Friday, August 27, 2010

Worwtown Fleet: Leominster

In a show of support for Jeff Barnard, Worcester's premier web columnist who is waging a battle against cancer, area bloggers are taking up his practice of snapping photos of Central Massachusetts from their cars and posting the scenes on their sites. The snapshots have been a staple of Wormtown Taxi over the years. The producer of Nicole, Worcester--a must-read if you care about Worcester at all--is the brainchild behind the idea.

While I don't carry a camera with me in the car most of the time, I have taken thousands of road photos as part of my delayed quest to drive and photograph every state highway in Massachusetts. So in support of Jeff, I'll be periodically posting some of my favorites here.

This shot is of a 1940s-era sign for route 12. The sign is attached to a sign post on the southbound side of Main St. in downtown Leominster and is most likely the oldest route sign still in use in Massachusetts. In fact, I'd wager that it might be one of the 10 oldest--if not the oldest--still in use on a highway in America.

For more scenes, Nicole has set up a blogroll of posts made specifically in tribute to and in support of Jeff.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jump on in, the water is great!

What are you doing standing on the sidelines? Jump on in to the pool at The water is great and the stories are even better! Here's what you missed today...

Foley v. Telegram
Worcester County Sheriff Candidate Thomas Foley (D-Worcester) has reacted forcefully to the Telegram's reporting last week of his disability pension. In a nearly 1,300-word letter to supporters that he posted to his Web site earlier this week, Foley accused Telegram reporter Shaun Sutner of treating his campaign unfairly and charged that his opponents were engaging in unfair campaign tactics...(read more)

Friday Roundup: Lamb's voting record in question
A Telegram report claims that "In previous elections, Mr. [Martin] Lamb says he has almost always voted Republican, but he conceded he didn’t vote for Ronald Reagan the first time Mr. Reagan ran for president." That does not jive with an earlier Telegram report. Last month, Shaun Sutner reported that Lamb "voted as a Democrat in state and presidential primary elections in 2006, 2004 and 2000."...(read more)

Bill Gunn clarifies remarks on Islamic Center
On Tuesday, The Sentinel and Enterprise wrote that First Congressional District challenger Bill Gunn (R-Ware) suggested that building a "pork factory" would be an appropriate response to the planned Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan a few blocks from Ground Zero...Following my note on the piece in Wednesday's Gunn posted a comment to the entry, putting the discussion into a fuller context...(read more
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Here is what you've been missing...

Here is what you've been missing over the last two days if you aren't reading

Wednesday State House Roundup: Debate days
The Ayer Democratic Town Committee hosted a debate between the three Democrats vying for the First Middlesex District nomination. While Jane Moriss (D-Groton), Jesse Reich (D-Ayer), and Tony Saboliauskas (D-Pepperell) agreed on many issues they split over the proposed repeal of the affordable housing law known as 40B...(read more)

Candidates weigh in on Islamic Cultural Center, one wants to build "pork factory"
Since the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" is the cultural issue du jour, the candidates spoke with the Sentinel and Enterprise. One, Bill Gunn (R-Belchertown) is so incensed he wants to make sausages next to the Islamic Center in an effort to antagonize organizers...(read more)

Wednesday Congressional Roundup: Out like a Lamb
Tuesday was a busy day on the campaign trail in the Third Congressional District, with many of the candidates out on the campaign trail. Michael Lamb (R-Holliston) made a stop in Fall River, where he criticized Rep. James McGovern (D-Worcester) for allowing the federal deficit to rise...(read more)
Thursday Congressional Roundup: Immigration dominates debate
Four of the five challengers for the Third Congressional District seat held by Rep. James McGovern (D-Worcester) squared off last night in a Shrewsbury debate. The forum, sponsored by the Shrewsbury League of Women Voters, gave Brian Herr (R-Hopkinton), Michael Stopa (R-Holliston), Martin Lamb (R-Holliston), and Robert Delle (R-Paxton) a chance to differentiate themselves from each other, however slightly. One area where there was both some consensus and disagreement was on immigration policy...(read more)

State House Roundup: Prickly debate in 13th Worcester
The six candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 13th Worcester District squared off in a 90-minute debate yesterday at Anna Maria. From the looks of the Telegram photo, the event was a greuling one for the participants. According to the report the dialogue became testy at times, with more than one tart exchange between dueling candidates...(read more)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday Roundup: Harrington's new idea

This week, sister publications Lowell Sun and Sentinel and Enterprise are profiling candidates for the First Middlesex House seat being vacated by Robert Hargraves (R-Groton). Two Republicans are vying for the nomination, and one of them, Sheila Harrington (R-Groton) is advancing a proposal that I've not seen before:
GROTON -- For many workers, landing a competitive job in Massachusetts means they may not be able to work in the same field, should they ever resign or get laid off.

