What They're Saying: Baker's "Positive" Address Shows He's "Governed The Way He Promised"

BOSTON -- Governor Charlie Baker's first State of the Commonwealth address is being widely praised from all corners of the state - observers lauded his "positive" approach as he ticked through the "successful" reforms his administration achieved this year. Looking ahead, observers note that the Governor has significant political capital to spend as he plans to push agenda items like expanded charter schools, comprehensive energy reform, and tackling the addiction crisis.
 
Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe: Baker Has "Governed The Way He Promised"
"As he starts his second year in office, Baker has governed the way he promised. His smart steps have far outpaced his missteps, and he’s won over many skeptics.

"He has ample reason to be pleased — as do those who voted for him." (Scot Lehigh, "Baker’s two unstated, but obvious, messages at State of the Commonwealth," Boston Globe, 1/22/16)
 
Lowell Sun: Baker's "Positive" Address Receives Bipartisan Praise
"Reaction from state legislators following Gov. Charlie Baker's first State of the Commonwealth address was generally positive, with representatives impressed with Baker's tone, commitment to bipartisanship and the variety of issues he tackled."(Cassidy Swanson, "Lawmakers applaud governor's tone, commitment to bipartisanship," Lowell Sun, 1/22/16)
 
Andy Hiller, WHDH: Voters Respond To Governor's Focus On "Serious Business Of Government," Care About "Performance"
"Opioids, energy reform, and expanding charter schools...are the substance of state government.
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"In fact, tonight, he called his administration boring. But voters don't seem to care. Perhaps because they're more interested in performance than partisan politics." (Andy Hiller, "Hiller Instinct Baker's State of State is strong and fortunate," WHDH, 1/21/16) 
 
Jon Keller, WBZ: Baker Attains "Sky-High Approval Ratings" By Seizing Opportunity
"'The T’s failures last winter became a crisis, and I am proud to say that by working together we found and seized opportunity,' said Gov. Charlie Baker during his first State of the Commonwealth address. And that line alone sums up some of the major reasons why Baker has racked up sky-high approval ratings during his first year in office." (Jon Keller, "Keller @ Large: State Of The Governor," WBZ, 1/21/16)
 
POLITICO: Governor Touted "Successful" Reforms From First Year
"The roughly 30-minute, 3,400-word speech focused on Baker’s push for action on the three proposals already before the Legislature, as well as touting his administration’s successful efforts to get the state’s transportation system back on track, reduce wait times at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and reinvest in local aid.(Lauren Dezenski, "Baker calls for action on energy, charter schools and opioids," POLITICO, 1/21/16)
 
Boston Globe: Baker's Popularity Derived From Focusing On Making Government Work
"Charlie Baker, whose Mr. Fix-It persona has made him one of the most popular governors in the country, vowed Thursday to remain committed to the 'blocking and tackling of government' in his first State of the Commonwealth speech.
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"He underscored a key tenet of his governing philosophy: that tending to the nuts and bolts has the biggest impact on people’s lives." (Joshua Miller and David Scharfenberg, "For Baker, it’s all about fixes, not splashy new ideas," Boston Globe, 1/21/16)

Boston Herald Editorial: Governor Inherited Serious Problems; Focused On Delivering Reforms
"Last night Gov. Charlie Baker’s State of the State message was a timely reminder of what a mess this new administration was handed last year not just by Mother Nature but by all the self-inflicted wounds of eight years of Deval Patrick mismanagement.

"An ill-equipped and poorly functioning MBTA, a completely dysfunctional Health Connector, a Department of Children and Families that misplaced kids and a $1 billion deficit. Certainly the T and DCF are works in progress, but at least their problems are no longer glossed over with Corner Office rhetorical flights of fancy."(Editorial Board, "Mass. after the storm," Boston Herald, 1/22/16)

WGBH / MassPoliticsProfs: Baker Focused On "Human Dimension" Of Policy Agenda
"Baker probably would like to spend more time explaining queueing theory but the speech attained a much more human dimension when he discussed the opioid crisis and charter schools. He has obviously been moved by the many families he has met across Massachusetts who have faced the torment of a loved one afflicted with opiate addiction. Four people a day dying in Massachusetts of opioid abuse is just too much. He spoke with pride of being a health care guy but made clear that his former industry has to clean up its act on over-prescription of opioids.
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"It wasn’t long ago that Baker was being attacked for a compassion deficit. Now it appears that the wonk we hired is deeply moved by the ordinary people he meets."(Maurice Cunningham, "Governor Empathy," WGBH / MassPoliticsProfs, 1/21/16)
 
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