Today | The Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development is expected to release preliminary September 2022 and revised August 2022 employment data for Massachusetts.
9 a.m. | Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins President Luis Pedraja to tour the Quinsigamond Community College Healthcare and Workforce Development Center and highlight its nursing education program.
10:30 a.m. | Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin holds media availability in the State House Library to discuss the start of early voting Saturday and provide updates on the Nov. 8 election.
11 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu will hold a press conference in Central Square in East Boston to announce a new green infrastructure policy.
6 p.m. | Women's Lunch Place, a daytime shelter that helps feed and advocate for more than 1,800 women experiencing homelessness and hunger, celebrates its 40th anniversary at an annual Spaghetti Dinner benefit at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.
Early in-person voting starts Saturday. You can find local hours and locations here. According to the secretary of state’s office, 1.07 million voters, or 22.1 percent, have requested mail in ballots so far, and already 151,407 have been returned with votes cast.
For those who are still waiting to vote, Democrat Maura Healey and Republican Geoff Diehl squared off for the second and final debate of the gubernatorial campaign last night on WCVB Channel 5.
Two polls released this week showed Healey with imposing leads in the race, ahead by 23 points in one survey and 30 in the other. Diehl likely needed something major or something memorable last night to alter the dynamics of the race, and that arguably didn’t happen.
That’s not to say, however, the two candidates didn’t have a lively back-and-forth over everything from energy costs and taxes to abortion rights and COVID-19 precautions.
ON ELECTION INTEGRITY: Healey wasted no time going after Diehl and his ties to former President Donald Trump. With the first question about whether the candidates would accept the results of the Nov. 8 election, both said, “Absolutely.” But Healey accused Diehl of making the kinds of “dangerous” statements questioning the integrity of the 2020 election that led to the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol.
“My opponent is an election denier. He supports election deniers out there,” Healey said.
Diehl responded by saying that both he and his bank account are aware that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election, but said there’s nothing wrong with questioning whether mail-in ballots in many states were handled properly.
ON COST OF LIVING/TAXES: Healey said her top focus as governor will be making Massachusetts more affordable, and that starts with “cutting taxes.” Healey again said she looks forward to seeing $3 billion in rebate checks go back to taxpayers, and urged the Legislature to pass the tax reforms put forward by Gov. Charlie Baker. She also highlighted her plan to create a $600 per child tax credit for to help families with the cost of everything form groceries to daycare.
Diehl also said, “Of course, I’m going to cut taxes,” though he was less specific on how. Instead, he questioned Healey’s commitment by pointing to her support for Question 1, which would raise taxes on wealthy households by levying a 4 percent surtax on income over $1 million.
Later in the debate, Diehl said he doesn’t “anticipate ever raising taxes” as governor, while Healey said she didn’t want to “commit to particular pledges.” The Democrat sounded a lot like Baker 2.0 who in his 2014 campaign would not sign a no-new-taxes pledge because he said it could handcuff him in the future should an opportunity for tax reform arise requiring some rates to be raised and others lowered.
ON ENERGY: No matter the question, Diehl returned again and again over the course of the one-hour debate to energy, and specifically Healey’s effort to block the construction of two natural gas pipelines through Massachusetts. The Republican blamed Healey for what is projected to be a costly winter for homeowners, and said her support for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels would drive businesses and families out of the state.
Diehl said he supports renewables, but does not believe in setting an “arbitrary” deadline to make the full switch to clean energy sources.
Healey said her actions actually saved ratepayers money by preventing the oil companies from charging customers for the construction of the pipelines, and called on the Legislature to use some of the state’s surplus to provide home heating relief to residents while she works with the Congressional delegation to secure federal aid.
“The idea that I created the high cost of energy, there’s a war on in Russia and Ukraine. That’s not Massachusetts’s fault,” Healey quipped.
ON ABORTION: While Diehl wanted voters to believe Healey, as attorney general, is responsible for the high cost of oil and gas this winter, he also contended that as governor he would have no power to influence access to abortion.
Diehl supported the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, but said as governor he would protect a woman’s right to choose because the Legislature had spoken on the issue and with Democratic supermajorities on Beacon Hill the state laws on this matter are unlikely to change.
“There’s no way I’m changing that law,” Diehl said.
“I just don’t believe that,” Healey shot back, crediting Baker once again for acting quickly after the Dobbs decision to protect access in Massachusetts through executive order, and later by signing a new law.
Healey said the next governor will have a lot of influence in the abortion space with respect to things like MassHealth coverage and how state agencies support health care providers.
“It’s just not the case that it doesn’t matter who the governor is,” Healey said.
READ MORE COVERAGE OF THE DEBATE:
— Companies struggling with what to do with all those square feet
General Electric’s decision to leave Fort Point and downsize its footprint in Boston obviously made headlines because of the company’s brand and the fanfare that followed its decision to relocate here several years ago. GE, however, is not alone. The Globe’s Catherine Carlock reports how the slow return to in-person office work after COVID-19 has left the office real estate market in flux in downtown Boston, with many employers questioning why they’re paying so much in rent when no one shows up to work. The implications are great, not just for the economy, but the vibrancy of downtown and the small businesses that support the corporate workforce.
— Wu seeks state help to address Mass. & Cass homelessness
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is calling on the state to help create 1,000 new units of housing outside of Boston that could be used as a relief valve to provide shelter to the hundreds of homeless individuals who return to the area of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard every day. Wu has a press conference Thursday to discuss the city’s response to the drug use and other problems in the areas, and draw attention to her ask of the state. Protestors disrupted the event, forcing the mayor to move it inside to city offices. The Globe’s Daniel Kool and Travis Anderson have more details.
