This week, Governor Charlie Baker spoke before a crowd at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast and proudly declared that he was focusing on infrastructure and core services of the MBTA. A switch that was installed on the Green Line in 1910, he said, is still in use. In 1910, Babe Ruth would still have three more World Series victories with the Red Sox to come. The Governor spoke with equal exuberance about a municipal “weed whacker bill”. Um, alrighty then, Governor. It’s pretty tough for the electorate to get excited about such things, but at the same time isn’t that why we elect politicians in the first place?
Charlie Baker has been termed “Governor Fix-It.” The late Boston Mayor Tom Menino was famously referred to as “The Urban Mechanic.” One a Republican governor. One a bluest of the blue Democratic mayor. Both focusing on the small details of the job that many people pay no attention to, until of course they break. Both share something else – amazingly high job approval ratings.
Coincidence? Methinks not.
Studies have shown that people vote for politicians for myriad reasons. Once they are elected however, people simply want their officials to help them live, work and raise families as easily as possible. That’s it. Paved roads. Good schools. Safe neighborhoods. And trains that get them to and from jobs that will allow them to provide for their families and their lives. What if that’s all people really want our elected officials to do? Make the trains run on time!
The average citizen really has no idea how government works. They pay their taxes and they have an expectation that they will, in return, have basic services like transportation, public safety and educational opportunities. Maybe Gov. Baker has figured that out. Maybe Tom Menino knew it along. Make the trains run on time and they will love you – or at least approve of you.