That's because, says Sheila Harrington, many employers ask workers to sign a contract that prohibits them from seeking a similar job elsewhere or starting a business in which the skills and knowledge they acquired on the job might come in handy. The Bay State court is known for enforcing the contractual agreement -- so much so that skilled professionals are afraid to use their talents outside the corporate shadows, Harrington says.

Harrington believes limiting the scope the non-compete clause and the range of workers to whom such contracts may be applied is crucial to creating more jobs in Massachusetts.

"If you want to stimulate more jobs in Massachusetts, you have to be more creative" than simply rolling back the sales tax, Harrington says.
I'm skeptical that there are that many people still out of work because of non-compete clauses. Even so, it's refreshing to see a candidate talk about something different than taxes, casinos, and immigration for a change.

While I don't think reporter Hiroko Sato meant the profiles of Harrington and Connie Sullivan (R-Ayer) to be contrasting pieces, it looks like Harrington is taking a veiled shot at Sullivan when the profiles are read one after the other:
AYER -- Discouraging Massachusetts consumers from crossing the state border is one of Cornelius "Connie" Sullivan's economic stimulus strategies.

Lowering the sales tax would help create many more jobs in the state, and that's evident from how stores were hiring people for the tax-free weekend, Sullivan says....

He supports rolling back the sales tax to 5 percent -- or as low as 3 percent if voters are willing to. That would require the state to scale back on spending, but the state government has "plenty of fat" to trim anyway, he says...
Presumably, the Sun and Sentinel will be looking at the Democratic candidates on the days to come.

On to other things...

Second Franklin House District
The four candidates for the Democratic nomination will face off in a forum at 6:00 pm at the Greenfield Community Television studios. GCT is pretty good about posting their events online, and we will post a link on once it becomes available.

Lee Chauvette (D-Athol) was interviewed by Athol author James Joseph Brown.

Second Congressional District
Jay Fleitman (R-Northampton) tells the Telegram that the federal stimulus was "a disaster," the Gulf oil spill was "handled horribly," and that Afghanistan is "an abject mess."
Fifth Congressional District
Sam Meas (R-Haverhill) gave a wide-ranging interview to the Haverhill Gazette. He said the number one reason he is running is:
First, there is a huge lack of choice in Massachusetts. There is one dominant party, and many are running unopposed. It is the antithesis to democracy. We've spent $1 trillion on two wars trying to give them the freedom of choice, but we do not have it here. To me, that's important. If Republicans were the dominant party, I'd say the same thing.
Third Congressional District
The Boston Globe reports that James McGovern (D-Worcester) co-authored a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking her to protect food stamp funding in a proposed child nutrition bill.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday roundup: Pension talk still driving sheriff's race

If a small snapshot is any indication, the political talk around Worcester  is still centered on the Worcester County Sheriff's race, where discussion of Governor's Councilor Tom Foley (D-Worcester) and his disability pension continues as we begin a new week. The topic was discussed this morning on WCRN-AM's The Midday Report with Hank Stolz. While there is no podcast of the show available, most of the callers sounded like they were more apt to blame Foley for running for office while collecting disability than to blame the odd pension system that would allow him to collect while being sheriff (should he be elected).

For better or worse (depends, I suppose, or which candidate you support), today marks the fifth day of discussion of Foley's disability pension. Dianne Williamson broke the ice in the Telegram with a column on Thursday, followed by notes from Shaun Sutner on on Friday and in the print edition on Sunday.

Coincidentally, Foley's supporters have come out in force over the weekend. Whether in response to the stories or because of the calendar (yesterday was 30 days before primary election day), Foley lawn signs have been sprouting like clover in this area. This morning I drove through Clinton on my way to 495 and counted 24 Foley signs in the 2.6 miles between the Lancaster town line to the west and the Berlin town line to the east.

Speaking of the Telegram, if you are trying to access the stories lined above and find yourself banging your head against the (fire)wall, it's because the T&G has begun charging non-subscribers for online access to most locally-produced articles. I have an on-line account and will continue to include links to the Telegram in my stories, but how much access you, the reader, will have is anyone's guess.

On to a very short roundup...

Third Congressional District
The Telegram keeps up its profiles of Congressional candidates, this time checking in on Brian Herr (R-Hopkinton). Herr briefly outlined some of his positions:
Like his opponents in the primary, Mr. Herr wants to cut government spending. He supports unemployment benefits in this “scary time,” but doesn't support borrowing money to extend benefits. He believes the government should provide services for vulnerable populations such as people with disabilities, as long as cuts are made elsewhere.

