested in something similar here with the difference being I would take all or much of that money and invest it in centers of excellence in public higher ed, as a way, as I say, to lift the quality of their facilities and to attract faculty.
Gabrieli: Deval, what would you say to a world leader in stem cell research in Massachusetts who can't get NIH funding because President Bush used his only veto of his presidency to cut that off, could go to California could be at a private or public university and get that funding, could go to New York and be there, could go to New Jersey- you tell him if you don't change the University of Massachusetts you can't get funded to do stem cell research?
Reilly: No one's saying that.
Patrick: No, no, we say that the University of Massachusetts competes with Harvard and MIT.
Gabrieli: Well, I'm all for them competeing, you're saying you'd be only for an rewarding it there-
Reilly: No one's saying that. We're saying that it all can't be about Harvard.
Gabrieli: I'm not suggesting that it all be about Harvard. But Children's Hospital happens to be the place, and Harvard, were the first two places who went ahead with embryonic stem cell research, you read that, it was in the paper. Ok, so are you for not funding them or are you for funding them? Do you want to get cures for the disease or do you want to score points by saying that you care about UMass? It's not about politics, it's about good research and curing diseases.
Reilly: We are going to work with Harvard, we are not going to pour all of our money into Harvard. They're doing a pretty good job right now and they've got plenty of money. If they need a little help, we'll help them.
Patrick: Chris, you understand the importance and effectiveness of collaboration. You can imagine, I know, I know you in this way anyway, you can imagine the power of a partnership between the University of Massachusetts and Harvard or MIT, you can imagine that. That's all we're talking about.
Gabrieli: I can. I went to bat for the University of Massachusetts Medical School and helped them get a very big win on a patent that I was approached on where I was in a position to help them. So I will do that, but I will never sacrifice the effort to help through stem cell research, patients who are waiting for this. I will never sacrifice that on the politics of being able to say that- (drowned out)
Patrick: Let me be absolutely clear. I am not talking about sacrificing the excellence and importance of those outcomes. And I do take some umbrage in your suggesting otherwise. You know and I do as well, that collaborations between public and private colleges are powerful and that we can make centers of excellence in those public universities and colleges at the same time that we encourage continued excellence and continued progress in that research. You know that perfectly well.
Shaheen: All right. The next question is going to go first to Chris Gabrieli. Last spring Massachusetts passed the first plan in the country to provide health care to virtually all the citizens of Massachusetts. Now the next governor is going to be responsible for implementing that plan and already, there are projections that the plan is going to cost more than people thought it was going to cost. As governor, how are you going to pay for any cost increases? Are you going to raise taxes? Are you going to cut back on coverage, or are you going to reduce the number of people who are going to get health care?
Gabrieli: What's choice D? No, look, I've been raising concerns about this from the beginning. I think it's a nobel goal to say that the 400,000 or 500,000 people in Massachusetts who don't have health insurance coverage, we want to go out and help them get insurance coverage. But when the governor started off saying, 'it's going to cost nothing,'- well, I've been involved in health care all my life and I haven't found anything yet that doesn't cost something, and then grow faster than the economy grows. And I was concerned- where are the numbers? It's so easy to pass something like that when you don't have the actual numbers because everyone's for it, but then you get to the hard crunch. And I think that as the numbers start to come out, I see some worrisome signs in there because it's difficult to make it add up. When I see today, that as I understand, the first proposal from this organization in charge of this so-called connector, that a couple, a working, poor couple making $35,000 a year would be expected to pay $200 a month- $35,000 a year would be expected to pay $200 a month for the health coverage they get now. And you know what else bothers me? The idea that if their employer is now providing it, all they have to pay is $25 a month. I don't think that's the right balance.
Shaheen: So you're not going to tell us what you're going to do. Mr. Reilly, will you tell us what you're going to do?
Reilly: I'm going to tell you exactly what I'm going to do. Six years ago, Harvard Pilgrim was going under- 1 million people were going to lose their health insurance. I stepped up, took responsibilty, not one person was denied care. $350 million worth of debt, everyone got paid. We've turned around failing hospitals all over this state. I know what needs to be done. We need to make healthcare more affordable and I know where to start. One third of the amount of money, the billions of dollars that is spent on our healthcare delivery system is spent on administrative overhead and costs. Those are the forms going back and forth with doctors spending one third of their time on making and filing out forms, rather than treating their patients. We're going to change that. We are going to streamline that process and force change in that system with better use of information technology. Second thing I'm going to do is force change and better disease management. We know what the big drivers are- it's diabetes, it's asthma, it's kidney disese, it's heart failure- identify those cases early on and manage them better. The third thing we're going to do-
Shaheen: Those are great long-term solutions, but when push comes to shove, what are you going to do? This plan has got to be up and running.
Reilly: I'm not raising taxes. I'm the only one that has been able to makes these laws work, and I'm going to make this law work, and that's how I'm going in, with that attitude. I'm not going to do what Deval did and propose a payroll tax which would have been a job-killer in this state. I'm not going to do that and I'm not going to do what Chris said. We're going to go in there and we're going to make it work. I've managed in good times and in bad, I still get the job done, and I'll get the job done as governor.
