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NEW: LISS-RIORDAN DROPS OUT — Shannon Liss-Riordan is ending her primary campaign to unseat Sen. Ed Markey today. The Brookline labor attorney said the path to victory was too difficult to continue her Senate bid.
“Unfortunately, sometimes some obstacles are too great to overcome, and that is the situation my candidacy for Senate finds itself in. In fairness to voters, to my family, and to the other candidates, I am ending my campaign for the U.S. Senate,” Liss-Riordan said in a statement.
That leaves Rep. Joe Kennedy III as Markey’s only challenger in the Senate primary. Liss-Riordan entered the race in May, several months before it became clear Kennedy would challenge Markey. She pitched herself as an advocate for workers’ rights, having taken on large corporations like Uber in court battles.
Liss-Riordan has put millions of dollars of her own money into her campaign. It’s not clear how much money Liss-Riordan raised in the final quarter of 2019, but we’ll find out on Jan. 31 when FEC reports are released to the public. Kennedy raised a healthy $2.4 million, and Markey raised $1.4 million last quarter.
Liss-Riordan did not throw her support behind Markey or Kennedy, and instead said she would be “a proud constituent of either.” But the lawyer did give a shout out to the state’s other senator, Elizabeth Warren, in a statement ending her campaign.
“We need more women in the Senate, and I hoped to add to that count this year. While I won’t add to the number of women in Congress in 2020, I will be doing all I can over the next several months to help elect the first woman President, Elizabeth Warren. That includes spending this weekend in New Hampshire for Elizabeth Warren’s Women’s Weekend of Action,” Liss-Riordan said.
Because she lives in Brookline, Liss-Riordan could jump into the race to fill Kennedy’s House seat, something Massachusetts political watchers have suggested since Kennedy entered the Senate race. It’s not clear Liss-Riordan has an interest in doing that. Businessman Steve Pemberton, another candidate vying for Markey’s seat, dropped out of the race in October.
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TODAY — Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito speaks at the Human Trafficking Summit Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. Rep. Katherine Clark is the featured guest on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” live show in New York City. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh speaks at an annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in Roxbury. Walsh and Rep. Ayanna Pressley are guests on WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio.”
– “Poll: Baker dethroned as nation’s most popular governor,” by Matt Murphy, State House News Service: “Days before Gov. Charlie Baker is planning to give his annual address, the well-liked Republican governor has been “dethroned” as the nation’s most popular, according to a Morning Consult poll. Baker actually fell to third place behind first-term Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, also Republicans. All three had approval ratings of 69 percent, but Baker’s disapproval number of 19 percent gave him the lowest net approval of the three in the fourth quarter of 2019.”
– “Baker Wants To Let State Police Consider External Hires For Agency Head, Among Other Reforms,” by Laney Ruckstuhl, WBUR: “Gov. Charlie Baker wants to throw out a mandate that the state police colonel must be appointed from within the agency so that external candidates may be considered for the top post. Baker made the announcement Thursday at the State Police Training Academy in New Braintree that he is filing legislation to alter the leadership rule and noted a series of other changes. Most significantly, the governor said he wanted to expand the colonel’s authority, including allowing the agency head to take “swift action” to discipline troopers for certain serious violations.”
– “Secretary Sees “Big Push” in State House for Guv’s Housing Bill,” by Matt Murphy, State House News Service: “Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy declined to give a preview Thursday of what Gov. Charlie Baker might say next week in his annual address to the Legislature, but it would come as no surprise if the governor tried to nudge legislators to act on his housing production bill. Baker has proposed in consecutive sessions to reduce the voting threshold for local boards to make zoning changes from two-thirds to a simple majority. The administration believes this would make it easier for cities and towns to site new housing and address the lack of affordable housing, particularly in Greater Boston, that threatens to stymie economic growth.”
– “Massachusetts state pension, debt liability ‘at crisis level,’” by Joe Dwinell, Boston Herald: “Massachusetts has the highest per capita public debt burden in the nation — and it’s a bill millennials will be saddled with as state pensions continue to climb, fiscal watchdogs say. The latest pension report provided to the Herald from the state comptroller’s office shows six-figure payouts to retirees are not easing up. Two pensioners topped $300,000 a year in 2019 and 11 others were paid $200,000 or more, records show.”
– “Mass. Senate Approves Sex Education Bill,” by Chris Lisinski, State House News Service: “The Senate voted Thursday to require comprehensive sex education curriculum in schools that teach the topic, easily advancing a bill that has proved controversial in the past. Under the bill, which passed 33-2, schools offering sex education would be required to provide medically accurate and age-appropriate information, including LGBTQ-inclusive material and discussion of consent, while allowing parents to opt their children out. Supporters said existing state law does not guarantee that materials taught are medically accurate, making an update necessary to ensure the health and well-being of students.”
