Mark Fisher's Response to the Create the Vote Questionnaire


Your Personal Connection

We've all had defining moments in our lives. What personal experience with arts, culture, or creativity had an impact on your life and your view of the community?

A visit, with my children, to the Norman Rockwell museum in Stockbridge, MA and their wonderful reactions!


Arts Education and Programs for our Youth

Creativity and innovation are vital skills in a student’s education. While many communities provide access to quality arts education, many of our youth are still being left out of the creative community. What will you do as Governor to champion arts education for our youth both in our schools and in our communities? How will you balance the importance of arts education with the constant pull to “teach to the test”? Would you support joining ten other states in making one year of arts education in high school a requirement for admission to the state university system? Do you support adding arts into the Commonwealth’s STEM to transform it to STEAM?

I am highly in favor of ensuring that students have the ability to exercise their talents in a wide variety of areas.  I’ve always been a strong advocate for returning Metal Shop, Wood Shop, and Home Economics to the middle schools.  I would also make sure that children have the opportunities to appreciate and develop their talents in the arts as well.  “Time on Task” or “Teaching to the Test” have made children less broad in both their appreciation of and exercise of their vocational and art talents and gifts.   I would not have the requirement of one year arts education for admission to the state university system. I would not transform STEM to STEAM.  I would prefer to have a separate initiative to foster art appreciation.



Addressing the Commonwealth’s Socioeconomic Issues

Massachusetts faces many economic and social issues – job creation, public safety, education. Can you provide examples on how you would integrate the arts, culture, and creative community in solving the Commonwealth’s social and economic challenges? How would you use the creative community to drive economic development across the Commonwealth – from major metropolitan areas to the Gateway cities, rural towns, and suburbs? What are the metrics of success?

As a part of making MA business friendly I would challenge the creative community to offer incentives to those businesses relocating or expanding in MA.  These incentives should not be industry or regionally specific.  The metrics of success would be the number of businesses that opt into the incentives offered by the creative community.


The Administration’s Support and Role in the Creative Community 

Last year, Massachusetts invested $11.1 million in organization support for the creative community, ranking it ninth in the country. The current level of in the Massachusetts Cultural Council is less than 41% of what it was 25 years ago.

  • At what level would you fund the Massachusetts Cultural Council?
  • At what level would you fund the Cultural Facility Fund which supports the maintenance, repair and rebuilding of the Commonwealth’s cultural facilities?
  • Would you develop or dedicate a revenue stream to provide a sustainable and stable funding stream for the creative community?
  • How would you strengthen the Commonwealth’s current administrative structure to support the creative community? What parts of your administration would work closely with the MA Cultural Council?
  • What are your program priorities and where will the funds be allocated?
  • How would you promote public-private partnerships to support the creative community?
  • Which states provide programs – regarding policy, or public-private investment, or other elements of an active arts and culture agenda – that might serve as models for your administration?


In answer to all of these questions I would advocate a referendum question which MA voters could use to show their level of support for Government’s role in providing taxpayer dollars to the creative community.  I would adhere to the voice of the majority of voters in this regard.  Without having this input from voters, my preference would be to have individuals provide their support for the Arts and Cultural Initiatives directly and with more funds than to have these same individuals taxed and only have a small portion of their taxes (after being funneled through the State bureaucracy) given to fund these areas.


The Creative Economy

Innovation is one of the major drivers of Massachusetts’ economy. As Governor, how would you work with creative entrepreneurs and broaden your administration's commitment to the creative economy as part of an economic development strategy? How will you foster an ecosystem which is reflective of the up and coming independent creative community across the Commonwealth?

Innovation of all kinds (devices, software, hardware, etc.) must be attractive in and of itself.  It must sell itself.  I will make MA business friendly.  Businesses are attracted by our innovation and incubator heritage.  However, I intend to make the attraction stronger through a 4 pt. program: First, reduce the corporate tax rate to make it comparable to those states to which business are flocking. Second, reduce the over burdensome rules and regulations that drive business out of MA.  Third, stop the taxpayer funding of fad industries like Evergreen Solar which took $58 million taxpayer dollars and closed two years later, went to China, and 800 people lost their jobs. Fourth, eliminate the inventory tax.  Doing so would make MA, because of our central location in new England, a haven for distribution centers.  These centers will bring with them material handling, logistics, administrative and transportation jobs.


A World Class Arts Destination

While Massachusetts is known for its hospitals, professional sports, and universities, the Commonwealth has yet to fully leverage the strength of our arts, culture, and creative community as a means for tourism and branding. How would you utilize your administration to market the Commonwealth as a world-class cultural destination?

I would ensure that tourists (and MA citizens!) are aware of our existing cultural attractions through  I’d make it easier to navigate to the cultural sections.  I’d make the cultural attractions a separate tab unto itself.  


Your Priorities

The start of a Governor’s tenure often sets the Administration’s tone and priorities. Which actions do you see as the most critical to initiate in the area of arts and culture within the first 100 days of your administration?

I’d ensure that those “well-off” private organizations which receive taxpayer funds for creative, artistic and cultural endeavors be identified and made public.  This transparency is welcomed and needed by the taxpayers of MA.  As Governor I will provide it to them.

I would formally announce my challenge to the creative community to generate attractive incentives to job creating businesses that come to or expand in MA.    

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