Baker at RGA, Warren foreign policy speech, holiday tree lighting
— Gov. Charlie Baker attends the annual Republican Governors Association conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, and plans to return to Massachusetts on Friday.
— National Grid executives and union officials plan to meet for another negotiating session to end the utility’s lockout of more than 1,200 workers.
— The UMass Board of Trustees holds a meeting of its Administration and Finance Committee with an agenda that includes a public comment period with speakers from UMass Amherst, approval of changes to the capital planning list and discussion of the university’s five-year financial forecast, UMass Club, One Beacon St., Boston, 9:30 a.m.
— UMass Medical School holds its annual State House Health Fair, offering building employees flu shots, blood pressure screening, body mass index screening, CPR demonstrations and other health info, Great Hall, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren delivers a speech on her vision for a ‘progressive foreign policy that works for all Americans,’ Claudio Grossman Hall, American University Washington College of Law, 4300 Nebraska Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 3:30 p.m.
— WBUR senior political reporter Anthony Brooks moderates a panel discussion on who and what influenced this month’s midterm elections, featuring MassVOTE executive director Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, former Massachusetts Republican Party chair Jennifer Nassour, campaign consultant Mark Horan and Alex Goldstein, advisor for Ayanna Pressley’s congressional campaign, Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, 6 p.m.
— Washington Post columnist and political commentator E.J. Dionne will examine the role of religion in American politics with Margery Eagan, co-host of WGBH’s Boston Public Radio, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Boston, 6 p.m.
— Mayor Martin Walsh and other local leaders attend the Boston Common Tree Lighting ceremony, Boston Common and Public Garden, 4 Charles St., Boston, 7 p.m.
For more calendar listings, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available) and MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.
Massachusetts soldier one of three killed in Afghanistan
This is a sad one. From Alexi Cohan at the Herald: “A Massachusetts native was among three servicemen killed in Afghanistan yesterday when their vehicle struck an ‘improvised explosive device.’ Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, 39, who grew up in Boston, was one of the casualties, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Emond helped to found Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, a non-profit dedicated to memorializing service members who did not return home.” MassLive’s Scott Croteau and the Globe’s Danny McDonald have more.
Clark nabs top post, Moulton clings to hope
U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark yesterday secured a top leadership post in the U.S. House, winning a contested caucus race to become vice chair of of House Democrats, the Globe’s Victoria McGrane reports. Clark’s big win comes as Nancy Pelosi indeed won the party’s nomination for House speaker, but the NYT reports that yesterday’s defection of 32 Democrats signals that “she could still face a divisive fight to lead the House” in a final vote in January. That’s a larger number of Pelosi opponents than expected – and it keeps alive U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s hope that he can still block a Pelosi speakership. It’s a slim hope, but still a hope.
Btw: Pelosi and Moulton met yesterday, but Moulton says no deal was reached, reports The Hill.
State GOP power struggle: Hughes’ departure sets up moderate-vs-conservative contest for party control
As they fight over top leadership posts in Washington, another power struggle is breaking out here at home: Kirsten Hughes has announced she won’t seek re-election as chair of the state Republican Party, sparking a possible/probable battle between moderates and conservatives over control of the state GOP. Three candidates for the post have already emerged: Conservative state Rep. Geoff Diehl, who says he’s mulling a bid; Brent J. Andersen, the party’s treasurer since 2003; and state Rep. Peter Durant. The latter two have already said they’ll seek the post. The Globe’s Matt Stout and SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Sentinel & Enterprise have the details.
The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that conservatives, though filled with passion, face an uphill battle to win the prize, considering that the moderate Republican Gov. Charlie Baker just won re-election by a landslide. But, curiously, Battenfeld notes that Baker may opt to sit this one out. He explains why. If Baker does sit it out, we’ll have our surest sign yet he ain’t running for a third term.
Beacon Hill’s own leadership intrigue
Yet more local leadership intrigue and maneuverings: House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka must soon select the chairs of powerful budget-writing committees at the State House. There’s no shortage of candidates angling for the coveted posts – and the Globe’s Matt Stout has the details.
