Winter 2017

Winter 2017

Governor’s fix-it man exits

Governor’s fix-it man exits

Steve Kadish was the guy in charge of delivering on Charlie Baker’s vow to make state government work

This Conversation interview with Gov. Charlie Baker’s chief of staff, Steve Kadish, is from CommonWealth’s Winter 2017 issue. Kadish announced this week that he is leaving his post after two and a half years. Photographs by Frank Curran STEVE KADISH IS up most days before 5 a.m. After making coffee for himself and his wife(...)

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Home wreckers

Home wreckers

A state program designed to help homeowners deal with contractors gives a false sense of protection.

Photographs by Mark Morelli FOR MOST HOMEOWNERS, their house is their past, present, and future, the hard shell around their nest egg. That shell requires regular attention and occasional investment, and that means hiring home improvement contractors to keep everything shipshape. For many homeowners, finding the right contractor is a process that can trigger a(...)

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Mom-and-pop economic development   

Mom-and-pop economic development  

Boosting unbanked immigrant entrepreneurs in Lawrence  

Photographs by Meghan Moore JOSE ROSARIO CAN barely walk a step without pointing to some of the changes he’s made since becoming the owner of Universal Auto Repair in Lawrence. There are the four new vehicle lifts; the diagnostic computers; the uniforms for his staff, complete with name tags; the fresh coat of interior paint;(...)

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Is there room for nostalgia at the T?

Is there room for nostalgia at the T?

Emotions run high over rolling museum pieces on Mattapan Line

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL MANNING THE MBTA RECENTLY DECIDED to replace all the cars on the Red Line rather than just a portion of them. The agency’s chief operating officer, Jeffrey Gonneville, made the case that a Red Line with a uniform style of car would lead to much better service and lower maintenance costs. He(...)

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Steward’s asset-light philosophy

Steward’s asset-light philosophy

State's 5th-largest employer takes unusual step of selling off hospital facilities

NO ONE IS QUITE SURE what to make of Steward Health Care’s latest move.  A for-profit health care company operating in a sea of nonprofits, Steward has always been something of an aberration in Massachusetts. But now the state’s fifth-largest employer is moving far outside the mainstream. After six years trying to turn around a(...)

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Grid in the balance

Grid in the balance

Clean, reliable, competitively priced power — or suboptimal solutions?

ON THE FACE of it, New England’s power system is in good shape. Over nearly two decades, the region’s competitive wholesale electricity markets have attracted investment in the power plants and demand-side resources needed to meet consumer demand. Upgrades to the region’s high-voltage transmission system have vastly improved reliability, allowing power to move freely around the(...)

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Dump the millionaire tax

Dump the millionaire tax

Proposed constitutional amendment doesn’t accomplish its stated goals

FORTY-THREE STATES IN this country tax the income of their citizens in some form. Of the states that tax wages, only eight, including Massachusetts, use a single rate rather than a graduated rate. That century-old policy is the main reason why in 2018 the Commonwealth’s voters will likely face a ballot question seeking to impose a(...)

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Got robots?

Got robots?

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(...)

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What can the Mass. delegation do?

What can the Mass. delegation do?

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(...)

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A call to action

A call to action

Tanisha Sullivan, the new president of the Boston NAACP, thinks the city can ‘get it right’ on race issues

Photograph by Frank Curran What’s at the top of your agenda as you prepare to take over as the new president of the Boston NAACP? It really is a continuation of the work that the NAACP historically has done. There are five key areas that I would say we will continue to focus on: criminal(...)

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