Schools, he contends, are best run at the local level, so he wonders why the country needs a U.S. Department of Education with a budget in the tens of billions of dollars.

He slammed a bill Congress passed last week to restore public jobs as more unnecessary spending.

He believes spending cuts need to come before new tax cuts.
Herr also claims to have more than 4,000 Facebook friends.

Fifth Congressional District
Sam Meas (R-Haverhill) has added former Haverhill Mayor Mike Sullivan as an advisor. He is also apparently "Bad to the Bone."

Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin Senate District
Fifth Worcester House District
Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) and Rep. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) spearheaded a bill to allow the Worcester County 4-H Club to lease land from the state for the next 25 years.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Weekend roundup: I've been everywhere, man

It's awfully difficult for a challenger to dominate the media cycle against an well-financed, high-ranking incumbent, but Tom Wesley (R-Hopedale) managed to do just that Friday in his Second Congressional District race against Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield). We'll start with the Telegram, where Wesley was the feature of Friday's candidate profile:
Mr. Wesley explained that these are tough economic times and that people have to be careful with their finances. He quickly added, however, that this election is about more than raising money.

“I see it as my patriotic duty,” he said when asked why he was running. “I'm fighting for unborn generations.” termed a lynchpin election, which means in his opinion the American way of life is at stake and people are angry with what has been happening on Capitol Hill.
In addition, Wesley was all over the radio, appearing on Springfield's WAQY-FM and WHYN-AM. He has also continued videotaping while driving.
For his part, Neal has received praise from the unlikeliest of sources. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, has endorsed Neal's bill to provide for automatic enrollment in IRAs for employees of small businesses:
The Automatic IRA is a conservative, market-oriented solution to help address our retirement savings crisis. It would increase the proportion of Americans who can save for retirement at work from 50 percent to 90 percent, make it simple for small business owners to offer IRAs to their employees, and create low-cost accounts that an employee can understand and use without having to be a financial expert.
Neal's proposal has also been endorsed by the more liberal Brookings Institution.


Third Congressional District
Rep. James McGovern (D-Worcester) continues to keep the pressure on Congress and the Obama administration over the cut in food stamp aid that was part of the $26 billion jobs bill:
"President Obama pledged to end childhood hunger by 2015," McGovern pointed out. "It's hard to see how you do that while you're cutting food stamps.''
Fifth Congressional District
In the Sentinel, columnist Peter Lucas calls Tom Weaver (R-Westford) "the most qualified candidate you never heard of."

Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) was in Harvard to tout federal funding for a 220-kilowatt solar power facility at Carlson Orchards.

First Middlesex District
Tony Saboliauskas (D-Pepperell) is part of a group trying to get permission to erect a "Support our Troops" sign on town land in Pepperell.

Second Franklin House District
Earlier this week, David Roulston (D-Greenfield) became the latest candidate to criticize the proposed biomass plant in Greenfield.

Middlesex and Worcester Senate District
The communications director for Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) is taking time off during the fall recess to work for the campaign of Ninth District Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston).

Worcester County Sheriff
Lew Evangelidis (R-Holden) recently visited the Hampden County Sheriff to get some tips on programs for inmates.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Scot Bove on Tom Foley's disability and retirement

In the Telegram's daily ElectionNet report, Shaun Sutner looks further into the ramificaions of Tom Foley's disability retirement and it's role in the race for the Democratic nomination for Worcester County Sheriff. Yesterday, Foley spoke with Telegram columnist Dianne Williamson. Today, Sutner wrote:
So far, Foley's opponent for the Democratic nomination, Scot Bove, has not talked about it publicly, including at a sheriff's debate Thursday night in Harvard.

It might look petty or negative for Bove to bring up questions about whether Foley, the retired state police superintendent who gets a $112,000 tax-free pension because of a heart condition but says his doctors have cleared him to return to work.
Perhaps Bove (D-Holden) has decided to take a low profile on this issue as spring turned into summer, but in May, Bove had some pointed words for Foley in a Democratic candidates' debate I moderated for Sterling-Lancaster Community Television.

At the event, I asked Foley about the charges that he would be "double-dipping." The exchange devolved into the candidates levelling charges back and forth, with Bove questioning Foley's assertion that the job was purely administrative (and implying that Foley wasn't phsically up for it) and Foley accusing Bove or forcing correctional officers to contribute to his campaign.

Here is the entire exchange:

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday roundup: A new sheriff in town

The Telegram really brings it today with a bunch of stories on area politics in their Thursday edition, led by a look at last night's Sheriff's debate in Harvard:
Three candidates for Worcester County sheriff last night promised to kick politics out of the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction, while the fourth candidate, an assistant deputy superintendent at the facility in West Boylston said the jail has already been professionalized.

