8:30 a.m. | Senate President Karen Spilka attends a MetroWest Regional Transit Authority legislative breakfast.
10 a.m. | Massachusetts Gaming Commission hosts roundtable on sports wagering advertising and media.
1:15 p.m. | Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins state and local officials for an event at Liberty and Union Park in Taunton to celebrate the recent Brownfields Redevelopment Fund awards.
3 p.m. | Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins state and local officials for an event at the War Memorial Building in Brockton to celebrate the recent Site Readiness Program awards.
4 p.m. | Sen. Sal DiDomenico is the keynote speaker at the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation graduation ceremony for their Life Sciences Apprenticeship Program.
Even before Georgia voters decide a runoff election for U.S. Senate, Democrats ensured that they would retain control of that chamber in the new Congress after the Nevada Senate contest was called over the weekend for Catherine Cortez Masto.
Now the focus shifts to the House, where Democrats have a possible, albeit narrow, path to keeping control. But even if Republicans do seize power in the House, the majority will be small and the election a huge disappointment for the GOP, whose leaders were preparing to surf into power on swell of momentum and popular appeal.
U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan, the Third District Congresswoman from Westford, ran and won one of the few contested federal races in Massachusetts this cycle. She views the strong performance by Democrats this cycle as a repudiation of “extremism” in the Republican party.
“First and foremost, this notion of extremism. It was on the ballot. It was on the ballot here in Massachusetts and in many races across the country, and it was defeated. I think people want adults in the room talking earnestly and thoughtfully about the real issues affecting them,” Trahan told WBZ and MASSterList columnist Jon Keller on his Sunday morning show.
Trahan was reelected to a third term over Republican Dean Tran, a former state senator, by a margin of 64 percent to 36 percent. Despite saying he was focused on the future and the economy, Tran in the closing weeks of the race refused to say President Joe Biden fairly won the 2020 election
Asked by Keller how she would work with a growing number of election deniers in Washington, Trahan said she would “go on the hunt for Republicans I can work with.” She mentioned in the past being able to put aside differences with some Republican election-deniers to co-sponsor legislation related to mental health and substance use.
Trahan said it’s an “impossible percentage” for her to estimate how many Republicans actually believe the 2020 election was stolen and how many just say it to appease their far-right base and win reelection.
“But in some cases it almost doesn’t matter. When people elect someone to go represent them they want you to do it with courage and honesty and integrity,” Trahan said.
On the economy, Trahan said the cost of living in Massachusetts is hurting many families, but she believes Congress has set the stage for manufacturing, semiconductor chip design, and transportation infrastructure to come back to the United States over the next two to five years, creating good paying jobs.
She also said the quality of life in Massachusetts and the rich talent pool coming out of schools like UMass Lowell will continue to attract companies to the state. She’s said she’s not worried about the “tax-a-chusetts” label coming back, not even after passage of the “millionaire’s tax.”
“No, I think we need a steady stream of revenue so that we’re constantly making investments in our education, in our young people, and also our transportation so that we can continue to be competitive and lead the country,” Trahan said.
— Markey and Musk trade jabs over Twitter’s tailspin
If I rolled out something as disastrous as Twitter’s new Blue checkmark verification system, I might want to take the high road when the holes in the now abandoned revenue generating idea are pointed out by the Washington Post and a United States senator. But I’m not Elon Musk. Musk, instead, engaged in a back and forth over the weekend with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, who called out Musk and Twitter after a Post reporter was easily able to impersonate him (with his permission) on Twitter. Markey, who has been a vocal watchdog of tech industries on Capitol Hill and used social media to great success in 2020 when running for reelection, could wind up playing a prominent role if lawmakers decide to haul Musk before Congress.
— Migration drives up number of families sheltered in hotels
It might have made the highlight reel of Gov. Charlie Baker’s accomplishments over the past eight years. But instead, the Globe’s Mike Damiano reports that the progress the governor made to reduce the number of homeless families housed in hotels and motels is being undone by a wave of immigration that has strained the state’s shelter system. Baker succeeded by November 2021 in reducing the number of families sheltered in hotels from roughly 1,500 when he took office to five, reports Damiano. But over the past several months the arrival of migrants from places like Haiti and Central America have pushed the numbers back above 200. Gov.-elect Healey told the Globe she agrees with the goal of getting the number to zero, and it will soon be her job to see it through.
