The Herald News

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez remembers walking into his first meeting as former Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget chief.

TAUNTON – Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez remembers walking into his first meeting as former Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget chief.

“The very first thing he said is, ‘I want that train’,” Gonzalez said in a meeting with the Taunton Daily Gazette during a stopover in Taunton.

 Taunton officials irate over the Baker administration’s recent decision to switch routes from the previously preferred Stoughton option to the less expensive but more circuitous, less environmentally-friendly Middleboro route – that lacks a stop in downtown Taunton – have a potential ally in Gonzalez.

“The point is to make it easier and faster for people to get to and from Boston,” Gonzalez said.

Patrick had made South Coast Rail a priority – and selected the Stoughton route – because he thought the train would be an economic engine, as well as reducing pollution by taking cars off the road.

But the Middleboro route would mean longer commutes with lower ridership. And because it would be diesel instead of electric, it would be worse for the environment, Gonzalez said.

“I’m looking at what they’re proposing and I’m really concerned,” Gonzalez said.

“It’s also an issue of regional equity. People in other parts of the state already have access to good public transportation.”

As to bringing jobs back to Southeastern Massachusetts, once a dynamic manufacturing hub, Gonzalez said, “There is not one single bullet.”

 But he said one of the solutions is to do some of the things “government does well” – such as building the kind of transportation system that links people to jobs and affordable housing.

He also said solar, wind and other sustainable energy technologies are a “huge economic development opportunity” with the potential for providing high-quality jobs.

“Gov. Patrick used to say the world could be our customer when it comes to clean energy. We have the opportunity to be a leader in this,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez, an attorney who served as Patrick’s secretary of administration and finance, more recently served as a health care CEO – something he has in common with Republican incumbent Gov. Charlie Baker, who was also a budget chief, under former Gov. Bill Weld.

The election of Donald Trump as President makes it all the more important what happens on the state and local levels, Gonzalez said.

has walked a fine line during Trump’s candidacy and more so since his election. He purposefully did not vote in the election but did attend Trump’s inauguration in Washington.

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