No one is taking Healey seriously

Attorney General Maura Healey says she wants to keep her job and plans to run for reelection in 2018, eschewing a showdown with Gov. Charlie Baker. A lot of people are having a hard time taking her seriously.

Last summer, as talk of a Baker-Healey match heated up, Healey squashed it by declaring she would not be a candidate. But then she kept acting like a candidate who wants more.

Fueling a lot of the speculation is her willingness to wade into high-profile issues such as gun control, which is getting the attention of not only voters but deep-pocketed donors around the country. She’s also been one of the loudest voices among Democratic attorneys general in challenging President Trump, whose election has galvanized those on the left willing to embrace anyone who stands up to the bloviating billionaire.

Where Baker has been cautious in his dealings with Trump, Healey has led the charge in fighting the new administration, becoming one of the first AGs to file suit to stop the executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and then signing onto a brief filed by her counterparts in 16 states in the California suit on the order.

While some of Healey’s predecessors occasionally dabbled in national issues, Healey has shown a willingness to immerse the office in largely progressive politics in taking on the biggest fights. She garnered national headlines when she issued a directive banning the sale of copycat assault weapons in Massachusetts, a move that brought a suit by gun owners, dealers, and manufacturers as well as from the NRA.

She ordered ExxonMobil to hand over documents she said could show the company knew more about climate change than it has acknowledged. She has been vocal in her support of Planned Parenthood and has filed a motion to prevent the dismantling of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“I am your first line of defense against abusive and unconstitutional actions taken by President Trump,” Healey said at a forum in Hingham recently.

Healey’s in decent shape with nearly $900,000 in her campaign account, including nearly a quarter-million that came in in December. The money puts her in a better position than the two other presumed Democratic candidates, former administration and finance secretary Jay Gonzalez and Newton Mayor Setti Warren, but still far back of the $4.7 million in Baker’s coffers.

Her willingness to use Trump as a foil will force Baker’s hand one way or the other, shaking the tightrope he’s now walking between trying to maintain friendly relations with Washington and being a Republican governor in one of the bluest of blue states.

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says the moves undercut Healey’s public pronouncements that she is running for reelection. He said her decision to turn down the $45,000 pay hike that was part of the Legislature’s salary boost, which was vetoed by Baker, takes a potential issue off the table.

“Look at what she’s doing, not what she’s saying,” Battenfeld wrote.

–JACK SULLIVAN


BEACON HILL

Joan Vennochi says legislators’ pay raise vote shows they take care of themselves above all else. (Boston Globe)

New state Rep. Dylan Fernandes of Woods Hole has issued an apology after racist, homophobic, and sexist posts he made on Facebook between 2007 and 2010 resurfaced on the social media site and a Worcester-based commentary site. (Cape Cod Times)

The state Department of Revenue has notified companies caught up in an alleged tax scam by a Gloucester man who ran a business service company they can recoup penalties levied against them by the DOR for late and unpaid taxes. (Salem News)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission ruled Quincy was too harsh in revoking the license of a bar after a third rules violation, saying the city doesn’t have written rules for the process and overreacted to the first two incidents. (Patriot Ledger)

The president of the Brockton NAACP said more than a week after the city lost a racial discrimination suit, “the silence is deafening” from officials about taking action to find solutions. (The Enterprise)

In the latest chapter in the bizarre Worcester matter she dubs “Morongate,” columnist Dianne Williamson says a video forensics expert who has worked for the FBI concluded with 95 percent certainty that it was not the city’s mayor, Joseph Petty, heard on a tape of a recent City Council meeting disparaging protesters who were there to object to President Trump’s immigrant orders. (Telegram & Gazette)

Fall River officials reached agreement with the Teamsters in a dispute over the layoffs of sanitation workers when the city privatized trash pickup, an agreement that puts an end to the fight over the switch. (Herald News)

Westford voters approved a change at a Special Town Meeting that puts limits on selectmen’s ability to deal with legal challenges behind closed doors. (Lowell Sun)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

A federal appeals panel has set a hearing this morning for arguments on overturning the restraining order that halted President Trump’s immigration ban. (U.S. News & World Report)

The White House released a list of what it called 78 terrorist attacks downplayed by the media to back an assertion by Trump, though most were either assaults in the United States unverified as a terrorist action or minor incidents overseas covered by local media. (New York Times)

Alex Beam says Trump bears a lot of similarities to Boston’s colorful mayor James Michael Curley — and that’s not a compliment. (Boston Globe)

British Prime Minister Theresa May made a joke about the size of Trump’s hands at a fundraiser in England. (Time)

Two members of the Super Bowl champion Patriots, tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Devin McCourty, say they will not attend a White House event with Trump to honor the victors. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Former congressman Barney Frank spoke out about Trump’s plan to gut Dodd-Frank regulations on the financial industry. (WBUR)

The Boston Herald reports that talks have cooled over a possible move of insurance giant Aetna from Hartford to Boston.

EDUCATION

Former Senate president Tom Birmingham, a coauthor of the 1993 Education Reform Act, says the state’s vocational-technical schools are doing a terrific job and we should increase funding for them to create seats for the 4,400 students on waitlists for a slot at one of the schools. (CommonWealth)

A Herald editorial praises Boston school superintendent Tommy Chang’s move to overhaul low-performing Brighton and Excel high schools and make most teachers reapply for positions there.

Nearly half of the charitable donations by the country’s top philanthropists went to higher education, with 20 percent of the gifts earmarked for elite colleges and universities with multi-billion dollar endowments. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA is ending its contract with troubled parking lot vendor LAZ Parking, a move T officials say was being considered even before cash shortfalls under its management were discovered last spring. (CommonWealth) The T is moving closer to restoring late-night bus service. (CommonWealth) The T is renegotiating a contract with a state-owned equipment refurbishing company in Maine to upgrade Silver Line buses. (CommonWealth)

Uber has hired a veteran NASA engineer to to take the reins of the company’s initiative to develop flying cars. (Bloomberg)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Entergy, the company that owns Pilgrim nuclear power plant, confirmed it is in negotiations to sell the Plymouth facility slated for shutdown to a company that specializes in decommissioning nuclear plants, which could speed up the cleanup and reuse of the property. (Cape Cod Times)

A crack in the fourth-largest ice shelf in Antarctica spread 17 miles in two months, alarming scientists who fear a full break is imminent and will create the biggest iceberg in history as well as raise concerns for other ice shelves being affected. (New York Times)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Friends and family of a 22-year-old woman mourn on the Dorchester street corner where she was shot to death on Sunday. (Boston Herald)

US District Court Judge Mark Wolf says he’ll appoint a former federal judge as a special master to review whether law firms in Boston and other cities improperly inflated bills by millions of dollars in a class-action lawsuit against State Street Bank. (Boston Globe)

The Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments yesterday from a lawyer for former governor Deval Patrick that he should be immune from a defamation suit filed by a former state worker because he was acting in his official capacity as governor at the time he made the comments at the center of the dispute. (Boston Globe)

A former Springfield police officer may face criminal charges for violating a restraining by texting his former girlfriend, a current officer on the force. (MassLive)

MEDIA

Shooting fish in a barrel: Howie Carr excoriates the “FAKE NEWS!” Boston Globe, whose early edition Monday paper made available to snowbirds in Florida proclaimed “A Bitter End” in its headline to the Super Bowl story that, in fact, ended quite sweetly for Patriots Nation. (Boston Herald)

SPORTS

Bruins top brass are using the Super Bowl parade as cover and fired long-time coach Claude Julien, scheduling the press conference for the middle of the Patriots’ parade. (Boston Globe)