Shaheen: Mr. Patrick, what are you going to do?
Patrick: Well, first of all, we have a payroll tax or employer assessment, whatever you want to call it, that's a feature of this bill. This bill is a good step in the right direction. It's not the final word. What's great about it though, is that we broke a pattern that we've had in Massachusetts where we've said that we have to have a perfect solution, or no solution. We at least have a path for it and I think it's absolutely critical that we get at cost some of the things we have to do are making things like the forms and codes used by pairs uniform. Every single pair has a different protocol. There are things we can do to use technology to manage and maintain records. Within the teaching hospitals, they do this now, but they don't have the capacity yet to talk to clinicians outside their bubbles. There are smarter purchasing strategies for prescription drugs, there is an emphasis on wellness that is important- let's first, before we start thinking about the hypotheticals, let's first see if we can make what we have work and be serious about it, and committed to it, and then let's try something else if this doesn't work.
Shaheen: So you're on Mr. Reilly's long-term solution.
Patrick: It's not so long term. We've got to do this within the next several months or year.
Gabrieli: Wait, wait, wait. We're not going to automate the healthcare system in the next couple of months, that's not going to happen. So, I think that is a fair question. The next governor is going to have to face this crisis and here's what I think, and I've been clear about this and I disagree with you both a little bit on this. I think the idea that employers, no matter how big and profitable they are should only pay $295 a year, $25 a month for their employees they don't cover, is just not a step in the right direction. I believe if you're Wal-Mart, you could pay more. I know if you're a small business, that might seem like a lot. But if you're a large business I absolutely think that it's the wrong direction, and you know that same connector, the first ruling they came out with was that you'd only have to pay the $295 a year if you provide one third of the cost of the premiums for your employees- one third. I've never heard of an employer offering only one third, in fact, I've talked to some insurers who said they wouldn't offer a plan at that level because we'd only get the people who are going to run up the biggest bills. So, I'm really concerned that we're sending a signal to employers at a time when everyone knows employers are stepping back from their responsibilities on healthcare and pensions, we're sending them a message that $295 a year in enough. And I am worried about that and I'll challenge that. I know, you know, you're not supposed to go up against the establishment, well I'm willing to do it. I've been an employer, I've helped create a lot of jobs and I'm not afraid to say that good employers are willing to take on those kind of responsibilites.
Patrick: It's a thing worth worrying about, but there was a very fragile compromise that made this bill possible, and some of the people in this audience know that. So let's try it. Let's move down this path, let's be serious about it- nobody's saying it can be done in a couple months' time- but we've got to get started. Let's get off the dime and then let's make adjustments as we go.
Reilly: You have to think about the 90% of people who have health insurance. And you have to think about them, and state and city budgets. It's croaking everybody in terms of the state budget- 25% of this budget. The only way we're going to go forward as a state and create jobs and grow this economy is to make it more affordable. (to Gabrieli) You don't even have a healthcare plan, you don't even have one.
Shaheen: My final question goes first to Deval Patrick. Mr. Patrick, the American psyche has been significantly affected by two major crises in the last five years- the events of Sept. 11, and hurricane Katrina. Both events demanded leadership from our government officials. Tell me what, in your personal experience, has prepared you to lead should another catestrophic event affect Massachusetts?
Patrick: You know, before 9/11, the largest criminal investigation in American history was the investigation into the attacks on black churches and synagogues in the South. I led that investigation. I was in charge of that task force. And that meant pulling together not just the prosecutors that worked in the justice department, but the FBI and the ATF and FEMA and HUD and HHS- all these agencies who had a reputation for never working together- and by the way, they were proud of that reputation, and getting them to work together and getting from that team more than that team thought they had to give and thought they were willing to give. And we made extraordinary progress. We got to the bottom of those investigations, got to the bottom of those crimes and prosecuted all over the South, frankly, all over the country. That's one. The second though, is that through my life experience, in all kinds of settings- in the justice department, in business, in private practice, growing up on the South Side of Chicago, one thing I have learned is how important it is to listen. To show up and listen. That's why we run this grassroots campaign. That's why it is about getting out into neighborhoods where people live and where they work and engaging with people and letting them feel a relationship with me as a candidate that is more than just through 30 second ads in the last few weeks of the campaign. The worst thing in the world, in my view, that the president did after Katrina, was fly over in Air Force One. Get out of the plane, walk around, talk with people, show up.
Shaheen: Mr. Gabrieli, how would you respond?