The emphasis at a sheriff candidates forum at the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church was more on individual qualifications to run the Sheriff's Department than differences over issues. The forum was sponsored by the Worcester County Chapter of the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, with Ronal C. Madnick, director of the chapter, posing questions to the candidates.
Madnick (U-Worcester), you may remember, is a candidate for state rep. in the 13th Worcester district. His participation as a moderator in this debate has sparked some discussion of a conflict of interest.

The Telegram's lead columnist, Diane Williamson, also took a look at candidate Tom Foley. Specifically, she examines the questions surrounding his retirement from the State Police due to a heart problem and the effect that issue is having on the race:
When Foley retired at age 50, he filed for and was granted a disability pension due to a heart condition. Under state law, he receives a tax-free pension — $112,000 — equal to 72 percent of his salary. The sheriff’s salary is $123,000, although under law Foley would only be eligible for about $93,000.

His opponents raise valid questions. If someone is so disabled that he must retire from one public job, how can he take another one? Is he disabled, or isn’t he? Just this week, while endorsing [Scott] Bove, the Worcester County Superior Officers Union said Foley couldn’t meet the “basic requirements” for sheriff because of his health, as the sheriff must also be a correction officer.
Williamson concludes that Foley's health is less of an issue than a flawed pension "system that encourages excess and abuse."
Third Congressional District
Brian Herr (R-Hopkinton) says the appropriations bill that passed congress earlier this week was akin to a shakedown:
It's no surprise that Jim McGovern voted for this bill...during his political career he has received $1,176,725 in contributions from labor unions. This year alone, he has received $2,500 from the American Federation of Teacher, $2,500 from the National Association of Firefighters, and $2,000 from the National Education Association.

It looks like the vote for this bill was nothing more than a $26 billion political payback.
Robert Delle (R-Westboro/Wayland/Paxton) talks about his upcoming move to Paxton and his campaign for office. He also says he "considers President Obama a socialist and is so wary of government spending that he believes people are 'stealing' federal stimulus money, though he didn't say who."

In an op-ed for the MetroWest Daily News, Michael Stopa (R-Holliston) argues that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is crowding out private investment and hurting the economy.

Fifth Congressional District
The four candidates for the Republican nomination discussed their ambitions at a debate in Concord:
When it came time to ask questions to one another, the candidates touched on tort reform for the healthcare bill, cost of living increases and the first piece of legislation they would file if elected.

Repealing the healthcare bill would be first on Golnik’s list, while Weaver said he would like to establish and chair an anti-appropriations committee to look at the books and cut unnecessary expenses. Shapiro would start by slapping a dollar limit on the federal budget and keeping bills under 100 pages, and Meas said he would seek to become the Ways and Means chairman and simplify the tax code to stimulate the economy.
13th Worcester House District
Mike Perotto (D-Worcester) visited Worcester Community Cable Access's "What It's Worth" show.

Shaun Sutner of the Telegram checks in on the relationship between Joff Smith (D-Worcester) and Worcester Mag columnist and former city councilor Gary Rosen. Sutner also looks at the efforts of Paul Franco (R-Worcester) in Paxton.

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About three weeks ago, I began to repurpose my longtime blog No Drumlins away from a personal opinion site and into a site that reports on political news here in Central Massachusetts. In an effort to better separate the reporting from my opinion, I have decided to start a separate venture for the political roundups.

Beginning today, the updates will be posted first on my new site,

In an effort to ramp up coverage of the local races, I will be reaching out to the campaigns to let them know that in addition to the daily roundups, candidates should feel free to send me press releases, campaign video or audio, announcements of events, or other newsworthy items.

It is my hope that over the next few weeks, will become the first stop for information on candidates and races in Central Massachusetts.

To ease the transition, I will continue to cross-post updates on both and No Drumlins. Please update your bookmarks, rss feeds, or email addresses,using the following links: (or
RSS feed:

For more information about the me and the focus of, click here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday Roundup: Money is on its way

Topping the news today are the reports that Congress passed the jobs bill, meaning $655 million will be coming to Massachusetts. In the Telegram, John Monahan reports that the money will be used to fully fund Chapter 70 education aid and to restore funding to a number of social programs threatened in the FY2011 budget passed late last month. Third District Congressman James McGovern (D-Worcester) spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor:
“At a time when states like Massachusetts are starting to see unemployment rates decrease, now is not the time to pull the rug out from under them,” Mr. McGovern said. “If we were to fail our states and not enact this extension, 2,400 teaching, police and firefighter jobs in Massachusetts would be at risk.”
However, McGovern wasn't completely happy with the final bill. In order to make the $26 billion package deficit-neutral, the House offset some of the spending by including cuts to food stamp programs. According to The Hill, McGovern has pledged to restore the food stamp funds and find another way to offset the spending.

