Happening Today:

Today | Recounts begin in the First Middlesex and Second Essex districts to help decide the winner in two narrowly divided House races.

9:30 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito visit Assonet to help celebrate their administration's progress in advancing the South Coast Rail project, including a ribbon cutting for the new Freetown Station.

10 a.m. | Massachusetts Gaming Commission holds a hearing to allow members of the public to weigh in on the three applications for in-person sports betting submitted by Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor in Everett.

2 p.m. | Boston City Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune holds a hearing at City Hall to address the increase in the number of migrant families and individuals coming into Boston.

2:30 p.m. | Board of Higher Education Executive Committee meets.

Attorney General-elect Andrea Campbell is turning to former Suffolk County District Attorney Ralph Martin and three other prominent legal figures in Massachusetts to help guide her transition.

Martin, the first elected Black district attorney in Suffolk County, will be joined by former first assistant attorney generals Mary Strother and Stephanie Lovell and Brent Henry, a health care partners at Mintz, as chairs of Campbell’s transition.

Her campaign manager Will Stockton will take on the role of transition director, the campaign is announcing this morning.

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“We have brought together a diverse group of lawyers, youth, subject matter experts, and business, non-profit and community leaders to review the work of the office while identifying the north stars for every bureau,” Campbell said in a statement.

Campbell, who won her race to become the first Black woman elected attorney general in state history, has put together two teams to guide her transition: a hiring committee and a “Ready on Day One” committee.

All four transition chairs will sit on the hiring committee, as well as others like Navjeet Ball, the former commission of revenue, and Pat Moore, a former deputy counsel to both Govs. Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker and the Biden presidential campaign.

The “Ready on Day One” committee will be led by Moore and Sara Cable, former chief of the data privacy and security division in the Attorney General’s office.

Two retired Supreme Judicial Court justices – Geraldine Hines and Margot Botsford – will advise on the criminal bureau and government bureau teams, respectively. And Campbell has tapped one sitting lawmaker – Sen. Lydia Edwards of East Boston – to assist on the public protection and advocacy bureau transition team.

The full roster also showcases some overlap with Gov.-elect Maura Healey’s transition team. For instance, former Sen. Ben Downing and Environmental League of Massachusetts President Elizabeth Turnbull Henry are pulling double duty with Healey and Campbell, joining the latter’s energy and environmental bureau transition team.

THE ODD COUPLE: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Sunday said it’s “always interesting” to work with any of her Senate colleagues, but the turmoil at Twitter following Elon Musk’s takeover has brought together the unlikely pairing of Warren and South Caroline Republican Lindsay Graham.

Warren told WCVB’s Janet Wu and Sharman Sacchetti that she and Graham are working on a proposal to create a digital regulatory commission that would oversee social media platforms like Twitter.

“The idea is just to make sure we’ve got a level playing field,” Warren said, attacking the idea that “one guy” like Musk would have the power to make decisions over who gets to use any given platform and what content they’re allowed to post.

Despite some confusion over President Biden’s preferred order of primaries in 2024 (Warren said she thought Biden wants South Carolina and New Hampshire to occur simultaneously), Warren said it’s important to elevate states with more diverse electorates.

“The underlying point being as Democrats we really need to make sure as we work through that presidential nominating process that we are getting states that represent a lot of different folks,” Warren said.

As the Herald’s Matthew Medsger reports, Warren also talked about her vote against the rail contract and why she thinks Democrats must vote to raise the debt ceiling before Republicans take control of the House in January.

REASONS TO BE OPTIMISTIC: Employer confidence climbed to a 14-month high in November despite persistent inflation, workforce shortages and the decision by voters to approve a surtax on high-income earners that was staunchly opposed by business groups, according to Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

The group’s business confidence index out this morning gained 7.8 points in November, climbing into solidly optimistic territory at 58.7. It’s the highest it’s been since September 2021 and nearly one point higher than this time last year.

“Businesses may see ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and are focusing on market growth and investment opportunities beyond 2023,” said Sara Johnson, chair of the A.I.M. board of economic advisors. Johnson noted that industrial commodity prices have fallen by one-third since March and slow growth in China is helping to bring down energy prices.

— Enforcement of new housing law could cost some local towns

The new law requiring MBTA communities to amend their zoning bylaws to allow for more dense, multi-family housing to be developed has been both cheered by housing advocates and jeered by opponents, such as former GOP gubernatorial nominee Geoff Diehl. But it is the law. And The Globe’s Andrew Brinker reports how enforcement is proving to be trickier than anyone might have hoped, with a small number of housing authorities facing a loss of state funding for something largely out of their control.