Gabrieli: Obviously, we have seen in recent times, extraordinary challenges to our public officials and public leaders at home that are hard to anticipate. And obviously, you dig deep into your character and certainly I think, if you've been through such a personal crisis, my case, having to drop out of medical school because my family was on the brink of financial ruin and having to learn how to run a business was a personally extraordinarily challenging thing to to do. And certainly, it taught me some things. I had a few panic attacks at the beginning like anybody would, but you learn to step up and do the right thing- to change things when they're not going the right way, to be focus on really being honest about how progress is being made, setting goals that can really be reached. But, my concern when I think about things like that is preparedness. I believe this president time after time, this governor, has ignored preparedness. I'm worried about as governor, not the things that may happen, but the things that are my job to prevent from happening. I don't think we're doing enough to worry about public health and the possible avian flu and other things that may come down the road. I was stunned to see people being able to violate the safety permit around that LNG facility. We've been talking about that LNG facility as a homeland security issue in this state, and I'm disappointed that the same people who weren't on the job apparently on things like the Big Dig weren't on the job to know that people could easily get up on top of that. This is the stuff that a governor has to get on top of and you'll never get credit for all the successes because of the things you prevent.
Shaheen: Mr. Reilly, tell me your personal experience. I don't want to know just what you've done.
Reilly: Let me tell you. I was in Springfield on Sept. 11 dealing with a failing hospital when the second plane hit the second tower. I went into action immediately. Dispatched my State Police to Logan Airport where they began the early stages of the investigation that led to finding out exactly how this happened. I didn't stop there. I came right back to Boston and there was an effort made to close and stop the election for the seat of the late congressman, Joseph Moakley. I stepped up and made a decision immediately. That election was going forward, I ordered that it would go forward. If there was one day that we were going to show the strength of our democracy, it was going to be that day. That election went forward because of the decision that I made. You have to make quick decisions, that takes experience, and more people voted- it was a tremendous testament to our democracy. I've been tested and I've been proven under a crisis, under fire, Crime scenes in the middle of the night, tough cases, big decisions- Harvard Pilgrim, I made a decision in a matter of three hours to put that company into receivership. It had never happened before in this state's history, but it was about people. One million people in danger of losing their health insurance- one person stepped up. I stepped up and we got that company back in shape, back in financial health. Now it's the number one plan in all of America. It wasn't just me, it was bringing people together and getting the job done. I'm the only with with that type of experience- direct experience- on that day, I moved, I took charge, made decisions, and I made very good decisions that day. That's the type of experience this state needs now- tested experience and proven experience and not talk, because there was no talking that day.
Shaheen: It's now time for closing statements. The speaking order has been determined by draw. We will begin with Deval Patrick, followed by Tom Reilly, and then Chris Gabrieli will have the final word.
Patrick: Governor, thank you, and ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being part of this. This is a great state,as you know. It's transformed my life, that story is probably your's as well. But yesterday's greatness is not enough to assure tomorrow's. We've got some choices to make, and those choices are not just among who has the best ideas. Every candidate up here and those not here have a few good ideas. But good ideas will die on Beacon Hill if we do not change the culture of inaction and neglect in our government. That's what I'm about. That's what I've done in government, in the justice department, in business at Texaco and Coca-Cola. My job was to go in, articulate a vision, develop a plan and motivate a team to achieve that plan. That's culture change. I've managed thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars through that kind of culture change, and I have no obligations, no debts to the political establishment on Beacon Hill. If you want the same old same old, same old, the politics of money and connections, I'm not your guy. But if what you want is the politics of hope and a change of culture on Beacon Hill, I am your guy, and I want your vote. Thank you very much.
Reilly: Vote for me, you know what you're getting. A kid from Springfield who has had wonderful opportunities and has tried to make the very best of them. For the past 36 years, I have lived in a middle class neighborhood in Watertown, sent our three daughters to the public schools, my wife, Ruth, who is here tonight, taught third and fourth grade. My neighborhood is like your's and my street is like your street, just regular people with the same values, the good values that you have. For the past 16 years, you have trusted me with important decisions, working hard to protect your streets and your schools and to protect your children. But also standing up to the special interests and taking on the big corporations who cheat and exploit you. Both of my colleagues were working for large and taking millions of dollars from large corporations, I was on your side fighting every day. On Sept. 19, you have an important decision to make about how we're going to change the direction of Massachusetts. You know where I stand, you know what you'll get. Every single day I will fight for you for better schools, lower taxes, more affordable healthcare. You are my neighbors, my friends. I ask you for your vote on Sept. 19. Thank you.
Gabrieli: Thanks to all of you and thanks to the viewers at home. It is an important choice that you're going to be making on Sept. 19 and in November as well. And I don't think it should be about who's put the most years in in government or who can give the best speeches. I think it should be about who can do the job best. All my career, I've been focused on getting results. Whether it was helping build companies and creating thousands of jobs, whether it was taking on successfully Governor Romney on the stem cell research fight, whether it was years of work of giving thousands of kids more educational opportunity through after-school programs. And in this campaign, I've laid out detailed, specific plans on how I will get the job done for Massachusetts as governor. How I will generate jobs by investing in technology and focusing on small business. I will take on the cost of housing so that seniors don't worry about getting pushed out of their homes and young families know they can buy their first homes. And yes, a responsible plan to cut taxes. So, I know how to succeed. It's not going to be about who's got the best ideas- which party has the best ideas, if it's a Democratic idea or a Republican idea- I want the best idea that will work for Massachusetts. I ask for your support on Sept. 19. Have me, let's get this going.