Happening Today:

8:15 a.m. | Rep. Vargas of Haverhill discusses school meals programs on "Win for Breakfast" with host Win Damon.....WHAV-FM 97.9 | Stream at WHAV.net

10:30 a.m. | Boston Mayor Wu holds a press availability following a violence reduction workshop co-created by the Violence Reduction Center and the City of Boston. | Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library, 149 Dudley Street, Roxbury

7 p.m. | MassGOP Chair Amy Carnevale is on GBH's "Talking Politics" with Adam Reilly discussing her efforts to make the party competitive in statewide races, and former President Trump's indictment and what it could mean for the direction of the MassGOP. | WGBH-TV Ch. 2.

7:30 p.m. | Dr. Anouska Bhattacharyya of YW Boston, Felicia Jadczak of SHE Geeks Out, Kim Dukes of Koya Partners Diversified Search Group and Dr. Nefertiti Walker, the vice chancellor for Equity and Inclusion at UMass Amherst are on Basic Black with Phillip Martin on GBH 2 with an extra half hour of conversation on Facebook.

When it comes to Massachusetts politics, there’s a “disconnect” between what one analyst calls the “loud Left” and its agenda, and what the electorate actually wants.

For a state generally considered one of the most left-leaning in the nation, a recent poll from political advocacy firm Priorities for Progress suggests otherwise.

“Voters in Massachusetts are far more moderate than people think,” said Liam Kerr, PFP founder.

The PFP survey polling registered voters in the Bay State charts the distance between U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Maura Healey. It points to a big ideological gap between the two Democrats.

Voters see Warren as far more liberal, with 43 percent rating her as a 0 or 1 on a 10-point scale where 0 is the most liberal, 5 is in the middle, and 10 is very conservative.

That’s more than twice as liberal as voters ranked Healey. 

Just 20 percent of voters rated the new governor at 0 or 1, suggesting they see Healey as far more moderate.

Kerr told MASSterList this ideological gap explains both why a majority of voters don’t want Warren to run again and why they give Healey such high approval.

Warren last week announced her bid for a third term as U.S. Senator, but pollsters found just 44 percent of voters think Warren should run again. This is roughly the same as when MassINC asked a few months ago.

With the clock winding down on Healey’s first 100 days in office, the Cambridge Democrat has so far served up a moderate agenda, winning her a 64 percent approval rating in the PFP poll.

When asked how Healey is handling her job as governor, 66 percent of voters said they approve. 

Healey’s proven to be more moderate in her policy proposals so far than some may have expected, says Kerr. Her tax relief plan that would deliver about a $1 billion in tax cuts annually, has riled up the progressive wing of her party.

Leftist groups including Raise Up Massachusetts have fired back, calling Healey’s tax plan a handout for the “ultra-rich” because of its cuts in the estate and capital-gains taxes.

Looking at poll results, Kerr told MASSterList he characterizes the progressive pushback highlighted in headlines and soundbites around the state as chatter from a “loud Left” that’s disconnected from the actual will of the Massachusetts electorate.

Massachusetts’ reputation for liberalism, he argues, arises mainly from its federal lawmakers. Both senators and all nine U.S. House members are Democrats, with a spotlight on voices like U.S. Sens. Warren and Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley.

A vast majority of voters surveyed in the PFP poll — 79 percent — said they somewhat or strongly support Healey’s tax plan. Just 13 percent said they strongly or somewhat oppose it.

House lawmakers have teased a tax relief plan of their own. House Speaker Ron Mariano has said it it will come ahead of his chamber’s annual budget bill, meaning we should expect it early next week. Mariano spent a good deal of time sending messages you could call moderate, grumping it wasn’t a good time to cut taxes because of revenue uncertainty. Now his tax plan could bring similar smiles to the faces of businesspeople as did Healey’s – though it depends on what he’s hearing from the members should be in there.

This toeing of the center is a brand of politics that Kerr says plays well in Massachusetts.

Just look to Bay Stater voters’ long-standing fondness for former Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate who carried sky-high approval ratings through his eight years in office straight on through to his final days.

