BOSTON (SHNS) – In a new fundraising email from the Massachusetts Republican Party, Geoff Diehl, a potential Republican candidate for governor, took a swipe at one of the restrictions Gov. Charlie Baker has left in place to guard against COVID-19 transmission.
“The state-wide curfew that’s been in place since November was just lifted, but many businesses like restaurants are still only allowed to operate at a 25% capacity!” wrote Diehl, a member of the Republican State Committee and the party’s finance committee chairman.
“It is untenable that the government gets to tell small businesses how to run their shops, and even gets to tell citizens if they are allowed to do business there or not. We need to put the power back where it belongs — with the people, not with the politicians.”
While he lifted a business curfew this week, Baker, also a Republican, left in place a 25 percent capacity limit that effectively reduces the number of people allowed to congregate inside many businesses.
Baker has repeatedly expressed gratitude toward individuals and businesses for sacrifices they are making to reduce COVID-19 transmission, earned favorable numbers in polls for his pandemic management, and is awarding more than $700 million in small business grants.
But Baker continues to draw criticism from the left and right as he exercises his pandemic management initiatives through a series of executive orders. Diehl closed the MassGOP appeal by citing the anxiety small businesses are feeling during the pandemic.
“We are advocating for every single small business in Massachusetts to be able to safely do business, and not have to live with constant anxiety that the government is going to close up their shop yet again due to another arbitrary mandate,” he wrote.
The fundraising email is the latest reflection of division within the party. A former state representative who previously ran for state Senate and the U.S. Senate, Diehl was closely allied with party chairman Jim Lyons when the two served in the House.
Diehl and Lyons, who this year narrowly defeated Rep. Shawn Dooley to keep the party chairmanship, have been vocal supporters of former President Donald Trump, while Baker has often been critical of Trump.