Evan Falchuk, independent gubernatorial candidate and founder of the United Independent Party, spoke Wednesday at Suffolk University Law School about his campaign for governor and his goals for Massachusetts.
The roundtable event, sponsored by the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service, an offshoot of Suffolk Law School, is part of a series of nine discussions, each of which hosts one gubernatorial candidate.
Falchuk said his motivation for running came from his desire to combat the partisan gridlock between Republicans and Democrats that he sees in Massachusetts.
“I got tired of voting for the lesser of two evils,” he said. “Rather than just complain about it, I decided to do something it. That’s why I decided to run for governor.”
Falchuk founded the United Independent Party in January 2013 as a party that is dedicated to finding “fiscally sensible solutions, pragmatically progressive ideas and protecting our civil liberties,” a platform that he emphasized at the roundtable discussion.
Throughout the roundtable, Falchuk spoke about affordable housing, education and state tax rates, among other public policy issues.
Raising concerns about rising costs in healthcare, Falchuk said the recent emergence of large health care systems have enabled them to use their market power to inordinately raise prices in the absence of regulation.
“Today, about 72 percent of the market is controlled by hospital systems,” he said. “And the studies and the data show that as hospitals consolidate get bigger, they increase their prices. They use their market power in that way. And that passes through to consumers and businesses in the form of higher insurance premiums. It has to stop.”
Falchuk also emphasized the need for campaign finance reform. Because Massachusetts law allows the major parties to receive individual donations 15 times larger than independent parties, Republican and Democratic candidates have a large advantage in terms of fundraising, he said.
John Rodriguez, the field director for Falchuk’s campaign, said the campaign recognizes this disadvantage, but they are not letting it discourage their ambitions.
“When you don’t have money, you need to have a heavy outreach program,” he said. “We’ve done that.”
Because Falchuk is not running for a major party, he can focus immediately on fundraising and publicity for the general election, Rodriguez said.
“[The major party candidates’] attention is focused on their caucuses,” he said. “We have the extreme advantage of being able to get out to folks early and often before any other candidate is able because we don’t have to pander to the caucus and focus on the primary.”
Falchuk’s campaign has traveled to over 100 cities and towns across Massachusetts, visiting every county but Duke and Nantucket, Rodriguez said.
“To say that we’ve been able to reach out to every single county at this phase of the game, is nothing no other candidate can really say,” he said.
Several attendees said the event was an important step for Falchuk at this point in the gubernatorial race.
John Fitzpatrick, 54, of South Hadley, said he is optimistic for Falchuk’s chances in the election.
“Massachusetts is predominantly independents, so if [an independent candidate] is going to take off, it’s here,” he said. “… If he’s good, he could do it since there’s not a lot of excitement behind the Republican or Democratic candidates.”
Sophie DeGroot, 19, a Northeastern student interning for Falchuk’s campaign, said she was struck by his extroversion and engagement.
“Most people don’t even get to know their interns’ names and won’t be there for the interview, so that was really striking to me,” she said. “The people we’ve talked to have been very excited just because [Falchuk] is offering something new, which is what a lot of people want. Evan will be a new face for politics across Massachusetts.”