Government

Patrick: Probation Dept. Is Isolated Problem

By Adam Reilly   |   Wednesday, December 1, 2010
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Dec. 1, 2010



BOSTON — The scandal that’s engulfed the Massachusetts Probation Department is already the talk of Beacon Hill – and with investigations underway by Attorney General Martha Coakley and US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, the story is only going to get bigger. But Governor Deval Patrick is arguing that voters shouldn’t see Probation’s woes as part of a broader culture of corruption on Beacon Hill.

“For the public,” Patrick said last night on WGBH’s Greater Boston, “this sort of thing is their worst nightmare. And it makes them worry about whether much, much more of state government functions in that way.
Gov. Patrick on the set of Greater Boston on Tuesday. (WGBH)

“I think it’s really important that we are aggressive about Probation reform,” Patrick added. “The Senate president, the speaker and I talked about it at our leadership meeting just yesterday, as a matter of fact. I’d love to see them take up probation reform by the end of this year. “

Patrick also defended the right of elected officials to recommend people for jobs in state government -- even though that practice is at the center of the Probation department controversy. And he dismissed a proposal by outgoing State Representative Jennifer Callahan to ban such recommendations.

“I think that may be going too far,” Patrick said of the proposed ban. “I have tremendous respect for representative Callahan, and I understand what is motivating that. But not every recommendation is seedy or inappropriate.“

After his re-election, Patrick told the Boston Globe that he’d use his grassroots political network to pressure members of the Legislature, even if  legislators find that tactic irksome.

But his comments yesterday suggest Patrick also recognizes that he’ll need the support of House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray to push through his second-term agenda.

Brown Pushes For Pro-Business Policies Over Breakfast

By Sarah Birnbaum   |   Tuesday, November 16, 2010
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Sen. Brown addressed the Boston Chamber of Commerce on Monday. (AP)

BOSTON -- Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, the lone Republican in the state’s Congressional delegation, spoke about the economy Monday morning at a breakfast sponsored by the Boston Chamber of Commerce.  It was Brown’s first address to the chamber since Election Day, when Republicans swept of the nation’s House of Representatives -- and lost every statewide election here in Massachusetts.

Brown opened with a self-effacing joke about how few members of the chamber came to see him last time he addressed them, back when he was a state senator from Wrentham.

Then, in front of the 350 business leaders that gathered to see him that day, the senator assailed his Congressional colleagues for not spending enough time on job creation.
 
“Every day in Washington, I get up in the morning and get our briefing started, and I wonder what kind of fluff -- what kind of fluff -- is going to be pushed in the legislative session today?” Brown said. “Because I tell you what, since I’ve been there, we’ve only spent 10 to 12 days talking about jobs.”
 
Brown called for pro-business policies such as lowering the corporate tax rate and retaining the Bush Era tax cuts for all Americans, including the wealthy. Those tax cuts are set to expire at the end of this year.
 
“By not extending them, it’s a tax increase in the middle of a two year recession.  It’s the worst thing we can do right now,” Brown said.
 
Brown said it was too soon for him to think about keeping his own job by kicking off a re-election campaign.
 
“People say, Scott, you know, are you worried about your job?  Give me a break.  Really,” Brown said. “The time for running for reelection will be here in another year or so.  Do you know whose jobs I’m worried about? Yours.”

Since the midterm elections, Brown has become a subject of speculation in the Bay State.  While polling shows him to be the state’s most popular politician, every Massachusetts candidate he endorsed in the recent elections lost, leaving some to say that Brown himself may be vulnerable in 2012.  

Others, however, say Brown has built a national reputation and could be a viable future presidential candidate.

After Mass. Ruling, Lawsuit Challenges DOMA

By Sarah Birnbaum   |   Wednesday, November 10, 2010
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Nov. 10, 2010

Lawsuit plaintiffs Raquel Ardin and Lynda DeForge; Brad Kleinerman and Flint Gehre (right). (courtesy GLAD)

Lawsuit plaintiffs Raquel Ardin and Lynda DeForge; Brad Kleinerman and Flint Gehre (right). (courtesy GLAD)

BOSTON — A new lawsuit is challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans gay marriage at the federal level.  The case comes on the heels of the Massachusetts court ruling that found DOMA unconstitutional. 

The Gay and Lesbian Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), is leading the case, Pederson et. al. vs. Office of Personnel Management, on behalf of five same-sex married couples and one widower from Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire.  The couples say DOMA denies them the same federal rights as heterosexual couples, including health and social security benefits and federal tax breaks.   
 
The case was filed in Connecticut, which legalized gay marriage in 2008. The next year, Geraldine Artis, who’s a plaintiff in this case, married her longtime partner Suzanne.  But the Artises aren’t allowed to file their federal taxes jointly as a married couple, because the federal government doesn’t recognize their union.  Geraldine Artis says that as a result, they’ve had to pay more money on their taxes than other married couples — money that they need for their three boys:
 
“This hurts our family financially.  It’s impacted our ability as parents to save for our kids college funds and we’re also forced to make choices about which activities our children can participate in," Artis said. "All of our children love to sing and would love to play a musical instrument, but we’re not able to provide that for them at this time.”
 
