Healey’s snub of Rausch hot issue in Senate race
MAURA HEALEY’S decision not to endorse Sen. Becca Rausch in her bid for reelection is fast becoming one of the more intriguing storylines of the election season.
The attorney general, the Democratic nominee for governor, has endorsed 17 of the 19 incumbent Democrats running for reelection in the Senate who are facing challengers. The only two she has not endorsed are Michael Brady of Brockton and Rausch.
At a debate on Monday sponsored by the Charles River Regional Chamber of Commerce, Rausch had a hard time explaining the political snub.
“This is such a distraction from the real issues in the race,” she said, noting she has been endorsed by Senate President Karen Spilka and Sen. Will Brownsberger, the president pro tempore. She said she and Healey are aligned because of their shared values.
“I’m here to talk about what I’m hearing from my voters,” Rausch said.
Is it because you’re not well liked? Reibman asked.
Rausch said she has been endorsed by half the Senate and every Democratic state rep in the district. She said she has also been endorsed by local leaders from every single town in the district.
Rausch’s Republican rival, Rep. Shawn Dooley of Norfolk, was happy to offer his thoughts.
“I think it’s telling. I think relationships matter,” he said, adding that he has known Healey for years and gives her a hug whenever he sees her. He said he also has had good relationships with the last two governors, Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Deval Patrick.
“That’s one of the things that differentiates us,” Dooley said, “I think it speaks volumes about what sort of relationship she’ll have with the next administration if and when Maura Healey is our governor.”
Dooley, who features smiley faces on his campaign signs, likes to talk about his endorsement by Baker and his unsuccessful bid to topple the pro-Donald Trump chair of the Massachusetts Republican Party. But Rausch keeps linking Dooley to Trump, saying he voted for him, possibly twice.
Reibman asked the two candidates their reaction to recent comments by Max Page, the president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, who unloaded on state education leaders at a hearing on raising the MCAS scores needed to graduate.
“It struck me that we have a fundamental difference of views of what schools are for,” Page said at the hearing. “The focus on income, on college and career readiness speaks to a system … tied to the capitalist class and its needs for profit. We, on the other hand, have as a core belief that the purpose of schools must be to nurture thinking, caring, active and committed adults, parents, community members, activists, citizens.”
Rausch chose not to answer, instead focusing on her efforts to increase funding for education. Pressed by Reibman, Rausch eventually said: “I haven’t assessed that particular comment.”
Dooley said he doesn’t agree with Page, and urged Rausch to release the questionnaire she filled out to receive the endorsement of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
“No, I completely disagree with Mr. Page and his assessment that capitalism is this evil bogey monster,” he said.
Dooley said voters should elect a Republican like him, particularly at a time when it looks like Democrats may take full control of Beacon Hill with the exit of Baker.
“We need some balance. We need some choices,” he said.
Rausch said Dooley’s kind of balance is not what the state needs.
“The choice in this race is crystal clear,” she said. “It’s a choice between ineffective right-wing extremism and disinformation versus my proven track record of successfully delivering win after win after win for my district.”
NEW STORIES FROM COMMONWEALTH MAGAZINE
Baker calls for Orange Line timeline: Gov. Charlie Baker says MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak owes riders a timeline on when travel times will improve on the Orange Line. At a congressional hearing in Boston on Friday, Poftak said he wouldn’t set a deadline for eliminating slow speed zones because that would put pressure on field staff “to make a decision that is not based on what is the safety condition in the field.” Read more.
New Bedford airport facelift: State officials approve new funding for a terminal and control tower at New Bedford’s airport. Read more.
Little progress: House and Senate leaders report little progress on economic development legislation and the permanent tax cuts contained in it. Both House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka say tax relief is coming anyway, in the form of a tax cap giveback of nearly $3 billion. Read more.
Boston Public Schools superintendent Mary Skipper and Bob Giannino of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley say we should celebrate STEM week by expanding career pathways for youth. Read more.
FROM ELSEWHERE AROUND THE WEB
A Globe editorial whacks the state Cannabis Control Commission over its handling of an investigation into the death of a worker at a Holyoke cannabis cultivation facility. As CommonWealth reported, staff members at the commission have known about the death since shortly after it occured in January, but cannabis commission board members who are ultimately responsible for oversight of the sector say they only learned of it from media accounts in recent weeks. “Is there some parallel universe in which this tail wagging the dog scenario makes sense?” asks the Globe.
Mayor Michelle Wu vetoes the big pay raises the Boston City Council voted for itself, the mayor, and other top city officials. (Boston Globe)
Wu continues to get adoring national press treatment from the New York Times.
Worcester city leaders outline plans to address what an audit called a “racially toxic” workplace at City Hall. (GBH)
The Boston City Council continues to haggle over how to redraw district lines for the body’s nine district seats. (Boston Herald)
Council pay raises are also raising hackles in Brockton, where city workers packed a recent council meeting to push for raises after the councilors voted to double their own pay from $15,000 to $30,000 a year. (The Enterprise)
Boston Magazine goes deep on the saga of Monica Cannon-Grant, who has gone from lionized local champion of the fight for racial justice for Black Bostonians to persona non grata under federal indictment.
The New Bedford City Council goes on record opposing a downtown location for an opioid recovery clinic. (South Coast Today)
A state program will pay off college loans for substance abuse and mental health counselors as part of an effort to ease worker shortages in those areas. (Salem News)
Rather than single new strains emerging that each predominate for a period of time, scientists say a “swarm” of coronavirus variants could fuel a winter surge of the pandemic. (Washington Post)
Maura Healey appears to be a glide path to the governor’s office, but she is maintaining a say-little stance of giving few details of what she will actually do in office, says Joan Vennochi. (Boston Globe)
One thing Healey announced yesterday is she will pursue is a plan to provide free community college education to residents 25 and older who do not already have any kind of college credential. (Boston Herald)
NBC Boston dredges up allegations from auditor candidate Anthony Amore’s divorce in 2009 and says those who looked into them found nothing.
Ludlow parents are suing the local school system for interfering with their efforts to deal with their children’s gender identity issues. School officials say they were just complying with the law and trying to do right by the students. (MassLive)
Striking Malden teachers reach a settlement, while teachers in Haverhill remain on strike and are headed to court. (WBUR)
Advocacy groups say Boston’s ongoing problems with late school buses are disproportionately harming special education students, and they are seeking state intervention to help address the problem. (Boston Globe)
Patricia Gardner, the school superintendent in Palmer, steps down after complaints from staffers and teachers. (MassLive)
WBUR explores options for bringing offshore wind power ashore.