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

Friday, March 15, 2013


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


Stephen Lynch: The Congressman from South Boston picked up some public support in his bid for John Kerry's U.S. Senate seat from Worcester area officials this week. State Reps. John Fresolo (D-Worcester) and John Binienda (D-Worcester) endorsed Lynch, as did Worcester City Councilors Kathleen Toomey and Michael Germain, and former state Rep. Jennifer Callahan (D-Sutton) got in on the act as well. The support from the Heart of the Commonwealth likely provided a welcome boost for Lynch, who continues to trail U.S. Rep. Ed Markey in the primary polls. The six debates the two Congressmen will square off in over the coming weeks should ratchet up the excitement about the Democratic primary race.

Martha Coakley: The Commonwealth's Attorney General ruled this week that cities and towns cannot ban medical marijuana treatment centers. Coakley's action followed the passage of a by-law by the Town of Wakefield that would have banned such distribution centers from the town limits. Cities and towns won't be allowed to ban pot treatment centers outright, but they will be permitted to adopt zoning by-laws to restrict such centers to certain areas and put temporary moratoriums into effect to forestall the development of the treatment centers.

Patrick's Tax Proposal: The Governor's revenue increases seem to be gaining some traction in public circles. Rallies were held throughout the state this week, including in Worcester and in front of the State House, by the Campaign for Our Communities and its supporters. More than 50 economists threw their weight behind Patrick's proposals as well, arguing that the big investments in education and transportation would pay dividends while still keeping the Commonwealth competitive tax-wise in the region and the country at large.

Worcester Slots Parlor: Massachusetts Gaming & Entertainment, LLC has chosen Worcester as the proposed site for its slots parlor under the state's new casino gaming law. The project still has a way to go before gaining approval, but the hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment would surely be a welcome shot in the arm to the economy of the Commonwealth's second-largest city.

Peter Koutoujian: The Middlesex County Sheriff previously said he would strongly consider running for Congress if U.S. Rep. Ed Markey moves up to the Senate, and his recent moves to secure the domain "koutoujianforcongress.com" leave little doubt that he's serious about a run if Markey is elected to the upper house. Still no word on who wants to run for Rep. Stephen Lynch's seat, which seems telling in terms of which way the tides are moving in the Democratic party.


Gabriel Gomez: The Cohasset businessman and former Navy SEAL caught some flack from Bay State Republicans this week with the release of his letter to Governor Patrick asking to be appointed to the interim U.S. Senate post. In his letter Gomez characterized himself as a moderate Republican and said that he supported President Obama on immigration and gun reform, adding that he would not run in the special U.S. Senate election if appointed. Red Mass Group speculated that his campaign may be done after the revelations.

Worcester Budget Gap: As of now, the Heart of the Commonwealth is facing a $5.8 million budget shortfall for Fiscal Year 2014. City Manager Michael O'Brien said a final budget should be ready in 45 to 60 days, as the City waits to see how the state Legislature will act on Governor Patrick's budget proposals, and state aid, as well as sequestration, still remain big question marks for the City heading into the upcoming fiscal year. 

Michael Sullivan: The former U.S. Attorney and current Republican Senate hopeful drew attention to the length of his absence from politics this week when he called for the TSA to give hiring preference to veterans. The TSA already dose give such preference to eligible veterans, and as a political veteran, Sullivan should know well enough the importance of researching any positions he plans to take before issuing a press release.

Sherri Killins: Governor Patrick's Early Education and Care Commissioner made an unceremonious departure this week, adding to the list of somewhat questionable Patrick appointments. Killins, who was training in Ware public schools to be a superintendent at the same time she was serving in an official capacity, resigned her post. The fact that she lives in New Haven, Conn., doesn't play to well in her favor either.


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