Two big announcements came out of independent Evan Falchuk's camp on Monday: he became the first gubernatorial candidate to officially qualify for the November ballot in Massachusetts, and he plans to spend at least $360,000 on his initial TV and radio advertisement campaign.
While only 10,000 signatures are required to be submitted before the August 26 deadline, Falchuk, who founded the United Independent Party, said his team collected more than 17,000 signatures -- all without the help of paid signature-gathering firms.
“We've been working hard," he said in an interview for IVN. "I've got a lieutenant governor candidate, Angus Jennings, and we've been building the team. We've got a dozen full-time staff, more than a dozen interns, hundreds of volunteers all around the state, and we are challenging the establishment.”
Now that he doesn't have to worry about getting on the ballot, Falchuk says he plans to devote much of his time to organizing and building a coalition of people around the state who want to see reform in Massachusetts politics, government, and the economy.“There's this great bipartisan agreement to not really deal with the serious issues people face, and so much of what this campaign is about is building a coalition of people who feel that the system is not taking them seriously, and is representing monied interests and not the interests of the ordinary voter,” said Falchuk.
He stressed his desire to engage voters around the idea that there is a way to do things that is not tied to the establishment -- a way that asks, what are the right answers to the questions we face instead of asking what are the most politically expedient answers.
One particular problem is the high cost of living in Massachusetts, which is, according to Falchuk, largely due to high health care costs and a lack of strategic housing production plans.
“These kinds of structures hurt families that are trying to take care of an aging parent or save money for their kids to go to school,” said Falchuk. “It becomes a problem when they look and see that their government is focused on elected leaders who want to make sure that they keep their jobs, and then get jobs after they leave government that benefit them instead of the people.”
Falchuk also talked about the recent decision pushed through by Attorney General Martha Coakley which allows the state's largest hospital network to acquire two new hospitals.
“I would have used whatever powers I had as governor to block a deal like that,” said Falchuk, adding that he believes these type of deals are part of ongoing bipartisan-enabled, monopolistic practices that hurt consumers and businesses, and are not good for doctors, nurses, health care workers, or patients.
“It's a really troubling example of what's happening in our government in Massachusetts,” said Falchuk. “We think of ourselves as a very progressive state, but you see things like this going on and you think, you know, that's some nice sounding rhetoric, but those nice vague sounding platitudes don't match with the actions that you're taking. And that's why I founded a new party -- that's why we need a new framework.”
Photo Source: Evan Falchuk / Facebook