Clark backs supervised drug injection sites

Congresswoman Katherine Clark supports the idea of opening facilities where people can use illegal drugs under medical supervision to prevent overdose fatalities and refer people to treatment for drug addiction when they are ready.

“These sites, in particular, if it is saving some lives, if it is allowing us to have the intervention to stop this cycle before a person does lose their life to an overdose, that’s a piece of this puzzle that we have to be open to and figure out,” said Clark.

Support for supervised drug injection sites has grown since US District Court Judge Gerald McHugh ruled earlier this month that a provision of the Controlled Substances Act aimed at closing crack houses did not apply to a proposed supervised injection site in Philadelphia.

“No credible argument can be made that facilities such as safe injection sites were within the contemplation of Congress” when the initial drug law was adopted in 1986 or when it was amended in 2003, McHugh ruled.

But here in Massachusetts, US Attorney Andrew Lelling has not been dissuaded by the federal court decision. He said he would use his prosecutorial powers to prevent any supervised injection sites from opening.

In  a wide-ranging interview on CommonWealth’s Codcast, Clark also talked about her work on a bill  dubbed the BE HEARD in the Workplace Act, which would take a number of different approaches to empower the victims of workplace sexual harassment and try to curb the type of predation made infamous by the torrent of #metoo stories over the past two years.

Before becoming a high-profile advocate for ending workplace harassment, Clark said she was the victim of it. While working at a restaurant in college, she said, a superior grabbed her, and she didn’t even think of trying to hold him accountable at the time.

“I never spoke a word about it,” Clark said. “Women don’t want to make waves. They want to get their job done, and they just take in the humiliation on themselves. That is the point of this bill that we see you.”

Clark rose to the sixth-highest ranking Democrat in House leadership after recruiting candidates around the country last year, but Clark doesn’t expect to endorse in the heavyweight matchup in the US Senate Democratic primary in Massachusetts.

Clark spoke highly of Sen. Ed Markey, whose old congressional seat she now holds, calling him a crucial leader on climate change, and she said Congressman Joe Kennedy, who has launched a primary challenge, is “someone I have turned to as a mentor and a trusted advisor in the House.”

Clark said the MBTA needs a “strong federal partner” to support the transit agency’s work and, although she didn’t directly say whether she agrees with Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu’s idea of totally abolishing T fares, she said, “I always think the fares should be lower.”

Congressman Seth Moulton’s idea of funding better systems for states to share information about bad drivers with one another is a good one, according to Clark, who said that if driver data had been shared more efficiently it might have prevented last summer’s tragic crash that killed seven motorcyclists.

Clark’s comments took place shortly before news broke that President Trump had formally refused to cooperate with the US House impeachment  inquiry. The investigation is so far focused on whether Trump conditioned US military aid and other benefits to Ukraine in exchange for the political favor of an investigation into Joe Biden – one of the top Democratic candidates for president.

A former state prosecutor, Clark said there would be no artificial timeline imposed on the investigation. While it appears likely that the House will wind up voting on articles of impeachment, Clark said lawmakers will follow the facts wherever they lead.

“We’re going to let the facts really judge the timing, but we understand that this threat to our national security is serious. It’s urgent,” Clark said. “We have one year until the 2020 elections, and we want to make sure that those elections are fair and free from foreign government interference.”

ANDY METZGER


BEACON HILL

Don’t let Gov. Charlie Baker legalize wage theft, argues attorney Philip Gordon. (CommonWealth)

A Globe editorial slams a Senate amendment that weakened state accountability in the big education funding bill and urged the House to reverse course.

Could a state balloon ban be coming? (WBUR)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia is giving up any fading chance he had of winning reelection next month while under multiple federal indictments, as he announced he’s suspending his campaign and will take a leave of absence for the remainder of his term — though he’ll keep pocketing his $119,000 mayoral salary. (Boston Globe)

The head of the New Marlborough Village Association resigns after arranging a speaking engagement in town for Garrison Keillor, an author and humorist who was accused of sexual misconduct allegations. Keillor’s sold-out visit stirred outrage in the western Massachusetts community. (Berkshire Eagle)

Mashpee, the Cape Cod town most closely associated with the heritage and culture of the Wampanoag Tribe, celebrated its first townwide Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday with drumming, singing and a tour of a one-room schoolhouse. (Cape Cod Times) 

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

The former White House advisor on Russia told a House impeachment panel yesterday that Rudolph Giuliani ran a shadow foreign policy operation with Ukraine that operated outside official US channels to personally benefit President Trump. (Washington Post)

A trio of local economists — two at MIT and one at Harvard — share the Nobel Prize for economics for their work addressing global poverty. (WBUR)

Russian military units are patrolling in areas between Turkish and Syrian forces in northern Syria, filling a vacuum created by the exit of US forces. (Washington Post)

A federal judge in New York has temporarily blocked President Trump’s plan to deny green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps and other government benefits. (WGBH)

ELECTIONS

US Rep Joe Kennedy III is still struggling to frame the rationale for his run against Sen. Ed Markey. (CommonWealth) Steve Pemberton dropped out of the Democratic Senate contest, but didn’t go quietly, slamming the party establishment and an “impenetrable wall of legacy and birthright” that blocked his path. (Boston Globe)

Brian Jencunas, a Republican speechwriter and strategist, said the second time wouldn’t be the charm if 2018 runner-up Dan Koh challenges US Rep. Lori Trahan in next year’s Democratic primary. (CommonWealth)

Pinnacle push poll: Michelle Obama would be the frontrunner in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire, according to a Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald poll, though there is zero indication that she has any intention of running. (Boston Herald)

John Ellis says Elizabeth Warren should pick a top military man as her running mate if she wins the Democratic presidential nomination. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

A Worcester mother says her 12-year-old son was suspended from school for hugging his teacher in a way the school deemed inappropriate. (Telegram & Gazette)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Deborah Collins-Gousby, of Dorchester’s Brookview House, discusses treatment of sexual and domestic violence in the black community. (CommonWealth)

Jo Ann Simons and Elizabeth Zwick analyze the challenge of aging with autism. (CommonWealth)

Connecticut-based insurer Cigna says it would like to retain Springfield’s Mercy Medical Center in its network, but not at “the excessively high rates” Mercy is seeking. (MassLive)

ARTS/CULTURE

Talk about guerilla marketing: A Northampton couple leave post-it notes and markers outside a shuttered store in Northampton and seek ideas for the space from the public. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

TRANSPORTATION 

The top official at the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority spent $5,000 on lunches. (CommonWealth)

Jim Aloisi and Stan Rosenberg say the time for incrementalism is over — it’s time for Big Rail. (CommonWealth)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

With the threat of fines hanging over its head, Columbia Gas vows to meet a Friday deadline to check natural gas service lines throughout the Merrimack Valley. (Eagle-Tribune)

CASINOS

Mohegan Sun is still pursuing court action against the state’s awarding of its Boston area casino license to Wynn Resorts, longshot litigation that has a hearing today in Suffolk Superior Court. (Boston Globe)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

After the Zaccardi family was found dead of gunshot wounds in their Abington home last week, Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz said there were more questions than answers. (Patriot Ledger) 

PASSINGS 

Harold Bloom, one of the most prominent and prolific literary critics of the last half century, who railed against multiculturalists, feminists, and Marxists by insisting on the primacy of Shakespeare, Chaucer, and other Western icons, died at age 89. (New York Times)