The final governor debate in the state of Massachusetts between Republican candidate Geoff Diehl and Democrat Maura Healey Thursday night saw the two candidates sparring over taxation and how best to handle the energy crisis.
Healey, currently the state’s Attorney General, said “cutting taxes” would be a priority under her administration but later dodged a question on whether she would commit to not raising taxes.
Conversely, Diehl, a Donald Trump-endorsed former state legislator, repeatedly said he would not “anticipate ever raising taxes” and opposed a proposal to increase taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers.
“We’re overtaxing people,” he added.
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When directly asked about not raising taxes, Healey said she was not “going to commit to particular pledges.”
“The economic health and well-being of this state is absolutely the priority and the responsibility of the governor,” the Democrat said.
Immediately following Healey’s refusal not to make the tax pledge, Diehl’s campaign pushed the point to his supporters.
In an email to his supporters, the Republican added: “There is only one thing you need to know about tonight’s debate in the race for Governor — Maura Healey REFUSED to promise voters that she won’t raise taxes.”
“That’s a huge warning sign to voters,” he added. “In fact, Maura Healey is already working hard to raise taxes by supporting Question One. There is no question Geoff Diehl is the best choice to be our next Governor because he is the ONLY candidate who will make Massachusetts more affordable.”
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At the debate, the two gubernatorial candidates also discussed the ongoing energy crisis and surging energy prices in the state. Diehl pointed out Healey’s record of blocking plans for two gas pipelines and attempted to pit her deterring energy supplies on rising costs in what is expected to be a pricey winter.
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Healey maintains a sizable lead over Diehl in national polling, though it has dropped five points over the last three months.
The final televised debate was hosted by WCVB Channel 5 in partnership with the Boston Globe, WBUR, and Univision.