A Case Study for the Commonwealth -- The Vision, the Path

Our Commonwealth stands at a crossroads, and our leadership must offer a clear direction forward, a compelling vision complete with a plan to get there.

Our challenge is to overcome cynicism and define goals that inspire us, and unite us. That includes plans to build an economy and jobs with real security, satisfaction and opportunity. But it means even more than that. It embraces a broad new understanding of the legacy we want to pass on -- compelling goals and a big-picture vision we fashion together. Only then can we ask for all of us to contribute, even sacrifice, to realize a better future, because we all understand and appreciate that together we share in our successes, and build our true common wealth.

Government’s role? Serve as a strong partner to a vital private sector. Embrace an historic precedent to rebuild our middle class. Invest in healthy communities, and translate the recent election’s message into real progress and tangible reform.

This vision applies to every issue before us -- jobs, education, transportation, health care, alternative energy, environmental protection, labor’s participation, financial services, election reform, tax reform. Each can be seen through the same lens, and for each of these issues specific steps can transform goals into reality.

Many of these initiatives are rooted in the profoundly positive choices we made in the aftermath of World War Two, when we built the strongest economy and proudest middle class the world has ever known.

But over the past 30 years, we stopped investing in each other, and we stopped investing in our future. We allowed our prosperity to concentrate into fewer and fewer hands. Our economy has become top-heavy, and unfortunately Massachusetts is far from an exception: We have one of the largest income disparities, top to bottom, of all states in the Union.

This widening gulf between the fortunate few, and the rest of our state and nation, belies the American Dream. It makes social mobility more and more difficult. It makes entrepreneurship less and less possible. Addressing this inequality is the decisive action we must take, imbued with Martin Luther King’s powerful phrase, “the fierce urgency of now.”

We know we have the economic engine, creative and intellectual capital, environment, historic models, energy and inspiration to realize our dream. We have the capacity to create healthier communities in every sense of the term, making our Commonwealth live up to its name. But to act on this commitment mandates that we order our priorities, and galvanize around a clear sense of our mission.

Political leadership should scapegoat neither the poor nor rich, because for every challenge, our questions are always the same:

What can we do to build more opportunity and more equity, better prospects and better justice? How do we move closer and closer to the ideals that shaped our state, and then defined our nation? How do we use the economy as our tool to deliver on our dreams?

We do this first by collaborating in public and private, concentrating not on fiscal cliffs of our own making but on the horizon, and progress we all can embrace.

We do this understanding that a healthy economy is built from the middle out, not from the top down.

We do this recognizing the profound difference between corporations that extract wealth out of our communities versus businesses that remain rooted and responsible to our communities.

We do this knowing that excellent public education, the foundation of our democracy, must be accessible and affordable for all.

We do this realizing that health care is another right that must be accessible, affordable, and no longer coupled with employment.

We do this recognizing the crucial role labor must play in decision making about corporate governance and social priorities as well as wages and working conditions.

We do this by investing and re-investing in our infrastructure, modernizing public transportation, improving the highways – and digital highways – essential to our economic growth, and transforming our energy grid.

We do this by spending today’s dollars on tomorrow rather spending tomorrow’s dollars on today.

We do this by ending a false division between our environment and our economy, understanding that the health of the former is essential to the health of the latter.

We do this embracing government’s role both as a necessary, vital partner for those who move our economy forward, and as a necessary, vital helping hand for those who need our support.

We do this ensuring that our electoral process is fair and open, that there are no barriers to exercising the right to vote and that candidates inspire us to do so.

We do this by guaranteeing all of our citizens regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or financial standing every right guaranteed to any of our citizens.

We do this by replacing worn-out political labels that divide us -- right vs left, conservative vs liberal -- with a vision built on pragmatism and compassion, inclusion and fairness, focused on the Commonwealth we want to leave to future generations.

This is the context in which we will choose a new leader for the Commonwealth, the standard by which we will measure candidates for the corner office. And so what follows is a look at Dan Wolf’s accomplishments, experience, and perspectives on each of these issues. His combination of remarkable business success and hands-on experience – from mechanic to pilot, union organizer to CEO, community activist to State Senator -- fused with a passionate commitment to make government work for all, makes him uniquely suited to take on the key challenges we face over the next decade.