Childhood & Early life
Charles Duane Baker Jr. was born on 13th November, 1956 in Elmira, New York to Charles D. Baker, a businessman and Alice Elizabeth Ghormley, a homemaker.
His father was a conservative republican and investor at the ‘Westinghouse Electric Corporation while his mother was a liberal democrat. Baker had two younger brothers, Jonathan and Alex.
His grandfather and great grandfather served in the public sector. Thus, politics ran in his genes. His family shifted to Needham in Massachusetts, where he grew up playing all kinds of sports.
He received elementary education in Washington D.C when his family moved there in 1969. Upon his return to Needham after a few years, he attended ‘Needham High School’, where he was an integral part of the Student Leadership Body.
As a sportsman, his basketball skills were excellent, making him a part of the school basketball team. He even played at the ‘Bay State Conference’ basketball championship.
He went on to attend ‘Harvard College’, which wasn’t a pleasing experience for him. He graduated with a degree in English studying four years at Harvard, but would rather choose to omit memories of his college days.
Baker was a keen learner and pursued an MBA degree at the ‘University’s Kellogg School of Management’. He was immediately placed as a corporate communications director at Massachusetts High Technology Council after finishing his MBA.
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Entry Into Politics
It was on the recommendation of Lovett C. Peters that Baker was appointed ‘Undersecretary of Health and Human Services’ by William Weld, Massachusetts’ 68th Governor in 1991.
After working diligently, invoking novice ideas and bringing about reforms that were both criticized and appreciated, he was promoted to the post of ‘Secretary of Health and Human Services’ the following year.
During Weld’s second term as governor, Baker was also appointed as the Secretary of Administration and Finance. In 1997, when Paul Cellucci took over as acting governor, he offered Baker the position of lieutenant governor, but not finding it the most ideal time to take on such responsibility, he declined the offer.
After Paul Cellucci’s term came to an end, Charlie turned to private sector in 1998. He became the CEO of the dwindling ‘Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates’ organization and the following year took ownership of ‘Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’ as President and CEO.
He redeemed the organization from bankruptcy. In the span of six years he brought about drastic changes that reformed the structure and functioning of the organization. He outsourced its IT, created contracts with Massachusetts’ physicians and increased premiums, making it one of America’s best health organizations.
His reputation in the health industry increased so much that he was made a member of the board of director at ‘Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’ and ‘Kenneth B. Schwartz Center’.
Re-entry In Politics
In 2004, he was back in politics, after being elected to the ‘Board of Selectman’ of Swampscott. After a couple of years he moved to the ‘Department of Budget and Finance’ before Deval Patrick took office, and found himself in the seat of ‘Public Advisor of New Hampshire Institute of Politics’ in 2008.
With support from Weld, Baker contested the 2010 gubernatorial elections of Massachusetts. He won the Republican Primary election hands-down with a 98.3% vote. Unfortunately, he lost the elections to incumbent Democrat governor, Deval Patrick by only 4% votes.
After Deval declared that he wouldn’t run for elections for a third term, Baker announced his candidature for the gubernatorial elections of 2014.
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He polled massive votes in the primary elections over Mark Fisher, by acquiring 74.1 % votes. At the general elections he won in a tough completion with democrat, Martha Coakley. He received 48.4% votes with the assistance of his running mate, Karyn Polito.
Since his term in office, he has maintained his fiscal conservatism but has managed to be liberal with issues regarding “same-sex marriage” and “abortions”. His system of government is customer-oriented. He has created a bipartisan Cabinet and is working closely with the legislature.
In 2015, he managed to bring an end to a 2 billion dollar budget gap with his ingenious business skills. He also rendered tax relief to 400,000 citizens of Massachusetts with a 50% hike of Earned Income Tax Credit.
He has helped businesses by signing a 1 billion dollar Economic Development bill to boost the economy by providing vocational training, encouraging innovations and creating private sector jobs.
To bolster the education system of the state, he has granted 4.6 billion dollars to fund education, making it the highest local education grant in the history of all American states.
To reduce energy costs, he signed a law to embrace new and advanced technologies in energy conservation, which includes harvesting of hydro and off-shore wind power.
Personal Life & Legacy
Baker fell in love with Lauren Cardy Schadt, an alumnus of Kellogg School of Management. They got married in 1987 and have three children.
Lauren has worked at a New York agency as an assistant account executive. She comes from an affluent family as her father was a former CEO of Reader’s Digest and Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages.
The Baker family has contributed to charity organizations; volunteering along with providing financial support. Presently, Charlie and Lauren along with Charlie, AJ and Caroline, reside at Swampscott.
On a personal note, Baker is a music lover. He listens to classic rock songs of the 70’s, and the songs of Ramones, Dropkick Murphys and Green Day.