Massachusetts Gov. Baker reflects on his 8 years in office

As he nears the end of his second and final term in office, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker knows he’s going to miss being governor. “Did you love this job?” NewsCenter 5 anchor Maria Stephanos asked during an exclusive interview with the outgoing state leader.”Very much so,” Baker said.Baker, 66, was elected governor in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. Despite often being rated as the nation’s most popular The governor, based on approval polls, opted not to seek a third term in the 2022 election. Baker said he was conscious of his popularity and that it was encouraging. “If you spend the time and the energy doing this job, you hope that people believe you’re doing the right things and that they approve of your performance,” he said. “I mean, no one in public life would ever say that stuff doesn’t matter to you.” But Baker would also say the job was rarely easy. “I’ve never had a job that was more humiliating and humbling than this,” he said. “At the same time, I’ve never had a job that gave me the chance and the opportunity to make a difference, a positive difference in people’s lives like this one.”The Republican governor, who grew up in Needham and attended Harvard University , says his political views formed in the 1980s.” I grew up and sort of came of age politically when Ronald Reagan ran for president and that sort of optimistic, positive view of the power of the American people to do great things captured me. And that notion has never really left,” he said. With the rise of President Donald Trump, Baker’s relationship with the Republican Party became somewhat strained. He refused to endorse Trump and said in 2020 that he left his vote for president blank. “Do you want to leave the party?” Stephanos asked Baker. “I think the party has left me for a while, but I certainly hope they come back,” he said. Divisiveness and extremism in public discourse are major distractions from what Baker says he sees as the mission of political life. “I’ve always been a big believer that at the end of the day, the best and most sustainable opportunities in public life, in public service and in politics come when you find those places where most people agree so that you can actually put something in place that will last,” Baker said. Baker will perhaps be remembered for his highly visible role in leading Massachusetts through the COVID-19 pandemic, during which he faced numerous related crises. He conspired with the New England Patriots to import masks after a previous shipment was confiscated by the federal government, faced questions about the deadly outbreak in a soldiers’ home, stumbled over the early vaccine rollout and made impactful decisions about schools and the economy with incomplete To install public health information. “I think the people of Massachusetts did a pretty good job,” Baker said. “There were certainly, as you point out, things that worked well and things that didn’t. What I would say is when things weren’t working, we moved pretty quickly to address them and deal with them. We never stopped talking to our colleagues in local government. We never stopped talking to the health care folks.”Despite the challenges, Baker said the pandemic also gave him a positive look at the people of the state. “I had this front-row seat and to the way people stood up for each other, for their neighbors, for their communities, for their organizations,” he said. Before the pandemic stole the headlines, the biggest public health issue Baker faced was the opioid addiction crisis. “To go back to the beginning of my administration, one of the things we started talking about straight out of the gate was dealing with the scourge of addiction and especially around heroin and fentanyl. And we made a ton of progress on that. And it all got jammed by the pandemic because all the issues around physical connection and everything else got lost,” Baker said.Earlier this month, the Department of Public Health reported a 1.5% decline in opioid-related overdose deaths during the first nine months of 2022. During 2021, however, there were 2,301 opioid-related deaths – an increase of 9.4% over the previous year. Baker also faced challenges with the MBTA throughout his administration. He has often referenced the impact of massive winter snowfall during the opening weeks of his first term, but those storms were just the start of a long list of transportation issues. The MBTA went through six leaders during Baker’s time in office and while it recently opened service on the Green Line Extension, it also suffered through a series of incidents that led to a safety review and scathing federal report. Many of the ongoing issues will continue to be addressed by his successor but Baker has always insisted that the MBTA, while challenged, is not a mess. “We started from a very difficult spot, but we said, among other things, that one of the things we were going to do is spend a lot of money on what I call the core system. he said. After leaving office on Jan. 5, Baker will have a few months off before starting his new job as the next NCAA president. He will take over for outgoing NCAA President Mark Emmert in March 2023. “I was a college athlete. My brother was. Our kids were, and my wife,” Baker said. “I just care a lot about what happens in collegiate sports. I think there are real challenges there and I hope I can help make sure that along the way we can come up with a way to do this that works for everybody.”With numerous Challenges behind him and new challenges ahead, Baker says that overall his time as governor has been a highlight of his life. “I’ve never felt more alive in a job than I do in this one,” he said. “I’ll miss it terribly.” Gov.-elect Maura Healey will take her oath of office on Jan. 5.

