Decision 2022

10 Questions for Geoff Diehl: The Gov. Candidate on Politics, Sports and More

GOP candidate Geoff Diehl joins "10 Questions with NBC10 Boston" ahead of the 2022 Massachusetts gubernatorial election

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

The countdown to Decision 2022 continues in the state of Massachusetts.

With less than a month before the election, the two candidates for governor, Democrat Maura Healey and Republican Geoff Diehl, squared off in their first debate at the Boston Media Center. The next day, Diehl talked to "10 Questions with NBC10 Boston" about his career, the last time he watched a sports game and his plans for the state of Massachusetts if he is elected. (Healey's campaign has not made her available for "10 Questions.")

This transcript has been lightly edited. Watch the full interview above.

NBC10 Boston: It's been less than 24 hours since you've been at our NBC Boston studios for the first gubernatorial debate. How are you feeling right now?

I feel great to have that discussion. It's important for the people of Massachusetts to hear what both of us are about. I really appreciate NBC and everything that you guys did over there, a great setup. It was a chance to debate with a good panel. Then we also had a chance to have interviews afterward and talk to the media. You guys handled the debate great and I really appreciate it.

You were born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and have lived in New York City and Los Angeles. How do you think those different stops and careers have shaped your view on not only the state of Massachusetts but the U.S.?

I've been living in the suburbs of Massachusetts for about 20 years, but I was a city mouse when I first started out in New York and L.A. I got a chance to be around a lot of different environments, and a lot of different attitudes. I used to be a Democrat, by the way, 14 years ago. So, you know, for me, it's just been an evolution of philosophy. And I think that's a lot of what I bring to the table. I can look at a lot of different perspectives. When you're in a legislature in Massachusetts, politics is like a fifth sport. People really pay attention to what you're doing and you need to be able to have that critical thinking, not just say, "This is what I think," but what do other people think and try to weigh that. That's what I've always tried to do when I served in office.

You were a Democrat for 13 years, so why the change? 

I think it was kind of like the evolution that Ronald Reagan went through a long time ago. He was a Democrat. My mom worked in a union job for 40 years. My wife's in a union. My brothers and sister-in-law are union workers. My household comes from a sort of Democrat/union background, but I think the Democratic Party now is sort of changing its attitude. I don't think they're necessarily as friendly to the workforce, the working class here in our country, as they used to be. That's just my personal philosophy.

But my goal is to make sure that serving as governor, or my job when I was a state representative, is to give those working families in Massachusetts the best shot they can to live that American dream and make sure that they can afford to, first of all, stay in Massachusetts, retire in Massachusetts, raise their kids or grandkids in Massachusetts. That's what it's all about, giving them that economic future that they deserve.

We took viewers questions for the debate and we had a lot of independents, or just really undecided voters, who see a really big divide between Democrats and Republicans. From your perspective, what can be done to really merge the two parties? 

The constant victimization between everybody... it's terrible. The media sometimes feeds into it. You know, that's how you sell papers or that's how you get people to watch. So politicians are getting more and more audacious with the stuff they say about each other on either side. That's not helping us. That doesn't create the communication that has to happen in the middle, which usually does happen up on Beacon Hill. I served, like I said, for eight years as a state representative. I was able to weigh in on bills and legislation that passed because I could have a good relationship talking with Democrats. I think nationally is where we're starting to get a really bad look at what the politics is all about and trying to keep that out of Massachusetts.

A big conversation surrounding your candidacy is the endorsement of Donald Trump. I'm sure you're sure exhausted about hearing it, but — understandably so — there are people that see him as a divisive figure. From your perspective, what similarities do you find between you and him? And what would you say is the biggest difference? 

When I first decided to support him back in '16 as a candidate, he was someone who I thought was talking about economic issues, putting American workers first, bringing our soldiers back from foreign wars that were no longer serving our national interest, making sure that we had a secure border so that people who wanted to emigrate here could come here and not break the law in the process. I want to speed up immigration. I filed legislation to do that.

I understand from the day he got in, there was a lot of resistance about him. I mean, literally the "resist" hashtag when he first got into office. Now we've got Joe Biden in office and he made a speech a few weeks ago in Philadelphia where he said that anybody who supported Trump in the 2020 elections is a domestic terrorist or something like that. That's the kind of divisive rhetoric that doesn't bring us together. I thought Joe Biden was supposed to be the one that united us as a country. I think in D.C. they're doing a terrible job of trying to actually find the common ground, but we seem to be able to do it in Massachusetts — you know, Charlie Baker, our current governor, is one of the most popular governors in the country because he was able to work with Democrats, and that's the goal I have going forward as well.

You mentioned that politics is the "fifth sport" here in Massachusetts, but sports are very big here in the Bay State. When was the last time you attended a sporting event here?

I was just at a Red Sox game. I'm going to say like two or three months ago. Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, came out so I brought her to a game to see what it was all about. I also went to a Zac Brown concert at Fenway Park but that's not sports. But I took my daughters to that. That was a nice night for us to be out.

Oh, no I'm sorry. I was at Gillette Stadium for the Patriots game like two weeks ago when Mac Jones got injured. I was at that game. Yeah. So probably bad luck. Although I do like [Bailey] Zappe. The guy is good. I don't have Zappe fever, but I like what he's doing. I love the new backup we have.

What should the voters know about you as a person? 

My wife and I, we're very blessed to live in Massachusetts, live in a great community that's been so good to us. I serve locally on a finance committee trying to give back, and that kind of led me to running for state representative. And I never thought I'd be running for governor of Massachusetts. But I'm in that position now because I think people understand I'm always been someone who cares about them and their future.

I'm an Eagle Scout and a philosophy in scouting is "leave the campground better than you found it." That's all I want to do. Try to make Massachusetts just a little bit better every day.

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