— Baker admin telling Avangrid to stick with offshore wind project
Avangrid faces a Monday deadline to tell regulators whether it will seek to reopen its contracts as a condition of its Commonwealth Wind project, but the Baker administration is now urging the offshore wind developer to plow ahead and find a way to make the project work. CommonWealth Magazine’s Bruce Mohl obtained a copy of a letter from Energy Secretary Bethany Card to the company urging them to work with the state to take advantage of enhanced federal credits that could help reduce the cost of the project. Avangrid had been seeking to renegotiate the terms of its energy contracts in light of inflation and global supply chain costs, but utilities said they were not interested in reopening the contracts and the Department of Public Utilities told the company to move forward as planned or walk away from the project. Avangrid must notify the state by the end of the day of its decision.
— Boncore out at MassBIO in surprise departure
With an announcement that seemed to come out of nowhere, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council announced on Friday that CEO Joe Boncore, a former state senator plucked from the Legislature just a year ago to lead the highly influential trade group, was stepping down. Boncore said he was leaving to start his own lobbying and consulting practice, and would keep MassBIO as a client. The move seemed highly unusual and abrupt for Boncore to leave the high-paying post after such a short time on the job, but the Globe’s Jonathan Saltzman reports that two board members uninvolved in the decision said Boncore was fired, or at least pushed out. The reasons are still unclear.
— Asleep on the job. T releases data on suspensions
I think it’s safe to say that the MBTA’s attention to detail have been called into question over the past several months by incidents involving service and investigations into the transit agency’s focus on safety. Now the Herald’s Gayla Cawley reports that 17 employees have been suspended for sleeping or failing to pay proper attention during work hours over the past four years. The suspensions, according to Cawley, were for violating the agency’s “attention to duty rule.”
— It’s a party again for Libertarians
It was victory in defeat for Libertarian candidate Cristina Crawford, who ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer but earned more than enough votes to restore major party status for Libertarians in Massachusetts. Crawford was the only other candidate running against incumbent Democrat Deb Goldberg in the general election, and picked up nearly 23 percent of the vote. Those 508,000 votes easily cleared the 3 percent threshold needed in a statewide race for Libertarians to be added as a party label under which candidates can run in 2024. Libertarians fielded candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and auditors as well, but none of them cracked 3 percent in those more competitive races.
— Campbell goes “On the Record”
Busy Sunday morning? Catch up on Attorney General-elect Andrea Campbell’s appearance on WCVB’s “On the Record” where she talked about expanding the reach of the office.
— Report says Bay State well-positioned to weather recession
Massachusetts is one of 18 states with enough savings socked away in rainy day funds and budget surpluses to weather a moderate recession without deep spending cuts or tax hikes, according to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Christian Wade of the Salem News reports the Bay State is estimated to have enough savings to cover 60 days of regular spending, putting it above the national average, but behind Connecticut and New York, which the report says have stashed away 100 days worth of spending.
— Lenox wonders what Bitcoin meltdown means for downtown
The implosion of cryptocurrency exchange FTX could have fallout for the town of Lenox, where
Ryan Salame, who served as CEO of one of FTX’s subsidiaries, owns nearly half of all downtown restaurants. As Clarence Fanto of the Berkshire Eagle reports, Salame isn’t talking to the media and local officials are just as curious, and worried, as the public about what will happen next.
— Would-be mayors stir in Salem amid confusion about rules
Hold your horses. Some in Salem appear ready to declare their candidacy to become the city’s next mayor but as Dustin Luca of the Salem News reports, the city council is just beginning the process of unpacking when a special election to replace Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll might take place. Driscoll’s chief of staff Dominick Pangallo and former Mayor Neil Harrington are among those who have said they’re mulling a run.
— Already in: Attleboro candidates just need an election date
Meanwhile, in Attleboro, the City Council could set a special election date to replace Bristol County Sheriff-elect Paul Heroux as soon as Tuesday. George Rhodes of the Sun-Chronicle reports two-time mayoral candidate John Davis and current councilor Cathleen DeSimone have already made their intentions to run known.