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Developers Contributed Heavily To Charlie Baker’s Inaugural Committee

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker

Real estate was the apparent backbone to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s inaugural committee and celebrations last week.

More than a quarter of the $1.1M raised by the Baker-Polito 2019 Inaugural Committee came from the construction and development industries. The more-than-$300K sum was raised in November and December following Baker and Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito’s re-election, the Boston Globe reports

The construction and development dollars in the governor’s inaugural committee and celebrations come at a time when several firms have key projects underway around the state. New Balance gave $25K and is still at work building out its Boston Landing transit-oriented development in Brighton. TD Garden owner Delaware North also gave $25K and is working with Boston Properties on the Hub on Causeway mixed-use project next to the arena.

Wayfair co-founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine gave the committee $50K. Their e-commerce company was awarded $31M in tax breaks in December in exchange for adding jobs in Boston and Pittsfield. The incentive is one of the largest tax breaks given in Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council history and is partially tied to a planned office expansion in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. 

The inaugural committee self-imposed a cap of $25K on donations. Suffolk CEO John Fish, WS Development Executive Vice President and partner Thomas DeSimone, WinnCompanies and the New England Regional Council of Carpenters are among those who gave the maximum gift.

Baker’s career in healthcare included positions like CEO of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and later as president and CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care all hit the $25K limit, too. 

NAIOP Massachusetts gave the committee $2,500. Tamara Small, the organization’s CEO, told the Globe the organization was motivated by the Baker administration’s multipronged approach to economic development. Since taking office in 2015, Baker has appointed a fiscal control board to control the MBTA budget and pushed through an environmental bill to fund efforts to protect the coastline from climate change. 

The inaugural committee donations funded 17 events across the state, including a party at Boston’s Museum of Science and an inaugural reception Friday at Union Station in Worcester.