For his part, McGovern has been stimulating the local economy not with food stamps, but with food service. Shaun Sutner reports (second item) that McGovern has rolled up large tabs at a number of restaurants in the Third District. Among those listed in the report was a nearly $20,000 bill at a restaurant in Swansea.

Fifth Congressional District
The Lowell Sun gives Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) credit (or blame, if you prefer) for "push[ing] through an emergency $26 billion jobs bill." Tsongas outlined how the funding would help Massachusetts:
Tsongas explained that the Recovery Act included increased federal support to states to maintain the Medicaid program, due to the fact that as unemployment went up during the recession, more people were qualifying for the low-income health insurance program and states were facing a diminished tax base with which to meet that need.

"Those Medicaid funds are scheduled to run out at the end of this calendar year even though the economy is still on shaky ground and states have not started to see a significant increase in their revenues," Tsongas said.
In other news, Tsongas is also worried that plans to widen I-93 from Andover to New Hampshire may squash plans to build a new interchange that would service businesses in the area.

Tsongas is also touting the endorsement of Veterans and Military Families for Progress.

Sam Meas (R-Haverhill) continues to get national recognition for his compelling personal story, this time in a Richmond Times-Dispatch profile. Meas lived in Richmond for a time as a teenager.

In a column in the Billerica Townie News, Tom Weaver (R-Westford) outlines his plan to cut $596 billion from the federal budget.

Worcester and Middlesex Senate District
The jobs bill could have a trickle down effect on the state legislature. Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster) told the Sentinel and Enterprise that she doubts the legislature will be called back into session to debate the appropriations coming from Congress. If the legislature did reconvene in a special seesion, it could also choose to reconsider the casino bill, which Flanagan believes is dead.

11th Worcester House District
Sutner looks at the race between the seventysomething Kevin Byrne (D-Shrewsbury) and the thirtysomething Matthew Beaton (R-Shrewsbury), and explains how Byrne will make the November ballot despite being left off the primary slate (third item).

Sutner also looks at the unconventional approach of Daniel Dubrule (R-Ashburnham), who is refusing to speak to area rod and gun clubs despite being "a gun owner and professed Second Amendment supporter."

Second Congressional District
Rep. Richard Neal gave a wide-ranging interview with WAMC Northeast Public Radio. The interview ran in three parts earlier this week. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Governor's Council
Fran Ford (D-Paxton) took a populist tone against the propsed closing of courthouses in Leominster and Westborough, anguing in a Telegram op-ed that "it is past the time when we in Central and Western Massachusetts need to tell Boston that 'enough is enough.'"

Finally, look for a major announcement about the future of this site tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Campaign odds and ends: Lights, camera, action!

While I try to keep up with the campaigns, stuff falls through the cracks or gets lost in the Internet. So I took a look around to see what I've been missing over the last week or so. Apparently I've been missing lots of local TV and radio appearances. So here is a roundup of stuff that hasn't been making the roundups...

Second Congressional District
Tom Wesley (R-Hopedale) spoke out about President Obama choosing to film The View instead of making a speech to the Boy Scouts. While the legislature just outlawed texting while driving, apparently videotaping web commercials while driving is still legal. Look out for that truck, Tom!

Second Franklin House District
Greenfield Community Television has posted brief video statements from the five candidates:
Steven Adam (R-Orange)
Denise Andrews (D-Orange)
Lee Chauvette (D-Athol)
David Roulston (D-Greenfield)
Roxanne Wedegartner (D-Greenfield)

First Congressional District
Greenfield Community Television also has a video statement from Bill Gunn (R-Belchertown).

Fifth Congressional District
The Groton Channel has also been hosting some candidates. Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle) made an appearance last week.

Eighth Worcester House District
Rep. George Peterson (R-Grafton) called in to the Jeff Katz Show on WXKS-AM to talk about the sales tax holiday and the end of the legislative session.

Sixth Worcester House District
Peter Durant (R-Spencer) visited with Jane Woodworth of WESO-AM radio. In his current role as Spencer Selectman, Durant and the other members of the board are considering fines for utility companies who do not clean up old utility poles.

12th Worcester House District
Treasurer Tim Cahill recognized Rep. Harold Naughton (D-Clinton) for his leadership in retroactively extending the Welcome Home Bonus for Vietnam Veterans to include veterans who served from 1973-1975.

Challenger James Gettens (R-Sterling) criticized Naughton for voting to streamline the approval of wind energy projects by bypassing local planning boards.

