Happening Today:

11 a.m. | Members of the international environmental movement Extinction Rebellion Boston hold a demonstration in connection with Maura Healey's inauguration as governor to pressure her on a commitment to "No New Fossil Fuels."

11:30 a.m. | Gov.-elect Maura Healey and Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll are sworn in as governor and lieutenant governor during joint session of the House and Senate.

4 p.m. | Food Security Infrastructure Grant program administrators host a virtual question and answer session related to the recently announced $28.5 million in available funding for the fiscal year 2024 FSIG program.

5 p.m. | Maura Healey and Kim Driscoll host inaugural celebration at the TD Garden, featuring musician Brandi Carlile, with the theme of "Moving the Ball Forward."

*Department of Revenue is due to report on state tax receipts for December.

Gov.-elect Maura Healey officially takes the reins of state government today when she and Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll take their oaths in the House chamber.

If yesterday was about Gov. Charlie Baker (who’s still on the clock until noon) and his “Lone Walk” out of the State House and power, today is about Healey and what comes next.

The Healey team continued to take shape yesterday, but we’ll get to that later. Because for today the focus will be on Healey, who coasted through her gubernatorial campaign basically untested. Since securing her victory on Nov. 8, there’s been a clamoring within the press, the advocacy community and many lawmakers to hear how she intends to wield the considerable political capital she accumulated.

And everyone…and I mean everyone….wants a piece.

“I guess we’ll be watching to see how progressive this progressive administration will be,” said one senator yesterday.

But maybe don’t expect to get a detailed blueprint just yet.

Healey herself on Wednesday used words like “hope,” “optimism,” and “resolve” when asked what people could expect to hear from her today in her inaugural address. And that syncs with what UMass Boston political science professor Erin O’Brien would expect.

“That’s an insider game and that was a critique during the camping, that she’s not policy specific enough but she didn’t need to be. She won decisively,” O’Brien said. “People on Beacon Hill want that, but that’s not her audience (today). It’s the people who voted for her and those who didn’t. I think she’ll talk in aspiration terms.”

O’Brien said that one of her goals early on will be to establish a good working relationship with Democrats in the Legislature, and laying out a detailed policy agenda right now would only complicate that.

“If you set out a laundry list of goals, inevitably you don’t meet them. No one, at least no one of any power, is forcing her hand so why back yourself into a corner,” O’Brien said.

And she could be right. House Speaker Ron Mariano sort of shrugged and rolled his eyes yesterday when asked what he hoped to hear from Healey today. “I don’t know,” he said.

O’Brien said she’ll also be curious to see how tightly Healey embraces the historic nature of the moment as she becomes the state’s first elected woman governor and one of the first openly gay governors in the country.

“How much does she acknowledge it? Is she going to let her presence do the talking or will she lean into it?” O’Brien asked.

The ceremonies start at 11:30 a.m.

— New administration will be tested early

Healey may or may not be ready to lay out a laundry list of must-dos on Day 1, but the Globe’s Samantha J. Gross and Emma Platoff prepared a comprehensive look at the challenges facing the new administration, from the MBTA to climate. There’s always Day 2.

The Boston Globe

— On to that transition news….

As I mentioned above, Healey further filled out her Cabinet yesterday and announced several key hires within her office to help her get started. Yvonne Hao will take over as secretary of economic development as Healey pursues her plan to split the secretariat as it’s currently constituted and eventually name a separate secretary of housing. Jason Snyder will become secretary of technology services and security.

Interestingly, one key post – secretary of health and human services – remains unfilled and the job will be done by a placeholder. The transition team announced that Mary Beckman will move over from the attorney general’s office to HHS as acting secretary until a permanent secretary can be hired. She will then slide into the role of senior advisor to the secretary. Outgoing HHS Secretary Marylou Sudders, who was the subject of much speculation about the possibility of staying on, will advise Beckman as she gets started.