— On the southern border with the lawyers in the MV migrants case
The lawyers representing migrants in their class action lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for recruiting and flying them to Martha’s Vineyard under what is alleged to be false promises of jobs and other support spent a week on the southern border in Texas to understand the conditions their clients faced as they came across the border. WBUR’s Cristela Guerra reports on that whey saw.
— A new purpose for the Kennedy Compound? Hinds has an idea
Adam Hinds, the former state senator and new CEO of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate is pitching the famed Kennedy compound in Hyannis as a “Camp David”-type retreat for members of Congress to escape the noise of Washington and have productive bipartisan conversations about the direction of the county. Could it work? The Cape Cod Times’s Asad Jung has more from Hinds on the idea.
— Former Sarno aide suing Springfield over his firing
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno’s former constituent services director is suing the city and the mayor over his dismissal, alleging discrimination, breach of contract and violation of his right to free speech. WMP&I’s Matt Szafranski reports on the complaint and Darryl Moss’s firing, which stemmed from posts he made on social media following the death of George Floyd.
Western Mass Politics & Insight
— One of state’s most enduring organizers taking a step back
Think of a social justice cause that has bubbled up to prominence in Massachusetts over the past many years and there’s a good chance Lew Finer had a hand in it. The Globe’s Joan Vennochi pays tribute to Finfer’s quiet legacy in her latest column as she reports Finfer is preparing to step away from his position with the Massachusetts Communities Action Network.
— Howgate picked to lead influential Beacon Hill think tank
Big news on Beacon Hill and in policy circles. The influential Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has tapped Doug Howgate to become its next president when Eileen McEnneny steps down at the end of the year. Howgate is a veteran of the Legislature with an encyclopedic knowledge of state finances and a survivor of numerous budget battles over the years as a staffer to top Democrats. He was chosen from within the organization, having spent the past two years as executive vice president after an earlier stint as director of research and policy.
— When you own your home, but not the land it sits on
Everyone knows the cost of a single-family home, condo or rent on an apartment has been going up, making it increasingly difficult for people to put down roots in Massachusetts. As part of the station’s exploration of the housing crisis, GBH’s Liz Neisloss reports on how “mobile homes,” or manufactured housing, has become an increasingly interesting option for fixed-income residents and retirees. But even though the home is more affordable to buy, fluctuations in the rent owners pay on the land beneath them makes them as vulnerable as other renters to being forced form their homes. Neisloss has more on the movement in the mobile home community to buy the land as well.
— Haverhill strike over, schools expected to be open today
A nearly week-long teachers strike in Haverhill appears to be over after a late-night deal was struck between teachers unions and the city. The Globe’s Jeremy Fox reports all schools in Haverhill will be open today, though students are not required to be present and no bus service will be offered.
— Nantucket Town Meeting could do away with… town meeting
Some Nantucket residents are preparing to ask next spring’s Town Meeting to make changes to the island’s form of government, including possibly ending open town meetings for good, Dean Geddes of the Inquirer & Mirror reports. The moves come after a 2022 town meeting that featured 170 articles that took voters several nights to handle. Town Meeting is a particularly New England way of making local government decisions, and while it’s about as close to the people as government can get, it can also be unwieldy.
— Northampton says ‘no’ to Florence cannabis shop
Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra says she will not sign a host community agreement to allow a proposed pot shop in the city’s Florence neighborhood, a proposal that has sparked strong community opposition in what has long been one of the state’s most cannabis-friendly communities. The Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Scott Merzbach reports the city is offering to work with proponents of the shop to find a location more palatable to residents.
— After years of increases, Attleboro businesses push back on taxes
Members of the Attleboro business community are asking the city council to shift more of the city’s tax burden back to residential property owners after the commercial tax rate was hiked for five straight fiscal years. The Sun Chronicle’s George Rhodes reports the commercial tax rate for the current fiscal year is 36 percent higher than the residential level.
The Talk Shows
Talking Politics, GBH 2, 7 p.m.: GBH political reporter Adam Reilly and his panel dive into what’ animating the race for auditor, as well as those latest polls and what they might forecast for Nov. 8. Evan Horowitz, executive director of the Tufts Center for State Policy Analysis, also joins the show to break down ballot questions one and two related to the so-called millionaires’ tax and reform of the dental insurance market.
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Ch. 4, 8:30 a.m.: MASSterList columnist and WBZ political analyst Jon Keller moderates a mini-debate between Democrat Andrea Campbell and Republican Jay McMahon – two candidates for attorney general.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Ch. 5, Sunday, 11 a.m.: Republican nominee for auditor Anthony Amore is the guest with hosts Janey Wu and NewsCenter 5 Political Reporter Sharman Sacchetti. Amore’s interview will be followed by a political roundtable discussion with Democratic political analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican political analyst Rob Gray.
Harvard and MIT Students Disrupt ExxonMobil Campus Recruitment Event to Protest Big Oil – The Harvard Crimson
MIT names new president, replacing Rafael Reif – Boston Business Journal
Rep. Pressley touts Dems’ efforts on student loan forgiveness, economic relief ahead of the midterms – GBH News
Greenfield City Council nixes police audit funding – Greenfield Recorder
UMass nurses win wage increases in new union contracts – MassLive
Before measure goes to Worcester polls, council panel takes up Community Preservation Act – Telegram & Gazette
East-West passenger rail service sees strong support in new poll – MassLive
College enrollment declines for third straight year since pandemic – The Washington Post
Barrett denies emergency bid to block Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan – The Hill
Subscribe to MASSterList
Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.