SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 5, 2013

Baker makes 2nd run official

Swampscott supporters back his another attempt for governor's office

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — SWAMPSCOTT — After months of speculation, Republican businessman and former Selectman Charlie Baker has announced he will again run for governor.

The announcement, made yesterday morning through a Web video posted on Baker’s new campaign website, had been anticipated to come this week. Baker spokesman Tim Buckley said the candidate was not available for an interview yesterday.

“I’m Charlie Baker, and like you, I call Massachusetts home,” Baker said in the video, which shows the candidate walking in a backyard wearing a blue shirt and jeans.

“I was raised here, my parents and my brothers live here, and my wife Lauren and I raised our children here,” Baker said. “This is what I care about. I care about being a good husband to my wife, Lauren, and a loving, responsible father to our three children. I care about our community, where we’ve raised a family, and being a good son and brother. As corny as it may sound, that’s exactly why I want to be your governor.”

With the theme that he wants to improve the state to benefit the community around him, Baker has some strong supporters in his own seaside community.

“I am unenrolled, and I support him enthusiastically,” said Swampscott Selectwoman Jill Sullivan. “I supported him the last time, and I helped as much as I could.”

Baker preceded Sullivan on the board, but she had worked with him while she was a member of the Planning Board. She said Baker has the ability to listen, synthesize information and make a decision.

“To the extent that the governor is the CEO of the state, Charlie was built for the job,” said Salem criminal attorney Randy Chapman of Swampscott, who counts Baker as a friend.

“I think he’s an excellent candidate and a true leader, and I sincerely hope he gets elected,” Chapman said. While he is not a political adviser, Chapman said it will be a far different race if it is a two-way one.

Baker first ran for governor in 2010 but came in second in a three-way race against Democratic incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick and independent former state Treasurer Tim Cahill. Patrick is not running for a third term, and former Lt. Gov. Tim Murray has previously announced he would not seek the position.

Chapman said there is a side to Baker other than just politics and business.

“He’s an incredibly wonderful family man who has dear and close friends who support him,” Chapman said. His core group of friends recognizes his leadership abilities. Even though his son, A.J., a former football standout, has graduated Swampscott High, Baker continues to go to games to support Big Blue, Chapman said.

In his video, Baker also struck themes of the economy and jobs, improving schools and the safety of communities. He spoke about the need for “bipartisan leadership” to help ignite the state’s economy and promote small business.

“I can do it, because I’ve done it before,” Baker said. He touted his governmental roles as state Secretary of Administration and Finance and Health and Human Services Secretary in the 1990s under former Govs. Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci. In the time Baker worked under those administrations, the state erased a $1 billion deficit, created 250,000 jobs and led the way for Education Reform, he said.

As CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Baker brought the company out of state receivership to become a top-rated health care firm. After losing to Patrick in 2010, Baker took a job as an entrepreneur-in-residence with the venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners in Cambridge. His focus was on midsize health care services firms, according to the firm’s website.

In politics, he served one three-year term as a Swampscott selectman.

“I am really excited,” said Ben Adner, a Swampscott resident and Danvers businessman who is a Baker supporter and friend. “I think he will make a huge difference in the state. He knows Massachusetts politics inside and out; he knows the details of how to run the office.”

Many Democrats in town favor Baker, including Adner’s parents.

“This time it will stick,” Adner said of Baker’s candidacy.

Baker is the first Republican candidate to jump into the race. Democrats who are in the race include state Treasurer Steven Grossman, former Obama administration health care official Don Berwick, former federal and state homeland security official Juliette Kayyem, and former Wellesley Selectman Joseph Avellone. State Sen. Dan Wolf has said he wants to run, but his candidacy is up in the air pending the outcome of discussions with the state Ethics Commission over his ownership stake in Cape Air.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.