Do your job
As local pundits press Gov. Charlie Baker to take a stronger stand against President Trump, it’s worth remembering what Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots always say as the big game approaches: Do your job.
Baker, a Republican, was elected governor of heavily Democratic Massachusetts. His job is to manage the state as best he can, and for the most part he’s done that. His administration is grappling with long-ignored quagmires such as the MBTA, the Department of Children and Family Services, and Bridgewater State Hospital. He’s cut spending when needed and he’s worked with Democratic leaders in the House and Senate to get legislation passed.
He disavowed Donald Trump during the presidential campaign and famously refused to vote for president when it came time to cast his ballot. But a growing chorus of local columnists (echoing the comments of state Democratic Party leaders) are saying Baker can’t just sit by as Trump revamps the national government.
“Our governor famously likes to play it safe,” says Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung, noting Baker’s reluctance to take an early, public stand on such issues as bringing the summer Olympics to Boston and transgender rights legislation. She said that strategy has largely worked so far. “But at some point — maybe not too far down the road — Trump will make it impossible for our governor to keep playing it safe,” she writes.
Steve Koczela, president of the MassINC Polling Group, said his polling indicates just 20 percent of Massachusetts voters think Trump’s presidency will be good for Massachusetts and only 28 percent have a favorable view of Trump himself. Koczela also notes that the day after Trump was sworn in, the Women’s March in Boston showcased how national politics have come home to Massachusetts. (Baker did not attend the march.)
“With this level of unease about Trump’s impact on Massachusetts, questions about Trump’s policies and comments will be harder for Baker to brush off as national issues — his usual strategy during the presidential campaign,” Koczela writes.
As Trump’s policies impact Massachusetts, Baker will have to take a stand. But it probably makes sense for him politically and practically to address issues on a case-by-case basis as they come up and not launch broadsides against the president. As he prepares for a reelection campaign, Baker should take a lesson from Belichick’s playbook. Do your job, and the rest will take care of itself.
Gov. Charlie Baker will use his State of the Commonwealth address tonight to emphasize compromise and bipartisan problem-solving, offering a clear contrast with the Republican now in the White House. (Boston Globe) He’ll also propose $37 million in new spending for reforms at Bridgewater State Hospital. (Boston Globe)
The Gun Owners’ Action League files suit against Attorney General Maura Healey, Gov. Charlie Baker, and other state officials over the AG’s ban on the sale of “copycat” assault rifles. (Boston Herald)
Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow, whose district includes parts of Springfield and Chicopee, takes over as Senate chair of the Legislature’s Gateway Cities Caucus. (MassLive)
Abington officials can finally take the leash off of development after the state Department of Environmental Protection granted a permit for the town to increase its capacity at the wastewater treatment plant in Brockton, which had not been raised in eight years. (The Enterprise)
A Globe editorial says Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s success at securing the state funding needed to provide universal pre-kindergarten to Boston families will be a big test of his reelection year agenda.
The Hopkinton Planning Board has approved sending a proposal to Town Meeting that would put a moratorium on recreational pot facilities until at least August 2018. (MetroWest Daily News)
A Swansea selectman wants the town to consider buying or leasing the soon-to-be-closed Sears store at the Swansea Mall to house a new town hall as well as an animal shelter in the lawn and garden area and the DPW garage in the auto center. (Herald News)
A veteran Framingham police officer has agreed to resign after allegations he sexually harassed women at TJX while working details. (MetroWest Daily News)
In his first official meeting with congressional leaders, President Trump repeated a lie he previously peddled that millions of unauthorized immigrants robbed him of a popular vote majority. (New York Times) One pithy headline on the “alternative facts” moment: “President Trump again said millions voted illegally. It’s still not true.” (Time)
A Herald editorial takes stock of the Trump administration’s effort to restart with the press after the administration’s “disastrous” first weekend.
The FBI, CIA, and other national security officials are reportedly investigating telephone calls and ties between National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and members of the Russian government. (Wall Street Journal)
FBI Director James Comey has told associates he will remain in the post after Trump, who had lambasted the agency for not bringing charges against Hillary Clinton, asked him to stay on. (New York Times)
Just how many people took part in Saturday’s massive women’s protest marches around the country? Professors from the University of Connecticut and University of Denver compiled the best estimates in a table here. The total estimate for all marches combined ranges from a low of 3.3 million to as many as 4.6 million people. MassINC Polling Group’s Rich Parr has turned the data into a much easier to use interactive map here.
