In a wide-ranging, hourlong radio appearance Thursday, Governor Charlie Baker laughed with GBH News’ Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, reflected on the last eight years of his tenure in the corner office, and was even taken aback by some surprise guests.
Baker, who has appeared monthly on GBH News’ Boston Public Radio “Ask the Governor” segment since the beginning of his time in office, divulged anecdotes from his time as governor, weighed in on pending legislation, and, as is customary for the program, took questions from callers.
This time, the call list featured some notable voices: “Bill from Canton” (former governor William F. Weld), “Maura from Cambridge” (Governor-elect Maura Healey), and “A guy from Dorchester” (former Boston mayor and labor secretary Martin J. Walsh). All of the mystery guests expressed their gratitude for the outgoing governor, who decided not to seek re-election this year.
“Oh my god that’s so funny,” Baker said, erupting into laughter when he realized Weld was on the other end of the phone. The former Republican governor quizzed Baker on some Massachusetts trivia before congratulating him on his run.
“You got an awful lot done,” Weld said. “Although, you know, in my view, you kind of did it the hard way.”
Baker was thrilled, calling Weld, for whom he worked for as a Cabinet secretary, “boss,” and joking with Healey about cleaning out his top shelves. At 6-foot 6, the outgoing governor towers over the 5-foot 4 attorney general.
After cracking a joke about borrowing a ladder to clean out his office, Healey, who described herself as “a longtime listener, first-time caller,” thanked Baker for his help on the transition, and said she looked forward to learning more of his tips and tricks “over a cheeseburger.”
Baker told Healey that being governor is “one of the most maddening and amazing professional experiences we’ll ever have.”
Throughout the program, Braude and Eagan recalled fond memories (and some not-so-fond ones) from segments past, including Baker’s appearance amid the rocky COVID-19 vaccine rollout in February 2021, which some criticized as slow and unfair.
“My hair’s on fire about the whole thing, I can’t even begin to tell you how pissed off I am,” Baker said in the archived recording. He laughed as they played it back.
Baker offered a potpourri of trivia to those listening, including the fact that he hasn’t driven in eight years (”the State Police do not want me to drive a car”) and that he recently scored tickets to his beloved Blink-182′s TD Garden performance in May.
He spoke of some of the work he is most proud of: securing resources to mitigate the opioid epidemic, expanding broadband access statewide, and making progress on the ambitious South Coast Rail project — a project Baker touted as a cornerstone of his re-election campaign in 2018.
Early on in the interview, Baker attempted to dispel any rumor about what is next for the popular Republican.
“My wife is really looking forward to having me around a little more, so I don’t think I’ll be a candidate in 2024 for anything,” he said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Margery Eagan’s name. A headline also contained the wrong name of the community where former governor Weld lives.