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

Friday, January 04, 2013

 

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

Hot

Elizabeth Warren: The Harvard Law school professor was sworn in on Thursday as the Bay State's first ever female Senator, somewhat of a milestone in the history of Massachusetts politics. And with John Kerry's appointment to Secretary of State for President Obama's second term virtually assured, in a few short months Warren will become the Commonwealth's first female senior Senator as well.

Ed Markey: The Congressman's candidacy for Kerry's soon-to-be-vacated seat got off to a good start this week when he garnered the attention of Republican Senator Scott Brown, viewed by many as the frontrunner in his party for that contest, who took a jab at Markey over how much time he spends in Washington. It took much longer for Brown to start attacking Warren, so this may be a positive sign for Markey's bid, though it's still unclear how a Democratic primary will shake out.

Robert DeLeo: The Winthrop Democrat was reelected as the state's Speaker of the House during Wednesday's opening session. DeLeo has some big issues on tap for the new year, including possible gun reform, the state's beleaguered transportation system and a sex offender bill that stalled in the legislature last year.

Therese Murray: The Plymouth Democrat and Senate President cruised to reelection this week as well. While transportation was also on her list of top priorities, Murray plans to make early voting and further welfare reform key issues in the new session.

Not

Scott Brown: The out-going Senator's potshot at Markey seemed a little bit like a case of sour grapes, but maybe the Republican is jealous that won't be extending his own stay in Washington for the time being. That said, Brown's questioning of Markey's residency in Massachusetts seems reminiscent of his questioning of Warren's Native American heritage, which ended up being more of a distraction than any kind of boost on the campaign trail.

Sequestration: While the House was able to pass a Senate bill averting the so-called "fiscal cliff" for now, the deal only postpones the across-the-board budget cuts to discretionary spending for another two months, so we're not out of the woods yet. Hopefully lawmakers will be able to work on a productive policy solution rather than get caught up in petty politicking before Americans are forced to feel the effects.

Transportation Budget: Leaders in both houses on Beacon Hill, as well as Governor Deval Patrick, are working on ways to right the ship that is the state's chronically underfunded transportation system, but until concrete proposals arise, the issue will remain one of the Commonwealth's greatest causes for concern. And with Worcester's newly-expanded transit service angling to play a big role in the city's future growth, the issue hits close to home. The budget gap has been estimated at roughly $1 billion annually, so there's a lot of work to be done.

 

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