Good morning. I am honored and grateful to be offered this opportunity to talk about Mitt Romney’s record as Governor of Massachusetts from 2002 to 2006.
As an elected official in the City of Somerville during Governor Romney’s one and only term – and as Mayor during his last two years in office – I had hoped back then that Governor Romney would follow through on his campaign promises to use his experience as a private sector executive to attract – or at least enable – new jobs for my city and state.
I wanted to believe that he would work to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of government – and to help cities and towns by giving them the tools to manage more efficiently.
Unfortunately, what we got was a series of state budgets that pushed more and more costs onto local budgets – a tactic that ravaged cities and towns – and forced them to raise property taxes even as the size and indebtedness of state government continued to grow.
For a leader who now says that he governed Massachusetts as a – quote – “severely conservative Republican” – unquote, it’s curious to note that, under Mitt Romney, government jobs grew at six times the rate of private-sector jobs, while private sector jobs growth lagged well behind the national average.
In Governor Romney’s last two years in office, the ranks of state employees in Massachusetts swelled by over 5,000 workers, and the Commonwealth ranked 7th in the nation for growth in the size of state government. During the same period, Massachusetts ranked 47th in private sector job growth.
Now, as it happens, I’m not opposed to hiring more public sector workers if their efforts end up stimulating sustainable growth in the larger economy.
But I don’t claim, as Governor Romney now does, to be a severely conservative Republican. And the growth in government spending and employment under Mitt Romney didn’t jump-start our economy, which failed to keep up with the rest of the nation.
So I ask voters to contrast the performance of Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts with the state’s record under our current Governor, Deval Patrick, and under the national leadership of President Obama.
Thanks to their pragmatic investment in the kinds of cost-effective programs that actually grow the economy – investments in education and infrastructure, and seed money for well-designed, sustainable economic development projects – Massachusetts under Obama and Patrick has had the kind of economic performance that Bush and Romney tried to promise – but never delivered.
Today – even after a national recession provoked by the same kinds of irresponsible and radical fiscal policies Governor Romney now says he supports – Massachusetts has been able to work its way out of the hole he left us in.
Our unemployment level in Massachusetts stands at 5.9 percent, well below the national average. In my city of Somerville, unemployment stands at just 3.9 percent.
And one of the big reasons for our success is that we are fortunate to have received state and federal investments in transit, in roads, and in other basic infrastructure to support sustainable, smart-growth development – precisely the type of investment that President Obama has called for at the national level and that Governor Romney says he opposes.
Back when he was our Governor, we learned that there was a huge gap between Governor Romney’s promises about economic growth and his ability to deliver.
But what we’re learning now is that there is an even bigger gap – in values and in performance – between the Governor Romney who presided over Massachusetts from 2002 to 2006 and the photo-shopped portrait that Governor Romney is trying to sell to the voters of the nation.
So take note, America. As Governor, Mitt Romney’s approach was all about shifting costs and growing state government. It was an approach that didn’t do much for our cities and towns – or for the growth of our state economy. And the story he’s telling now about his time as governor just doesn’t reconcile with the facts.