Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis (HLS ’60) spoke at HBS on December 11 at the invitation of the HBS Democrats Club.
Dukakis’ speech focused on the importance of grassroots, precinct-based political campaigning. In fact, he attributed the success of his campaigns to successful recruitment of precinct captains and block captains to coordinate local campaign activities. The only major campaign in which he abandoned this approach, the Governor stated, was his failed bid for the presidency in the 1988 general election. Still an adherent to this tactic, Dukakis and his wife, Kitty, served as block captains for Deval Patrick in his successful gubernatorial campaign in 2006.
Dukakis also advocated a greater emphasis on public transportation as a means to relieve congestion at airports and on the roads.
According to the Governor, the entire U.S. rail system could be upgraded for the equivalent of just five days worth of government spending in Iraq. Exhibiting that he truly practices what he preaches, the Governor was well known for taking the ‘T’ to the State House each day – he even took the #66 bus home from HBS.
In response to a question about the upcoming presidential election, Dukakis advocated overhauling the current “crazy” system of primary elections and caucuses. Instead of a state-led process that creeps earlier with each four-year cycle, he stated his support for a proposed system of six regional primaries, held every two weeks between February and April.
The HBS Democrats would like to extend special thanks to Roger Huffstetler (NF) and Luke Fuszard (ND) for coordinating the Governor’s visit.