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

Friday, January 11, 2013


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


Deval Patrick: The Governor rolled out some big policy proposals this week, kicking off his final two years in office with major changes across the board. The Commonwealth may be on its way to becoming a little friendly to small businesses, with the Patrick Administration identifying 286 regulations to be eliminated or amended in order to make starting a business easier and increase efficiency in state government. Patrick followed up on the regulation proposals on Thursday by proposing a bill that would consolidate the Bay State's 240 local housing authorities into just six regional housing authorities in an effort to turn around a system that has been plagued by inefficiencies and a lack of transparency.

Barney Frank: The former Democratic Congressman was barely a day out of office before he announced publicly that he'd like to go back to Washington to serve as interim Senator if John Kerry is confirmed by the upper house as President Obama's second term Secretary of State. Frank may have jumped the gun by airing his wishes in MSNBC before Governor Patrick made any public comments regarding the interim appointment, but supporters have already jumped on the Barney bandwagon. Online petitions calling for Frank's appointment to the interim seat at SignOn.org and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee had 7,404 and 22,159 supporters, respectively.

Democratic Senate Primary: Congressman Ed Markey is the only Democrat to officially throw his hat in the ring for a special Senate election to fill the soon-to-be-departing Kerry's seat in Washington, but Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh said this week that he thinks a primary is in the offing. Several other Dems have said they are contemplating a run at the Senate seat, and Governor Patrick has said publicly that he is in favor of a run-off within the party. The amount of buzz the Democratic party has been able to generate for what is seen as an all but inevitable special election stands in stark contrast to the Republican Party, where things have remained relatively quiet regarding who will succeed Kerry as Senator for the Bay State.

Rick Green: The Chairman of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance and candidate for Chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party put his money where his mouth is recently by making a $5,000 donation, the maximum amount allowed by law, to the MassGOP. Green currently holds the most public endorsements from Republican state committee members, and the monetary display of his commitment to the party is likely to get some attention as the election for the next party chair nears.


Gas Tax: While a possible hike to the gas tax may be on the table to help boost state revenues, a recent poll found that Bay Staters are having none of it. More than 80 percent of the 600 voters the Campaign for Our Communities surveyed last month disapproved of such a measure, which could pump the Commonwealth's gas prices above the national average.

Local Aid: According to a recent MassBudget study, general local aid is at its lowest level in 30 years. Despite some ups and downs over the past three decades, state education funding has remained at essentially the same level, but non-education funding has taken a big hit and fell by about $1.3 billion after adjusting for economic growth. Worcester's general local aid shrank by 58 percent from 1981 to 2012.

Worcester Panhandling Rules: The City's proposed ordinances prohibiting aggressive panhandling and pedestrians in roadways received a lot of attention when they first went before the City Council, and the two measures are set to go up for a vote next week after being approved in committee. While the ordinances do not in fact constitute a panhandling ban, as they've been characterized, it's still unfortunate that the solution Worcester seems poised to pursue for the perceived problem is a legislative one rather than alternative means. 


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