Stein offers 'real change'
PITTSFIELD -- The way Jill Stein sees it, mainstream gubernatorial candidates Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker's positions on the issues are so similar that they might as well be the same.
The Green Rainbow Party candidate for governor, Stein says her candidacy represents a fresh approach to solving the gridlock that is strangling state government.
"It's not going to get better without real change in our priorities, in our investments, and in our tax policies," Stein said on Friday during a meeting with The Eagle's editorial board. "That's very much what our campaign is about."
Stein advocates a "wholesale revitalization" of government that "works for people and invests in people."
She said her approach is better than "spending $200 million in office parks and shopping malls, which is one of the governor's policies."
Co-chair of the state's Green Rainbow Party, Stein also ran for governor in 2002, and finished third in a field of five candidates with 3.5 percent of the vote.
This time around, the Lexington resident not only backs the Green Rainbow Party's endorsement of a single-payer health care system, but is also calling for a massive overhaul of current health care initiatives, which she refers to as a "sick care system." A nonbinding referendum asking for the support of a single-payer health care system is on the ballot in both the 2nd and 4th Berkshire Districts.
"This massive health insurance bureaucracy is costing us millions every year," said Stein, a physicist who graduated from Harvard Medical School. "It's kind of this sacred cow that traditional politics will not touch with a 10-foot pole.
"Yet, it's quick and easy to move to a single-payer system and it saves 10 percent off of health care just out of the starting gate," she said, referring to billing costs.
Cutting down the waste in the health care system would provide the state with enough funding to strengthen and protect public education, Stein said.
"We can drastically pull back on the burden on the state budget with health care," she said.
An opponent of government giveaways for corporate entitlement programs, Stein said she would take the $200 million that Patrick plans to use to develop shopping malls and office parks, and form a zero interest loan program that would benefit small businesses, especially those in the green economy, and the consumers who access those services.
She is also against tax breaks for big companies such as Raytheon and Fidelity, which she said Patrick supports, and is the only one of the four candidates who is opposed to casino gambling.
Regarding her major party opponents, Stein said that Patrick has had "real trouble defining himself from Charlie Baker," and that the governor's agenda is "essentially Mitt Romney." She also criticized Patrick's pursuit of green energy initiatives, referring to him as a "photo-op environmentalist."
She said that government gridlock has the public "ready to explode."
"The difficulty here is reaching people to let them know that there's another alternative, another way forward," Stein said.
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