SHREWSBURY – Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced, Wednesday, that they will not seek re-election to a third term in 2022.
Back in Polito’s hometown of Shrewsbury, community members and local leaders have spoken up, celebrating Polito for her continued public service.
“Karyn Polito is the hardest working person I know, and she has served our community and our Commonwealth extraordinarily well,” said State Rep. Hannah Kane in an email to the Community Advocate shortly after Polito and Baker’s announcement.
Polito began political career in hometown
Polito is from Shrewsbury and has served locally as a Shrewsbury Town Meeting member as a Selectman and as a Zoning Board of Appeals member.
She was the commissioner of the Massachusetts Lottery from 1999 to 2000 before she then won her way into the Massachusetts House of Representatives, representing the 11th Worcester District through 2011.
Polito and Baker were elected as Lieutenant Governor and Governor in 2014.
“This was an extremely difficult decision for us,” both Baker and Polito said in a joint statement this week. “We love the work, and we especially respect and admire the people of this wonderful Commonwealth.”
“Serving as Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts has been the most challenging and fulfilling jobs we’ve ever had,” the statement continued. “We will forever be grateful to the people of this state for giving us this great honor.”
Polito spoke with the Community Advocate back in 2015, months after the 2014 election, vowing to continue a tradition of hard work fostered by her upbringing.
“In my family, we learned from the example set by my grandfather, [Robert Lutz] who was one of Shrewsbury’s longest running Town Meeting members,” she said.
Polito has since been a frequent figure at milestone events in the community, recently appearing at the dedication of the new Maj. Howard W. Beal Elementary School and the groundbreaking of the new Shrewsbury Police Station.
She’s appeared at countless other events outside of Shrewsbury over the years as well.
“On behalf of our administration, on behalf of Gov. [Charlie] Baker and our entire team, I say ‘Thank you,’” Polito said during the Police Station groundbreaking. “As your native daughter, I want to tell you how proud I am of all of you.”
Community members react
Community members have shared their thoughts and reactions since news of Polito and Baker’s decision broke.
Kane called Polito a “devoted Mom” who has cherished participating in hometown events.
“We are so fortunate to have had Karyn’s leadership during the last seven years, and I would especially note the key role she played leading our state’s economy recovery out of the pandemic,” Kane said.
Selectman Beth Casavant said she was disappointed to hear the news, saying she has seen Massachusetts thrive under Baker and Polito’s leadership.
“Their administration has always been about empowering local governments by providing the resources and support needed to meet the needs of the residents,” Casavant said.
Polito understands the importance of local government in people’s daily lives firsthand, Casavant said.
“There is something special about the Lt. Governor being from your community; a sense of pride and security that I will surely miss,” Casavant said. “I am glad that she was able to share in so many of our successes during her time as Lt. Governor and appreciate her dedication to the people of Massachusetts.”
‘Today is about the future’
Baker and Polito discussed the COVID-19 pandemic in their joint statement, saying there is a “great deal” of work that still needs to be done to get past the coronavirus.
“That work cannot and should not be about politics and the next election,” they said. “If we were to run, it would be a distraction that would potentially get in the way of the things we should be working on for everyone in Massachusetts. We want to focus on recovery, not the grudge matches political campaigns can devolve into.”
“Today is about the future,” their statement continued. “This next year needs to be about recovery, not about politics. We are grateful for the chance we have been given to serve the people of this great state and will give it our all between now and the end of 2022.”