SPLIT SCREEN Two developments over the weekend highlighted two very different political storylines for former Rep. Joe Kennedy III.
The Federal Election Commission slapped Kennedys campaign committee with a $35,000 fine for improperly spending $1.5 million in donations intended for the general election during the final weeks of his failed Democratic primary challenge to Sen. Ed Markey.
We appreciate working with the FEC to reach an agreement. The fine has been paid, and we are grateful to close this unfortunate chapter, Kennedy spokesperson Emily Kaufman told me. Details of the fine were reported Friday by Insider’s Dave Levinthal.
Commissioner Sean Cooksey argued the FEC should have dismissed the case because Kennedy’s team self-reported the violation to the FEC last fall and Kennedy paid donors back with his own money. [The Kennedy] Committee had already faced sufficient consequences, Cooksey wrote in a statement of reasons last week. I believe a discretionary dismissal would have encouraged other candidates to take similar steps to ameliorate their campaigns mistakes.
While the FEC fine adds insult to the injury that put a pin in Kennedys political career, another story that emerged over the weekend shows his enduring influence in Washington.
Seeking a deal on President Joe Bidens sweeping social policy bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened a backchannel to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) through none other than Kennedy, according to the New York Times, which noted he’s a friend of Sinema.
But Kennedy also remains close to Pelosi, who tapped him to deliver the response to then-President Donald Trumps State of the Union speech in 2018 and endorsed him against Markey in 2020 (though the latter move prompted significant backlash). Pelosi and Kennedy did a joint fundraiser in September for his Groundwork Project and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee at his familys Cape Cod compound.
GOOD MONDAY MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS. Programming note: Massachusetts Playbook is taking a little Thanksgiving break later this week. I’ll be back in your inbox on Monday, Nov. 29.
TODAY Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and administration officials join the Retailers Association of Massachusetts to highlight local holiday shopping at 10 a.m. at Michelsons Shoes in Needham. Markey and Boston Medical Center leaders host a press conference on extending the Child Tax Credit at 10:15 a.m. at BMC in Boston. Markey tours Cristo Rey High School at noon. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu signs an ordinance that would divest city funds from the fossil fuel industry at 11:30 a.m. at City Hall with Councilors Lydia Edwards and Matt OMalley. Wu attends the North End Trellis Holiday Lighting at 5 p.m.
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TODAY’S SPECIAL (ELECTION)
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito have endorsed fellow Republican Robert Bob Snow in his campaign for the vacant 4th Essex District state representative seat, per his campaign. A Marine Corps veteran who put himself through college while working to provide for his family, Bob knows the value of hard work and service, Baker said in a statement praising Snow’s “commitment to fiscal responsibility, and dedication to his community. Snow, a Rowley selectman, is running against Democrat Jamie Belsito of Topsfield in the Nov. 30 special election.
DATELINE BEACON HILL
“Somerville and Boston want rent control, but Beacon Hill could get in the way,” by Simón Rios, WBUR: “Progressive lawmakers from Boston and Somerville have filed several bills in recent years to overturn the statewide ban and give local leaders more options. But none have passed, and some lawmakers have reservations on the unintended consequences of capping rents. That includes state Sen. John Keenan, from Quincy, who co-chairs the Joint Housing Committee and said he owns 14 rental units in his district.”
Road-safety advocates push Massachusetts lawmakers to pass road safety bills as fatalities pile up, by Erin Tiernan, Boston Herald: Road safety advocates remembered the 2,500 lives lost in fatal roadway crashes since 2015 blanketing the State House steps yellow roses and asking lawmakers to act to on a slate of bills designed reduce the human toll of traffic crashes.
Cannabis oversight board to lobby legislators for greater industry equity, by Jessica Bartlett, Boston Business Journal: In a change from its past approach, the state’s Cannabis Control Commission says it plans to take a more active role in lobbying the state Legislature for changes that will ensure greater equity across the industry.
