Personal Background:

Bill Weld was born on July 31st, 1945 in New York. Weld has been married twice with five children and three step-children. He graduated from both Harvard University with a law degree and the University of Oxford where he studied economics. Weld is a Republican and went on to become a successful businessman, politician and attorney.

Once out of school, Weld started a private practice before becoming a legal counsel with the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate scandal. From 1981-1986, he served as the appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. He resigned after five years to act as the assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division until 1988. Two years later in 1990, he was elected as the 68th governor of Massachusetts and was reelected in 1994.

Weld was unsuccessful in his 1996 run for the U.S. Senate and 2005 run for governor of New York. In the meantime, he returned to his roots in private practice. In 2016, Weld was the Libertarian Party’s nominee for vice-president. He officially announced his run for the Republican nomination against the current president, Donald Trump, in the 2020 election on April 15, 2019.

 

Record as Governor of Massachusetts:

During Weld’s time as governor of Massachusetts from 1990 to 1997, he was quite popular and was reelected with 71% of the votes in the 1994 election. In those seven years, he supported strict gun-control, defended affirmative action, supported abortion rights and supported the Environmental Protection Agency. Weld also worked to protect gay and lesbian students in public school and signed an executive order which recognized same-sex couples. He signed the Massachusetts Education Reform Act during his first term, which increased K-12 public education.

“A good education in a safe environment is the magic wand that brings opportunity. It’s up to us to make sure that wand is waved over every cradle,” said Weld.

Bill Weld was able to do so well in a Democratic state because he was able to balance his liberal and conservative social and economic views and appeal to most of the citizens. Some of the views that he held while in office have changed or faltered, such as gun control and gay marriage.

 

Platforms:

Despite being a self-identified Republican, Weld’s positions on many platforms are more liberal. His conservatism is more so seen in economic matters, rather than social.

Abortion

Bill Weld supports abortion rights. In the 1990s, Weld worked to make the Republican party more open to abortion. He even supported partial-birth abortions, which are illegal now.

LGBTQ+ Rights

Weld signed legislation in the early 1990s to outlaw discrimination against gay and lesbian students in public schools in Massachusetts but has been hesitant to fully support gay marriage. His views and comments on the subject have shifted over the years.

Marijuana

Weld has been outspokenly in support of the legalization of medical marijuana since 1992, during his time as governor of Massachusetts.

Environment

Weld is environmentally conscious and supports rejoining the Paris climate agreement. 

“We must protect our economy, yes, but we must also recognize that increased natural disasters and unfamiliar weather patterns threaten to strip the snow from our White Mountains, and to melt all the mountain glaciers worldwide upon which hundreds of millions of people depend for their only source of water. Europe has its cathedrals and monuments; we have our mountains, canyons, valleys, rivers and streams — and we had damn well better take care of them,” said Weld.

Health Care

Weld has supported increased Medicaid access for citizens and has criticized Republicans for carrying on the debate of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Economy

Bill Weld believes strongly that a good economy would stem from cutting taxes and spending. He has supported the repeal of the federal estate tax. He believes in simplifying many aspects of the U.S. economy.

“We need the opposite of socialism. In the federal budget, the two most important tasks are to cut spending and to cut taxes – and spending comes first,” said Weld.

Foreign Policy

Weld has called for the U.S. to form closer ties with both Canada and Mexico.

Immigration

Weld does not agree with Donald Trump’s views on immigration. He has been quoted relating Trump’s policies to Nazi Germany due to the treatment of immigrants.

Gun Control

Bill Weld supported a ban on assault weapons in 1993 and wanted handguns to only be sold to those 21 and over. He has since changed his stance to be more opposed to gun control like other Libertarians.

Criticisms/Controversies:

Bill Weld has faced criticism for not always aligning with his party. He endorsed Barrack Obama in the 2008 election. His social views differ from his political party much of the time. Weld does not support President Trump when it comes to immigration, spending, and other political areas. His views have also changed many times and do not remain consistent, which is something that would hinder a presidency. Weld must do better to not alienate himself from his own party and the generalized American society.

Popularity/Electability:

Bill Weld was the first to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for the 2020 presidential election. It has been over 120 years since an incumbent president has lost a bid for reelection. As of February of 2019, Trump’s approval rating within the Republican party was at about 79 %. It will be hard for Weld to try and beat that in the primaries.

In the upcoming elections, the voters will most likely either vote for Trump or the farthest opposite from Trump in the Democratic party. Weld must do more to differentiate himself from Trump and the Democratic party. His social views are sometimes more liberal which will cause rifts within the Republican party.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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