By Alex Balletto & Armando Machado Jr. – Copy Editor & 1851 Staff
Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor (Lt. Gov.) Karyn Polito joined Professor Paul DeBole’s State and Local Government class on campus on October 12.
Polito, whose family owned a construction company as she was growing up, attributes her success as a politician to her family of “hard workers.” Polito expressed her gratitude towards her parents saying “how lucky and blessed” she is.
The Lt. Gov. focused her attention to talk about her and Governor Charlie Baker’s administration. Polito said Baker wanted a cabinet based on experience and personal characteristics – and not by party, a common method of selection of administration. Polito said a cabinet based off knowledge instead of party affiliation was represented in the administration’s smooth handlings of the massive snow storm that crippled the state shortly after beginning their terms in January 2015.
Some of Polito’s greatest efforts during her time as Lt. Gov. are those she is putting forth to battle the opiate outbreak in Massachusetts. Polito and Baker designed a taskforce to fight this epidemic composed of doctors, health professionals, law enforcement officers and state officials. The taskforce has made tremendous strides in the fight against opioid abuse in the state.
“Many people get hooked on prescription pain medications that are all approved by the FDA but these medications are highly addictive. Once they become too expensive, heroin becomes a cheap alternative and the epidemic is affecting the entire country,” said Polito. She also stressed the fact that addiction is a disease and should be treated as such.
When looking at how the problem should be addressed, Polito said her administration’s approach was “not a Republican response and not a Democrat response but a thoughtful response.”
With a mindset to help the people on a more personal level, Polito also focuses much attention on investing in grassroots. She says that in order to build the community, the gap between education and jobs needs to be closed. To furthermore express this need, Polito said “there are so many people who are smart and solving problems here and General Electric wants to be right next to it.”
Polito has put significant efforts toward dealing with the Massachusetts legislature. She says she is always trying to find common ground with the legislature and the trick to getting along is to educate the body, get them to buy into the plan, find what it is that they and the administration agree on and to build off of that.
When asked about the election, Polito said, “[I am] disappointed with the Republican nominee. Donald Trump does not have the temperament to be president.”
Baker and Polito, who are both Republicans, chose early on not to support their party’s Presidential nominee.