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Episode 139: Are you tired of electoral spoilers?

Adam Friedman calls it being Nadered.

In the 2012 congressional race in the 6th District, Democrat John Tierney won with 46 percent of the vote. Republican Richard Tisei came in second with 45 percent of the vote. Libertarian Dan Fishman was way out of the running, but he may have been the deciding factor in the race as he garnered 4 percent of the vote.

In the 2010 election for governor, Democrat Deval Patrick emerged victorious with 48 percent of the vote. Republican Charlie Baker came in second with 42 percent of the vote and Independent Tim Cahill was a distant third at 8 percent. Was Cahill’s participation a deciding factor?

Episode 137: The life (and death) stories that drive Andrea Campbell

Andrea Campbell’s twin brother Andre died seven years ago while awaiting trial in the custody of the state Department of Correction, and she says that has everything to do with how she wound up on the Boston City Council.

The 36-year-old Mattapan resident says government needs to share more stories. By that she means we can often gain greater clarity about how to approach public policy issues through stories that put a human face on the often dry matters of city and state. Campbell, who is starting her second year as City Council president, leads by example and unspools some of her own life story on this week’s Codcast.

It is, by turns, both heart-wrenching and inspiring, and when you hear it it’s easy to see how she connects her life experience with the issues that drive her work as a Boston city councilor. Campbell has been a relentless advocate for public schools – and for ensuring all students get the sort of education she received at Boston Latin School. She’s been outspoken on criminal justice reform issues and, most recently, on the need for greater diversity in the city’s police and fire departments.

Episode 138: The campaign money man


Sullivan is the director of the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, which monitors and publicizes how candidates for office in Massachusetts raise and spend their campaign cash. He makes sure politicians follow the rules, and in some cases he has to set the rules.

He recently proposed a new rule covering expenditures by unions on behalf of political candidates. Labor unions are currently allowed to give no more than $15,000, or 10 percent of their gross income, to a political candidate before having to register as a political committee and face tighter regulation. Sullivan’s proposal would impose a $1,000 limit on union contributions to political candidates, a $500 limit on contributions to political action committees, and a $5,000 limit on donations to a political party’s committee.

Episode 136: Salvucci, Aloisi liken Pollack to Sargent

TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY Stephanie Pollack is being likened by two of her predecessors to former governor Frank Sargent for her decision to replace the elevated section of the Massachusetts Turnpike between Boston University and Allston with an at-grade version. Sargent 50 years ago called a halt to the proposed inner belt highway that would have continued the state’s auto-centric approach to transportation and carved up many of Boston’s neighborhoods.

On the Codcast hosted by TransitMatters members Jim Aloisi and Josh Fairchild, former state transportation secretaries Fred Salvucci and Aloisi praised Pollack for deciding not to follow conventional wisdom and rebuild the elevated section of the Turnpike as is, which would have maintained the Pike as a de facto wall separating one part of Boston from another.

Episode 135: Dreyfus highlights Blue Cross experiments

Andrew Dreyfus, the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, is excited about a series of initiatives the state’s largest health insurer is pursuing to improve care while simultaneously treating patients in less costly settings.

One initiative, a pilot project with South Shore Hospital, rewards the facility if it succeeds in admitting fewer patients and doing fewer procedures. Dreyfus, appearing on the “Health or Consequences” Codcast with Paul Hattis, an associate professor at the Tufts University Medical School (co-host John McDonough of the Harvard Chan School of Public Health was on jury duty), said the goal of the pilot project is to reverse the incentives that currently reward hospitals for seeing more patients and doing more procedures.

Episode 134: Getting to yes on new education funding

State leaders appear to be serious about finally passing new legislation this year that would update the state’s education funding formula for K-12 schools. But exactly what would a new funding bill look like?

Tracy Novick of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and Liam Kerr of Democrats for Education Reform tackle that question on The Codcast. Their spirited conversation offers a preview of the debate that’s likely to unfold on Beacon Hill.

Episode 132: Transportation advocates list priorities

Three leading transportation advocates – Jim Aloisi of TransitMatters, Chris Dempsey of Transportation for Massachusetts, and Stacy Thompson of the Livable Streets Alliance – ring in the new year on The Codcast with a discussion about priorities.

One of the biggest is putting a price on transportation carbon and using the proceeds to invest in expanded transit options, cleaner vehicles, and climate resiliency. Massachusetts and eight other states plus the District of Columbia plan to spend the next year developing the initiative. Dempsey calls it a “really big deal,” largely because it will provide badly needed revenues that can be used by the participating states to bolster their transit systems and reduce emissions.

Episode 133: Rules reform battle in House not over

Two first-term legislators who tried unsuccessfully last week to change the way the speaker is selected say the fight for rules reform in the House is far from over.

Rep. Maria Robinson of Framingham and Rep. Patrick Kearney of Scituate said on the Codcast that a broader rules reform package is in the works, and one of their chief concerns is with the way rules are routinely suspended in the House.

Episode 131: A Transit Holiday Season

Jim Aloisi likes to write a holiday verse every year for CommonWealth, and this year he went all out. This year’s ditty is a clever take on linking the Red and Blue Lines. You can read/sing it yourself (to the tune of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) or you can listen to Aloisi and Chris Dempsey, the director of Transportation for Massachusetts, belt it out for you.

Enjoy, and have a happy holiday season!

Episode 130: For 2018, it’s a wrap

Republican Jenn Nassour and Democrat Jesse Mermell tee up a year-end conversation for the final 2018 installment of “Disagreeing Agreeably” on the Codcast. To help them, they brought in guests who lean left, political consultant Wilnelia Rivera, and right, Paul Craney of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.

Asked for a one-word description of politics for the year that was, their guests had starkly contrasting takes. For Craney, it was “boring,” as he pointed to the big statewide races that held little suspense. Rivera, who was a strategist on the campaign that delivered the year’s biggest upset, Ayanna Pressley’s Democratic primary victory over 20-year incumbent congressman Mike Capuano, stuck with the rule by declaring as her word “#disruptthenarrative.”