Geoff Diehl, a former state representative and current Republican candidate for Massachusetts governor, never planned on running until he saw some of the negative effects that arose from legislative policies instituted during the pandemic.
“The pandemic hit, and that’s really where I saw businesses shut down, people being forced out of their jobs because they didn’t get vaccinated and kids out of school,” Diehl said in an interview. “I felt like there were a lot of bad decisions being made by people in leadership that really seemed to infringe on our civil rights.”
Diehl’s political career first started in the town of Whitman, Massachusetts where he currently lives.
“I joined the finance committee in my town because I wanted to make sure my town was a great place for my kids to live and provide them the education they deserved,” Diehl said. “Then I got into office, and I started to have a voice for other families and other people’s kids and grandkids.”
After serving on the finance committee and talking to many people in the neighboring towns of Abington and East Bridgewater, Diehl said he noticed that people were not satisfied with their state representative.
“Our state representative wasn’t living up to the commitment or helping us [and] nobody was going to run against him,” he said. “So I said, ‘I’ll do it.’”
After reading two books on how to run for office, Diehl said he ended up winning the race and got to Beacon Hill which he said “opened my eyes to how state government works.”
It was while Diehl was working at the state legislature that he met his running mate for lieutenant governor, Leah Allen.
“I was first elected to the state legislature when I was 24,” Allen said in an interview. “Geoff Diehl and I served together as representatives up on Beacon Hill.”
Allen ran for state legislature because she said she disagreed with the economic decisions of then Gov. Deval Patrick.
“He was proposing the largest tax increase that Massachusetts had ever seen, including an increase to the income tax,” Allen said. “It just so happened that a seat opened up in my district to run for state rep., so I jumped in and I won in a special election.”
After two terms of being a state representative, Allen became a nurse at Beverly Hospital. However, during the pandemic, Allen was fired.
“When I went out on maternity leave, that’s when the government mandates went into effect saying that I had to become vaccinated, or I wouldn’t be able to continue being employed,” Allen said. “I just felt that I didn’t want to take the shot. It wasn’t right for me.”
Allen returned back to politics when she heard Diehl was running for governor.
“I know that he was a strong supporter of individual freedoms,” Allen said. “He was anti-mandate, [anti] vaccines and I wanted to jump in and run with him, and since then other issues have come up such as inflation, affordability.”
Amanda Orlando, the campaign manager for the Diehl-Allen campaign, said in an interview that COVID-19 mandates are what Diehl seeks to repeal.
“The way that those policies and mandates came down wasn’t just unfair, it was destructive,” Orlando said. “Economically, it was destructive to people’s freedoms and their livelihoods and their ability to feed their kids.”
She said she thinks it’s “shameful” how Democratic Governor-elect Maura Healey defended those mandates while she was serving as attorney general.
“Freedom is inherent, and it’s unfortunately been removed in many cases by our government, especially over the last few years,” Orlando said. “Geoff has campaigned that he would restore to the voters here in Massachusetts, to the people here, their freedoms.”
For college-aged students, Diehl said he wants to make Massachusetts more affordable and show there is the ability to live, work and retire comfortably.
“To me the government’s bread and butter is making sure we provide all the services that make that possible, give everybody their individual choices, just be the backbone of helping our state remain affordable,” Diehl said.