12 p.m. | Republican governor candidate Chris Doughty and lieutenant governor hopeful Kate Campanale shake hands outside the Red Sox home opener and plan to give away Doughty/Campanale koozies to the first 500 people.
2:30 p.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker participates in the One Boston Day ceremony to honor the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
3 p.m. | Special Commission Relative to the Seal and Motto of the Commonwealth’s Histories and Usage Subcommittee holds a discussion about the state seal’s features, current usage and historical context.
Good Friday morning. Red Sox open Fenway Park today at 2:10 p.m. against the Minnesota Twins, but if you’re headed to the game don’t bring cash.
Starting today, Tim Buckley, 38, takes over for Kristen Lepore as chief of staff to Gov. Charlie Baker. Buckley, a a Boston resident, has worked for Baker since the 2014 campaign, starting in the administration as communications director and more recently serving as senior advisor to the governor. I caught up with Buckley this week as he prepared for the new role to talk about how he views the job, his goals for the next eight months, and, of course, his thoughts on his boss’s political future.
You were a political science major at Colorado College. Did you always plan to work in politics? I always wanted to but I had no natural connection. I didn’t have any friends who worked in the field. I didn’t haven family members in it. I was always incredibly interested in the intersection of campaigns, politics and government and the media, too, but I never thought I would.
It’s unusual at this level for senior staff to stick around as long as you have. Why have you stayed? I said this about communications director job and I said it about being senior advisor. It’s most likely one of the more exciting and interesting jobs I will ever have so I am in no big rush to leave. It’s not every day you get to work alongside an elected official at this level from your home state that your respect and admire and enjoy working for. Those opportunities don’t come around too often.
Did you have to think about accepting this job? Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I had to talk to my wife about it. It’s not even week one but it’s more time away, more responsibility and it’s a couple more areas of the office that I needed to think about whether I was up to the task of working with. There are so many highly intelligent, driven people around here I wanted to make sure I was the right person to take the job.
What do you hope to accomplish in the eight months you’ll have in this position? You’re familiar with the issues. I won’t list them, but how I see this job is supporting a bunch of experts. We have some extremely bright people the governor has assembled and I want to do whatever I can to help them do their best work over the next several months.
If you could pick one thing to get through the Legislature over the next few months that would make the governor’s final year a success, what would it be? I think the Baker-Polito administration has already wracked up a number of successes. There isn’t one thing that must happen in order to claim success. We’re pushing tax break and the (public safety) bills. But there’s a number of internal priorities as well. Putting the first round of APRA money to work. You also hear a lot about the future of work but there’s an internal future of work, bringing executive branch into a 21st century working environment.
What do you anticipate being the biggest challenge shifting into this management role? The hardest part about this is it’s not easy to keep up with Charlie Baker. He consumes a tremendous amount of information. He’s reading media, white papers, social media, talking to people constantly. Keeping up with him is actually really hard.
What’s Charlie Baker like as a boss? There’s a lot of autonomy with a good measure of accountability. One of the first things he said to me when he took office was you can’t run an organization as big as this with an iron fist because things just fall out the sides and that’s something I think about a lot.
Many close to the administration have described the relationship between you and the governor as extremely close and your opinion one of thee most trusted in the office. Did it take time to develop that kind of relationship or did it happen right away? It takes time. When you go through stressful periods like dealing with the snowstorms early on, any of the really significant events that have taken place you gain a little more trust with people and you learn more about people and you comes out of it with a better understanding of what makes your co-workers tick. But the governor listens to and seeks input from a lot of people, including the lieutenant governor, Cabinet and other senior staff.
Final question. Three of the last five governors have run for president. Do you think Charlie Baker should run in 2024? (Laughs) “I think Charlie Baker should do whatever it is he wants to do that allows him to spend some time with the kids and still allows him to express his viewpoints on issues of the day and engage on things that matter to Massachusetts, because that’s what the guy’s built to do.
MBTA safety board quiet on causes of Red Line incident
If you thought the MBTA board would have a lot of questions after last weekend’s fatal Red Line incident where a man got his arm trapped in a door and dragged into a tunnel, you’d be wrong, reports the Globe’s Taylor Dolven. Dolven writes that the MBTA board of directors’ safety subcommittee “did not ask MBTA staff a single question about the tragedy at a public meeting,” but members did offer “heartfelt condolences” to the family of Robinson Lalin. The incident is still under investigation by state and federal authorities.
The support is there. So why the Senate delay on licenses?
Two months after the House passed legislation to allow immigrants unable to prove legal status to obtain a Massachusetts drivers license, the Globe’s Matt Stout asks why the bill has yet to surface in the Senate despite clear support from a majority of Democrats, including Senate President Karen Spilka. “It moves at a glacial pace,” Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins said. “Government just moves too slow sometimes.” Stout writes that the Senate sponsor of the bill – Sen. Brendan Crighton of Lynn – believes it’s only a matter of timing. “We have very strong support in the Senate,” Crighton said. “We continue to have conversations. We want to get every vote we can.”