Students didnt return to public schools this year, by Shira Schoenberg, CommonWealth Magazine: Newly released enrollment figures for the 2021-2022 school year show that enrollment remained flat this year, with 911,529 students attending public schools, an increase of just 65 students compared to last year. Attendance among the youngest students has rebounded, though it is still below 2019 levels. … But that means there are fewer students in many of the older grades.
State mulls changes to veterans homes nearly 2 years after deadly COVID outbreak, by Stephanie Barry, Springfield Republican: On Friday, lawmakers held the second in an ongoing series of hearings on two identical bills proposing changes to the homes including renaming the buildings, shifts in governance and other core issues that may affect the futures of the homes.”
Massachusetts economy nearly doubles monthly job gains, by Greg Ryan, Boston Business Journal: The Massachusetts economy added 25,000 jobs in October, according to a preliminary estimate published Friday, its third-highest monthly total this year. The states unemployment rate rose to 5.3% in October, from 5.2% the previous month. The national jobless rate is still lower than it is in Massachusetts, at 4.6%.
More than 100 Massachusetts prison guards suspended after refusing COVID vaccine over the past month, by Alison Kuznitz, MassLive: At least 150 unvaccinated Massachusetts Department of Correction employees have been suspended since Oct. 17, when Gov. Charlie Bakers strict mandate took effect requiring more than 40,000 workers and contractors to be fully inoculated against COVID-19. But some of those 150 employees, grappling with the loss of their livelihood and pension benefits, ultimately received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, MassLive has learned.
As teacher COVID-19 rates rise, unions support in-person learning but push for stronger mitigation measures, by Felicia Gans, Boston Globe: Amid rising COVID-19 infections among school staff members in Massachusetts, local and statewide teachers union leaders said Friday they continue to support in-person learning, but urged state leaders to strengthen mitigation measures.
Hospitals are busier than ever but not because of COVID, by Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, Boston Globe: Little of this surge is driven by COVID infections, even as cases rise across the state. Instead, patients are flooding hospitals with every kind of problem heart attacks, strokes, drug overdoses, suicidal thoughts, broken bones, infections, and COVID. As much as hospital leaders had strategized and prepared for the pandemic, they didnt foresee this.
Bostons first gentleman is also a first, by Stephanie Ebbert, Boston Globe: Conor Pewarski was a 23-year-old aspiring film producer when he set that dream aside, packed up a U-Haul, and moved halfway across the country to help his girlfriend, Michelle Wu, through a family crisis. Thirteen years and two children later, Pewarski is still by Wus side, her staunchest supporter. And since her inauguration last week as the mayor, he is now the first gentleman of Boston a ceremonial title that he doesnt think he needs but that greatly amuses his friends. While its unclear what exactly the role will entail for him, it already means leaving his job temporarily to focus on the family.
FROM THE HUB
Boston is paying out at least $4.2M to end lawsuits this year; $18.4M since 2016, by Sean Philip Cotter, Boston Herald: Boston has to shell out more than $4 million in settlements and judgments to resolve at least 42 lawsuits against the city this year alone and racked up a $14 million bill over the previous five years to close the books on cases that range from stiffing contractors to discrimination suits to an allegation of wrongful death.
“After St. Guillen reverses course, Murphy to take City Council at-large seat a month early,” by Gintautas Dumcius, Dorchester Reporter: “Alejandra St. Guillen has decided against stepping in to fill the City Council at-large seat left vacant by Mayor Michelle Wu. … That means Dorchesters Erin Murphy, who came in behind St. Guillen in 2019, is now able to take the job. Murphy ran at-large for a second time this year, and won one of the four at-large slots, so she takes office in January anyway. St. Guillens decision frees Murphy up to start the job early.”
Bostons Sean OBrien is new Teamsters national boss, by Marie Szaniszlo, Boston Herald: The head of a Boston local of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters has been elected the unions president, making him one of the most influential labor leaders in the nation.
