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

Friday, March 22, 2013


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


Ed Markey: The U.S. Rep. from Malden picked up another union endorsement in his bid for John Kerry's vacated U.S. Senate seat this week, this one from the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, representing 25,000 members. Markey previously was backed by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the largest union in the Commonwealth. The Congressman's outspoken opposition to the TSA's newly-relaxed knife policy seems to be playing well for him as well.

Gabriel Gomez: The Cohasset businessman and former Navy SEAL is proving himself to be a capable political fundraiser in his play for the Republican nomination in this year's U.S. Senate special election. Gomez is reported to have raked in $350,000 over the past five weeks, indicating that despite his newcomer status and his previous support of President Barack Obama, not to mention his plea to Governor Deval Patrick for the interim U.S. Senate appointment, a contingent of GOP supporters still see him as a viable candidate in the June election against either Markey or Stephen Lynch.

Drew Bledsoe: The former New England Patriots quarterback turned vintner is back in the Bay State, but instead of lobbing passes, he's lobbying lawmakers to revamp state laws governing the sale and shipment of wine from out of state. State Rep. Ted Speliotis (D-Danvers) is sponsoring the bill that would allow Commonwealth residents to order wine online from elsewhere in the country and have it delivered to their homes. Bledsoe, who founded Doubleback Winery in Walla Walla, Wa. after his retirement from the NFL, was reported to have plans to hit Beacon Hill on Thursday in an effort to draft more support for the new law.

James Arciero: The Democratic state Rep. from Westford introduced a bill that would make the names of all sex offenders publicly available online. Information on level 3 sex offenders is the extend of what is publicly available on the state's Sex Offender Registry Board site under current laws. Arciero's bill would add level 1 and level 2 sex offenders to that list. The more you know, the better, and the state Rep.'s proposal would certainly be a step in the right direction.

Worcester Slots Parlor: Love it or hate it, people in Worcester are talking about it. With this Tuesday's City Council meeting cancelled due to inclement weather, we'll have to wait another two weeks to hear from that Honorable Body on the new developments with Mass Gaming's proposal. While a report out of UMass-Dartmouth paints a favorable picture of a potential slots parlor in Worcester, a report from the Worcester Regional Research Bureau had a less than rosy assessment of the impact of a gambling operation near the city's center.


Stephen Lynch: The Congressman from South Boston found himself battling off a California billionaire for his stance on the Keystone XL Pipeline this week, throwing another obstacle in the path of his campaign for U.S. Senate. Tom Steyer, a clean energy activist from the Golden State, put Lynch on notice on Monday, writing him a letter in which he threatened to launch an aggressive campaign against the U.S. Rep. if he didn't change up his position on the controversial pipeline. While Lynch's campaign dismissed the stunt as a perfect example of what's wrong with the Washington establishment, the Congressman could have certainly done without the negative press as he continues to campaign against fellow U.S. Rep. Ed Markey in the Democratic primary to succeed John Kerry in the upper house of Congress.

Massachusetts' Infrastructure: A new report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers found that the Commonwealth has a lot of work to do when it comes to infrastructure. In order to maintain and upgrade systems in the Bay State over the next 20 years, $6.8 billion will be required for drinking water and $8 billion will be needed for wastewater. ASCE also found that the state is home to 341 high hazard dams and 493 structurally deficient bridges. In terms of roadways, 42 percent of the Massachusetts' roads are poor or mediocre quality, costing motorists $313 per year.

Worcester Housing Authority Cuts: Federal cuts led to cuts on the local level at the City's housing authority, as the WHA is reported to have eliminated 16 positions, laying off 13 employees. The bad news for local employees and tenants alike reiterates the need for Washington to reach a budget deal, and soon, to avoid further cuts and job losses.

Deval Patrick's Jokes: While the Governor's video for the St. Patrick's Day breakfast garnered some laughs, his joke about running for a third term to the audience at UMass-Boston fell flat and sparked a minor uproar in the Twittersphere until everyone realized that it actually was a joke. Sounds like Governor needs to work on his delivery.


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