Democratic gubernatorial candidates Michael J. Barrett '70 and Mark Roosevelt '78 appear to grow more and more similar every day.
From the same building where Beacon Hill representative Roosevelt officially opened his campaign three weeks ago, Barrett, a state senator from Cambridge, declared his candidacy for governor yesterday afternoon.
Addressing a crowd of about 75 supporters at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, Barrett said the attitude and policies of Governor William F. Weld '66 will not help Massachusetts' workers overcome the state's economic problems.
"My reason for running is short and simple: the working people of this state confront an economic challenge unlike any we've faced in our lifetimes," Barrett said. "Weld is too comfortable, too complacent and too oblivious to do anything about it."
The state senator offered several proposals as part of his plan to ensure economic growth in Massachusetts.
Barrett said he wants to implement President Clinton's health care reforms, expand the availability of student loans for middle-aged workers, get Massachusetts connected to the "information superhighway," encourage exports to Asia and Latin America and reform welfare programs.
"I'll do everything in my power to make thisinsecure, high-anxiety economy the defining issuein the governor's race," he said. "Change isserious work [and] we've got to get in the chase."
Barrett clarified his previously vague ideas oneducation reform, saying he encourages "more timefor learning, in and out of school."
Barrett said he wants to create "homeworkcompacts" between students, parents and teachers"committing [students] to two hours of homeworkevery night."
Barrett gave a lengthy criticism of Weld's"aloof" and "oblivious" style, comparing thegovernor to the cartoon character Mr. Magoo.
"His political operatives are pretty good adamage control, so he passes from crisis to crisislike the nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo,"Barrett said. "He escapes unscathed--but he leavesdisaster in his wake for Massachusetts."
Barrett said Weld cares more about nationalpolitics than state issues.
"Weld and his inner circle think this electionis in the beg," Barrett said. "Their minds are onthe national audience for presidential politics in1996."
As Barrett enumerated Weld's weaknesses, theaudience of supporters and family members joinedhim in the refrain: "Oh Magoo, you've done itagain."
Barrett also said he is different from theother Democratic candidates and accused hisopponents of supporting Weld.
He charged that candidate and former State Sen.George Bachrach (D-Watertown) "admits he helpedfacilitate contributions to the Weld-Cellucciorganization in 1991, after Weld was in office,after the patronage and the political funny stuffbegan, and after the devastation of programs wasunderway."
And Barrett accused Roosevelt of "being a Weldfan."
Unlike his opponents, Barrett said he plans towork to improve government efficiency.
"Alone among the Democratic candidates forgovernor," Barrett said, "I'll re-inventgovernment in the Clinton-Gore mold, stretchingyour tax dollars and improving the quality ofservices."
In keeping with his campaign theme of reachingout to the working class, Barrett staged threeother announcement ceremonies at small businessesacross the state.
Former Massachusetts Democratic Party ChairSteve Grossman and Barrett campaign chair MaryJane Gibson introduced the candidate. They praisedBarrett for his past accomplishments and what theycalled his independent mindset.
Several Barrett supporters--including CambridgeMayor Kenneth E. Reeves '72 and City CouncillorFrancis H. Duehay '55--stood at Barrett's side ashe outlined the goals of his campaign