“The special court session created to help address Boston’s tent encampment has ended,” by Deborah Becker, WBUR: “Less than three weeks after it started, a controversial court session inside the Suffolk County jail has stopped operating. The Trial Court has rescinded the order creating the court effective as of Friday [citing low case volume].”
THE OPINION PAGES
An epic failure on Beacon Hill, by the Boston Globe Editorial Board: When Massachusetts lawmakers wrested control over a $5 billion pot of federal money from the governor last summer, they also accepted the responsibility for getting that money out of state coffers and into programs, projects, and communities where it was intended to do good and to do so reasonably quickly. they failed to live up to that responsibility.
Ayanna Pressley is trying to build a very big Squad, by Perry Bacon Jr., Washington Post: Ayanna Pressley has successfully pushed politics in Boston and Massachusetts in her direction … Now, the big question is how much the second-term Democratic congresswoman and the broader movement of multiracial progressivism can push the national Democratic Party and America toward their goals.”
Geoff Diehl takes a page from Glenn Youngkins playbook on education, by Amy Sokolow, Boston Herald: GOP governor hopeful Geoff Diehl announced an initiative this week that may have given some deja vu: Parents for Diehl, a move seemingly straight out of Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkins playbook.
FROM THE DELEGATION
US Rep Richard Neal hails passage of Build Back Better Act after a pretty remarkable week in Washington, by Jim Kinney, Springfield Republican: Fresh from a long night of managing debate and securing passage of the $2 trillion Build Back Better Act, U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal explained Friday afternoon the impact of what he called once-in-a-lifetime legislation.
WATCH: Rep. Lori Trahan on WBZs Keller at Large talking about when Massachusetts will get its federal infrastructure money.
NOT MINCING WORDS: Secretary of State Bill Galvin slammed the new state House and Senate maps as incumbent protection plans that cannibalized surrounding communities in certain districts and shattered precincts in others during his Sunday interview on WCVBs On the Record. He pointed to Cambridge, where one precinct would have three state representatives, two state senators and two members of Congress.
This does not treat the votersin many communities fairly, Galvin said, adding that managing precinct splits are no cakewalk for elections administrators either.
Galvin had less to say about the hotly debated congressional redistricting map. It’s reasonable people could disagree with separating Fall River and New Bedford, he said, but the redrawn map, currently on the governors desk, is certainly defensible.
He wasmum on whether hell seek another term in 2022. Ive been pretty candid that I enjoy what I do, Galvin said, leading co-host Janet Wu to say it sounds like hes running. You might think that, Galvin replied. But I couldnt possibly say it.
IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN
3 a.m. negotiations and an affogato: Inside John Kerrys deal making at the Glasgow climate conference, by Jess Bidgood, Boston Globe: GLASGOW John Kerry was in a passenger van, hurtling under bridges and past the clock towers of this gloomy Scottish city, waiting for Washington to wake up. The night before, President Bidens top international climate envoy had been up until 3 a.m. negotiating with Chinese diplomats in a hotel conference room, parsing technical words and grinding down the differences between two countries that are almost always at odds.
Rhode Island makes it trifecta on TCI, by Bruce Mohl, CommonWealth Magazine: Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont dropped out on Tuesday, Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts called it quits on Thursday, and now Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee is pulling his state out of the transportation climate initiative. … McKee said in a statement [that] Recent events in Connecticut and Massachusetts, however, have made clear that at least for the time being, Rhode Island must explore other options in clean transportation.
Construction temporarily halted on $1B transmission line, by David Sharp, Associated Press: The developer of a $1 billion electric transmission line is suspending construction at the request of Maines governor after she certified election results Friday in which residents firmly opposed the project. Funded by Massachusetts ratepayers, the project would supply up to 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to the New England power grid.