– “Senator Says He’ll “Name Names” Unless Bodyworks Bill Advances,” by Chris Lisinski, State House News Service: “A senator said he may filibuster upcoming sessions and pledged to “name names” responsible for holding up his anti-human trafficking legislation if that bill does not move soon. Shortly before passage of a sex education bill, Sen. Mark Montigny rose on the Senate floor and criticized the Legislature for not acting yet to close a so-called “bodyworks loophole” in a 2006 state law that he said has been exploited by human traffickers. “I hope before the end of this session, long before the end of this session, we will not only pass the bill in the Senate, but we will use whatever leverage is necessary to pass it in the House,” the New Bedford Democrat said.”
– “Boston Public Schools Didn’t Intend For Student Information To End Up With ICE, Says Paul Reville,” by Hannah Uebele, WGBH News: “Paul Reville, former Massachusetts education secretary, joined Boston Public Radio on Thursday to talk about the Boston Public Schools (BPS) giving student incident reports to ICE. “I trust Mayor Walsh’s assertion that it has never been his intention that the school department do this and I know with this superintendent there was… no inclination to share this information,” Reville said. “Apparently [BPS] shared it with a regional law enforcement data base to which Homeland Security, which supervises ICE, had access.” There are legitimate reasons to report incidents at schools involving violence, like fighting, Reville said.”
– “Why Pete Buttigieg says Boston College ‘broke’ his heart,” by Nikolas DeCosta-Klipa, Boston.com: “Who has broken your heart? It’s a question that The New York Times editorial board has asked each Democratic presidential candidate during its lengthy sit-down interviews, which are being published this week. For Elizabeth Warren, the answer was her first husband. For Deval Patrick, a former girlfriend. For Amy Klobuchar, it was Lindsey Graham. (Bernie Sanders refused to even answer the question.) For Pete Buttigieg? Boston College.”
– “Western Massachusetts’ largest refugee resettlement agency hails court ruling,” by Anne-Gerard Flynn, Springfield Republican: “Everyone is very excited,” said Maxine Stein, president and chief executive officer of Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts, a nonprofit whose work includes refugee resettlement here in partnership with Maryland-based HIAS. “It is a fair and right decision.” Stein was asked her reaction to the Jan. 15 federal court ruling that temporarily blocks President Donald Trump’s executive order of Sept. 26 establishing new requirements that refugee resettlement agencies obtain prior consent from state and local officials to continue to resettle refugees in their jurisdictions in the next fiscal year.”
– “Warren and Bernie try to move on as conflict shakes 2020 primary,” by Alex Thompson and Holly Otterbein, POLITICO: “Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren don’t want to talk about it. “I have no further comment on this,” Warren told reporters Thursday. Sanders didn’t want any part of it either, staying quiet as reporters pelted him with questions, while his campaign circulated a set of new talking points, obtained by POLITICO, that read: “Please refrain from commenting on the CNN story on the meeting between Bernie and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.” “Goal: Take the high road,” it added.”
– “Two New Hampshire state reps switch their support to Amy Klobuchar,” by Amanda Golden, NBC News: “Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar expanded her support base in the Granite State on Thursday when she picked up endorsements from two state representatives who previously supported Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker respectively. State Rep. Michael Pedersen had announced his support for Warren in November and State Rep. Linn Opderbecke supported Booker before the New Jersey senator ended his presidential campaign earlier this week.”
– “Warren seeks info on DeVos role in foreign-student sting,” by Sarah Betancourt, CommonWealth Magazine: “SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN and two fellow Democratic lawmakers are asking Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to explain the department’s involvement in the creation of a fake university and outline how it plans to cooperate with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement efforts to catch students who are fraudulently using visas in government-sponsored exchange programs. More than 250 students enrolled at a fake university called the University of Farmington in Michigan were arrested last year after entering the US with student visas to study here.”
– “Exclusive: Rep. Ayanna Pressley Reveals Beautiful Bald Head and Discusses Alopecia for the First Time,” by Jessica Moulite, The Root: “Ayanna Pressley loves playing with her hair. Before she became a Massachusetts Congresswoman (and a high-profile member of “The Squad”), Pressley would experiment with different hairstyles and textures, getting a weave and even cutting her own hair. Lately, she’s been experimenting with lace-front wigs.But the wigs are a noticeable departure from her signature Senegalese and bomb twists, which have become synonymous with her political brand and made her the hero of little black girls across the country. Now, the congresswoman has decided to go public as to her reason why: She has alopecia.”
– “Trump to hold Manchester rally on eve of New Hampshire primary,” by James Pindell, Boston Globe: “President Trump is planning to hold a rally in New Hampshire on the eve of the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary next month, people familiar with the campaign say. The Feb. 10 rally will be held in Manchester, but the exact location has not been determined. With Democratic presidential candidates needing all the attention they can get before a critical vote, Trump’s rally could be viewed as trolling his field of potential rivals. There are just eight days between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.”
