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Massachusetts Governor’s Debate: Geoff Diehl and Maura Healey clash over rising taxes and sky-high energy costs

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The latest gubernatorial debate in the state of Massachusetts between Republican candidate Geoff Diehl and Democrat Maura Healey on Thursday night saw the two candidates square off over taxation and how best to handle the energy crisis.

Healey, currently the state’s attorney general, said “cutting taxes” would be a priority under her administration, but then dodged the question of whether she would commit to not raising taxes.

Conversely, Diehl, a former state lawmaker backed by Donald Trump, has repeatedly said he “never plans to raise taxes” and opposed a proposal to raise taxes on richest taxpayers.

“We overtax people,” he added.

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Asked directly about not raising taxes, Healey said she “wouldn’t commit to any particular commitments.”

“The economic health and well-being of this state is absolutely the governor’s priority and responsibility,” the Democrat said.

Immediately after Healey’s refusal not to make the tax pledge, Diehl’s campaign pushed the point to his supporters.

In an email to his supporters, the Republican added, “There’s only one thing you need to know about tonight’s debate in the gubernatorial race: Maura Healey REFUSED to promise voters that she will not raise taxes.”

“This is a huge wake-up call for voters,” he added. “In fact, Maura Healey is already working hard to raise taxes by supporting the first question. There is no doubt that Geoff Diehl is the best choice to be our next governor because he is the ONLY candidate who will make Massachusetts more affordable.”

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Massachusetts Republican Geoff Diehl, left, speaks with Democratic Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, right, before their televised gubernatorial debate, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, at NBC10 Boston Television Studios, Needham , Mass.
(AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

During the debate, the two gubernatorial candidates also discussed the ongoing energy crisis and soaring energy prices in the state. Diehl pointed to Healey’s record of blocking plans for two gas pipelines and tried to weigh his energy supply deterrents on rising costs in what is expected to be a costly winter.

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Healey maintains a considerable lead over Diehl in national polls, although he has dropped five points in the past three months.

The final televised debate was hosted by WCVB Channel 5 in partnership with the Boston Globe, WBUR and Univision.

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