Today | Year-end campaign finance reports summarizing political fundraising and spending in 2021 are due to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
9 a.m. | Attorney General Maura Healey makes her first campaign stop after launching a bid for governor at East Boston’s Maverick Square T station.
10 a.m. | Federal Energy Regulatory Commission meets and has included the docket numbers associated with the controversial Weymouth compressor station on the meeting agenda for unspecified action.
11 a.m. | House meets in an informal session.
12 p.m. | Senate holds a formal session where Senator-elect Lydia Edwards is scheduled to be sworn in.
Healey makes her decision…
She’s in. Attorney General Maura Healey announced earlier this morning she is running for governor, setting herself up as the likely frontrunner in the race for the state’s top office.
Healey released a video this morning making it official, and plans her first campaign event at East Boston’s Maverick Square MBTA station at 9 a.m. where she will give brief remarks, take questions, and meet with voters.
“I’ve stood with you as the People’s Lawyer, and now I’m running to be your governor to bring us together and come back stronger than ever,” Healey says in the video.
Boston Globe’s Emma Platoff and Matt Stout and Boston Herald’s Erin Tiernan reported late yesterday afternoon that Healey was likely to make her plans clear today, and pointed out that she comes into the race with more than $3.6 million in campaign cash.
Welcome to Thursday. Only one more day until we close out this rather chilly mid-January week.
But there’s more to watch on Beacon Hill than the weather. House Speaker Ronald Mariano is faced with several tough decisions now that former Majority Leader Claire Cronin is shipping off to Dublin. The Easton Democrat was sent off in style Wednesday as lawmakers and top state officials packed the House chamber to watch her take her oath as ambassador and give a farewell speech.
Who will he put forward to fill the number two spot in the House and will leadership decide to call a special election to fill Cronin’s seat with less than 10 months until the statewide election?
As of Wednesday, Mariano had not made a decision on the next majority leader and wasn’t ready to present a person to the Democratic caucus during a morning meeting. Among the names being floated are Speaker Pro Tempore Kate Hogan (D-Stow) and Assistant Majority Leader Michael Moran (D-Brighton).
The timing of Cronin’s departure also presents unique challenges for any potential 11th Plymouth special election. At times in the past when representatives have resigned at this point in the session, a special election has not been called. Former Rep. Vincent Pedone is one example of that. He resigned in mid-January 2012 ahead of that year’s statewide election and top House officials at the time decided against a special election.
Another complication are the results of redistricting. Cronin’s current district is set to overlap with that of incumbent Rep. Gerard Cassidy, potentially pitting the winner of a special election against an incumbent.
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COVID cases, hospitalizations on the decline
Cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts continued to decline Wednesday while hospitalizations dropped slightly for the second day in a row. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports the lower numbers come after weeks of record totals fueled by the omicron variant. Public officials reported 14,647 new COVID-19 cases and 3,187 patients hospitalized for the virus.
Galvin gives himself a deadline
Secretary of State William Galvin told MASSterList he will announce a decision on whether to run for reelection by the end of the month or sooner, pointing to the February start of party caucuses to elect delegates to the statewide convention.
“The party has certain rules that you have to announce what you’re doing very quickly and it’s approaching at the end of the month,” Galvin said Wednesday afternoon. “By that time, or sooner, I will say something and everyone will know, but I don’t think I’ve hidden much.”
Galvin has repeatedly said for months that he enjoys his job and has more to do in the position. But his comments hold more urgency now that NAACP Boston President Tanisha Sullivan announced her secretary of state candidacy, centering issues of public records access and voting rights as top priorities.
No coal: Santa delivers solid December for state’s casinos
The state’s three casinos ended 2021 on a high note, with Encore Boston Harbor posting its second-best month ever for gaming revenues, MGM Springfield recording its fifth-best month, and Plainridge Park marking its best December since 2019, Jon Chesto of the Globe and Tom Reilly of the Sun Chronicle report.
Rep. Robinson hearing set for early February
Mark Feb. 3 on your calendar. That’s the day state Rep. Maria Robinson will appear before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committing for a hearing on her nomination to become assistant secretary of energy in the Office of Electricity. State House News Service’s Katie Lannan reports if Robinson is confirmed, she will join a list of lawmakers leaving the House.
Moving on: Methuen representative will not seek reelection
Eight is enough for her. State Rep. Linda Dean Campbell says she will not seek re-election to the 15th Essex District seat she has held since 2006 in order to spend more time with her family. Mike LaBella of the Eagle-Tribune reports her departure combined with changes made to the district through redistricting could spark a scramble to fill the seat.
COVID-19 spike putting overtime pressures on police departments
Omicron is wreaking havoc with staffing at suburban police departments, with some scrambling to fill slots by reassigning employees — especially officers and others digging deep into overtime budgets to cover widespread absences, Norman Miller of the MetroWest Daily News reports.
Worcester City Council considers local eviction moratorium
The Worcester city council debated the merits of a local eviction and foreclosure moratorium, but a decision was delayed for at least another week. Telegram & Gazette’s Steven H. Foskett Jr. reports councilors held a lengthy discussion about whether a mortarium was necessary or if it would even serve its intended purpose.
More from Foskett: “[District 5 Councilor Etel] Haxhiaj said she was sure the entire council shared the common values that it should work to protect the well-being of children, seniors and vulnerable families. She said right now, somewhere in the city, someone is getting evicted.”
Moderna vaccine production unaffected by roof fire
Vaccine production was unaffected after a roof fire broke out at Moderna’s campus early Wednesday morning. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports the Norwood Fire Department responded to a call around 6 a.m. and were able to contain the fire with help from the Westwood Fire Department. The facility in Norwood is used for vaccine development and production.
Orchestrated interruption: Somerville to try again for vax mandate vote
The Somerville Board of Health plans to meet on Thursday to take up a potential local vaccine mandate. The anti-vax activist from Peabody who forced last week’s attempted meeting on the issue to be canceled with a coordinated Zoom bombing is already rallying supporters to disrupt the meeting once again. Shira Laucharoen of Cambridge Day has the details.
Lenox wildlife sanctuary receives $200K to fix damages
A wildlife sanctuary in Lenox received a cash infusion from the American Rescue Plan Act to help restoration efforts after a microburst windstorm in July led to damages estimated at $800,000 to $1 million. Clarence Fanto for the Berkshire Eagle reports Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary got $200,000 to help fix the damages.
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