Clean energy bill passes the Senate
The state Senate last night passed a sweeping clean energy bill that would pour $250 million into the fight against climate change by investing in electric vehicle rebates and charging infrastructure, overhaul the offshore wind procurement process, require greater scrutiny on the future of natural gas, and allow some cities and towns to restrict the use of fossil fuels in new construction, SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports. The 37-3 vote came after 12 hours of floor debate and the adoption of 45 amendments, including one that seeks to double the state’s offshore wind over the next decade, but Lisinski writes that it now faces an uncertain future after the House passed a more tailored energy bill earlier this session.
“Last year’s climate bill was about laying out a plan for tackling this formidable challenge of climate change. This year, in this legislation, we propose to begin to execute on the plan,” said Sen. Michael Barrett, a Lexington Democrat and chair of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.
Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz voted in favor of the bill, but the Boston Democrat – who is running for governor – had this to say after the vote: “This bill is the boldest climate plan proposed at the state level this year — and we need to be honest: it’s still not adequate to the scale of the problem. It fails to invest a single new cent in electrifying or incentivizing public transportation and only scratches the surface of cutting building emissions. We can and we must act with more urgency.”
Boston opens search to police commissioner candidates
The city is now accepting applications to be the next police commissioner in Boston, writes the Globe’s Ivy Scott. “We are committed to identifying candidates who are prepared to serve in this pivotal moment, to partner with the community, build trust and accountability, and advance essential reforms,” retired Justice Geraldine Hines, who chairs the city’s search committee for a new commissioner, said in a statement. The application window will be open for the next month and Mayor Michelle Wu hopes to name a new commissioner this spring.
State offers up partial solution to UI overpayments
The Baker administration outlined steps it would take to clear up $1.6 billion, or about 70 percent, of overpaid unemployment benefits that were handed out during the pandemic in error after Labor Secretary Marty Walsh’s agency granted partial permission to waive the collection of some excess benefits. The Globe’s Larry Edelman gets into the details of how the state is attempting to resolve what he calls a “financial nightmare” for thousands of claimants who received and spent money while out of work during the pandemic, and are now being told they owe it back.
Patrick to Dems: “Quit whining”
Former Gov. Deval Patrick once told his fellow Democrats at the 2012 Democratic National Convention to “grow a backbone.” Now he’s at it again, writing in Newsweek that Democrats need to “quit whining” about their bad poll numbers heading into the midterms, and feeding into the punditry that says Democrats are in for a “bloodbath.” “However much Republican policies may be at the root of what ails us, however much Democrats have accomplished already in the Biden administration, people are genuinely and understandably frustrated that so much wrong is not yet right. Democrats should feel that, see it, acknowledge it. That is not failure. It’s motivation. The case for voting for Democrats in the midterms is not to reward Democrats for what they have already accomplished, but to enable Democrats to finish the job,” Patrick writes in the op/ed
School COVID cases rising
The Boston Herald’s Rick Sobey writes up the latest COVID-19 case numbers from public schools, and they’re not comforting. State education officials on Thursday reported a total of more than 5,300 staff and students testing positive for COVID-19 in the past week, a 42 percent increase from the previous weekly report of 3,766 infections.
Would you commute for free coffee?
There’s probably a closer Dunkin’ to your house, but it won’t be free. WBUR’s Walter Wuthmann writes that the city of Boston this week served up free coffee to entice people back downtown, and will be working with the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District to hold a series of block parties on Wednesdays through the summer with beer gardens, food trucks, music performances and even historical re-enactors. All in the name of luring people out of their home office and back downtown where businesses need the foot traffic. “I hope people will think about all the things they did love about downtown Boston, and decide to come back,” said George Comeau, marketing and brand manager for the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District.
Cited: State fines Doughty-owned company over environmental violations
Capstan Atlantic, an industrial gear manufacturer helmed by GOP gubernatorial hopeful Chris Doughty, has agreed to pay nearly $1,400 in fines after inspectors found environmental violations at the company’s Wrentham plant. Tom Reilly of the Sun Chronicle reports Capstan was cited for having too much waste oil stored on site, failing to post proper signage and for exceeding air pollution standards.https://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/local_news/state-cites-wrentham-company-led-by-gop-gubernatorial-candidate-chris-doughty/article_62d9c61b-520c-5bf3-9905-87bfce94aa3c.html
Pride Parade won’t have its post-pandemic moment
The Marathon and other large events in Boston are back, many after a two-year hiatus for the pandemic. But GBH News’s Saraya Wintersmith writes the annual Pride Parade celebrating the region’s LGBTQ community will not be returning. Boston Pride, the nonprofit organizer of past parades, moved to dissolve itself last year amid a boycott over issues of race and transgender inclusion and complaints of excessive commercialization, Wintersmith reports. The parade drew thousands of marchers and spectators each year, including politicians. Many LGBTQ organizations will still be holding grassroots block parties, marches and festivals throughout the month of June.
