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Setti Warren appeals to JP voters

Gov. candidate gears up for Dem. caucuses

Yawu Miller | 1/10/2018, 10:53 a.m.
Former Newton Mayor and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren thinks Massachusetts isn’t investing enough in its education system, and he’s ...
Former Newton Mayor Setti Warren addresses a gathering of JP Progressives. Banner photo

Warren also spearheaded an $11.4 million Proposition 2½ override initiative, raising property taxes in the town above the statutory limit of 2.5 percent, to fund repairs to aging school buildings, fund road repairs and hire additional police officers.

He told JP Progressives activists he is willing to take the same political risks at the state level to invest in the state’s infrastructure, citing the $2 billion shortfall in the state’s Chapter 70 school funding formula that he says is shortchanging schools across the state.

“I wasn’t afraid to raise revenue at the city level,” he said. “We won’t be afraid to raise revenue at the state level.”

For starters, Warren supports the Fair Share Amendment, widely known as the millionaire’s tax, which would add an estimated $2 billion to the state’s coffers by adding a 4 percent tax surcharge to all income in excess of $1 million. Under the amendment, which goes before voters in November, the funds generated by the surtax would be dedicated to transportation and K-12 and public higher education.

Warren noted that the Fair Share Amendment by itself would not provide the funding needed to fill the $2 billion gap in K-12 education.

“We need to be honest about what it’s going to take to give our kids a fair shake, and we’re not,” he said.

Beyond fully funding public education, Warren said he would push for universal pre-kindergarten education and afterschool programming.

“The idea that we can’t invest and ask people who are doing in well in this economy to contribute is wrong,” he said.

Next steps

Warren and the other Democrats are preparing for the first hurdle in their race for the governor’s office: the contest for the Democratic nomination.

To secure the nomination, each candidate must obtain commitments from delegates who will cast votes at the party’s June convention. In the coming weeks, as Democratic ward committees and city committees across the state gear up for their caucuses — commonly held in February — the candidates often make appeals for support from the party grassroots, hoping to secure commitments for votes in the convention.

Before the JP Progressives forum, which also featured an appearance by City Councilor Josh Zakim, who is running for secretary of state, Warren campaign operatives handed out flyers seeking support in turning out loyal delegates to the Jamaica-Plain/Roxbury area Ward 10, 11 and 19 caucuses.

Should he win the primary, Warren may benefit from a surge of progressive Democrats expected to turn out in support of the millionaires’ tax. He might also benefit from another candidate with whom he shares a surname. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren will face off against a Republican challenger in November.

“We’re going to have bumper stickers that say “Warren and Warren,” he joked.