Governor Charlie Baker, speaking one day after a health-care bill once again passed the US House of Representatives without a single vote from the minority party, made a passionate case for bipartisanship in a speech to the AIM Annual Meeting Friday.
“In the end, you’re not measured by how many things you opposed but how many things you get done,” the governor told more than 850 business leaders gathered at the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel.
“I take tremendous satisfaction from the fact that we get along with people on both sides of the aisle.”
Governor Baker has worked closely throughout his first two years in office with the two top Democrats in the Massachusetts Legislature – House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stan Rosenberg – on complex issues ranging from the MBTA and energy policy to the opiate crisis. The bipartisan approach has made the governor the most popular chief executive in the nation, according to polls.
“I’ve learned a lot from people I don’t agree with,” said Governor Baker, who said his entire staff prides itself on listening to ideas from throughout the ideological spectrum.
The governor’s speech highlighted an Annual Meeting celebration that featured presentation of 2017 AIM Vision Awards to Fidelity Investments, Bright Horizons Family Solutions and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. AIM also presented the John Gould Education and Workforce Development Award to Tech Foundry of Springfield.
Governor Baker highlighted several bipartisan initiatives he said have been cornerstones of his administration:
- Strengthening communities, including a $300 million funding increase for k-12 education, development of a second-generation MCAS test, $800 million for local roads and bridges and an initiative under which cities and towns can share best governing and management practices.
- Economic growth, including a broad regulatory review, a multi-million-dollar investment in vocational/technical schools, streamlining of mass transit systems and an energy bill that maintains costs while reducing the commonwealth’s carbon footprint.
- Improved efficiency, including reduced wait times at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and an overhaul of the Health Insurance Connector Authority, which broke down several years ago as residents were attempting to buy insurance.
Bipartisan cooperation, the governor said, was one of the primary reasons that General Electric Company chose to locate its corporate headquarters in Boston. The company has often cited the collaboration between the Republican Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Democrat, as a factor in its decision to move from Connecticut.
Governor Baker praised the work done by AIM to represent the interests of employers in public-policy debates.
He praised the association for its willingness to “speak candidly and straight about issues it cares about.”