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Baker expected to trumpet bipartisanship (again) in annual address

John Blanding/Globe Staff/File 2017

A year ago, in January 2017, Governor Charlie Baker used the address to contrast Massachusetts with the divisive politics that gripped the nation.

By Globe Staff 

Kicking off an election year as a Republican in a state that is not, Governor Charlie Baker will deliver his State of the Commonwealth address to the Legislature and the people of Massachusetts on Tuesday, Jan. 23, his office announced.

The speech is poised to offer the Swampscott 61-year-old his highest-profile opportunity to make the case for what he has accomplished during his three years steering the ship of state government. It will also offer Baker, who is running for a second term, a chance to set his priorities for spending taxpayer money just a day before he is likely to release his proposed state budget.

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A year ago, in January 2017, Baker used the address to contrast Massachusetts with the divisive politics that gripped the nation.

“It’s one thing to stand in a corner and shout insults at your opponents,” he said then. “It’s quite another to climb into the arena and fight for common ground.”

The national scene has only grown more divisive in the intervening months, so Baker will probably restate his aversion to the partisan fractiousness and combat in Washington, and reaffirm his commitment to cooperation and comity with Beacon Hill Democrats.

Baker — who faces a handful of low-profile rivals, Democrat and Republican, in this year’s gubernatorial election — ticked through some of the 2017 accomplishments he was most proud of in a year-end interview with the Globe.

He cited his efforts with Democrats and a few other Republicans to thwart repeal of the Barack Obama-era health care law.

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He also expressed happiness about the passage of several bipartisan laws, such as one mandating many Massachusetts women receive free access to contraceptives.

Given the frigid weather of late, which has slowed public transit, Baker might end up talking about the MBTA in his speech — a bureaucratic morass he has labored to fix, with mixed results for commuters.

And speaking of the weather: While the big speech is usually the result of weeks of planning, there’s no guarantee that it will be delivered as expected.

In 2014, then-governor Deval Patrick postponed his final State of the Commonwealth speech four hours before he was set to deliver it.

The reason? Snow.


Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com.