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Common Wealth: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in Mass Politics?

Friday, December 14, 2012

 

Every Friday, GoLocalWorcester takes a look at who's rising and falling in the Massachusetts political world.

Hot

John Kerry: With Susan Rice withdrawing her name from the hat for Secretary of State, the Bay State's senior Senator seems an ever more likely choice for President Barack Obama's second-term cabinet.

Robert DeLeo: The House Speaker moved quickly to revive discussion about legislation that would make the names of Level 1 sex offenders public after news of alleged serial sexual assaults on young children by Wakefield resident John Burbine emerged this week. The bill lost momentum and stalled in the legislature last year, but recent events may be enough to jumpstart it and get it passed into law.

Elizabeth Warren: While the assignment of Massachusetts' new Senator-elect to the Senate Banking Committee earned her a spot on our hot list, the Harvard law professor is most definitely on Wall Street's not list this week. Warren also received assignments for the aging committee and the health, education, labor and pension committee, but banking will be the one to watch. The line she chooses to walk and how much noise she decides to make could have an impact on the bigger economic picture.

Amazon Sales Tax: This deal couldn't have come at a better time, with the Commonwealth struggling under lagging sales tax revenues. A recent report from the Massachusetts Main Street Fairness Coalition estimated that online retailers cost the state $387 million a year in lost sales tax revenue. While Amazon isn't the online online retailer, it is the largest, and the agreement, which goes into effect next fall, sets a good precedent and helps level the playing field for brick-and-mortar stores around the Bay State.

Worcester Slots: Casino talk is in the air again, and although a slots parlor at the Wyman-Gordon site is still anything but a sure bet, the news may help to kick off some important discussions. Namely, what do you want your city to look like? And what are you willing to do to spur economic activity and growth?

Internet Lottery: Speaking of gambling, State Treasurer Steve Grossman wants to take the lotto online. Whether Mega Millions in your inbox will lead to full-on online gambling remains to be seen, but it would be a much easier leap if Grossman's efforts prove to be a winner.

Not

Deval Patrick: The governor's top staff members seem to be dropping like flies. Patrick's chief of staff recently announced his departure and was joined on Thursday by four of the governor's cabinet members. It's possible that the changes were a long time coming, but their proximity to the recent spate of bad news to fall on Patrick makes one inclined to think not. 

Martha Coakley: The Attorney General's political stock likely to a hit after a judge declared a mistrail in Coakley's corruption case against former State Treasurer Tim Cahill. Her office did a great job with its report on paid solicitations to make sure Bay Staters know where their money is going when they make charitable donations, but Coakley's two high-profile losses, first in the Senate to Scott Brown and now in the courtroom in a case against a potential political adversary, will be what the public remembers next campaign season.

Worcester Drug Use: Heroin overdoses were up 47 percent in the city through November, according to the Worcester Division of Public Health. Nearly 5 percent of high school-age youth in the area have tried heroin, and as those students grow older the number of ODs will grow too. The WDPH has made substance abuse a top priority in its Community Health Improvement Plan, and the progress they make on the issue over the next few years can't come soon enough.

 

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