Mary Bonauto, the lead lawyer in the case, says that DOMA is discriminatory and deliberately sets out to harm gay and lesbian couples who decide to marry.
 
"The federal government is barring these people from programs that would allow them to take better care of themselves, each other and their children," Bonauto said. "We think there is no legitimate reason whatsoever for the federal government to take one group of people who are already married, and treat them differently from every other married couple.”
 
In a similar case over the summer, a Federal judge in Boston ruled DOMA unconstitutional.  The Obama administration is appealing the decision. It says that while it believes DOMA should be repealed, it has a responsibility to uphold previous acts of Congress.  And groups like the National Organization for Marriage say that liberal states have no right to force same-sex marriage on the rest of the country. 

But the effort to fight DOMA is gathering steam.  This new lawsuit expands the attack to three more states.  And the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against DOMA in New York.  The goal is to build enough momentum to propel the case to the Supreme Court.  Lawyers say that the earliest that would happen is in 2013.

Complaint: Pederson et. al. vs. O.P.M.

At Home With The Gubernatorial Candidates

By Jared Bowen   |   Friday, October 29, 2010
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Oct. 29, 2010

BOSTON — Greater Boston's Jared Bowen spent time with all four candidates for Massachusetts governor. Catch up on Jared's series of at home interviews with Jill Stein, Charlie Baker, Deval Patrick and Tim Cahill.

Oct. 21, 2010: Jill Stein

Greater Boston kicks off a series of at-home interviews with the candidates for Massachusetts governor. First, Jared Bowen gets an exclusive look inside the Lexington home of Green-Rainbow candidate Dr. Jill Stein.


Oct. 26, 2010: Charlie Baker

Jared Bowen visits the Swampscott home of Republican contender Charlie Baker who dishes on everything from his love of peanut butter sandwiches to his love of Aerosmith.


Oct. 27, 2010: Deval Patrick

Jared visits the Milton home of Deval Patrick who talks about making time for family, his historic 2006 campaign, and governing in turbulent times.


Oct. 28, 2010: Tim Cahill

Greater Boston wraps up its series of at home interviews with the candidates for Massachusetts governor. Jared Bowen pays a visit to the Quincy home of state treasurer Tim Cahill who talks about his love of fitness, reading and the moment he learned his running mate was defecting.

Coakley Gets An Opponent

By Adam Reilly   |   Thursday, September 16, 2010
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One of the biggest surprises of this year's MA elections was that--despite Scott Brown's win over Martha Coakley in that hugely hyped US Senate election earlier this year--the state GOP couldn't get anyone to run against Coakley for the AG's job this fall.

Well, now it turns out that Coakley will have a Republican opponent after all. Jim McKenna, a former assistant DA in Suffolk and Worcester counties, just made the ballot as a write-in candidate. This is no mean feat. McKenna had to get 10,000 voters to put his stickers (or just his name) in the appropriate section of their ballot Tuesday--and he pulled it off. According to Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the state's Elections division, this is the first time *ever* that a write-in candidate has managed this feat. 

Judging from the numbers posted on McKenna's web site, he was big in southeastern MA--no surprise there, since that's also Jeff Perry country. He also got serious support north of Boston (Andover, Billerica) and in Worcester.

My assumption is that McKenna will have an awfully tough time bumping Coakley off. But by qualifying for November's election, he's put himself in a great position to become a Republican cause celebre--especially given his aggressive conservatism on issues like illegal immigration and Obamacare. I've emailed McKenna in hopes of talking about his platform and background; if and when we connect, I'll post a recap of our conversation on this blog. 

No Free Pass For Coakley

By Adam Reilly   |   Thursday, September 16, 2010
0 Comments   0 comments.

 

One of the biggest surprises of this year's MA elections was that--despite Scott Brown's win over Martha Coakley in that hugely hyped US Senate election earlier this year--the state GOP couldn't get anyone to run against Coakley for the AG's job this fall.

Well, now it turns out that Coakley will have a Republican opponent after all. Jim McKenna, a former assistant DA in Suffolk and Worcester counties, just made the ballot as a write-in candidate. This is no mean feat. McKenna had to get 10,000 voters to put his stickers (or just his name) in the appropriate section of their ballot Tuesday--and he pulled it off. According to Brian McNiff, a spokesman for the state's Elections division, this is the first time *ever* that a write-in candidate has managed this feat. 

Judging from the numbers posted on McKenna's web site, he was big in southeastern MA--no surprise there, since that's also Jeff Perry country. He also got serious support north of Boston (Andover, Billerica) and in Worcester.

My assumption is that McKenna will have an awfully tough time bumping Coakley off. But by qualifying for November's election, he's put himself in a great position to become a Republican cause celebre--especially given his aggressive conservatism on issues like illegal immigration and Obamacare. I've emailed McKenna in hopes of talking about his platform and background; if and when we connect, I'll post a recap of our conversation on this blog. 

About the Authors
Adam Reilly Adam Reilly
Adam Reilly is a political reporter and associate producer for WGBH's Greater Boston.
Sarah Birnbaum
Sarah Birnbaum is WGBH News' State House reporter. Send her a news tip.
Jared Bowen Jared Bowen
Jared Bowen is WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts. 

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