Worcester County Sheriff
Finally, Scot Bove (D-Holden) announced that he has received the endorsements of the Worcester County Superior Officers (Local 275) and the Worcester County Corrections Officers (Local 550).

Tuesday Roundup: Rock the boat (don't rock the boat, baby)

Let's start our Tuesday spin around the region with the Congressional race in the Fifth District, where Sam Meas (R-Haverhill) rocked John Kerry over the recent controversy surrounding Kerry's yacht:
In a press release issued last week, Meas said the "nautical and tax-dodging misadventures of our aristocratic Senior Senator, John F. Kerry, firmly solidify his reputation as being total out of touch with his constituents."

Kerry, of course, has come under heavy fire for registering his new, $7 million, 76-foot yacht "Isabel," in Rhode Island instead of his home state of Massachusetts, ostensibly to avoid paying taxes on the costly craft.

At its core, this story illustrates the need to scrap our oppressive, unjust and obscenely complex tax system and replace it with something simpler and more fair..."
Of course, Kerry has been accused of docking his boat in Rhode Island to avoid paying state--not federal --taxes, so should he be elected to Congress, Meas wouldn't have any standing to change the tax system he accuses Kerry of dodging.

Poweline followed up The Weekly Standard's profile of Meas with a note from a reader touting Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle) as the best challenger in the field.

Second Congressional District
Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) traveled to Lee's Summit, Mo. to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Social Security at a series of town hall meetings with Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver.

Third Congressional District
Robert Chipman (R-Plainville) wrote to the Attleboro Sun-Chronicle describing his side of a dispute over lawn signs in Plainville.

Michael Stopa (R-Holliston) and Brian Herr (R-Hopkinton) attended a Tea Party event in Northboro to hear arguments against granting citizenship to illegal immigrants.

Second Worcester House District
Three of the five candidates for the open seat--Rich Bastien (R-Gardner), Carolyn Kamuda (U-Gardner), and Amy Feeley-Knuuttila (D, Winchendon) were endorsed by Citizens for Limited Taxation.

13th Worcester House District
Sean Dacey at Unfashionable Sentiments takes stock of the number of lawn signs in his neighborhood.

Middlesex and Worcester Senate District
37th Middlesex House District
In a surprise to no one, the Young Democrats of Massachusetts endorsed Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). Previously, the YDMA announced their support for Rep. Jen Benson (D-Lunenburg).

Finally, thanks to Shaun Sutner of the Telegram, who had nice things to say about this blog in his online daily ElectionNet column on

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday roundup: "No record of doing anything well"

The most interesting developments this weekend were in the Fifth Congressional District, where candidate/minstrel Tom Weaver (R-Westford) attacked Rep Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) with a song. But there were other developments as well...

Third Congressional District
The Telegram profiled Robert Chipman (R-Plainville) this morning. According to the profile, the mortgage consultant is against the Affordable Care Act, against financial regulation, against the portion of the 14th amendment that guarantees citizenship to U.S.-born children, and against pretty much everything else congress has done in the past 221 years:
“Congress has no record of doing anything well,” he said in a recent interview.
One other note on the profile...reporter Priyanka Dayal wrote "After quietly disapproving of President Barack Obama for years, the always-active voter has also decided to speak up."  While conservatives like Chipman might feel like they've been fighting the President for years, he's only been president for 19 months. Still between 29 and 77 months to go...

Dayal also took a brief look at the race between Rep. James McGovern, Chipman, and the other four Republican contenders.

Second Franklin House District
Candidates continue to weigh in on the biomass plant proposed for Greenfield. Denise Andrews (D-Orange) has made public her comments to the Department of Energy Resources:
...large scale wood burning electrical generating plants, like the 47 megawatt plant proposed in Greenfield, are not good investments or direction for our communities.

There are two fundamental reasons for this conclusion, first, the scientific analysis and second, the desires and will of the people have been made clear. Scientific perspectives and data shared from the Manomet study team, area health care professionals, forestry professionals, and area researchers were consistent, compelling and conclusive. As for the will and desires of the people, Lennie Weeks, from Greenfield, shared beautifully at this forum that the people have spoken and that the will of the people must be respected and supported. The recent Greenfield Biomass vote (8:2 vote) was compelling and clear that the people do not believe the proposed biomass plant or current direction is best for their community.
In a press release (no link available), Lee Chauvette (D-Athol) called on the town of Greenfield and the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs to conduct an enhanced review of the proposal:
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a strict policy entitled the Environmental Justice Policy which mandates enhanced public participation as well as enhanced review of such projects by the Executive Office for communities that fall under this particular program. Greenfield does in fact according to the policy website have a neighborhood that is an Environmental Justice Policy neighborhood....

