Attorney General Martha Coakley told a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast Wednesday that government's role is not to pick business winners and losers but to create a competitive environment conducive to the development of new ideas and technological innovation. How to do that will be one of several topics explored at an energy summit she'll convene this spring.
Massachusetts has the nation's fifth highest energy costs, with price per kilowatt hour twice as much as many competitor states. "Even if solutions are not obvious or easy, that doesn't mean they don't exist," she told attendees, suggesting that Massachusetts could double its energy efficiency. She spoke of creating more competition, central procurement of renewables, greater transparency on our bills so we understand the market better, and addressing transmission costs.
The idea is to encourage the market, not individual companies, as Massachusetts did with Evergreen or the feds did with Solyndra. She used Kendall Square as an example of creating an environment fertile for technological innovation.
Coakley's involvement in key issues facing the Commonwealth, her actions targeting health costs, for example, along with energy, consumer protection, criminal justice, prepare her well for the corner office. Contrary to her dismal performance against Scott Brown in the 2010 special election to finishTed Kennedy's term, she has an engaging personality, sense of humor and warmth. Would she run for governor in 2014?
I asked her, privately, after her speech. While not ruling it out, she said it's very early in the process, she loves being A.G. and feels she can make a significant impact there (she has said on several occasions she's running for reelection). She made it clear that the brutality of that kind of campaign makes it a decision not to be lightly taken. All this is true. Still, it's hard not to think that she would be a formidable candidate for Massachusetts governor.
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