Keller at Large
Keller: So Goes Sununu, So Goes Baker?
On this week’s episode, Jon Keller looks at New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s decision to not run for Senate, and any parallels that may exist with Gov. Charlie Baker. Keller’s take: “When Sununu said ‘we have to continue to be that example of how to work through our differences without destroying that sense of community’ and ‘I’d rather push myself 120 mph delivering wins…than end up on Capitol Hill debating partisan politics without results,’ it could have just as well been Baker speaking.”
Today | President Biden plans to travel to Woodstock, N.H. to visit the NH 175 bridge over the Pemigewasset River. Biden plans to talk about how the infrastructure bill will help repair and rebuild roads and bridges “while strengthening resilience to climate change and creating good-paying, union jobs.”
10 a.m. | Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts hold a virtual meeting to call for major reforms of the legislative process based on a new report being released comparing the workings of the Legislature in Massachusetts with those in other states.
11 a.m. | House holds a formal session, with plans to consider legislation concerning genocide education, as well as other items on the calendar.
11 a.m. | .Firearm regulations headline a Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee virtual hearing, where 55 bills are on the agenda.
12 p.m. | Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu takes the oath of office to become the next mayor of Boston, and the first woman of color to be elected to the position.
A long time coming, Wu set to officially take top job in Boston
Today is Michelle Wu’s big moment.
In just a few hours, the Boston city councilor will head to City Hall to take the oath of office to become the city’s first woman of color elected to the post. Gov. Charlie Baker will be among those in attendance at City Hall for the ceremony. It is a historic day for Boston, one that was at least over a year in the making and started in a peculiar way — former Mayor Marty Walsh spilled the beans on Wu’s intent to run.
At that time, everyone in the hub thought we’d see a matchup between Walsh and Wu, but it wasn’t meant to be as President Biden whisked Walsh away to serve as labor secretary. The field of candidates grew to include Andrea Campbell, John Barros, Jon Santiago, Annissa Essaibi-George, and Acting Mayor Kim Janey.
But it was Essaibi-George and Wu who would emerge victoriously in the September preliminary, solidifying that the next mayor would be a woman of color. And after beating Essaibi-George just a few weeks ago in the general election, Wu is now tasked with turning campaign promises like a free T and rent control into reality — though many have critiqued their chances.
The incoming mayor also takes over during a historic time: federal funds are slated to flow into Boston from both the state’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act and an infrastructure spending bill President Biden signed into law yesterday.
The COVID-19 pandemic is also still a major concern, and Wu will be tasked with leading the city further down the road of recovery and helping businesses adjust to a changing work landscape where people are now more open to working from home.
So where will Wu’s mayorship take her? Time will tell over the next four years, or if you prefer, the next 1,460 days, roughly speaking.
State House Days Closed: 610
Days until 2022 Election: 357
Congressional map keeps Fall River and New Bedford in different districts
The plan is to keep them apart. Legislative leaders put out a revised Congressional district map Monday that places Fall River and New Bedford in two different different districts. Boston Globe’s Matt Stout reports that the decision by lawmakers comes after weeks of criticism from advocates and local officials who wanted to see the two cities united.
More from Stout: “The decision to sever the two cities between the districts had polarized the region’s elected and civic leaders. Some argued they should be represented by a single congressperson to strengthen the shared political hand of the region’s concentrated Portuguese and immigrant populations. Others, largely from Fall River, say the cities are best positioned as the largest communities in their own districts, giving the region two voices in Congress.”
Billions on the way to Massachusetts after Biden signs infrastructure bill
The infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed Monday will bring roughly $9 billion to Massachusetts over the next five years. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports that the money will head to projects in transportation, broadband, and clean water, just to name a few. When you add in potential grant funding, the amount the Bay State could get swells to $12 billion.
Biden to spend Thanksgiving on Nantucket
President Biden is making his way to Massachusetts for the upcoming holidays. Boston Globe’s Jim Puzzanghera and Mark Shanahan report that the president plans to spend Thanksgiving on Nantucket, bringing back a tradition of his family gathering on the island.
Staff at The Inquirer and Mirror report that a U.S. Air Force cargo plane landed at Nantucket Memorial Airport Monday afternoon, and sources tell the newspaper that planning is underway for the visit.
Spilka misses out on bill signing after falling ill
Senate President Karen Spilka’s trip to Washington to take part in the bill signing for a $1.2 infrastructure spending plan just wasn’t meant to be. State House News Service’s Michael P. Norton reports that Spilka became ill while getting ready for the trip. Spilka did test negative for COVID-19.
Mixed month: Two of three casinos in state see revenues rise in October
Gross gaming revenue was up at MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor last month, Peter Goonan of MassLive reports. Revenue rose to $62.8 million at Encore compared to $57.5 million the month before while MGM Springfield saw its take climb to $21.4 million compared to $19.4 million in September.
Slightly less stellar results at the slots-only casino at Plainridge Park, which Tom Reilly of the Sun Chronicle reports saw October revenue fall slightly.
‘Friendly’ fire? North Adams Mayor says state Rep. made vague threat
Friendly advice or carefully couched bullying? North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard has released emails he says memorialize conversations in which state Rep. John Barrett made what Bernard described as “an unmistakable, if nonspecific, threat,” Larry Parnass of the Berkshire Eagle reports. Barrett acknowledges he gave the mayor some pointed advice. Bernard, whose term as mayor is winding down, wants a House ethics investigation to be launched.
Already stumping: Diehl focuses on culture war issues during Phillipston stop
He’s not waiting. GOP gubernatorial hopeful Geoff Diehl made his pitch to Republicans in Phillipston and left little doubt that he hopes to leverage culture war issues that have worked elsewhere to next year’s governor’s race. Greg Vine of the Recorder reports Diehl talked Critical Race Theory, argued that Attorney General Maura Healey helped drive Smith & Wesson and its jobs out of the state, and criticized vaccine mandates. Diehl also left the door open for former President Trump campaigning alongside him.
From the WBUR and WGBH radio waves
Missed yesterday’s radio shows on WBUR and WGBH? No worries, here’s the latest from Boston’s two NPR stations.
From WBUR’s “Radio Boston:” A conversation about Mayor-elect Michelle Wu with WBUR reporters Callum Borchers and Anthony Brooks and Globe columnist Jeneé Osterheldt; what does the closure of the Curley School mean for students and families; and how can public health officials help sooth concerns about vaccinating young kids.
From WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio:” A discussion on Wu’s climate platform and the COP26 climate summit; Globe cannabis reporter Dan Adam reflects on five years of marijuana legalization; and Revs. Irene Monroe and Emmett G. Price III discuss incidents of racist bullying at schools in the area.
No change: Danvers school board takes no action on superintendent
No motion, no movement. The Danvers School Committee met for 90 minutes behind closed doors but took no action on an earlier push to suspend Superintendent Lisa Dana in the wake of hazing and bullying allegations involving the high school hockey team, Paul Leighton of the Salem News reports. Board members said no motion to place Dana on leave was made at Monday’s executive session and expressed optimism about Dana’s ability to lead the district out of the scandal.
Community television stations could get additional funding under proposed bill
Funding and supporting community access channels and media centers has been a crucial question of late as opportunities for local content and journalism are on the decline. Stella Lorence for The Sun Chronicle reports that a bill pending in the state Legislature would impose a 5 percent fee on all revenue generated by streaming services from sales in the state to support community media centers.
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