UMass Amherst/WCVB poll put the Teflon gov’s approval rating at 68 percent with just over two months remaining in his final term.

Send tips to Erin Tiernan Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising and general inquiries, contact Dylan RossiterPublisher@MASSterList.comClick here to post a job on the MASSterList Job Board. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

MBTA watch 🚇

Days since the last derailment, fire, crash, falling debris, or critical incident: 1

*An MBTA bus collided with a vehicle on Forest Hills Avenue in Jamaica Plain.

Days with localized speed restrictions: 28

Days without “normal” weekday subway service: 289

On Jan. 5, Gov. Healey pledged to hire a new MBTA Transportation Safety Chief within 60 days. It has now been 92 days without the position being filled.

A Kennedy in the White House? RFK Jr. makes his candidacy for president official

President Joe Biden hasn’t technically said he’ll seek reelection but many pundits predict he’s just biding his time. Should he run, he’ll be facing a Kennedy.  Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democrat and anti-vaccine activist who heralds from one of the most prominent political families in Massachusetts and probably the nation, is running for president, the AP reports. Kennedy filed a statement of candidacy Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. Many are characterizing it as a long-shot candidacy, despite his famous name.

Associated Press

What exodus? Report from think-tank challenges idea wealthy residents are fleeing

Left-leaning think tank Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center published an analysis Thursday challenging the widely held notion that wealthy residents are fleeing the state. The study found 40 other states lost a higher share of households with income above $200,000 between 2011 and 2020, including several states that impose no income tax at all. Just nine states had a lower rate of out-migration for high-income households than Massachusetts according to the review that relied on IRS data, writes Chris Lisinski for State House News Service.

State House News Service | Commonwealth Magazine

No dice: Gambling regulators rule Boston Marathon not fair play for wagering

No bets will be placed on this year’s Boston Marathon — legally at least. The state Gaming Commission denied a request by DraftKings to offer wagering on the upcoming race, citing concerns raised by the Boston Athletic Association about lack of notice and potential issues with the integrity of the race, writes Chris Van Buskirk for MassLive.

MassLive | The Boston Herald | The Boston Globe | State House News Service

Healey closing in on housing secretary promise

Sources tell MASSterList Gov. Maura Healey is ready to name the commonwealth’s first housing secretary as she waits for the Legislature to take action on her plan to officially create the role. The Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight favorably reported Healey’s plan to create a standalone housing secretariat on Tuesday, and committee co-chair Sen. Nick Collins said he anticipates a vote in the Senate on the matter next Thursday, April 13, reports Sam Drysdale for State House News Service. Healey’s reorganization proposal (H 43) would split the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development into two separate departments, with Cabinet-level heads.

State House News Service

On the heels of voting rights expansion, Beacon Hill considers voting rights for incarcerated felons

Voters chose to strip Massachusetts prisoners with felony convictions of voting rights via a ballot question 23 years ago. Now, two lawmakers are vying to restore the right to vote for felons who only lose the privilege while behind bars, writes Matthew Medsger for The Boston Herald. The move, being championed by Boston Sen. Liz Miranda and Somerville Rep. Erica Uyterhoeven, would require a constitutional amendment.

State House News Service | The Boston Herald

Police chief or mafia ‘don’: Methuen police chief repeatedly broke law, report finds

A new city-commission report that found former Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon ran the department like the “don of an organized crime family” and repeatedly broke the law during his 15 years in charge, reports The Boston Herald’s Flint McColgan. The 203 STIRM Group report left the door open for criminal charges against the former chief as former close associates already face indictments.

The Boston Herald | The Boston Globe

Police oversight commission suspends two officers

A total of 23 police officers have been suspended from their duties after a new state oversight commission on Thursday revoked accreditation from a Boston police officer accused of hurting someone while driving drunk and a former Tyngsborough Police Department officer recently sentenced to more than a year in federal prison, reported MassLive’s Chris Van Buskirk.

