June 4, 2017

On Beacon Hill: What does it all mean?

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Sam Doran / State House News Service

For Gov. Charlie Baker, the time is now to start getting creative in addressing the state's prohibitive healthcare costs.

Recap and analysis of the week in local, state and federal government
from State House News Service

BOSTON — Words can inspire, they can sting and they can leave one scratching their head.

The words spoken last week — and still to be uttered — from Boston to Washington, D.C., did that and more as gubernatorial candidates geared up for a weekend of Baker-Trump bashing, the president excoriated an historic international climate pact, the feds busted a major fentanyl trafficking ring in Lawrence and Democrats sniped each other over ideological purity.

But as Trump might say (or Tweet): “Covfefe.”

More than 5,000 Democrats descended on downtown Worcester starting Friday night for the party’s off-year platform convention, where the three declared candidates for governor had their chance to address the party faithful.

Former state budget chief Jay Gonzalez, Newton Mayor Setti Warren and environmentalist Bob Massie were all looking to send activists home feeling energized about their campaign and chances to topple Gov. Charlie Baker in 2018.

Gonzalez got a jump on the convention by releasing a criminal-justice platform that calls for eliminating all non-murder-related mandatory minimum sentences, while Warren stood up for a party platform that pushes Democrats far to the left of what the actual power brokers at the State House appear willing to accept at the moment.

A fourth man — former state Sen. Dan Wolf — has not made up his mind on 2018 yet, but at a Somerville Democratic City Committee meeting last week, he called out House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, as one of the party leaders “tone deaf” to a grassroots agenda that includes single-payer healthcare.

“If they seem tone deaf to the platform then people should run against them,” Wolf said.

DeLeo, whose views on tax increases are always evolving but is on the more conservative end of the Democratic spectrum, has not made life easier for himself with the progressive set with his refusal to commit at this point to the future Democratic nominee for governor.

Sam Doran (SHNS / file photo)

Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo

Unlike Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, who is all aboard the beat-Baker train in 2018 and was set to speak at the convention, DeLeo skipped the Worcester festivities, and it may be for the best, at least for him. The reason for his absence went unexplained Friday by staff after the party told State House News Service earlier in the week that he would be among the party elders at the convention.

The same night Wolf challenged DeLeo’s big “D” bonafides, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, the dean of the Bay State delegation, was in Boston giving a public interview to Josh Miller of the Boston Globe in which he lamented the “pure party” approach to candidate recruitment.

Massie, who has made a career out of environmental activism, also got a ready-made applause line last week when President Trump announced that he would pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, warning that the deal, unbalanced in his estimation, would disproportionately hurt American jobs.

— Matt Murphy

ALSO ON THE AGENDA

  • Baker enters Mass. into governors’ climate alliance [+video]
  • McGovern on Trump’s Paris call, Chandler on ‘Casey at the Bat’
  • Hernandez ruling prompts move to uphold convictions
  • Baker measure would elevate tech, security chief to cabinet position
  • State labor secretary resigns

THE BIG DEAL

In wake of Trump Paris accord reversal, Baker adds Mass. to governors’ climate alliance


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