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Baker: 'Looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work'

Governor-elect Charlie Baker.Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

After a tight gubernatorial race where his opponent did not concede until this morning, Governor-elect Charlie Baker said this afternoon he is focused on his transition to the Corner Office.

Baker, a Republican from Swampscott, speaking at a press conference at the Seaport Boston Hotel, said he is "looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting work."

Baker beat Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat from Medford, by about 40,000 votes. Coakley, however, had declined to concede the race last night, waiting to make that announcement until this morning around 8:15.

"It certainly was a rollercoaster ride for both of us," said Baker. "We always knew it was going to be a close race and it was."

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Baker said he plans on meeting with incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick, who did not seek a third term, later today to start the transition of power. He added that his campaign has reached out to legislative leaders as well.

His first order of business, he said, will be hiring talented and energetic people to serve in the administration. He said James Peyser, a former chairman of the state Board of Education, will lead his transition team. Other than that, he did not name names.

He credited his victory to his campaign's focus on the economy, educational attainment and the need for bipartisan checks-and-balances on Beacon Hill.

He said the public clearly supported not tethering the gasoline tax in the state to inflation by approving Question 1 on Tuesday's ballot.

"I think that's positive," he said.

He also noted that voters supported moving forward with casinos in the state by rejecting a measure that would have repealed the casino law.

"There will be positive as well as negative effects," he said of casinos.

He also said he would support the wish of the majority of state voters who supported requiring almost all employers in the state to provide sick leave to their employees, including part-timers.


 
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