The Environmental Justice Program is designed to give residents enhanced participation in projects that may cause harm to their neighborhoods...I urge local officials to review this issue.
Second Congressional District
Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) is poised to introduce legislation requiring employers without a retirement plan to offer an IRA option.

Neal has also pledged to fight for federal funds to restore an historic house in Springfield.

Ninth Worcester House District
13th Worcester House District
Shaun Sutner of the Telegram looks at the explosion of candidates from Central Mass. Included are Timothy Dodd (D-Westboro) challenging George Peterson (R-Grafton) in the Ninth District and Paul Franco (R-Worcester) running for the open seat in the 13th District.

Challenger has a Tsong for Tsongas

Alright, this probably isn't the biggest story out there today, but it is destined to become a classic. Tom Weaver (R-Westford) has fired off this salvo against Fifth Congressional District Representative Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell):

"When will American's learn..." that politicians who can rewrite classic folk tunes and perform them are the next wave. I'm hoping that Tsongas comes back with a cover of a Joni Mitchell tune as a response.

Or maybe she'll just respond with a press release. That's what the National Republican Congressional Committee has done with Tsongas, attacking her for high unemployment. If you read the release closely, it's clear that it is a generic release and that the words "Niki Tsongas" "Tsongas" and "Massachusetts" can easily be swapped out for, say, "Carol Shea-Porter" "Porter" and "New Hampshire" or any number of other Democrats being targeted by the NRCC.

For her part, Tsongas is touting a $43 million loan guarantee for Beacon Power of Tyngsboro to build a "20 MW flywheel energy storage plant, now under construction in Stephentown, New York."

Earlier today, Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle) was a guest on the Callie Crossley Show on WGBH-FM radio.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Saturday roundup: McGovern keeps up the pressure on Afghanistan

Rep. James McGovern (D-Worcester) continued his anti-war advocacy with a column in Friday's Telegram. The congressman explained his vote against the $33 billion war appropriations bill:
I voted in 2001 to go to war in Afghanistan — to hunt down al-Qaida and eliminate their threat. I would cast that same vote today — in a heartbeat. Al-Qaida remains a threat, and we must redouble our efforts to destroy them wherever they are — in Pakistan, in Yemen, in Somalia, and elsewhere around the world.

But what we are doing in Afghanistan today is far beyond that original authorization. We are engaged in extensive, expensive “nation-building” in a very complicated, dangerous part of the world.

And frankly, given the level of unemployment and the severe economic situation we face in the United States, I’d rather do a little more “nation-building” here at home.
Speaking to the Attleboro Sun-Chronicle, McGovern laid out his support for allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire on families making over $250,000. "I'm sorry, if Donald Trump doesn't get a tax break it's not the end of the world," he said.

Elsewhere in the Third Congressional District, Robert Delle (R-Westboro) is calling for a boycott of New York City over the planned mosque and Islamic Cutural Center a couple of blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center. I can think of a dozen or more reasons to stay away from New York, but that wouldn't be one of them.

Fifth Congressional District
Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) gave a detailed explanation of her vote against the Afghanistan military authorization.
Sam Meas (R-Haverhill) gets his second national profile in a week, as The Weekly Standard checks in on the campaign. Meas characterizes Tsongas as "so convoluted, she’s so out of touch."

13th Worcester House District
Margot Barnet (D-Worcester) introduces herself to the community at Blue Mass Group. She also revvealed that she is a longtime BMG member with a paper trail.

Ronal Madnick (U-Worcester) will be hosting a debate next week between the four candidates for sheriff. Shaun Sutner of the Telegram wonders if having a candidate in one race moderate a debate in another is a "possible election-season conflict of interest."
Second Franklin House District
For what it's worth, Madnick won't be the first rep candidate this cycle to moderate a debate for another office. David Roulston (D-Greenfield) hosted a debate between the Northwestern District Attorney candidates earlier this week.
First Middlesex House District
In his role as a member of Ayer's Finance Committee, Jesse Reich (D-Ayer) defended the agenda of the upcoming meeting of finance committees across the region.
Sheila Harrington (R-Groton) announced some upcoming events. She will be hosting a night of billiards in Ayer later this week, and giving away ice cream in Dunstable and Groton next month.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday roundup: Looking for order in the courts

Wednesday brought the Court Relocation Committee to Worcester, where a hearing was held on proposals to close a handful of district courts, including facilities in Leominster and Westboro. Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster) testified in opposition to the plan:
"We don't have the rail, we don't have the subway, we don't have the trolleys and we don't have the short cab rides," she said. "This is going to hit hard in the city of Leominster."
The Telegram noted that "dozens of people" testified against the proposal, including a number of elected representatives. Congressman James McGovern (D-Worcester) and Rep. George Peterson (R-Grafton) were among those testifying.
Third Congressional District
McGovern has been busy in the district the last couple of days. In addition to appearing with Rep. Harold Naughton (D-Clinton) in announcing a $250,000 grant to repair a road in Clinton, McGovern also announced a series of visits to local businesses, and checked out another road in need of repair in Holliston.

