Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld

Bill Weld, former two-term Governor of Massachusetts, is running for President. He is campaigning on a message of “Leadership America Deserves.” Weld does not see a “better start” occurring under the current presidential leadership. He has critiqued President Trump over the treatment of U.S. allies, unraveling of “arms control agreements with other nuclear powers,” threatening the use of nuclear weapons, attacking the freedom of press, dismissing climate change, and the President’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Weld has gone so far to say, “our President is simply too unstable to carry out the duties of the highest executive office.” To Weld, President Trump has created a “culture of divisiveness,” and Bill advocates for unity saying, “America is stronger, and can afford to be more generous, when it is united rather than divided.”

Weld announced his campaign exploratory committee with a speech discussing a variety of international policies in February 2019. He voiced his support for combating climate change by calling for the, “rejoin[ment] the Paris climate accords and adopt[ion of] targets consonant with those of other industrialized nations.” Bill Weld’s position for combating climate change is focused on the innovation of technology such as carbon capture and sequestration. Weld also believes in recommitting to free trade instead of implementing tariffs. He commented that tariffs “fanned the flames of the Great Depression.” In addition to international environmental and economic policies, Weld speaks about security, to promote “arms control agreements with other nuclear powers,” reevaluate the threshold required for military engagement, and improve relationships with U.S. allies. Weld mentions the U.S. “may not need an impenetrable wall, but we do need short-term bridges.” He said he does not support “a path to citizenship for eleven million people.” Instead, Weld would adopt “a robust guest worker program, to assist our agricultural and construction industries.”

Weld advocates for decreasing the federal debt, cutting government spending, as well as simplifying and lowering taxes. Bill Weld states that the accruing of debt will be passed on to future generations and calls for fiscal responsibility similar to that of states. Weld proposes, “‘zero base[ing]’ the federal budget, basing each appropriation on outcomes actually achieved, not on last year’s appropriation plus five percent” and privatizing social services to “improve the quality of the services and the degree of compassion and dignity afforded to the people receiving the services.” Weld also advocates for “repealing the federal death tax, … cutting the capital gains tax rate to 10%[,] … a 19% flat tax on income, and the famous ‘postcard’ tax return.” Bill Weld supports reforming the healthcare and criminal justice systems. To do this, Weld proposes, “establish[ing] personal health care savings accounts,” the freedom to choose your own healthcare provider, the ability to “purchase pharmaceutical drugs across state lines and also in other countries.” Additionally, Weld supports veterans’ access to “health care from hospitals and healthcare providers outside the exclusive network of V.A. hospitals” and ability “to use cannabis for the relief of post-traumatic stress disorder without losing their veteran’s benefits, as is the case under current V.A. law.” Weld’s views on allowing the use of “cannabis and CBD” extend to the “non-addictive” pain management of the elderly. Weld notes the importance of addiction stating, “addiction of all types should be treated as the national public health emergency that it is, rather than as a crime of status.” Weld also proposes implementing “bail reform, funding for reentry programs, and other criminal justice reforms not reached by the recent First Step legislation.” Bill Weld also acknowledges the challenges posed by an automizing economy. He advocates for, “covering the cost of in-state tuition for those displaced workers … and embrac[ing] on-line education.” Weld looks to the youth as well voicing support for increasing education choice via homeschooling and charter schools, and potentially “abolishing the U. S. Department of Education” to decentralize decision making. Weld also believes in allowing students to renegotiate debt.

Bill Weld is well known for being the former two-term Governor of Massachusetts, ending the twenty-year stretch in the state without a Republican governor, beginning a run of four consecutive Republican governors, and winning 71 percent of the vote in his re-election [6]. As governor, Weld engaged in education reform that “doubled state funding for K-12 public education [,] … created standardized benchmarks for student success across the state, including the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System,” supported charter schools and established a foundational school budget. Weld also established a “Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes” and founded “The Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth.” Bill Weld resigned in 1997 as governor to pursue the nomination to become the U.S. ambassador to Mexico under former President Clinton. Weld never received a confirmation hearing and his name was withdrawn.

Weld currently “serves as an associate member of the InterAction Council” focusing on issues of global concern. He most recently ran in the 2016 election, with the Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, as a candidate for the vice presidency. Weld also ran and lost the race to become the governor of New York in 2006, Senator of Massachusetts in 1996, and Massachusetts attorney general in 1978. Bill Weld served seven years as former President Reagan’s “Assistant U.S. Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division in Washington, DC, and as the United States Attorney for Massachusetts,” winning “109 convictions in 111 prosecutions of public corruption.” Weld was a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives during the Watergate impeachment case and the U.S. Senate. Weld has also served as the “national co-chair of the U.S. Privatization Council and of U.S. Term Limits.”

Weld is a Long Island native, born in 1945. He is a graduate of Harvard University receiving a degree in Classics. Bill Weld attended Oxford University for a year to receive a diploma in economics and political science. The following year, Bill Weld received his J.D. from the Harvard School of Law.

This profile is provided by Rockefeller Center Student Staff. Citations available, upon request. Contact: Rockefeller.Center@dartmouth.edu