Of all the candidates vying for the State House’s corner office next year, there’s one gubernatorial candidate who, if elected, would be standing up for the average Joe.
Treasurer Tim Cahill, who was in the area last week, and met with the editorial board of the Chelsea Record, comes off as a working class, no frills, blue collar Quincy native with a Boston University education but a background in the streets.
“There’s a clear difference between me and the other candidates in the race,” said Cahill last Friday. “While I have a proven record of independent thinking and of making important fiscal decisions that have helped the state I think I’m the candidate that has a deep appreciation of the struggles the everyday citizen is facing in this economy.”
In many ways, Cahill is right. There are clear differences between he and the other candidates. When matched up against current Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who comes off as an aloof politician, and former Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare CEO Charlie Baker, who’s a bit of a brainy Harvard type, Cahill is the everyman–a persona that matches his working class Quincy roots.
He’s more likely (and more comfortable for that matter) to be talking to voters in a local coffee shop or neighborhood restaurant than sitting down to a $500 a plate luncheon.
“It’s not my style,” he said.
But he’s the type of guy that is well versed on the issues and has ideas and opinions on things like casinos (he said it would make sense to allow slots at Suffolk Downs but put larger, resort-style Casinos in less densely populated areas). He is down to earth and will most likely buy you a cup of coffee if you listen to him for more than 10 minutes.
It’s this old school style of politics that Cahill exemplifies and is one of the reasons he decided to leave the Democratic Party (which is aligned with Patrick) and run for governor as an Independent.
While the other two candidates go off to their homes in Milton and Swampscott, Cahill says he goes home to the blue collar Boston suburb where he was raised and still resides today with his wife, Tina, and their four daughters.
“I think there a bit of reality living in a place like Quincy because you’re not only reading about the struggles, or seeing the statistics of job loss in the evening news–you’re seeing it everyday in your neighborhoods,” said Cahill. “These are people you know or grew up with and it hits home.”
Cahill started his political career as a City Councilor in Quincy from 1987 until 1996 when he was elected to Norfolk County Treasurer. He served as county Treasurer until his election as State Treasurer in 2002 after Shannon O’Brien left to run for Massachusetts Governor. Cahill was reelected to a second term in 2006.
While he was always an effective, streetwise politician it was when he rose to statewide office, Cahill’s skills as elected official really shined.
Overseeing one of the biggest departments in state government, Cahill increased the State Pension Fund by over 50 percent in just three years, reforming the State’s School Building Assistance Program, and generating $4 billion through lottery aid to cities and towns.
“I want to be able to expand my ideas of job creation and job growth and find innovative ways to raise funds to the governor’s office,” said Cahill.