Commentary: Plenty of donkeys out there to fill corner office

Democrats are lucky this year. After almost 16 years of Republican governors, Democrats in this state have a great opportunity to elect one of their own to the corner office. This opportunity comes in the form of three candidates: Christopher Gabrieli, Deval Patrick and Thomas Reilly. All three Democrats are deeply committed to the future of Massachusetts. It is our belief that these candidates will stay focused on the Bay State’s interests, and not let it play second fiddle to their personal aspirations. At the same time, these candidates are all unique and will provide different qualities in moving our state forward.

We have met all three candidates and this is the choice in the clearest terms we can present them:

Chris Gabrieli is a venture capitalist and nonprofit leader from Boston. If anything becomes apparent about Gabrieli, it is that he has spent a great deal of time analyzing the issues in this race, especially those relating to education. One of the major plans for his administration would be putting $1 billion toward stem cell research to keep this state a leader in the life sciences. Gabrieli would also focus strongly on after-school programs, which he has focused on heavily in the nonprofit sector.

Deval Patrick has been a leader in business, non-profits and government, serving as assistant attorney general for civil rights under President Clinton. Patrick often reminds voters that his diverse experience will serve him well as governor. Patrick is a true outsider in this race, never having held public office in Massachusetts or entrenched interests in this state. Patrick believes that Massachusetts can be a leader in the world by focusing on building a 21st-century economy around alternative energy sources.

He was the first in this race to support the location of the Cape Wind project off Nantucket Sound. Patrick is also in favor of strengthening public education by lengthening the school day to focus on programs both inside and outside the classroom and by putting money toward public higher education. Some say Patrick’s campaign is more focused on lofty words and images, but Patrick often reminds supporters that words are a powerful force in articulating a vision and pushing change.

Thomas Reilly, the current attorney general, has more than 25 years in government. Reilly often speaks of his “regular guy” image, citing that he has rented an apartment his entire life. Reilly believes the income tax should be rolled back to 5 percent as soon as he gets into office. Education is a priority for Reilly because he turned a broken life around with his college education. When Reilly speaks, he often emphasizes his deep care for this state. Many worry Reilly is a poor politician, as he has said about himself many times. While this puts him more in touch with the people and their issues, many wonder how he would navigate the political environment on Beacon Hill.

As we said from the outset, these three candidates provide what Massachusetts needs moving forward. We urge you to read about these candidates on their websites and spend some time getting involved before election day.

– Josh Robin is a sophomore political science major and president of the Northeasern College Democrats. Jon Kent is a junior political science major and vice president of Northeastern College Democrats.

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