The Boston Globe

— Walsh has fences to mend after rail contract settled by Congress

Had the rail unions simply ratified the contract that U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh helped negotiate in September to avoid a strike, it would have been a clean win for the Biden administration and the former Boston mayor and labor leader. But the Globe’s Jim Puzzanghera and Jackie Kucinich write that Walsh now has some cleaning up to do with union workers frustrated and angry that the contract imposed by Congress last week excluded guaranteed sick leave protections that failed in the Senate. Some of those workers protested outside Biden’s visit to Boston on Friday. And while Walsh says the fight for sick time isn’t over, he has to explain to them why it is over for now.

The Boston Globe

— Wu asks developers to “adopt a school”

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu convened some of the city’s biggest real estate, construction and architecture firms to ask them to help her do something the city just doesn’t have the money to do – fix some of Boston’s crumbling schools. The mayor is seeking private support to renovate schoolyards, repaint buildings, or repave properties in need of repair that just don’t fit into the BPS budget. But the Boston Business Journal’s Greg Ryan reports what Wu really wants is money, because a donation of labor could quickly find itself entangled in public procurement laws.

Boston Business Journal

— Victims detail alleged behavior of former Everett superintendent

The steady stream of troubling datelines coming out of Everett continue with the Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reporting on testimony provided in the case against former Superintendent Frederick Foresteire, who has been accused of sexually harassing employees and punishing the families, including students, of women who spurned his advances. Foresteire is due to go on trial in February.

The Boston Globe

— Funding sought for first phase of East-West rail

The state, Amtrak and CSX are asking the feds for $108 million to make track upgrades that will allow for two additional daily trips to be run from Boston through Worcester to Springfield. The rail improvements proposed for the 53-mile stretch of track between Worcester and Springfield represent the first phase of the East-West rail project that state and federal officials hope to push forward with funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Joe Biden, reports the Springfield Republican’s Jim Kinney. “It means it’s happening,” U.S. Rep. Richard Neal told the newspaper.

Springfield Republican

— The shrinking market for downtown office space

The market for office space in downtown Boston could be in for a rocky 2023, according to Banker & Tradesman and Boston Business Journal. B&T’s Steve Adams reports that the city is due for a wave of lease expirations in the coming year as activity in the lab space has slowed and many companies are looking to downsize. The BBJ’s Grant Welker also reports that despite ongoing construction of glitzy office towers, vacancy rates are at the highest level they’ve been since the start of the pandemic.

Banker & Tradesman | Boston Business Journal

— Former Natick town meeting member sentenced for Jan. 6

Onetime Natick Town Meeting member Suzanne Ianni has been sentenced to serve 15 days in federal jail for entering the U.S. Capitol building during the Jan. 6 insurrection. WBUR’s Deborah Becker reports the sentence splits the difference between the government’s request for Ianni to spend 30 days in jail and the defense proposal that she serve no jail time.

WBUR

— What explains lower voter turnout in poorer communities?

MassLive’s Alvin Buyinza digs into the question of why some of the Bay State’s poorest communities had dramatically lower voter turnout in last month’s midterms than nearby cities and towns with higher incomes. Buyinza found a lack of contested races may have combined with economic realities to keep voters away this cycle.

MassLive

— State gift card enticement to boost vaccinations questioned

Worcester’s top health official is casting doubt on whether the state Department of Public Health’s new push to get people vaccinated against the coronavirus by offering a $75 gift card will actually have the desired effect, Henry Schwan of the Telegram reports. The Get Boosted program targets 20 cities and towns with low vaccination rates, including Worcester where 77 percent of residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, compared to 95 percent of the statewide population.

Telegram & Gazette

— New Bedford’s bargain-basement building buy

The city of New Bedford will have to wait a little longer to close on its $10 purchase of a former armory in the city as the state performs some $3.3 million worth of repairs. As Frank Mulligan of the Standard-Times reports, the long-term plan is for the city to flip the property to a private developer willing to partner on a long-term plan. 

The Standard-Times

MORE HEADLINES:

Metro

Bostonians’ Take on the Royals’ Whirlwind Visit? Whatevah – The New York Times

Boston Public Schools’ enrollment drops for 8th consecutive year – The Boston Globe

Massachusetts

Chelan Brown’s discrimination complaint against MGM Springfield dismissed, statute of limitations cited – MassLive

State begins animal cruelty investigation after more than 20 horses found neglected at West Stockbridge farm – The Berkshire Eagle

National

From chicken wings to used cars, inflation begins to ease its grip – The Washington Post

How Democrats’ New Primary Calendar Changes the Chessboard – The New York Times

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