On Tuesday, January 23rd, Governor Charlie Baker delivered his third State of the Commonwealth address. In addition to kicking off the second year of the legislative session, his speech also marks the start of his re-election campaign.
Here are our four key takeaways from the Governor’s address that will shape both the 2018 policy agenda on Beacon Hill and the tone and content of his campaign effort.
Governor Baker is optimistic about the future of transportation in Massachusetts, stating that 2018 will bring significant investments in the MBTA. He outlined plans to upgrade core infrastructure, modernize operations, and rescue projects like the Green Line Extension. He boldly stated that 2018 would be the year that the Administration finalizes plans on the commuter rail line from Fall River and New Bedford to Boston- a long awaited and often promised initiative.
For the past three years, Massachusetts has put an emphasis on developing workforce and affordable housing. Governor Baker acknowledged that there is still a significant need for more housing to keep up with demand. Baker set the goal of producing 135,000 new units of housing by 2025, so that the state can better house young people, seniors, and working families.
In 2017, Massachusetts had the highest four-year graduation rate and lowest dropout rate the state has ever seen. Governor Baker committed to continuing this success in 2018 announcing an expansion in scholarship and early college programs, upgrades to equipment in vocational technical schools, and public/private partnerships that will establish a larger presence of STEM in schools across the Commonwealth.
Looking to maintain Massachusetts’ distinction as the most energy efficient nation in 2018, Governor Baker hinted at an announcement in late January regarding the largest renewable energy procurement in our history. He stated that the new partnership will lead to clean energy pricing that’s competitive with carbon-emitting fossil fuels. Later this year, the state will also complete a competitive process that could lead to the largest offshore wind power operation in the nation.
Solomon McCown will be tracking these initiatives and how they will impact the 2018 election throughout the year—stay tuned for updates!