Marty’s second-term blues
Since his landslide re-election as mayor last year, Marty Walsh hasn’t exactly been on a roll, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi writes. Some of his endorsed candidates went down to defeat this past fall, the city council keeps bucking at some of his proposals, and his hiring of Carlos Henriquez wasn’t exactly his finest moment, she notes.
To the list of his woes, we’d add anything to do with the Boston Public Schools. Bottom line: What’s going on? We’ll venture a perhaps unfair guess: He seems bored with the job.
Back to the future: From regulated to deregulated to regulated electric market?
Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine has a good piece on how the state’s competitive wholesale electric market, which came about as a result of deregulation in the 1990s, is now under tremendous strain due to natural-gas pipeline constraints and the push for renewable fuels. Some think that the current system can’t survive as it’s now structured — and that we may be headed back to a more regulated system. As Gordon Van Welie, head of the regional grid system, puts it: “The existing market has one objective, which is to provide reliable electricity at the least possible cost. … That’s all this market does. It doesn’t incorporate an environmental objective.”
National Grid and union appear deadlocked again over lockout
Speaking of energy related issues: National Grid last evening rejected a union proposal to end the months-long lockout of more than 1,200 steel workers, suggesting the two sides aren’t close to an agreement, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine. The two sides are scheduled to meet again later today – with some hoping talks might eventually lead to an agreement by Christmas.
Meanwhile, the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports businesses are pressing the Baker administration to end a DPU-imposed moratorium on construction work by National Grid, saying they desperately need gas-line hook-ups for development projects across the region. But it looks like lifting the moratorium hinges on resolving the lockout dispute, so first things first.
Judge to DAs: Obey the law, hand over the documents
Yet another example of how hard it is to pry information from some officials in Massachusetts. From the Globe’s Todd Wallack: “A Suffolk Superior Court judge has ordered three district attorneys to turn over records sought by The Boston Globe after Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey sued the agencies for failing to comply with the state public records law. … The suit is believed to be the first time Healey or her predecessors had to go to court to enforce the state’s public records law since the law was enacted more than four decades ago.”
Newsflash: Kerry says 2020 presidential bid still not ‘off the table’
He hasn’t ruled it out before – and he’s still not ruling it out. Former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of State John Kerry, the Democratic nominee for president 14 years ago, says that, yes, he’s going to give consideration to a run for president in 2020, Rebecca Morin reports at Politico. “Yeah, I’m going to think about it,” Kerry said at a Harvard event when pressed on a potential run. Here’s more from the Harvard Crimson and the Tufts Daily, which reports Kerry made a similar I’m-thinking-about-it comment at Tufts last night.
Is Alan Dershowitz right about a ‘devastating’ Mueller report to come?
We’re blatantly connecting dots here, with nothing connecting them other than our conjecture. Dot No. 1: Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz, a big backer of President Trump, says that he believes a future Mueller report will be “devastating” for President Trump and that the administration was already planning a response. Dot No. 2: The president retweets an image showing Democrats behind bars and calling for “treason” trials “now that Russian collusion is a proven lie.”
OK, it’s a stretch. But the president sure seems especially agitated these days.
Lynch urges Edison plant developers to scale back plans — again
U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch is flexing his South Boston political muscles, writing to the owners of the old Boston Edison plant to scale back their massive redevelopment plans at the site – on top of the reductions they’ve already agreed to make, reports Catherine Carlock at the BBJ. Lynch cited “palpable fear” among neighbors that the proposed development “might overwhelm the area.”
Analyst believes a ‘toxic workplace environment’ led to Berkshire Bank CEO’s departure
Berkshire Bank chief executive Michael Daly on Monday suddenly resigned without explanation – and now a bank analyst thinks he knows why: “a toxic workplace environment” that has left employees at the Boston-based bank among the most miserable of miserable workers in the industry. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan has the details.
