Retiree Questionnaire Offers Insight on Positions

Coakley Responds, While Baker Declines

OCTOBER 24, 2014: Earlier this month the Association mailed a six-part questionnaire to all five Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates. The goal was to learn the candidates’ views toward public retirees, defined benefit pension plans and retiree health insurance benefits.

The Association has received completed responses from Martha Coakley, Evan Falchuk and Jeff McCormick by the October 10th deadline. Despite multiple calls to his campaign seeking a response, we received no response from Charlie Baker. The fifth candidate, Dr. Scott Lively, also chose not to participate.

At this time, we’d like to thank all three candidates for taking the time to participate in our survey. In doing so, they have provided an important service to public retirees. Full results can be found at the bottom of this page.

Democrat Coakley, along with her two independent rivals, all expressed their support for the current defined benefit pension model, as well as seeking ways to increase the cost-of-living base for retirees. Each candidate also supports holding current retirees harmless from fundamental changes in retiree health care benefits.

However, it was Martha Coakley who provided the Association with the most detailed and personal answers to the questionnaire. Coakley explained that as a career public servant, as well as the spouse of a retired Cambridge police officer, she has paid into the retirement system herself and is enrolled in the same health insurance system as other public employees and retirees.

“I have spent my career in public service, and my husband was a police officer, so I understand the importance of having a secure pension for so many public workers. When the economy crashed, we saw the risk of defined contribution plans – as millions of workers lost their hard-earned safety net. I believe we must keep our commitments for those already employed by the Commonwealth and those who have already retired. For generations, Massachusetts has promised hard-working public servants a dignified retirement, and I will keep that promise as governor,” said Coakley.

“Needless to say, it was refreshing to hear from Martha Coakley and the two independent candidates for governor that they would not seek to cut retiree benefits as governor. Pulling the rug out from under people who paid their own money into the system and now depend on these benefits in their retirement years is not only wrong, but also unnecessary,” says Association President Frank Valeri.

“I am very disappointed that Charlie Baker chose not to participate in the questionnaire. As our members can see, the questions were very straightforward,” continues Valeri. “Given the anti-public retirement positions taken in the past by Baker’s running mate, Karyn Polito, the silence on these issues from Charlie Baker is reason for concern.

“We’ve been carefully considering our position in this race and expect to make a decision on whether or not to endorse within the coming days. Whatever we decide to do, it will be to protect and support the interests of our members.”

Martha Coakley Retiree Questionnaire.pdf61.11 KB
Evan Falchuk Retiree Questionnaire.pdf254.7 KB
Jeff McCormack Retiree Questionnaire.pdf64.53 KB