Talk Of Springfield Development, Economic Myths As Lt. Governor Candidates Discuss Casinos

As with many candidates this year in Massachusetts, Democrats running for lieutenant governor find themselves talking a lot about casinos. And they’re split on the issue.

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Steve Kerrigan, a former aide to the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, was all alone on the casino issue during a roundtable discussion. He opposes the statewide ballot question repealing the casino law.

“I mean, Springfield needs an opportunity to decide its own future,” Kerrigan says. “And I don’t see why the 350 other communities should be able to tell them what they should do for economic development in their downtown.”

The two other Democrats in the race, nonprofit leader Mike Lake and Cambridge City Councilor Leland Cheung, say the economic benefits of casinos are overstated. And Cheung adds a promise.

“To every community that’s hoping for a casino and every person, if casinos are rejected, I will work tirelessly to make sure that we can bring enough companies, enough jobs to create the same amount of development that would have occurred had we brought in casinos,” Cheung says.

The Democrats running for lieutenant governor have a lot of work left before Tuesday’s primary. A recent Boston Globe poll showed 74 percent of voters still don’t know who they’ll vote for.

Candidate roundtables are part of a collaboration between the Republican newspaper, CBS3 and New England Public Radio.