Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley went head-to-head in NECN’s gubernatorial debate Monday night.
The two had some heated exchanges including when Coakley grilled Baker on job cuts at Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare while giving himself a $1.7 million dollar salary.
Coakley said, “You saw an increase in your own personal benefit dealing with a not for profit while a lot of people lost their jobs and suffered.”
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Baker responded, “So you don’t have any suggestions about how you would have dealt with the jobs at Harvard Pilgrim?”
After applause from the audience, Coakley shot back, "When I solved the problems that were before me I started with the people first didn’t start with cutting.”
And Baker put Coakley on the defensive by bringing up accusations by former Inspector General Greg Sullivan that the attorney general was reluctant to investigate former House Speaker Sal DiMasi and his associates.
“He’s either flat out lying or flat out wrong," said Coakley, “I am the one who brought the charges against and got convictions against Richard Vitale and Dicky McDonough so I would ask you Charlie why is it that you took money in this campaign from Richard Vitale. I prosecuted convicted felons, you’re taking funds from them in your campaign.”
Baker said, “I’d be happy to send back Vitale’s check, I have more donors than anybody else that’s run for governor this year.”
The debate really got interesting during the rapid fire questions.
NECN anchor and debate moderator Latoyia Edwards asked the candidates if they had ever smoked marijuana.
Coakley said no, while Baker said yes to laughter and applause from the audience.
Edwards asked, “Should illegal immigrants get drivers licenses in the state?"
Coakley was booed by the audience when she couldn't give a yes or no answer.
Edwards asked, “Is there a place for Martha Coakley in a Baker administration?”
Coakley responded "no" leaving Baker laughing out loud.