PSC Midterm Election Reflections: Massachusetts
Mackenzie Sheehy (’26)
Governor: With Republican Charlie Baker not up for re-election after eight years in office, the seat for governor is wide open in Massachusetts. Despite being a deep-blue state, five out of the past six individuals to hold the office have come from the Republican party, with Deval Patrick serving as the only Democrat before Republicans reclaimed the office with Baker. Could this be the year that a Democrat once again becomes governor?
Geoff Diehl (R)
Diehl’s experience comes more from the legislative perspective. After graduating from Lehigh University and working as an account executive at Poyant Signs, he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives by the 7th Plymouth District. Serving for eight years from 2011 to 2019, Diehl has quite the resume. At the beginning of the 2017 legislative season, he served on the Global Warming and Climate Change, Technology and Intergovernmental Affairs, and Housing Joint committees. He also sponsored 25 bills between 2018 and 2019. Diehl left office in 2019, so his run for governor is his return to the political sphere. Diehl is also promising changes in Massachusetts if he is elected through his Blueprint for the Bay State, which involves a Parents’ Bill of Rights, lowering the cost of living through economic development, and infrastructure expansion.
Maura Healey (D)
Healey comes from a sophisticated educational background, earning her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her J.D. from Northeastern University. Prior to holding any political offices, she worked as a private practice attorney. As she continued on into public service, she served as a prosecutor in Massachusetts’s Middlesex county before working for the state attorney general. Once she made the move in 2007, she served as the head of the civil rights division while also spearheading the Business and Labor Bureau and the Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau during her tenure. Since 2015, Healey has served as the Massachusetts Attorney General under Baker. Healey’s platform is largely centered around making Massachusetts affordable through expanding affordable housing options, creating various homeownership opportunities, investing in improved public transportation, and creating a universal and affordable child care system. She also promises to increase mental health services in the state and aggressively go after the climate crisis.
Kevin Reed (L)
Reed has little to no experience in political life. While nothing is known about him, he advertises himself on his campaign website as a proud father, business owner, and working class candidate who is looking to represent the plights of ordinary citizens.
Major Policy Issues
Question 1: The Millionaire’s Tax
This question proposes an amendment to the state constitution that would add an additional tax of 4% for those with an income of over $1 million. This tax would be on top of the existing 5% flat-rate income tax already in effect. Revenue from this tax would be dedicated to education and transportation.
This additional tax would provide sustainable and long-term revenue to bolster education and transportation initiatives, which have suffered during the pandemic. Such a financial solution would hopefully take the burden off of low and middle-class families while also boosting the economy of the state.
Opponents believe the tax would immediately institute an 80% tax increase on thousands of small business owners, retirees, and large employers. Additionally, there is some concern that the increase in funds available to the state will give those politicians a blank check to cash however they see fit.
Question 4: Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Individuals
This question, if approved, would uphold House Bill 4805, giving those who cannot verify their U.S. citizenship or immigration status an option to submit alternate forms of identification in order to receive a driver’s license or vehicle registration.
Proponents of a ‘yes’ vote on the question argue that approving the House Bill would establish excellent connections between law enforcement, local government, and immigrant communities. Also, the opportunity to get a driver’s license would provide a U.S. form of identification that could make the lives of many undocumented individuals much easier.
Opponents believe that approving this bill is a mistake as it would reward those entering the country illegally. Believing that the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Massachusetts is not properly equipped to vet those coming to the U.S. from dozens of different countries, these individuals feel that an additional burden should not be placed on this governmental service.
Mackenzie Sheehy (’26) is an undergraduate student at Duke University and a member of the Polis Student Committee. This piece was submitted as a reflection on the 2022 Midterm Elections. This content does not represent the official or unofficial views of the Sanford School, Polis, Duke University, or any entity or individual other than the author.