— Maura Healey taps economic development, technology chiefs one day before inauguration – MassLive

— Healey appoints acting secretary for Health and Human Services — The Boston Globe

More Healey hires:

  • April English – Chief Secretary
  • Marcony Almeida-Barros – Deputy Chief of Staff for Access and Engagement
  • Kristian Hoysradt – Deputy Chief of Staff to the Lieutenant Governor
  • Juan Gallego, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff to the Lieutenant Governor
  • Alicia Rebello-Pradas – Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs
  • Cecilia Ugarte Baldwin – Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Cabinet Affairs
  • Jillian Fennimore – Communications Director
  • Karissa Hand – Press Secretary

— Baker’s big exit

To get to inauguration day, Massachusetts first had to say goodbye to Gov. Charlie Baker, who departed the State House with his wife and family, along with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and her family, for the last time Wednesday night in the traditional “Lone Walk.” Known to shed a few tears his day, Baker was instead mostly smiles and high-fives as he made his way through hundreds who gathered to see him off. The tears were left for the staff to cry. The building buzzed unlike any time since before the pandemic, and Baker climbed down onto Beacon Street through the front gates in true Charlie Baker fashion – posing for selfied and waving demonstratively to the sounds of Matchbox Twenty’s “How Far We’ve Come” blaring through the speakers.

— The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham also had this touching column about Baker’s dad, Charles D. Baker, and the impact he’s had on his son’s life.

— The Legislature has priorities too

Not to lose sight of the other power brokers on Beacon Hill, House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka were both easily reelected to their leadership roles on Wednesday and gave speeches of their own to lay out a rough agenda for the two-year session to come. Spilka discussed tax relief and her support for making community colleges free in the face of declining enrollment. Mariano, meanwhile, revisited the idea of a health care cost containment and his stalled effort to protect community hospitals from financial distress. Asked later in the day about tax relief, Mariano was non-committal: “I think we’re going to look at where we are economically and make a decision.” State House News Service’s Chris Lisinski and Sam Drysdale have more from the Democratic leaders.

State House News Service

— Money for Cape Cod bridges rejected again

Massachusetts has again lost out on federal funding that’s being sought to help finance the replacement of the Cape Cod canal bridges. The Herald’s Rick Sobey has the details.

Boston Herald

— Catching up in the classroom after COVID-19

The pandemic was disruptive for everyone, but especially so for young students. With instruction moved for a time to remote learning models, many students fell behind and the learning loss was not experienced equally. But CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas reports that education officials are far from consensus on how fast students should be expected to catch up as they consider updating school accountability and student assessment models to reflect the impact of COVID-19 and get children back on track.

CommonWealth Magazine

— Hardwick residents to decide fate of horseracing

Voters in Hardwick will decide the fate of a proposal to create a thoroughbred horse racing facility in the Worcester County town when they go to the polls on Saturday and in the process have a major say in the future of live horse racing in the state. Kinga Borondy of the Telegram reports the vote comes after months of heated debate, three separate votes by the local select board and dueling citizens’ petitions on both sides of the issue.

Telegram & Gazette

— Barnstable County ends ICE partnership as Buckley takes helm 

The Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office has officially terminated its agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that allowed sheriff’s deputies to enforce federal immigration laws, the Associated Press reports, via WBUR. New Sheriff Donna Buckley, who made ending the partnership a key part of her campaign, was sworn in Wednesday. Sheriffs in both Bristol and Plymouth counties terminated similar agreements, which drew strong pushback from civil rights groups, in 2021.


— Library book controversy returns in SouthCoast school district

The Old Rochester Regional School District has started an official review of whether some books should be pulled from the district’s school libraries, reviving a controversy that roiled the three small towns in the district last fall, Matthew Ferreira of the Standard-Times reports. The district says it will not hold a public hearing on the requests to review about 10 titles dealing with topics such as sexual identity and race relations.

The Standard-Times

— As accreditor review looms, Bay State College makes changes

Bay State College says it will phase out several of its degree programs as it moves to shore up its bottom line ahead of its special public hearing before the New England Commission on Higher Education, which could pull the for-profit school’s accreditation, Benjamin Kail of the Boston Business Journal reports. Bay State also said it will shift its focus toward higher-enrollment programs, including those in health care.

Boston Business Journal



Developer unveils renderings of housing complex by Shawmut Station – Dorchester Reporter

MBTA blasts Chinese company’s ‘failure’ with new Orange, Red Line train production – Boston Herald


The post-holiday COVID surge is here – GBH News

In scathing letter, state watchdog criticizes management of Chelsea veterans’ home – The Boston Globe

Implementation Of New Nantucket Short-Term Rental Registration Delayed – Nantucket Current

Table Top Lofts receives $20 M for Canal District affordable housing – Worcester Business Journal


How huge infrastructure projects will use billions in new federal money – The Washington Post

Amazon CEO says company will layoff more than 18,000 workers – NPR

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