MassLive

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez said he will be a “governor for the whole state” and pledged to focus on issues important to Western Massachusetts residents if elected.

The 46-year-old Needham resident, who left his job as president and CEO of CeltiCare Health and New Hampshire Healthy Families in December to launch his campaign, said he’s committed to doing everything possible to address the needs of people living in the western part of the state.

“I understand that people in Western Mass. legitimately feel that they’ve been ignored and their interests are often ignored in state government and by folks in Boston,” he said in an interview. “I intend to be the governor of the entire state.”

Gonzalez, who was the secretary of administration and finance under former Gov. Deval Patrick, said he plans to promote policies to make early childhood education more affordable and accessible, as well as push for greater investments in transportation systems across the state — like efforts to bring high-speed rail to Springfield.

By speeding up the commute between the Western Massachusetts city and Boston, for example, the state could address housing affordability, jobs and population issues, the Democrat contended.

“We talk about affordable housing as a big problem in the Greater Boston area, but we have plenty of affordable housing in Western Massachusetts and other parts of the state. If we had transportation system that made it a commute to get to the many job opportunities that exist in the Greater Boston area … that’s a win-win,” he said. “We need to be thinking bigger. We need to be honest about the fact that we need to invest more in our transportation system.”

Gonzalez, who noted that his wife is from Chicopee, said he hopes to demonstrate his commitment to residents living in Western Massachusetts through repeated visits and face-to-face conversations with local voters.

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