Q. What’s your take on where your campaign is at this point in time?
A. Well, since I’ve never run for governor before, I’ll have
to take it from two people that are counseling us: Lowell Weicker, the
former Republican and then independent governor of Connecticut, and
Angus King, the twice-elected independent governor in the state of
Maine. And both say that they’ve never seen a camp shoot up with
numbers like we’ve had, and that the number of volunteers--that we’ve
been invited to every single debate, and every single forum, and that
we’re as much of a player as anybody else is. So I’m thrilled. I
highly recommend this to everyone, to run for governor! It’s the most
incredible experience. Because people genuinely love this state. People
who’ve drawn a line in the sand--I’m staying here, I’m fighting for
it--love the state, and want to see it better. So it’s just been a
wonderful experience so far.
Q. How many volunteers do you have?
A. We’ve exceeded five hundred, that we can call on at any time.
And look, that may not seem a lot to the Democrats or the Republicans,
but we don’t have party. Fifty percent of us are unenrolled, and we
call ourselves independent, but there’s no party structure with town
committees. So we feel pretty happy with what we have right now. And
we’re out every single day, recruiting more. So it just grows a little
bit every day.
Q. Give me your take on the outcome of the Democratic convention last weekend.
A. I think getting three candidates on the ballot is wonderful
for the process. They’re all good candidates, certainly, and the more
the merrier. The more events, forums, debates that we have, it just
inures to the benefit of the taxpayers.
Q. Would one of the three be hardest for you to run against in the general election?
A. They’re all good candidates, and they all bring a little
bit of a different perspective to it. Certainly Tom [Reilly] has been
around for many years. Deval [Patrick] is starting to bring forth some
specific points about the impressionistic ways [sic] that he’s talked
about in the past. And Chris [Gabrieli] has been--you know, I like
sitting next to Chris, and it’s been a very engaging conversation any
time he’s there.
Q. About your poll numbers: your numbers looked really good when
you first got in the race, and then you started to stagnate a little
bit. Does that worry you?
A. We’re anywhere from 16 to 22 percent, is what I see on the
different polls. And when they drill down and they talk bout where we
are on certain issues, we go much higher; we’re usually second when it
comes to us, Reilly and [Lieutenant governor and Republican nominee
Kerry] Healey. It doesn’t really bother me, because although we’ve done
radio, wee haven’t done TV as of yet. And they’re being produced as we
speak [by Bill Hillsman, a Minnesota-based ad guru who’s created spots
for Paul Wellstone, Jesse Ventura and Ralph Nader]. The things he’s
doing for us, they’ll knock your socks off. We’d like them to go up
between now and July 4th.
Q. Has running for governor been harder than you would’ve
thought? I’m thinking of that debate where R.D. Sahl asked you for one
sentence to finish up, and you had to go with, “Thank you.”
A. It’s physically demanding and exhausting, but the mental
aspect of it--it’s just so liberating. First of all, it’s liberating
being an independent, because I don’t have to worry about who I’m going
to piss off in my party. So you say whatever’s on your mind. And you
know I’m not taking any special-interest money, so I’ve left that whole
traditional way of funding campaigns by the wayside. It’s energizing;
it’s uplifting. When you look in someone’s eyes, and they say, Don’t
let us down, we’re counting on you... To me, that is a humbling,
humbling group of words for someone to say, and to mean it. This is the
most incredible experience that I’ve ever had in my life.
Q. Proposition One--that hasn’t created the buzz I expected.
A. If you go to as many events [as] we go to, and you have young
people trying to buy a home, or elderly people that want to stay in
their home, or middle-class people that have had it--you have no idea.
You have no idea how spot-on they are with this issue. The fact that
the editorial pages aren’t picking it up or criticizing it, or that the
other candidates aren’t saying anything about it, that has no bearing
on me whatsoever. They all know--they all know right now that this
state is unaffordable, and unless it becomes affordable, we’re going to
be relegated to a Rust Belt state. If you’re a family, and you have a
lot of kids in school, and you’re paying for busing and extracurricular
activity fees and everything, you know about Proposition One. If you’re
a union member in City Hall, or a teacher or a healthcare provider out
there, working with cities and municipalities, you know about
Proposition One, because it’s going to return money back to local aid.
And if you’re a homeowner, you want to cut the increases. My property
taxes on the Cape have doubled over the last two years. Doubled!
For the last two years, the state has run billion-dollar budget
surpluses. There happens to be $1.7 billion sitting in the rainy-day
fund.. So we don’t have a revenue problem. The problem, for me as a
candidate and as a taxpayer, is that the money is going to go to the
spec interest. Let me give you just 2 examples. In the state senate, on
the budget, there were 949 amendments filed--24 per senator. The Red
Sox are going to get $36 million to upgrade the area in and around
Fenway Park. The Turnpike Authority is going to get $31 million for who
knows what. So instead of it coming to Springfield or Worcester or
Boston or Fall River, to fund police or whatever, it’s staying up
there, and the special interests are going to get it. The special
interest will always get it, as long as it’s sitting up there.
Q. What’s your take on Mitt Romney urging the U.S. Senate to ban gay marriage?
A. I mean... You know where I am on gay marriage. This thing
is just--it’s getting out of hand. It’s the law of the Commonwealth,
and unless people want to change it it’s the law of the Commonwealth,
and my sense is that people will vote overwhelmingly to keep the law as
Q. So you think those decisions should be left up to individual states?
A. Absolutely. As local as you can get the decisions, that’s where the decisions should be made.
Q. Was it right to name the Tip O’Neil Tunnel the Tip O’Neil
Tunnel, as opposed to the Liberty Tunnel, which was Governor Romney's
A. Look, that tunnel would never be there if it wasn’t for Tip
O’Neil. But I’ll say this: Tip was a big spender, but he would be
shocked, shocked, that his $2.3 billion project in late 80s and early
90s is now going to eclipse $15 billion. My only issue with naming it
at the time is this: let’s name it for Tip after we get the leaks
plugged. Let’s name it for Tip after all the arrests and indictments
and convictions have been adjudicated. Let’s name it for Tip after it’s
done. Let’s name it for Tip after we get some semblance of good
management practices at the Turnpike Authority, and can say that we can
drive through that tunnel and it’s safe. That’s when you name a tunnel
after a great man like Tip O’Neil. You don’t do it now.
Just to get back to the gay-marriage question--this happens to be
Massachusetts. It’s not South Carolina; it’s not Florida; it’s not
Alabama; it’s Massachusetts. And I think that we should have a rightful
approach to everything we do, that sets Massachusetts apart and builds
on the state’s good points, as opposed to trying to tear it apart with
these type of things. This is Massachusetts. And the focus should be on