STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, JAN. 2, 2019.....With Senate President Karen Spilka preparing to lead the Senate for the first time into a new session, the Ashland Democrat on Wednesday intends to sketch out an ambitious agenda for the next two years, setting the stage for what could be a fractious relationship with the House and governor.
Spilka, who took over the gavel in late July and is expected to be re-elected to her first full term as president, intends to declare declare that "the time for small ideas and incremental change is over," according to a copy of her prepared remarks.
While she promised to "listen" to Speaker Robert DeLeo and Gov. Charlie Baker, the new president's speech alludes to tax reform and debates over funding for education and transportation that could set up early pressure points in their budding relationships.
Spilka will say that one of the Senate's top priorities this session must be "adequately funding our education system," and will promise passage of legislation "that slows the rise of prescription drug prices and increases transparency for the consumer."
Spilka also intends to call for the development of a "economic development and tax framework for the 21st century" that allows business to thrive, while also capturing enough revenue to "fund our vision for our future."
The new president will make her remarks in the newly renovated Senate Chamber, which sits underneath the State House's famed golden dome.
The new chamber, Spilka will note, contains a quote from Frederick Douglass engraved on the wall: "Truth, Justice, Liberty, and Humanity Will Ultimately Prevail." And it will soon contain new busts of Douglass, and, perhaps, Abigail Adams.
Spilka said that the senators listened to voices from the past as the Senate designed its new meeting space, and must now listen to the "voices of our future" to strengthen Massachusetts.
"They are telling us that the time for small ideas and incremental change is over," Spilka said