BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito is one of the most powerful women in the Republican Party. In a one-on-one interview, WBZ’s Paula Ebben asked her thoughts about the 2020 election and her own political future.
Paula Ebben: There has been a lot of upheaval in the GOP since 2016…what kind of Republican are you?
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito: “You know, I think about that a lot as a woman leader in the Commonwealth, and I think about the future of the Republican Party. We – (Governor Charlie Baker) and I – have a different brand of leadership as compared to what’s happening in Washington and other parts of the Commonwealth, and I strongly believe in the leadership that we have articulated in the Commonwealth – one that is of a bipartisan nature, one that’s focused on finding consensus and common ground. When you really listen and learn from each other get to a better place and the focus has to be on getting the job done.
“If politicians would just put in check the idea of either finding blame or taking credit and just focus on the work, and really trying to move the ball forward to resolve some of the big issues of the day, instead of putting them on the back burner or blaming it on someone else for not getting it done, we would be a whole lot more productive.”
Ebben: Will you work for the re-election of the president?
Polito: “We did not support and I did not support Trump when he was a candidate and I will not be supporting him in this next election. I do feel it’s important for us to be focused on this Commonwealth. I have tried hard to stay away from the national politics. I think the governor and I have been very intentional about being less political and more productive in our service to the people of this Commonwealth, and we find that our relentless focus on the work is really the hallmark of our success – and why I believe we were reelected for a second term of office.”
Ebben: You’ve said that you found some of his tweets – particularly at some women in congress “distressing” – does it bother you to see that kind of language coming from the president?
Polito: From the President and there are others in political life that do that, and it’s a setback.
Ebben: There is a significant number of people in Massachusetts who did vote for the president…what do you say to constituents as we head in to this big election year about that?
Polito: “I think it’s important for people to make their own decisions. We will not dictate certainly how someone would vote, but certainly it’s the most important thing for people to do is to be informed about their choices at the ballot box and to make their decision. It shouldn’t be a surprise where the governor and I stand on this, because we have been consistent with how we feel. And you know, while the president has done some good things in particular for our economy, it’s the way in which you express yourself about a lot of issues that’s really important.”
Ebben: Do you plan to run for governor some day?
Polito: “Well, I am planning to do the job that the people elected me to do. I feel like if you do the work, you do a good job, then good things can come from that, and I certainly would be open to other possibilities of serving in the future, but I think that comes from doing a good job and focusing on what’s in front of you.”
Ebben: That’s not a “no…”
Polito: “That’s not a no.”
As for criticism that Polito has received in recent days over jobs in the Judicial System that have gone to people she knows in her personal life, she says there is a blind application process and what she considers a good vetting system in place with checks and balances.
“The governor and I do know a lot of people, we serve in these roles, and we are people that are active in our communities,” Polito said. “And I would not want a qualified individual who wishes to continue their public service or become a public servant held back because they have some knowledge of who we are.”
Coming up on WBZ News on Monday, more on the issues the Lieutenant Governor plans to focus on this year from education to the economy.