These listening abilities — there was a cause he was given two ears and one mouth, his mom would say — proved important as Baker, a part of a convention of socially average, fiscally conservative New England Republicans, took the helm of a liberal-leaning state dominated by Democrats in 2015.
Baker battled blizzards, a teetering public transit system and once-in-a-generation pandemic. He additionally drew the ire of former President Donald Trump by refusing to endorse or vote for the man Republican in 2016 and 2020. Trump in flip, laced into Baker, calling him a “RINO” or Republican In Identify Solely.
“Baker is unhealthy on crime, disrespects our police, does nothing for our Veterans,” Trump mentioned in a 2021 e mail.
Baker remains to be reluctant to interact Trump straight, saying the GOP “has to decide going ahead about how they wish to deal with that message and I hope they make the correct one.” By necessity, Baker solid a bipartisan path. He might do little with out Democrats.
“I’ve at all times thought this can be a group sport. I’ve by no means felt prefer it labored if we considered it purely via the lens of win-lose,” mentioned Baker. “The American public is nowhere as excessive as social media and the events would lead you to imagine.”
As he prepared to leave office next week, the 6-foot-6-inch (2-meter) former Harvard basketball participant is looking forward to his subsequent job main the NCAA. The nation’s largest school sports activities governing physique oversees some 500,000 athletes at greater than 1,100 faculties.
Baker steps into the job in March.
“It’s an enormous a part of how loads of younger folks discover themselves, construct a basis of their worth programs and their perception in themselves and it’s a means loads of children within the U.S. find yourself going to varsity,” mentioned Baker.
Amongst Baker’s followers is his successor, Democratic Legal professional Normal Maura Healey, who final month turned the primary girl and first member of the LGBTQ group elected Massachusetts governor. She takes workplace subsequent week.
Healey has praised Baker, calling him “a valued associate” who targeted on frequent floor in an period of divisiveness.
“Governor Baker needs to be happy with his document of service to Massachusetts and the nation,” Healey mentioned when Baker introduced he wouldn’t search a 3rd time period. “I’m grateful to name him a buddy.”
The state’s antiquated public transit system bedeviled Baker as governor.
Underneath Baker billions have been poured into changing tracks, fixing alerts and updating electrical programs whilst officers handled runaway trains, subway cars belching smoke, and rush hour trains working on weekend schedules.
Earlier this 12 months a whole department of the subway, the Orange Line, was closed for 30 days to let employees full 5 years value of repairs. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s troubles even drew the eye of the Federal Transit Authority.
One bit of fine information got here this month with the opening of a new extension of the Green Line subway from downtown Boston to close by Medford.
“The factor folks in elective workplace want to grasp is that you’ll get credit score for enlargement as a result of it’s seen. You’ll not get credit score for all of the stuff you do on the core system, which is the explanation why lots of people received’t do it,” Baker mentioned.
Satirically, one in every of Baker’s harshest critics is the pinnacle of the Massachusetts Republican Social gathering, a Trump loyalist.
GOP occasion chair Jim Lyons has sided with the previous president, who misplaced by double digits in each elections in Massachusetts, in opposition to Baker.
“President Trump was 100% right when he declared earlier this month that ‘RINO’ Gov. Charlie Baker ‘has executed nothing for the Republican Social gathering,’” Lyons mentioned final 12 months. “No Republican governor in America has executed much less to advocate for Republican ideas than Gov. Baker.”
By far the largest problem Baker confronted was the coronavirus pandemic.
Through the pandemic’s first 100 days or so Baker held daily, livestreamed news conferences as leaders tried to get their arms across the quickly evolving public well being nightmare.
One of many largest classes from these early months is the necessity for clear and fixed communication in instances of disaster, he mentioned.
“When individuals are actually anxious about one thing and when there may be a lot info, a few of which is in direct battle with one another flying round, it’s actually necessary for public officers to be out and to be seen regularly,” Baker mentioned.
Baker has mentioned he hopes Healey presses for the event of renewable vitality, one in every of his priorities. Baker had pushed unsuccessfully to place $750 million into a clean energy innovation fund.
Though he doesn’t have any instant plans to leap again into politics, Baker wouldn’t rule it out.
He mentioned largest sudden lesson he’s discovered as governor was how a lot he and his administration can be embraced by the general public.
“If you spend as a lot time in entrance of the media as we do, folks deal with you such as you’re their neighbor. You could be the great or the unhealthy neighbor, however they deal with you want a neighbor they usually inform you every kind of attention-grabbing issues,” he mentioned. “That has been extremely necessary to me.”