Andrew Bacevich writes that Trump’s “America First” vow could herald “the most significant reorientation of America’s role in world affairs since Franklin Roosevelt concluded that the Nazi threat to Great Britain also threatened America.” (Boston Globe)
A British court has ruled that Parliament must approve Brexit. (U.S. News & World Report)
Gov. Charlie Baker says he was busy working on a number of time-sensitive tasks during Saturday’s march. (Boston Globe) Shirley Leung takes him to task for not showing up at the march, saying he’ll need to abandon his play-it-safe approach at some point and challenge Trump. (Boston Globe)
Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Susan Collins of Maine propose a replacement for the Affordable Care Act that would keep many of the taxes in places and allow states to decide whether to retain Obamacare. (The Hill)
The US sent $221 million to the Palestinian Authority just hours before Barack Obama left office. (Associated Press)
A Lowell Sun editorial strongly backs Betsy DeVos for education secretary.
A WBUR poll indicates overwhelming support in Massachusetts for a constitutional amendment hiking taxes on millionaires. (MassLive) In the new issue of CommonWealth, Edward M. Murphy laid out why he opposes the proposed millionaire tax.
Six internet companies vie for $20 million in rural broadband grants. (MassLive)
For the first time in 20 years, Table Talk Pies is opening a retail store in Worcester. (MassLive)
What would a reworked NAFTA mean for the economy? (Boston Globe)
ABC Disposal, which operates on the South Coast and was forced to file for bankruptcy last year, has filed suit against its biggest creditor claiming the lender circumvented Massachusetts law capping interest by using an out-of-state bank and charging more than 50 percent a year in finance charges. (Standard-Times)
Valedictorians from Worcester public schools talk about what motivated them and what could be done by administrators to encourage more academic excellence. (Telegram & Gazette)
The Dennis-Yarmouth School Committee approved a new regulation barring sex between students and staff members including teachers.(Cape Cod Times)
The state Group Insurance Commission, which oversees some $2 billion a year in health care spending for public employees and retirees, is pushing for big changes that would cap payments to the state’s highest cost health providers. (Boston Globe)
State transportation officials pat the MBTA on its back for the way it handled surging crowds for the Women’s March. (CommonWealth)
The T is building out its Green Line Extension team with employees and consultants. (CommonWealth)
Beverly officials think the town can easily cut back the amount of trash being thrown away. The current limit is 175 gallons per household, the equivalent of five 35-gallon barrels. (Salem News)
Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist from MIT, warns of climate alarmism. (Telegram & Gazette)
Attorney General Maura Healey is investigating reports that money is missing from the Westford Police Department’s evidence room. (Lowell Sun)
Former convenience store millionaire Christy Mihos, who lost his fortune and his marriage on two failed gubernatorial runs and then spending the rest on strippers, prostitutes, and porn stars, was released from the Barnstable County jail after serving 10 days for failing to pay his ex-wife $79,000 as part of the divorce settlement. (Cape Cod Times)
A federal judge will allow convicted spree killer Gary Lee Sampson to read a letter from a juror that was tucked into the death sentence verdict but the judge said the letter will remain sealed and requires no action. (Patriot Ledger)
The brother of a murder victim leapt over the railing at the front of a Lawrence courtroom to get at the defendant, but was stopped by court officers and later charged with disorderly conduct and attempting to disrupt a court proceeding. (Eagle-Tribune)
Five teens are back in custody after escaping from a secure Department of Youth Services facility at Taunton State Hospital over the weekend. (Taunton Gazette) CommonWealth visited the “boarding school behind bars” in Taunton back in 2010 in a look at DYS’ education programs for incarcerated youths.
Cheryl Fiandanca leaves 7News. (Boston Globe)The 2017 Oscar nominations are out. (Time)
Katie Rich, a writer for Saturday Night Live which has had a rebirth making fun of Donald Trump, was suspended for sending out an offensive tweet about Trump’s 10-year-old son, Barron. (Washington Post)