BU News Service
BOSTON — State Treasurer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Grossman remains optimistic about Massachusetts’ future despite economic instability and growing concerns across the commonwealth.
“I believe the people of Massachusetts want improvement and leadership that will leave no one behind,” Grossman told a candidates forum at Suffolk University on Thursday. “That means bringing jobs and economic opportunity to every region of the state, particularly to those communities that have been left out and left behind for so long because when those communities do better we all do better.”
Grossman, one of five declared Democratic candidates for governor, participated in the third of nine roundtable discussions, which feature the 2014 gubernatorial candidates at Suffolk University’s Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service.
Grossman spoke on a wide variety of topics during the Boston forum, from creating jobs and building sustainable health care, to tax policy and casinos.
Grossman, who is a business owner, was elected state treasurer in 2010. He previously served as the chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee.
Pointing out the five biggest challenges that he would face if elected governor, Grossman outlined his campaign platform, which includes creating a stable job market and economy, adopting universal pre-kindergarten, debt relief for college students, a more sustainable health-care system and climate-change mitigation policies.
Grossman said he would create 50,000 new manufacturing jobs in the state by closing what he called a skills gap.
He said he would work with schools to create a curriculum based on what business owners and manufactures need.
“Manufacturing is in our bones in Massachusetts, it’s in our DNA,” Grossman said. “And all over the state where we’ve lost tens, if not hundreds of thousands of jobs in manufacturing, we can bring those jobs back in places of high levels of unemployment.”
Grossman said the way to create more jobs was investment in public education.
“While tuitions are fairly low, the fees have grown dramatically and those fees have sometimes priced young people out of a public-college education,” Grossman said.
To improve the health-care system, Grossman stressed the need to move health-care to community hospitals, hire more primary-care physicians, reduce the costs of prescription drugs and increase the number of wellness program across the state.
Grossman praised the work Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration has done reducing the state’s carbon footprint. Grossman said he would continue building up the infrastructure for electric cars, encouraging hydropower and creating jobs in the clean-energy industry.
To fund these projects Grossman said he would grow the economy, reduce state expenses, push for public-private partnerships and seek out new ways to build revenue partnered with tax reform.
“The most important thing you can do is to lay out the investments that you want to make . . . make sure you discuss with people how it’s going to improve the quality of their life and the life of their families and finally how we’re going to pay for it,” Grossman said.
As a special commission considers bids for casinos and slot parlors, Grossman said he supports the decision to bring casinos to Massachusetts and would not reverse the 2011 casino law.
With 250,000 people out of work and another 250,000 underemployed, Grossman said the estimated 15,000 new jobs and $3 million in additional revenue that casinos would bring outweighs the cons.
Grossman said he is set apart from other candidates because he has a better track record creating jobs.
“As long as there is a single friend, neighbor, colleague who lacks a job, who lacks hope, who lacks dignity our job is not done,” Grossman said.
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