Is Baker an honorary Democrat?
Democrats nationally may be united against the Republican in the White House, but here in Massachusetts the donkeys seem to think our Republican governor is one of their own.
Members of the all-Democrat Massachusetts congressional delegation rarely have a negative word for Gov. Charlie Baker and the same holds true for the Democrats up on Beacon Hill and in the offices of mayors across the state. It makes it tough for the three Democrats seeking the party’s nomination to run against Baker, who Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr likes to call “Tall Deval.”
The latest blow came on Thursday when Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera, a Democrat, endorsed Baker for reelection. Rivera, who backed Baker’s Democratic opponent, Martha Coakley, in 2014, indicated the governor has had his and the city’s back over the last four years. He said Baker made sure the city had enough road salt to make it through last winter and also came to the city’s defense last month when President Trump said New Hampshire was the cause of the Granite State’s opioid problem.
Setti Warren, one of the three Democrats running for governor, didn’t feel much Democratic love when he recently said he would veto the criminal justice reform legislation sitting on the governor’s desk. Warren said he supported 99 percent of what’s in the bill, but couldn’t accept the addition of more mandatory prison sentences for trafficking fentanyl.
Democrats on Beacon Hill weren’t pleased. Sen. William Brownsberger of Belmont, one of the architects of the criminal justice legislation, called Warren “uninformed” and said he would support Jay Gonzalez, one of Warren’s opponents in the Democratic primary. Gonzalez and the other Democratic candidate for governor, Bob Massie, have said they would sign the bill even though they oppose the new mandatory minimum sentences it contains.
Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, didn’t take a pass when asked about Warren’s position. “I’m bummed out. I’m bummed out that he would take such a strong position, especially since so many of the people that are in this building and that are in the communities are applauding such an incredible bill,” Sanchez told State House News.
Meanwhile, the latest Morning Consult poll indicates Baker remains the most popular governor in America, with a 71 percent approval rating. Baker’s high favorability undoubtedly has a lot to do with the muted Democratic support for the party’s three challengers.
Former attorney general Martha Coakley and a colleague at Foley Hoag were paid $47,000 for their work helping to develop sexual harassment policies for the House while two lawyers at a second firm, Krokidas & Bluestein, received $195,985 for their work on the issue. Coakley, whose role was prominently touted by the House, played an “equal role” in developing the policies, but devoted less time to the project, said Speaker Robert DeLeo’s office. (Boston Herald)
Al Norman, the former executive director of Mass Home Care, wrote a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee seeking emails sent by Sen. Stanley Rosenberg’s husband Bryon Hefner that referred to him. (State House News)
Students at Somerville High School and other area schools flooded lawmakers’ offices with phone calls urging them to pass the so-called “red flag” gun-control bill. (Boston Globe) Rep. Marjorie Decker, who sponsored the legislation, said she is being harassed by gun rights advocates. (WBUR)
The city of Worcester paid $12.5 million to the owner of the Hilton Garden Inn for failing to build a promised elevated pedestrian walkway connecting the hotel with the DCU Center and a parking garage. (Telegram & Gazette)
Never mind: President Trump said the US may rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact he called a “rape of our country” and withdrew from days after assuming office. (New York Times)
A Herald editorial slams the special counsel inquiry of Trump coverage of it as “a sham political investigation and third-rate propagandizing by a complicit media” and says it’s generated nothing, but “some lives were ruined for lying to the FBI in the process.
Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was known to record conversations, raising fears among allies of the president that recordings may be among the things seized in the FBI raid on his office. (Washington Post)
Trump is “unethical” and “untethered to the truth,” and his approach to power was akin to that of mob bosses, writes former FBI director James Comey in his new memoir. (New York Times)
Baker defended the high cost of a new pharmaceutical treatment for cystic fibrosis, which costs $300,000 per year, weeks after collecting $7,500 in campaign donations from officials at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the drug. (Boston Globe)
Four of the state’s biggest business organizations have come out against a ballot question that would impose minimum staffing levels on hospitals. (Boston Globe)
An unidentified company signed a letter of intent with the city of Fall River to buy 91 acres to build a plant that could employ 500 people. (Herald News)
Commercial developers are zeroing in on lower-cost sites between central Boston and its Route 128 suburbs — places like the former Boston Globe building in Dorchester and Malden Center — that are on transit lines and near (relatively) affordable housing for employees. (Boston Globe)
Anger is growing over the UMass Amherst deal to buy the campus of Mt. Ida College in Newton. “There are just a lot of questions, none of which seem to have any answers,” said Senate President Harriette Chandler.” (Boston Globe) UMass president Marty Meehan defends the deal, saying the purchase will have no financial impact on UMass Boston, whose faculty and students are particularly upset by the news. (Boston Globe) Shirley Leung offers a defense of the deal. (Boston Globe) Paul Reville, the former state education secretary, said he thinks the deal could be scuttled by the Board of Higher Education. (WGBH)
Suffolk University trustee John McDonnell resigned, criticizing the process for the recent selection of a new president who was not one of the two finalists and whose candidacy was sprung on the board at the 11th hour. (Boston Globe)
The Haverhill School Committee voted 5-2 to hire Margaret Marotta as the superintendent. Currently an assistant superintendent in Salem, she will be paid a base salary of $190,000 a year. (Eagle-Tribune)
Six female students at Bartlett High School in Webster accuse a teacher of sexually assaulting them by looking at them and touching them in ways they considered inappropriate. (Telegram & Gazette)
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is awarded a $35 million grant to study the area of the ocean between 600 and 3,200 feet. (Cape Cod Times)
Braintree school officials will assign additional homework projects to students at two schools to make up for lost days following the nor’easters last mont that caused roof damage to the buildings forcing them to close. (Patriot Ledger)
John E. McDonough reports on an upstart helping to reshape MassHealth. (CommonWealth)
New Bedford launches a small yet affordable bike-sharing system. (South Coast Today)
Some Massachusetts communities, gearing up for new stormwater pollution regulations, are assessing special fees on property owners to cover the cost. (CommonWealth)
A new report from UMass Boston says it will cost more than $2 billion to adequately prepare the Boston region for the effects of climate change. (Boston Globe)
Wynn Resorts is reportedly in conversations with MGM about selling it the half-built casino rising along the Mystic River in Everett, but the news may be a ploy to pressure state regulators to declare whether the Wynn license is in jeopardy or not after sexual misconduct allegations forced the exit of company founder Steve Wynn. (Boston Globe) Wynn Resorts may be exploring a deal because of uncertainty about the Massachusetts Gaming Commission review looking at the “residual influence” of Steve Wynn on the company. (CommonWealth)
Citizens Bank sent form letters to business and organizations with ties to the emerging marijuana industry telling the firms that their accounts would be closed April 20. Many of the firms didn’t actually grow or sell marijuana. (Berkshire Eagle)
Yarmouth police officer Sean Gannon was shot and killed while serving a warrant in Barnstable. (Herald News)
Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno rails against judges who grant low bail to defendants. (MassLive)
Brockton mayor Bill Carpenter said police are intensifying their patrols looking for repeat offenders after a rash of four shootings in recent days, including one that claimed the life of a 24-year-old man. (The Enterprise)
The brother and former fiancee of a Revere police officer killed 11 years ago lash out at a deal that will allow his killer, whose second-degree murder conviction was overturned, to plead guilty to manslaughter and be released in three years. (Boston Herald)
MEDIABerkleyside, a local news website covering Berkley, California, raised $1 million in what it is calling a direct public offering to its readers. (Berkleyside)
Digital Media’s new Boston Herald editorial page condemns the ongoing investigations of President Trump, calling them all nonsense. “The establishment forces trying to run down this president should remember what his political ascent looked like,” the editorial said. “He stole the show by daring to buck the system and his sheer determination and cunning were marvelous to watch.”