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Baker greets voters at parade

Date: 3/23/2010

March 24, 2010.

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

HOLYOKE -- The parade wasn't the only thing to happen in Holyoke on Sunday -- following the festivities on the street, revelers were invited to rub elbows with politicians at Congressman John Olver's and State Sen. Michael Knapik's parties at the Wherehouse.

While U.S. Senator Scott Brown only marched in the parade, Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker stopped by Knapik's party to speak with supporters.

"Jobs, taxes and spending," Baker said are the three biggest issues he's been hearing from voters across the Commonwealth. He added that health care, local aid cuts and next year's budget are also items that have been brought up.

"These are what I call the bread and butter issues," he said. "It's about people being able to buy groceries and pay their mortgages."

Baker explained that he believes people across the state are tired of insecurity in their government. He said the state needs to stop changing taxes and regulations so "folks can feel comfortable investing in Massachusetts."

One way he plans to make the state more stable is to roll the sales tax back to 5 percent and eventually roll the income tax back to 5 percent as well. "It's been 10 years since we addressed that," Baker said of the increase in income taxes. "We're overdue to look at it again."

He also aims to have businesses reinvest in Massachusetts not by selecting one or two industries to focus on but by selecting industries that suit each region of the state.

"We need to figure out what works best in each region," he stated. "We need to bring more manufacturing back to Western Mass."

As for Baker's visit to the region on March 21, he said, "I had a great time marching in the parade today. It was nice actually meeting a lot of my Facebook friends. I'll definitely be back next year."