It Happens in Politics, These Frigid Days Before New Year's...

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

THAT Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler of Worcester expects more senators to pursue the presidency of the upper branch beyond the current crop of candidates, which includes Sal DiDomenico of Everett, Eileen Donoghue of Lowell, Linda Dorcena Forry of Boston, and Karen Spilka of Framingham.  “This is only the beginning,” Chandler said of the presidential machinations during an interview this past Sunday on WCVB’s “On the Record.” 

THAT Harriette Chandler, who earned the first of her three university degrees in 1959, is sticking with her decision not to seek the presidency on a permanent basis.  It’s not the heavy workload of the presidency that discourages her from becoming a candidate, but rather the heavy responsibilities of running the “venerable chamber,” because “I am not 20 years old, as you all know.”
THAT Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, age 83, is showing signs of breaking an informal, behind-the-scenes agreement with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to have Romney replace him.   Hatch had said publicly earlier this year he could retire if someone as good as Mitt (wink, wink) could replace him.  Now, under pressure from President Donald Trump, who can’t stand the Mittster and wants to punish him eternally for trying to sabotage his 2016 campaign, Hatch is stifling talk of retirement.

THAT persons who know Mitt Romney well believe he’s “too much a gentleman” now to turn on Hatch and tell him, “Too bad.  You said you were leaving.  You told me you’d support me.  I’ll run against you if you don’t retire.”  Romney’s a tough-minded businessman, for sure, but when it comes to taking the killshot in politics, he’s always been squeamish.
THAT the Lowell Sun’s estimable Peter Lucas sees Steve Kerrigan of Lancaster, the Democrat nominee for lieutenant governor in 2014 on a ticket headed by former Attorney General Martha Coakley, as the favorite in the race for the Democrat nomination to succeed Niki Tsongas in the 3rd Congressional District because, of all those running, Kerrigan is the only candidate who has campaigned across the district before.  There are more than a dozen Dems in the race, which is being waged across 37 cities and towns.

THAT Attorney General Maura Healey, who has filed more than 20 lawsuits this year against the Trump administration, sees it as her plain duty to ding The Donald. “My job is pretty simple,” she says.  “It’s to enforce the law and protect people’s rights.  Unfortunately, we have a president of the United States who continues to do things that are illegal and unconstitutional, and my job is to sue him to make that right, to stand up for the constitution and the rule of law.” That’s what she told Comedy Central’s Jordan Klepper.
THAT Chelsea’s Tom Birmingham, an attorney and former Massachusetts Senate president, puts his formidable forensic skills on display in a recent opinion piece in CommonWealth magazine, “Our schools ignore US history at our peril.”  Birmingham advocates re-imposing the requirement that students pass a U.S. history test before graduating from high school.   Read it, please, at:

THAT outgoing Attleboro Mayor Kevin Dumas, who lost his bid for re-election in November to State Rep. Paul Heroux, has been chosen as the next town manager of nearby Mansfield.  When interviewing for the job with the Mansfield Board of Selectmen, Dumas said he has no plans to run for public office again, which should make Heroux happy.  “That section of my life is over,” Dumas emphasized.
THAT everyone at the State House will soon be missing Tom McGee, whose resignation from the Senate is due to take effect on Tuesday, Jan. 2.  That evening, he will be inaugurated as Mayor of Lynn, having defeated incumbent Judith Flanagan Kennedy in November.  The son of a former Speaker of the Massachusetts House, and a man I had long considered a possible Senate President, McGee is ending a 23-year legislative career.  He’s been in the Senate for fifteen and a half years, and served in the House before that.

THAT a group called the Boston Atheists had a banner installed on the Boston Common, on Friday afternoon, Dec. 22, that says: “Joy to the World!  This holiday season, take care of yourself, of each other, and of the world.  Warm wishes from your friendly neighborhood atheists.” Next atheist I see will get a big Christmas hug from me.
THAT the passage of even 40 years is not sufficient to dull the institutional memory of the Massachusetts legislature, as we saw yesterday when the House adjourned in memory of Henry Gillet of Fall River, who served as a state rep from 1977 to 1978 and died on Dec. 21 at age 73.  After the legislature, he went on to be a lobbyist for agricultural interests in the state: the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association, the Massachusetts Association of Dairy Farmers, the Massachusetts Farm Wineries and Growers Association, etc.  May you rest in peace, Representative Gillet.



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