Divesting from Russia trickier than it sounds
As businesses and governments look to cut ties with Russia over their invasion of Ukraine, WBUR’s Beth Healy and Saurabh Datar report it’s not as easy as it sounds. One example is the state pension fund. The Legislature recently directed the Pension Reserve Investment Management board to divest its relatively modest holdings in companies incorporated in Russia, but finding a buyer at a fair price is not as easy as it sounds these days. Healey and Datar report PRIM’s $250 million in holdings at the start of the year are worth less than $10 million now because Russian markets are closed to foreigners.
Sanctioned by Russia and happy about it
Russia announced Thursday it had sanctioned 398 members of the House of Representatives in retaliation for the United States sanctioning 300 members of the Russian Duma.
“Good, now let’s get Ukraine some more weapons,” responded U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan in a statement.
On the list were seven of the nine members from Massachusetts, excluding Reps. Jim McGovern and William Keating, though Russia suggested those left off had already been denied entry to the country.
Boston development chief stepping down
Boston Planning & Development Agency Brian Golden will resign after eight years leading the city’s development efforts. The Boston Globe’s Catherine Carlock reports that Golden is the longest-tenured director in the development agency’s 60-plus-year history, and one of the last remaining senior holdovers from the Walsh administration. Mayor Michelle Wu is looking for new chief of planning, and Carlock writes that Golden’s departure could presage big changes at the BPDA.
Lease to own: Healey settles with company illegally leasing dogs
A California-based company caught illegally leasing dogs to Massachusetts residents has agreed to pay $930,000 in debt relief and restitution as part of a settlement reached with Attorney General Maura Healey, and some of those pets will find themselves in their new forever homes. MassLive’s Heather Morrison has more details.
Paid in full: After decade of dispute, Eversource ponies up in Springfield
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno says his office has received a check for more than $41 million from Eversource, a payment that resolves a property tax dispute that has simmered for 10 years, as MassLive’s Patrick Johnson explains. The payout includes more than $16 million in interest accrued as the utility underpaid its taxes for a decade.https://www.masslive.com/news/2022/04/eversource-pays-up-springfield-receives-41-million-check-to-close-out-10-year-tax-dispute.html
Recount could be coming in Oak Bluffs election
It’s always election day somewhere and on Thursday, voters in Oak Bluffs went to the polls and the result was a Select Board race so close it could be decided by the counting of three write-in votes or headed to a recount, the Martha’s Vineyard Times reports.https://www.mvtimes.com/2022/04/14/three-towns-going-polls/
Tourism is booming in Lenox
Berkshire Eagle correspondent Clarence Fanto reports that Lenox is on pace to collect record-setting revenues from its lodging tax, despite COVID-19. The Department of Revenue reports that the town generated $650,000 in lodging tax revenue during the quiet November through January off-season, and has raised $3.1 million or the first three quarters of the fiscal year. That puts the town on pace to potentially double its previous record of $2.1 million.
Sunday Talk Shows
Talking Politics, GBH-TV, Ch. 2, 7 p.m.: Host Adam Reilly is joined by Katie Lannan of the State House News Service and Saraya Wintersmith of GBH News to discuss the state and city budgets presenteed this week by House Democrats and Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. Also, Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts and Dianna Hu of the Boston Center for Independent Living make the case for continuing remote access to public meetings.
Basic Black, GBH-TV, Ch. 2, 7:30 p.m.: Host Callie Crossley speaks with runners and organizers of community events helping to expand running programs for both health and as a powerful vehicle for social justice. Crossley is joined by Boston Athletic Association Board of Governors member Adrienne Benton, Hood Fit Founder Thaddeus Miles, UMass Lowell Assistant Athletic Director Ruben Sança and Dimock COmmunity Health Center CEO Charles Anderson.
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Ch. 4, 8:30 a.m.: Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce President Jim Rooney talks with Jon Keller about the return of tourism, relaxed COVID restrictions, and Mayor Wu’s attitude towards business.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Ch. 5, Sunday, 11 a.m.: Democratic candidate for attorney general Shannon Liss-Riordan sits downs with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a political roundtable discussion with Democratic analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican analyst Rob Gray.
CityLine, WCVB-TV, Ch. 5, Sunday 12 p.m.: CityLine profiles Chastity Bowick, executive director of the Transgender Emergency Fund; Tre’Andre Valentine, the executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders board member Dallas Ducar discuss legislation around the country focused on the LGBTQ community; Transgender actress MJ Rodriguez and trans actor Travis Alabanze discuss transgender performers in the arts.
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