As he nears the end of his second and final term in office, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker knows he’s going to miss being governor.

“Did you love this job?” NewsCenter 5 anchor Maria Stephanos asked during an exclusive interview with the outgoing state leader.

“Very much so,” Baker said.

Baker, 66, was elected governor in 2014 and re-elected in 2018.

Despite often being rated as the nation’s most popular governor, based on approval polls, he opted not to seek a third term in the 2022 election. Baker said he was conscious of his popularity and that it was encouraging.

“If you spend the time and the energy doing this job, you hope that people believe you’re doing the right things and that they approve of your performance,” he said. “I mean, no one in public life would ever say that stuff doesn’t matter to you.”

But Baker would also say the job was rarely easy.

“I’ve never had a job that was more humiliating and humbling than this,” he said. “At the same time, I’ve never had a job that gave me the chance and the opportunity to make a difference, a positive difference in people’s lives like this one.”

The Republican governor, who grew up in Needham and attended Harvard University, says his political views formed in the 1980s.

“I grew up and sort of came of age politically when Ronald Reagan ran for president and that sort of optimistic, positive view of the power of the American people to do great things captured me. And that notion has never really left,” he said. .

With the rise of President Donald Trump, Baker’s relationship with the Republican Party became somewhat strained. He refused to endorse Trump and said in 2020 that he left his vote for president blank.

“Do you want to leave the party?” Stephanos asked Baker.

“I think the party has left me for a while, but I certainly hope they come back,” he said.

Divisiveness and extremism in public discourse are major distractions from what Baker says he sees as the mission of political life.

“I’ve always been a big believer that at the end of the day, the best and most sustainable opportunities in public life, in public service and in politics come when you find those places where most people agree so that you can actually put something in place that will last,” Baker said.

Baker will perhaps be remembered for his highly visible role in leading Massachusetts through the COVID-19 pandemic, during which he faced numerous related crises. He conspired with the New England Patriots to import masks after a previous shipment was confiscated by the federal government, faced questions about the deadly outbreak in a soldiers’ home, stumbled over the early vaccine rollout and made impactful decisions about schools and the economy with incomplete To install public health information.

“I think the people of Massachusetts did a pretty good job,” Baker said. “There were certainly, as you point out, things that worked well and things that didn’t. What I would say is when things weren’t working, we moved pretty quickly to address them and deal with them. We never stopped talking to our colleagues in local government. We never stopped talking to the health care folks.”

Despite the challenges, Baker said the pandemic has also given him a positive look at the people of the state.

“I had this front-row seat and to the way people stood up for each other, for their neighbors, for their communities, for their organizations,” he said.

Before the pandemic stole the headlines, the biggest public health issue Baker faced was the opioid addiction crisis.

“To go back to the beginning of my administration, one of the things we started talking about straight out of the gate was dealing with the scourge of addiction and especially around heroin and fentanyl. And we made a ton of progress on that. And it all got jammed by the pandemic because all the issues around physical connection and everything else got lost,” Baker said.

Earlier this month, the Department of Public Health reported a 1.5% decline in opioid-related overdose deaths during the first nine months of 2022. During 2021, however, there were 2,301 opioid-related deaths – an increase of 9.4% over the previous year .

Baker also faced challenges with the MBTA throughout his administration. He has often referenced the impact of massive winter snowfall during the opening weeks of his first term, but those storms were just the start of a long list of transportation issues.

The MBTA went through six leaders during Baker’s time in office and while it recently opened service on the Green Line Extension, it also suffered through a series of incidents that led to a safety review and scathing federal report.

Many of the ongoing issues will continue to be addressed by his successor but Baker has always insisted that the MBTA, while challenged, is not a mess.

“We started from a very difficult spot, but we said, among other things, that one of the things we were going to do is spend a lot of money on what I call the core system. he said.

After leaving office on Jan. 5, Baker will have a few months off before starting his new job as the next NCAA president. He will take over for outgoing NCAA President Mark Emmert in March 2023.

“I was a college athlete. My brother was. Our kids were, and my wife,” Baker said. “I just care a lot about what happens in collegiate sports. I think there are real challenges out there and I hope I can help make sure that along the way we can come up with a way to do this that works for everybody.”

With numerous challenges behind him and new challenges ahead, Baker says that overall his time as governor has been a highlight of his life.

“I’ve never felt more alive in a job than I do in this one,” he said. “I’ll miss it terribly.”

Gov.-elect Maura Healey will take her oath of office on Jan. 5.

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