– “‘My life came crashing down overnight’: How one Boston-area woman nearly died from vaping,” by Naomi Martin, Boston Globe: “A few days before Thanksgiving, the woman realized she needed to refill her marijuana vape pen, which helped her relax and cope with migraines. The 33-year-old veterinary technician perused her dealer’s menu and texted her order for delivery to her home north of Boston. She chose his cheapest option: a $40 prefilled cartridge of cannabis oil branded Dabwoods. A better deal, she reasoned, than the $70 she would spend at a licensed cannabis store for what she thought was the same product. It never occurred to her that the container of amber oil, smaller than her pinky and wrapped in purple packaging, could be dangerous.”
– “Springfield casino rethinks its business plan as gambling revenue lags,” by Michael Silverman, Boston Globe: “As timing goes, the first Red Sox Winter Weekend at the MGM Springfield casino is awkward for both sides. That the Red Sox had a rough week is an understatement: The ball club just lost its manager to a cheating scandal and is scrambling to right itself before the start of spring training next month. And MGM Springfield has its own problems. On Wednesday, the entertainment complex posted its worst monthly gaming numbers yet — just under $19 million in revenue — an unneeded reminder that the nearly $1 billion development in Western Massachusetts has fallen below expectations since it opened in August 2018.”
– “State, federal officials mum on Cape Cod Canal bridges meeting,” by Ethan Genter, Cape Cod Times: “Gov. Charlie Baker went to the nation’s capital earlier this week to talk about transportation with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, but details of what was discussed about the Cape Cod Canal bridges has not been revealed. Baker made the trip Monday with Stephanie Pollack, the state’s transportation secretary. Pollack’s office referred questions about the meeting to Baker, but the governor’s office did not have much to add. “They were meeting about multiple transportation priorities, including things such as the Cape Cod bridges and the MBTA,” a spokeswoman wrote in an email. A request for more specifics on the bridge discussion went unanswered.”
– “Massachusetts holding hearings on gas disaster,” by Bill Kirk, Eagle-Tribune: “The state Department of Public Utilities announced recently it would be holding two public hearings as part of its investigation into the Sept. 13, 2018 Columbia Gas disaster. One hearing will be held Jan. 29 in Lawrence and another is scheduled for Feb. 10 in Andover. The hearings are being held to gather testimony from residents and business owners affected by the blast that damaged or destroyed 131 homes and businesses, injured 22 people and caused the death of one person. The DPU is also accepting written testimony.”
– “ACLU blasts Braintree High over gendered graduation gowns,” by Mary Whitfill, The Patriot Ledger: “The American Civil Liberties Union is blasting the Braintree school district over a practice in place at many South Shore high schools: assigning different-colored graduation gowns to students of different genders. In a letter sent to Braintree school officials Thursday, ACLU attorney Ruth Bourquin said providing blue gowns to male students and white gowns to females is dismissive of transgender and non-binary students.”
– “New training following confusion at Lowell polls,” by Elizabeth Dobbins, The Lowell Sun: “The city is adding training for poll workers after several voters seeking a machine designed to assist people with physical disabilities or language barriers reported encountering confusion at the polls last local election. The notice came in a report from Interim Director of Elections Elliott Veloso and was presented to the City Council on Tuesday.”
TRANSITIONS – Kate Bennett was appointed administrator of the Boston Housing Authority. Link.
– Emma Sands joins New Hampshire Democrat Dan Feltes’ gubernatorial campaign. Sands is a Beto O’Rourke alum and served as communications director in Treasurer Deborah Goldberg’s office. Link.
COMING TO CAMBRIDGE – The Harvard Institute of Politics announces two high-profile speaking events at the end of the month:
– Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr talks sports and activism Jan. 29.
– Cindy McCain and Vicki Kennedy talk about public service and legacy with moderator Kerry Healey Jan. 30.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY – to David Jacobs, publisher of the Boston Guardian; Shane Cardillo, senior analyst at Hamilton Lane; and Northampton activist Marty Nathan.
HAPPY BIRTHWEEKEND – to former Sen. Paul Kirk who turns 82 on Saturday.
DID THE HOME TEAM WIN? Yes and no! The Bruins beat the Penguins 4-1. The Bucks beat the Celtics 128-123.
FOR YOUR COMMUTE: WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR VOTE – On this week’s Horse Race podcast, hosts Steve Koczela and Stephanie Murray talk about the recent Democratic presidential debate, and where things stand in Iowa for the 2020 hopefuls. Liberty Square Group founder Scott Ferson joins to talk about the Welcome Party, a group that’s reaching out to independent voters in New Hampshire. Later, Evan Fulchuk of Voter Choice Massachusetts talks about ranked choice voting and how it could impact the Bay State. Subscribe and listen on iTunes and Sound Cloud.
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