Today | Preliminary December 2021 and revised November 2021 unemployment rate, labor force and job estimates for Massachusetts are set to be released Friday.
9:30 a.m. | Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito addresses the Mass. Municipal Association’s annual meeting.
10 a.m. | Revenue Committee holds a virtual hearing on 66 bills related to the environment and farms — including bills that deal with agricultural land or climate change adaptation — and sales and excise taxes.
It’s finally Friday. We’re as happy as you are, trust us. What a whirlwind it’s been to close out the week.
Attorney General Maura Healey finally put an end to months of speculation by announcing her gubernatorial bid, the number two person in the House is now the U.S. ambassador to Ireland, and the Senate is once again back to full strength with the addition of Sen. Lydia Edwards of East Boston.
But let’s focus on the new candidate for Massachusetts governor. There’s a few things worth breaking down a day after Healey’s announcement:
– The field for the next attorney general could get fairly busy. Anytime an important statewide office becomes vacant, potential candidates are quick to express interest. In this case, it was only several hours after Healey made her intentions clear that Andrea Campbell’s name started to surface. Dorchester Reporter’s Gintautas Dumcius reports the city councilor is considering a run for attorney general. And more could join the field, as State House News Service’s Katie Lannan writes.
– Healey is already drawing in cash. A campaign spokesperson confirmed to MASSterList that Healey raised $100,000 during the first six hours after her campaign launched. That adds to the more than $3.6 million Healey boasted before announcing her candidacy and whatever else the candidate drew in the rest of yesterday.
– The main narrative coming out of Thursday: Healey is the pundits’ choice for clear frontrunner in the gubernatorial race. Two other Democrats are running — Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz and Harvard Professor Danielle Allen. Former state Rep. Geoff Diehl rounds out the race on the Republican side. But anything can happen over the next 10-ish months. Political blunders happen, popularity can slide, and other candidates can work their way into the spotlight. Asked Thursday if the race was over before it starts, Healey just laughed: “You know, this is going to be a hard race. I’ve campaigned before and I’ve had hard races before, and I intend to campaign as I’ve done with every other race and that is to work my tail off every day.”
Other notes to round out the week:
– Campaign finance reports are in for ballot question campaigns. We reported earlier this week that the supporters of a question concerning app-based employees entered the new year with just over $14 million. The opponents of the question, the Coalition to Protect Workers’ Rights, started off 2022 with $682,658 after raising $470,700 between Aug. 5 and Dec. 31, 2021.
– GBH News’ Mike Deehan caught up with Senate President Karen Spilka after Edwards’ swearing-in ceremony. Among Spilka’s priorities heading into late-winter, early spring: early education and climate legislation. “We had planned on doing a climate bill in resilience, and clearly wind has been a big priority for the Senate as well. So we will be doing a bill in the near future on that,” the Ashland Democrat said. “It’s time now to turn our attention to the early education and care system in the commonwealth. We need to make some strong, substantive, systemic reforms in that system.”
Federal case against MIT professor dropped
A Justice Department case against Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Greg Chen alleging he hid work done for the Chinese government was dropped yesterday. Boston Herald’s Flint McColgan reports U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins said “our office has concluded that we can no longer meet our burden of proof at trial.”
More from McColgan: “Chen was arrested and charged on January 14, 2021, with two counts of wire fraud, one count failing to file a foreign bank account report (FBAR) and one count of making a false statement in a tax return, according to a contemporary FBI statement.”
Boston 25 sources: Harmony Montgomery’s father suspect in Lynn murder case
Adam Montgomery’s — the father of missing New Hampshire 7-year-old Harmony Montgomery — is now also suspected of killing a Lynn man in 2008, Boston 25’s Bob Ward reports. That’s according to a law enforcement source close to the investigation. Ward writes Adam Montgomery is a suspect in the murder of Darlin Guzman, who was found fatally shot outside the former White Hen Convenience store in Lynn.
Feds say it’s too late to shut down Weymouth compressor station
Federal regulators will not revoke authorization for a natural gas compressor station in Weymouth. Patriot Ledger’s Jessica Trufant reports that some members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said they shouldn’t have approved the project in the first place, but there was no justification to shut the place down.
More from Trufant: “Local, state and federal officials called for a halt of compressor operations when two emergency shutdowns caused hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of natural gas to be released into the air shortly after the station opened in the fall of 2020.”
Walsh won’t run for governor
U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh made official Thursday night what everyone suspected: Now that Healey is in the governor’s race, he’s out. The Globe’s Shannon Larson reports Walsh told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer he felt it was an “honor” to have his name circulated for the state’s top job but that he has no plans to leave his current job. But with more than $5 million sitting in his campaign fund, expect Walsh’s name to float to the top every time a high-profile statewide office becomes available.
Tufts plans to close pediatric hospital this summer
Tufts Medical Center plans to close its pediatric hospital in July and instead refer patients to Boston Children’s Hospital. Boston Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey reports the 41 beds that will be freed up by the transition will be used to treat more adults.
New Sen. Edwards hedges on Boston City Council future
Lydia Edwards officially became the newest member of the state Senate on Thursday but has yet to resign her seat on the Boston City Council, a move that Mike Deehan of ‘GBH reports bucks longstanding Beacon Hill tradition of holding just one elected office at a time. Immediately after her swearing-in by Gov. Baker, a spokesperson said Edwards will address the issue “in the future.”
Call up: Biden taps Ehrlich for FEMA position
Open seat alert. State Rep. Lori Ehrlich will leave the 8th Essex District seat she has represented since 2008 at the end of the month to join the Biden administration as administrator of FEMA’s New England region, Adam Bass of the Lynn Item reports. The move marks a return to Ehrlich’s pre-lawmaker role as an environmental activist.
Worcester pays $20K to settle lawsuit alleging racial profiling
The City of Worcester paid out $20,000 to settle a lawsuit where a Liberian immigrant accused an off-duty police officer working at a Walmart of racial profiling and false arrest. MassLive’s Tom Matthews reports new records provided to the media outlet detail the payment.
More from Matthews: “Ambrose Toekulah, who immigrated to America from Liberia, was arrested at a Walmart located at 25 Tobias Boland Way on Nov. 21, 2019, and charged with disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after off-duty Worcester police officer Joseph Mitchell stopped him for suspected shoplifting.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass. CEO to step down
The health insurance industry saw one of its top leaders announce their departure Thursday afternoon. Boston Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey reports Andrew Dreyfus, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, plans to step down at the end of the year after heading up the state’s largest health insurer for almost 12 years.
Maybe the fake IDs were that good?
Sometimes kids have really good fake IDs, other times they’re pretty easy to catch (take it from this MASSterList writer who used to work door for a bar in downtown Boston. No, I won’t say which one. If you know, you know). Telegram & Gazette’s Kim Ring reports that the owners of a Café Neo in Worcester told the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission earlier this week that some of the 15 underage patrons drinking at their bar in November had fairly convincing fakes.
Sunday Public Affairs: Danielle Allen, Marty Meehan, and Ayanna Pressley
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Ch. 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Gubernatorial candidate and Harvard professor Danielle Allen discussing Attorney General Maura Healey’s entry into the race, her views on COVID policy, and the “millionaire’s tax” ballot question.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Ch. 5, Sunday, 11 a.m. Guest: UMass President Marty Meehan talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu followed by a roundtable discussion with political analysts Mary Anne marsh and Rob Gray.
CityLine, WCVB-TV, Ch. 5 Sunday 12 p.m., This week’s topic: A conversation with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley on voting rights, student loan debt, and her effort to grant the Congressional Gold Medal to former Boston Bruins player Willie O’Ree.
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