FOR RICHARD NEAL, the 15-term congressman from Springfield, the reopening in June of the city’s Union Station was a deeply moving moment. Neal, in 1977, had launched his first campaign for a seat on the Springfield City Council there and had at the same time promised to rehabilitate the decaying landmark. It took a while,(...)
Surprisingly, some state agencies don't track their minority hiring
EVERY YEAR, THE governor’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity publishes a detailed report on the diversity of the workforce at each of the executive branch secretariats, now numbering nine. But many other parts of state government —the constitutional officers, the Legislature, the judiciary, and the various state authorities—rarely, if ever, release any diversity data(...)
These advocates are driven by data rather than ideology
THIS ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS a new breed of advocacy that appears to be emerging here in Massachusetts, an advocacy driven more by data than ideology. Our Conversation introduces you to Marc Ebuña, Ari Ofsevit, and Andy Monat. You’ve probably never heard of these three relatively young men from a group called TransitMatters. They aren’t quoted regularly(...)
Party primaries are increasingly non-partisan as party registration fades
AN EVER-GROWING WAVE of unenrolled voters is slowly overtaking Massachusetts political parties. Old Massachusetts Democrats and Republicans are dying off and more and more of their grandkids are ditching the two-party structure. As the overall number of voters keeps rising, the percent of undeclared voters climbs, while the share of both Democrats and Republicans shrinks modestly.(...)
For state government, it’s tough to say no
IN THIS ISSUE OF CommonWealth, we by happenstance ended up with three features that take an in-depth look at three forms of government intervention in the state economy. All of them are well-meaning and designed to create jobs and spur the state’s economy to greater heights. But the stories also demonstrate the limitations of government(...)
Is the lunch-bucket Democrat out of step with his own party?
NO ONE WOULD question the wisdom of a gambler who put money on US Rep. Stephen Lynch securing another easy win next year. Still, the odds are changing a bit, in part because the demographics of his district are changing and the Democratic Party in Massachusetts is moving away from him to the left. Since(...)
Distance from Boston is an obstacle to statewide office
GREATER BOSTON IS the breeding ground for the state’s top politicians. Going back to 1900, three out of every four constitutional officers came from within 25 miles of Boston. Go out 50 miles, and the percentage rises to 85 percent. Most analysts say the state’s political axis tilts toward Greater Boston because that’s where the(...)
Dairy farmers use technology to eke out a living
Sixth-generation family farmers Dave and Steve Barstow have stretched the limits of what dairy farmers can do to stay afloat. They opened a store and bakery on their dairy farm at the foot of Mt. Holyoke in Hadley. They generate electricity from composted cow manure and food scraps. They even market a line of farm(...)
With the GOP in charge, the short answer is, not a lot.
MASSACHUSETTS VOTERS RAN against the grain on Election Day and returned to Washington the nine incumbents who represent the Bay State in the House. They join fellow Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey in the Senate. So when their Republicans colleagues who control both the House and Senate move this year to push through a(...)
Healey nearly choked on one 'mean tweet'
A LITTLE LAUGHTER goes a long way in politics. Donald Trump should keep that in mind as he takes over at the White House. Someone in his position needs a sense of humor, an ability to laugh and be laughed at. But so far Trump doesn’t get it. Al Franken, the former Saturday Night Live(...)