Rivera cracks down on use of bus station as homeless shelter and syringe dispenser
Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera will no longer allow a bus station in the city to be used as an informal homeless shelter, citing public safety after an employee at the facility posted a photo of discarded syringes in an overflowing trash container. Quincy Walters of WBUR reports the move blindsided advocates for the homeless who stage a weekly meal at the bus station garage.
With new MLB partnership, MGM expected to lobby hard for legal sports betting in Mass.
Analysts say to expect a strong push from MGM Springfield for Massachusetts to join the stampede of states moving to legalize sports betting, after the casino’s parent company struck a partnership making it the official gaming partners of Major League Baseball, Jordan Graham reports at the Herald.
Ex-executive pleads guilty to paying doctors bribes for prescribing opioid medications
The case was heard in Boston, but it’s a case with tentacles stretching across the country. From the AP’s Alanna Durkin Richer at WBUR: “A former opioid sales executive admitted Wednesday in Boston’s federal court to participating in a nationwide conspiracy to bribe doctors to prescribe a highly addictive fentanyl spray for people who didn’t need it and will cooperate with prosecutors targeting his co-workers.” Bottom line: The more prescriptions docs wrote, the more “speaking fee” money they got. No names mentioned. Read the whole story.
Time to say good-bye to your community access TV station?
Media critics Dan Kennedy at WGBH takes a look at the latest move by the FCC that would benefit corporations over consumers, this time its proposed rule that would drastically cut funds for local community access TV channels that, as Dan notes, bring you “city council meetings, school concerts, and DIY local news reports.” He talks with concerned local officials, including the heads of Cambridge Community Television and HC Media in Haverhill.
Massport planning $1B in airport, cruise ship and cargo terminal projects
From SHNS’s Colin Young at the BBJ: “The Massachusetts Port Authority is planning to issue more than $1 billion in new debt over the coming years as it embarks on a series of projects designed to accommodate more passenger flights, larger cruise ships and larger container vessels in Boston.
Westboro in line to reap $5 million from sale of owner-less theater
A Walpole company will pay Westboro $5 million for a 12-screen movie theater complex on Route 9 that the town took over and put on the market after the original owners could not be tracked down, Elaine Thomspon reports at the Telegram. Officials say the town plans to stash the cash windfall away for three years in case an ownership claim emerges.
Religion and Politics in America
E.J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist, political commentator, and visiting professor at Harvard Divinity School, examines the role of religion in American politics with Margery Eagan, co-host of WGBH’s Boston Public Radio.
Dreidels with Deb Goldberg
Make any donation to the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action and receive a special invitation to our Chanukah party: Dreidels with Deb Goldberg on Monday, December 3, 2018!
From Boston to Yorktown: Tales of the National Trails
In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails Act of 1968, Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown, and other panelists explore key events at historic sites featured in National Historic Trails and National Recreation Trails.
NAIOP Annual Holiday Party
Join NAIOP for an evening filled with holiday cheer, entertainment and networking at the NAIOP Annual Holiday Party, presented by the NAIOP Developing Leaders and open to all ages.
#RunforIt: Practical Tips for Political Beginners
So you’re thinking about running for office, but where do you start? Hear from door-knocking and handshaking experts on how to be successful.
Getting to the Point with John Kerry
68th U.S. Secretary of State, United States Senator and author John Kerry will participate in a wide-ranging moderated conversation at the Institute. Secretary Kerry will discuss his recent memoir, Every Day is Extra, reflect on the current challenges facing our nation, and offer insights on the major milestones from his 50 years in public service and what lessons they offer today.
Questioning U.S.-Saudi Alliance: Yemen and the Politics of Famine
In this panel discussion, we will be joined by experts on U.S.-Saudi relations, our questionable alliance, the terrible consequences the war has had on civilians in Yemen, our own impact by creating weapons and selling them to Saudi Arabia, and how we should stop this and other disastrous human rights abuses in the future.
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