Mass. Governor Interview Series: Evan Falchuk

This is the fifth installment of the Harvard Political Review‘s interview series with Massachusetts’ candidates for governor. Evan Falchuk is representing the United Independent Party in the election.

Harvard Political Review: Can you begin by introducing yourself, your party, and your vision for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?

Evan Falchuk: I was raised in Massachusetts. I’m proud to live near Boston, in Auburndale, with my amazing wife and three kids. I’ve always believed that life is about finding your passion and making a difference. That’s the spirit missing in our political system.

I was fortunate enough to work at Best Doctors, Inc. I started when we had a 9-person team. When I left, we had over 600 full-time employees, the majority here in Massachusetts.

I was incredibly dispirited during the 2012 elections. I realized that we need to refocus on real issues. We need entrepreneurial politicians who listen to all voters. But on Tuesday [the September 9 primary], only 16 percent of eligible voters participated. Why is our two-party system spending all of this money to get a tiny fraction of our citizens out to the polls? Something clearly isn’t working.

We need to rebuild and reframe the establishment to serve the interests of all Americans. That’s why I founded the United Independent Party, a party that exists outside of the simplistic two-party hold on our politics.

And voters are behind us. Our campaign conducted a statewide poll with pollster David Paleologos, and found that 58 percent of Massachusetts voters want a new party to fight for their needs. That’s why I’m running for governor, because change is needed in Massachusetts and in our politics.

HPR: What has your experience been running from “outside” the traditional two-party system?

EF: It’s been incredibly fascinating, incredibly fulfilling, and incredibly motivating. People around the state have been thrilled to hear about me and our movement’s independent vision for Massachusetts.

The party structures have created a political system that fails the government’s customers, the voters. There is a 10-to-1 imbalance in legal fundraising limits between Republican and Democratic candidates and independents. That’s just unfair. I can’t think of a simple constitutional reason why that would be justified. The real reason is that laws like these, which exist around the country, exist to maintain both parties’ grip on power.

People are angry. Very few Americans are happy with the direction the country is going, or with their representatives. I tell the people I talk to that if you’re angry, vote. You have to show up. I even told my supporters to vote in the recent primary, even though I wasn’t even in it. Everyone needs to participate, or nothing will change.

HPR: What has been the reaction to you and the United Independent Party? Do you think you have a chance in November?

EF: We have a clear path to victory. We’ve already accomplished one of our main goals. We’re going to be an official political party after the November elections, and will have the same enormous structural opportunities that Democrats and Republicans enjoy.

Whatever happens this November, 2016 will be our first priority. So many of our state’s representatives run completely unopposed. When our team goes around the state, we’re not just finding voters, but future leaders. Given how just 11 percent of voters in Massachusetts are enrolled as Republicans, we can see ourselves becoming the second-largest party here. There’s a pragmatic way to do this. It’s hard work, but it’s what needs to be done. We have the technology and capacity to build a movement of independent leadership across the state.

That being said, we are confident that we could win this November, and get down to the hard work of governing.

HPR: What would your first priorities be if you were elected in November?

EF: I would call the leaders in our state house from both established parties. I would start working with leadership to find real ideas and real solutions. Voters are entitled to answers. If a campaign is a job interview, I think almost all candidates fail. We need leaders willing to take a chance. We have enormous challenges facing our state, and we need real, entrepreneurial ideas to solve those problems.

Health care is a central issue. At a debate a few weeks ago, candidates Baker and Coakley failed to give a definitive answer about their role in creating our current issues around merging and monopolizing hospitals.

We need a global payment system to replace our current failed fee for service model. We need to remove the profit motive from healthcare, which has made the industry a Wild West of pricing. I’m not proposing a single payer system. I’m proposing a single payment system to remove the stranglehold health systems and insurance giants have.

We also need to reform the housing market. Massachusetts is a global center for higher education. Why do so few of our talented graduates stay in Massachusetts? The housing market is a big part of the problem. We need to promote homeownership and homebuilding, especially mixed use, multi-family developments that create strong communities.

These ideas shouldn’t be seen as groundbreaking. There has been lots of research to create entrepreneurial policies for our state. Yet there have been no results, and none of these policies we need. Everything leads to jobs. We need a lower cost of living, combined with greater stability, to achieve sustainable growth.

America began as an experiment. The Founders made it clear that it’s just us. It’s about all of us. We need to get involved and be creative. We can’t have parties that are too big to play by the rules, and too big to answer to voters. The United Independent Party is a movement about doing the hard work of building relationships, and not going away.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Image Credit: Falchuk for Governor

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