By Sara Feijo
Creating jobs, revitalizing education and reviving the state's economy are independent gubernatorial candidate Jeff McCormick's top priorities.
According to McCormick, a 52-year-old native of upstate New York who lives in Boston, supporting small businesses' growth is the key to creating jobs and having a growing middle class.
"When you grow a company and you create value, you create a lot of jobs," McCormick said at Suffolk Law School's Rappaport roundtable Feb. 19, the sixth in a series of discussions with gubernatorial candidates. "If there is anything that you remember about me or today or anything I say, it should be Jeff for jobs."
McCormick, one of two independents running for Governor Deval Patrick's position, in addition to five Democrats and two Republicans, said the state needs to invest in community and state colleges because 85 percent of Massachusetts graduates attend state universities.
McCormick, who seeking office for the first time, said that colleges need to stop educating students, but rather teach them skills that will get them jobs upon graduation.
"There are 135,000 open jobs right now, and you think, ‘Geez, if those were filled magically overnight, we cut our unemployment in less than a half. How cool would that be?'" he told about 50 students and other guests at the roundtable. "The problem is the skill sets don't match the jobs. Well, if you can tell that these companies you know are going to need molecular biologists and you encourage students to get into that discipline, they know there's going to be a job.
"Isn't the purpose of education not to just cram your head with facts but to also have a job waiting for you on the other side so that you can become a productive member of society and live the American dream?" he said.
As governor, McCormick said he would not immediately change the state's budget, but he would bring outside experts to look at ways of improving the economy, by doing a comprehensive review of the budget, systems and processes that are currently in place.
"Right now, we're the 20th on unemployment, we're the 35th in state bureaucracy, we're in the bottom five in cost of energy, (and) we're 49th in overall cost of doing business. These are not areas I want to lead in, and I think there are models and people out there that have figured out ways to cut through some of the chatter and really get to the solutions to problems," he said, adding that when Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine was the state's governor, Virginia was the number one state for education and business.
McCormick, who is the founder of Saturn Partners, a Boston venture capital firm, hopes to eventually reduce the state's 5.2 percent income tax to 5 percent. He also said he opposes casinos and would vote to repeal the law creating them.
Upcoming Rappaport Roundtable speakers include independent candidate Evan Falchuk on Feb. 24, Republican Mark Fisher on March 3 and Democrat Juliette Kayyem on March 19.
Staff writer Sara Feijo can be reached at 781-433-8336 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @s_fjo on Twitter. Like The Dedham Transcript on Facebook and follow @DedhamTranscrip on Twitter.
McCormick: Education should align with needed job skills
By Sara Feijo