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|On the trail|
|Written by Gillian Smith|
|Tuesday, 26 November 2013 12:29|
Attorney General Martha Coakley visited the Duxbury Senior Center last week as part of her campaign trail for governor.
Residents filled the Senior Center to hear the Attorney General speak about her vision for the role of governor and asked questions ranging from special education to gun control.
Representative Josh Cutler (D-Duxbury) opened the forum by introducing Coakley and her goals. On Cutler’s list of important legislation were foreclosure prevention, flood insurance and marriage equality.
Coakley started the discussion, which was organized by the Duxbury Democratic Town Committee, by saying she would like to focus most of the discussion on questions for the public, but first highlighted her past work as Attorney General and her vision for the governorship. Coakley is one of five Democrats who have declared an intention to run for governor in 2014. Charles Baker, former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, is currently the only Republican in the race.
“I’m running for governor because I think the next governor is in a position to turn the economy around for everybody,” she said. “I think it’s really important we invest in and modernize education and continue to provide quality, affordable health care for everyone.”
Coakley’s vision for the governorship is to continue focusing on creating jobs in Massachusetts and make sure the recovery reaches 100 percent of her constituents. One way to reach that goal is to raise the state minimum wage, which, if she is successful, would be on the 2014 ballot and implemented by 2015. Additionally, she said she believes workers should be entitled to earn sick time when they have a parent or child who is sick or who are sick themselves.
“These are simple things, basic things most of us take for granted that many do not have,” she said. “We have the opportunity with the leadership of the next governor to make sure that becomes a reality.”
Another major piece of her vision for the governorship is to modernize education. Her focus is on behavioral and mental disabilities and tailoring the education system to their needs. An approach to achieving that goal is to extend the school year and school days to take advantage of how students learn best.
Part of that 21st century learning and preparing students to be active participants in the global economy is strengthening computer science education across the state. The least popular Advanced Placement test in the state is computer science, with only 600 students successfully completing the exam last year.
Mental health awareness, treatment and education are at the forefront of her goals. The issue hits close to home, as her brother Edward committed suicide in 1996. A woman in the audience voiced her concern with the education system: she has a daughter with a learning disability and wanted to know what the potential future governor would do to provide quality education and support for her daughter. Coakley said the issue is not simply a health care issue or education issue, it’s a family issue that needs to be supported by the education system.
“We need to recognize the importance of quality mental health care and rid ourselves of the stigma that surrounds it,” she said. “We need to support schools and help them provide the best care and education possible.”
Coakley thanked residents for coming to the meeting.
“Those of us who are elected can’t do our job unless we have folks like you who are interested in the issues, who hold us accountable and who show up on nights like this,” she said.
Coakley provided an anecdote to end the discussion. When she graduated from college, her father gave her a plaque with a quote that read, “Sometimes the best man for a job is a woman” and the sentiment stuck.
“I think I am the best woman for the job,” she said.