Gabrieli's Electoral Promise on Stem Cell Financing

Gubernatorial Candidate, Chris Gabrieli, who made a fortune in the biomedical industry, has made a new pledge to support Stem Cell Research in Massachusetts. From today's Boston Globe:

Democratic candidate for governor Chris Gabrieli today will propose that the state invest $1 billion in embryonic stem cell research and life science research and create a new position of science and technology director, who would report directly to the governor.

''Stem cell research holds out the promise to be truly groundbreaking in treating diseases which are the most difficult and widespread such as diabetes, Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's," Gabrieli said in an interview. ''We need to be smart investors if we want to continue being a leader in innovation-based technologies."

The plan, to be unveiled today before the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, would enable the state to borrow $100 million a year for 10 years through the sale of bonds. The money would go into a special fund -- the Fund to Accelerate Science and Technology -- which would make grants to scientists chosen by a board of experts. Half of the money could be invested in stem cell research; the rest would go to other promising projects.

So who is Chris Gabrieli? Here's an OpEd by Joan Vennochi from today's Globe:

Gabrieli entered the Democratic gubernatorial primary fray in April. Already, polls show him inching closer to Reilly and draining support from Patrick. Money is a big reason for this quick showing. Gabrieli poured more than $2 million into his fledgling campaign and bought nearly $1.8 million in TV ads.

Gabrieli first made his money via a medical software company he founded after graduation from Harvard in 1981; then as a partner in a venture capital firm in which he still has holdings. In 2000, he started a nonprofit dedicated to creating after-school programs, which are touted in his TV ads.


To his political benefit, Gabrieli does not come off as your typical, slick multi-millionaire. During a recent sit-down at his campaign headquarters, he flashed a small but noticeable hole in his sock every time he moved his legs.

As a candidate, his problem is not the perception of being out of touch. It is the reality of rambling answers.

He supports a state income tax rollback -- if it is tied to economic indicators he could not specify at the time of this interview. He also said he supports the controversial Nantucket Sound wind farm -- if the developer is held to a tougher bargain that Gabrieli did not elaborate upon.

You can say he is straddling the issues, or you can say he is comfortably centrist -- and a good choice for independents who might appreciate his business background and public policy experience.

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