AG gets fed money to target fentanyl trafficking, by Christian M. Wade, CNHI/Eagle-Tribune: Attorney General Maura Healeys office said it has received a $3.8 million federal grant for the New England Fentanyl Strike Force to expand efforts to combat the opioid crisis and dismantle drug trafficking networks throughout the region.
FROM THE 413
Small town police departments prep for financial burden of reform bill, by Chris Larabee and Bera Dunau, Daily Hampshire Gazette: The states police reform bill that was signed into law last year and went into effect in July could have long-lasting consequences on the finances and staffing of small-town police departments, according to local chiefs.
Disabled Vietnam veteran Eugene Brice finds service to country doesnt shield him from racism, by Ron Chimelis, Springfield Republican: Eugene L. Brice survived the Vietnam War, the 1968 Tet Offensive and 29 years in the U.S. Army, but he is struggling to emotionally survive a recent trip to the grocery store.”
Northampton, Amherst restaurants press state for continued outdoor dining as COVID rules set to expire, by Jim Kinney, Springfield Republican.
Where did all the Berkshire County workers go?by Lawrence Parnass, Berkshire Eagle.
THE LOCAL ANGLE
“County commissioners, Assembly spar over ARPA spending process, court action possible,” by Jeannette Hinkle, Cape Cod Times: “Last week, two law firms gave each of Barnstable County’s two branches of government completely different opinions on the process the county should follow to distribute more than $41 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding.”
Carlo DeMaria of Everett is Massachusetts highest-paid mayor, but he faces blowback over his $40,000 longevity bonus, by Andrea Estes and Jeremiah Manion, Boston Globe: The mayor of Everett, a city with fewer than 50,000 residents, has become the highest-paid city leader in Massachusetts thanks to a controversial longevity bonus that one political rival denounced as ‘asinine’ and the city clerk reported to the FBI as possibly illegal. Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria was paid $236,647 in 2020, which is more even than then-Mayor Martin J. Walsh earned for overseeing Boston, a city 15 times larger.”
From coronavirus to civil unrest: The Massachusetts National Guard has done it all, by Alexi Cohan, Boston Herald: Lt. Col. Bryan Pillai, a military police officer, in one moment found himself commanding security at coronavirus treatment facilities such as the Boston Hope Medical Center, and in another walking through downtown Boston in May 2020 to handle civil unrest where the destruction was unfathomable.
Here’s how much Mayor Paul Coogan spent in his bid for the city’s top job, by Jo C. Goode, Herald News: Buoyed by an infusion of funds from a super PAC, Mayor Paul Coogan’s campaign spent more then $103,000 in the mayoral election. It was nearly twice as much as Cliff Ponte’s campaign spent on his bid for the mayor’s seat.
Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict: MA Politicians Say Justice Failed, by Mike Carraggi, Patch.
Weve had the Kardashians visit: Nantucket unfazed ahead of President Bidens vacation on the island, by Hanna Krueger, Boston Globe.
MEANWHILE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
TESTING THE WATERS: Sen.
Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Vice President
Mike Penceare both due back in the Granite State next month to appear at major fundraisers for their respective parties, per WMUR, as potential 2024 presidential hopefuls keep up appearances in the early states.
Washington ‘is screwed up,’ New Hampshire governor laments, by Catherine Kim, POLITICO.
Boston Globe union ratifies contract after nearly 3-year battle,by Don Seiffert, Boston Business Journal: The Boston Newspaper Guild, which has more than 300 members, announced Friday evening that a majority of members voted to support the new contract, which covers staffers at The Boston Globe, Boston.com, and STAT News.”
TRANSITIONS David Todisco joins state Auditor Suzanne Bumps office as deputy communications director. Jon Latino joins the Boston Public Health Commission as media relations manager; Latino was previously communications officer for Reproductive Equity Now.
SPOTTED Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh prepping Thanksgiving baskets at Shirleys Pantry on Saturday (Wus tweet).
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