First Worcester Senate District
Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) explained her vote in favor of "racinos." Despite her claim last week that she would vote against any bill that included the slot machine facilities, Chandler voted in favor of the final bill, which included the possibility of two racinos. She said she believed that the licensing commission would refuse to issue slot licenses because the governor opposes them.
Second Worcester House District
Rich Bastien (R-Gardner) attended last weekend's rally with Congressional candidate Bill Gunn (R-Belchertown) and spoke with DaTechGuy.
Worcester County Sheriff
Shaun Sutner of the Telegram looks at the wardrobe choices of the candidates for Sheriff.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday roundup: Good day to spend in the hammock

Another sleepy August day came and went, with little election news to report around Central Mass. Here's what's new...

Worcester County Sheriff
Lew Evangelidis (R-Holden) spoke in support of James McKenna, a write-in candidate for Attorney General.

First Congressional District
Bill Gunn (R-Belchertown) appeared at a rally in Leominster. DaTechGuy has the video.

Ninth Worcester House District
Rep. George N. Peterson Jr. (R-Grafton) switched his vote on CORI reform from yes to no after a provision to allow for "dangerous hearings for defendants charged with felony firearm offenses" was added to the final bill.

Fifth Congressional District
Both Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) and challenger Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle) were profiled at Yes We Will Lawrence.

37th Middlesex House District
Sponsores of the bill to allow local communities to more easily set up their own local electrical utilities--including Rep. Jen Benson (D-Lunenburg) are lamenting the legislature's inablity to pass the legislation before the end of the session.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Weekend roundup: Senate stays on 15, dares Governor to take hit

As the State Legislature wound down the session Saturday, the big news was not that the House and Senate both passed the compromise Casino bill, but that the margin in the Senate was again 25-15, two votes shy of a veto-proof majority. So, if the Governor vetoes the bill as he has promised and if Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) calls a special session to consider the veto, gambling supporters need to get two opposing senators to switch their votes.

Locally, it appears that each of the representatives and senators up for reelection voted the same way they did when the issue came up earlier this session. Interestingly, that included Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) who voted for the three casino, two racino proposal despite her insistance last week that she would not vote for a bill that included slot parlors for racetracks. As of this evening, Chandler has not publicly discussed her change of heart.


Third Congressional District
Rep. James McGovern (D-Worcester) was vocal in his support for the House bill that strengthens oversight of offshore dirlling. "If you want to apologize for Big Oil, go right ahead, but the American people are not on your side on this one," he said.

Martin Lamb (R-Holliston) unveiled an economic package of tax cuts, including "putting a six-month moratorium on payroll taxes such as Social Security." He could not tell the Attleboro Sun-Chronicle how he would pay for the tax cuts.

Lamb claims he is winning the Facebook primary. According to statistics provided by Lamb and published in the Telegram, Lamb has nearly triple the number of Facebook friends as Brian Herr (D-Hopkinton), his closest competition for the Republican nomination. That and $1.99 will get him a coffee an Dunks.

First Congressional District
The House of Representatives is apparently so upset with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan that it refused to fund his travel budget. While John Olver (D-Amherst) opposed the measure, he did so tepidly and did not block it from coming out of his committee.

Fifth Congressional District
Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle) has no use for the legal decision striking down parts of Arizona's immigration law.

Sam Meas (R-Haverhill)  took a spin on syndicated radio's The Roger Hedgecock show.

Second Congressional District
Barron's has dubbed the provision Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) has proposed to close tax loopholes for foreign insurance comanies "Hurricane Neal" for it's potential impact on the re-insurance industry.

Middlesex and Worcester Senate District
Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) was criticized by Glenn Beck, of all people, for his leadership on the bill to apportion Massachusetts's electoral votes based on the winner of the popular vote.

18th Worcester House District
Shaun Sutner of the Telegram suggests that Rep. Jennifer Callahan (D-Sutton) is operating under a double standard when it comes to lobbying and campaign finance issues.

11th Worcester House District
Matthew Beaton (R-Shrewsbury) was photographed on a golf course with President Geroge H. W. Bush and a Beaton for Representative bumper sticker. This earned a "President Bush throws support behind Beaton" headline from Daily Westborough.

Worcester County Sheriff
The Telegram looks at the four candidates for Sheriff.


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