MassLive | The Boston Globe

Body cams OK in domestic violence investigations, SJC rules

Massachusetts’ highest court on Thursday ruled that police body cameras can be used to record statements of domestic violence victims and then presented in a court of law as long as that person is voluntarily speaking to investigators in the context of an investigation, reported Travis Andersen for The Boston Globe.

The Boston Globe | 25 Boston News | |Universal Hub

What’s up with ‘ladies’: Easthampton postpones public meeting after too many try to attend

The Easthampton School Committee was forced to postpone a Tuesday meeting into a controversial decision to revoke a job offer after members accused the candidate of deploying a “microaggression” when he addressed female committee members as “ladies” in an email. More than 300 people tried to tune in to deliver public comments to protest the committee’s decision to rescind Vito Perrone’s offer.

The Boston Globe | The Boston Herald

Bristol sheriff ups training requirements for next class of corrections officers

New recruits for corrections officers in Bristol County will get more training on bias, de-escalation and skills dealing with mental illness, the duty to intervene, reports Marcus Ferro for 1420 WBSM’s “SouthCoast Tonight.”

Sheriff Paul Heroux announced he will expand the level of training needed to become a corrections office for the academy scheduled to start on April 24.


Mass delegation pressures new SVB owner to continue affordable housing investments

Most of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation is asking the new owner of Silicon Valley Bank to continue a legacy of financing affordable housing projects in the Bay State. They laid out their demands in a Thursday letter authored by U.S. Reps. Stephen Lynch and Ayanna Pressley that was signed by U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and the state’s other members of Congress except U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, reports the Globe’s Dana Gerber.

The Boston Globe

Bridge repairs, replacement looms over Cape land sales 

It will likely be years before construction begins on new bridges to Cape Cod, but  the looming multi-billion-dollar project is already casting its shadow on the region’s real estate sector, Zane Razzaq of the Cape Cod Times reports. Planners aren’t saying what properties might be targeted for taking by eminent domain for the new spans. Meanwhile, work on the existing structures is already complicating the key spring home sales season. 

Cape Cod Times

UMass Amherst students call for ending campus policing, put money toward housing

Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports on the latest protest at UMass Amherst, where students called for shutting down the school’s police department and redirecting the money saved toward creating enough housing to accommodate the 900 accepted students who currently aren’t guaranteed an on-campus bed. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

State-landing logging on pause despite lack of promised moratorium from Healey

A pause on tree-cutting on state-owned land–something Gov. Maura Healey said she would enact while campaigning for office– has yet to materialize, but Nancy Eve Cohen of GBH reports logging activity in state forests is essentially shut down while the industry and environmentalists alike await formal policy changes.


New Bedford rooming house where two died had history of code violations 

Fire officials in New Bedford say the rooming house where two people died in a blaze last week had multiple outstanding fire-code violations against it. Will Sennott of the New Bedford Light reports the building’s owners had been warned repeatedly that their license to operate a 31-unit rooming house could be yanked if a sprinkler system was not installed.

New Bedford Light

Weekend political and policy talk shows

Keller@Large | 8:30 a.m. Sunday | WBZ-TV | Political analyst Jon Keller interviews Craig Sandler of State House News Service and Lisa Kashinsky of Politico to discuss the tax-cut debate on Beacon Hill, Gov. Healey’s first 100 days, and Auditor Diana DiZoglio’s push to audit the Legislature.

On The Record | 11 a.m. Sunday | WCVB-TV | Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox is the guest. Topics this week will include his strategies to fight violent crime in the city, community outreach, and preparations for major events like the Boston Marathon. Ed Harding and Sharman Sacchetti host. Democratic Political Analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican Political Analyst Rob Gray join the roundtable discussion.

Send tips to Erin Tiernan Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising and general inquiries, contact Dylan RossiterPublisher@MASSterList.comClick here to post a job on the MASSterList Job Board. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

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MASSterList editor Erin Tiernan is an award-winning reporter who brings a decade's worth of experience covering state and local politics from the halls of the State House to city streets. Her work can be found in The Boston Herald, The Patriot Ledger, MassLive and Wicked Local. She was the New England Newspaper and Press Association's 2019 Reporter of the Year.