I've long thought that the MA Legislature should just pass whatever it wants over Romney's veto (in fact, they should invite the veto). From Blue Mass Group
, I got this link to a NY Times article
that make it look like they are going to do just that with Stem Cell Research
"I believe it is time to send a very strong message to the nation's medical research community that they are indeed welcome here," Robert E. Travaglini, a Democrat of Boston and Cambridge who is president of the State Senate, said. "I am disappointed that the governor has chosen to send the opposite message. Rather than endorsing stem cell research, he is raising fears and unfounded doubts."
After a report on Thursday in The New York Times that Mr. Romney, a Republican, wants to ban the creating of embryos specifically for medical research, Democrats began to prepare for what promises to be a sharp political battle.
Mr. Travaglini, who introduced a bill on Wednesday that would allow the research that Mr. Romney opposes, held a news conference with the head of Massachusetts General Hospital, scientists involved in stem cell research and the mother of a girl with diabetes.
They said the governor's proposal would choke off a vital area of scientific research. Creating embryos so scientists can extract their stem cells to be used for research is the sole method to date that allows researchers to duplicate the cells of a person with an incurable disease, the scientists said.
Stem Cell research is wildly popular. Just pass the thing right through his veto -- and make sure you make him have to veto it. He just told you what he didn't want, so it's pretty easy.
Gay Marriage Update
Kristen, at The Fray, has two different
posts on what's going on with gay marriage. Here's an interesting tidbit:
Two of Massachusetts' Catholic lawmakers are coming out in support of gay marriage, according to this Boston Globe report.
Representative Marie P. St. Fleur and Senator Marian Walsh, said yesterday their religious faith had inspired them to support same-sex marriage, despite pronouncements from Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley declaring that such marriages are incompatible with Catholic teachings.
It's pretty easy to bump into a Catholic lawmaker on Beacon Hill, but not many cite their faith as a reason to support gay marriage.
I've heard Peter Kocot say things along those lines, and it is one of the reasons I admire him.
Pittsfield Race Endorsement Race
The Commonwealth Coalition
will not be making an endorsement in the Pittsfield State Rep race -- that leaves each of its members free to make their own decision. MassEquality, the various Labor Unions, NOW, etc.
are on their own, and I assume the candidates will be scrambling. If you are part of any of these groups, make your voice heard. Michael Wilcox has some info
on the Central Berkshire Labor Council Candidate Forum meeting next week.
MA Gubernatorial Polls
Jamie VW from the MA Political State Report
is reporting numbers from the Boston Globe today.
The good news for Democrats came in the potential head to head races cited in the poll. In a head to head race with Attorney General Tom Reilly (D-MA), Mitt Romney only received 41% of the vote versus Reilly's 45%. This is in the 5% margin of error, meaning that the race is already a dead heat. In a race between the governor Secretary of State Bill Galvin (D-MA), Romney stands at 43% and Galvin at 35%. Neither Attorney General Reilly nor Secretary of State Galvin has announced their intentions.
These numbers will attract more candidates who see how vulnerable Romney is -- and if we Dems can avoid the circular firing squad this year (no "Loony Left" comments from our own party please), then we can send Mitt back to Utah.
Serre Will Help Pittsfield in the State House
One of the reasons I like Rhonda Serre
is that she is focused on how to help Pittsfield in the State House. The other candidates are more familiar with city-wide politics and look more comfortable talking about city hall politics. In the Eagle today
, Rhonda Serre gives a good example of how tie an issue back to Pittsfield, but that needs to be dealt with on the state level:
PITTSFIELD -- Rhonda Serre, Democratic hopeful for the Berkshire 3rd District state representative seat vacated by Peter Larkin, has announced her intention -- if elected -- to file a bill to curb the manufacture of methamphetamine drugs in Massachusetts.
Key ingredients of this highly addictive "club drug" are currently available over the counter in cold medicines, she said in a prepared statement. The bill proposed by Serre would reclassify certain forms of this ingredient as a "schedule 5" drug, available only from pharmacists.
"Enough is enough. Too many families have been devastated, too many young lives have been ruined," said Serre. "Drug abuse hurts the whole community, and we must act as a community to stop these problems before they start. As Pittsfield's elected legislator, I will marshal all the power and resources I can identify for prevention and treatment of substance abuse at every level."
As Pittsfield's Representative, she will be able to influence neighboring Reps because she understands how the region's fortunes are tied to Pittsfield and can articulate that. Here is a letter from Sara Hathaway
to the Eagle that expressed that view (emphasis mine):
Pittsfield has an exciting opportunity to start Rhonda Serre, an advocate, leader and savvy policy maker, on her way to Beacon Hill on March 15. Rhonda's public service credentials and her personal integrity are exactly right for the new generation of political leaders we want to nurture in the Berkshires.
Congressman Olver chose Ms. Serre to be his economic development specialist because of her strong insights and advocacy for the needs of this area. Rhonda understands that the success of Pittsfield affects the larger region, and she has handled complex details of infrastructure projects, budget processes and work for existing businesses ranging from major employers to sole proprietors.
Early childhood education has been a longtime passion for Rhonda, who was the first employee of the "Success by Six" Berkshire United Way initiative. She is the only candidate in this race to state her unequivocal opposition to burdening local taxpayers with the cost of charter schools. As a parent and taxpayer, Rhonda will be a strong and informed voice for Pittsfield as she strengthens our K-12 school system and joins the debate over education reform on Beacon Hill.
I have known and worked with Rhonda Serre for many years, and I urge Pittsfield voters to join me in supporting Serre for state Rep. in the March 15 Democratic primary. Rep. Serre will reward our trust with integrity, energy and a passion for Pittsfield's prosperity. (more).
In a race where the candidates agree on the issues presented to them, the challenge is to find the one that knows which issues to fight for, and who will be most effective. I believe Rhonda Serre is that candidate.
2006 Gubernatorial News
Kerry urges Democrats to oust Romney
Last year, Romney stumped for President George W. Bush and ripped Kerry when Kerry was the Democratic candidate for president. Romney accused Kerry of waffling on the war in Iraq and for voting for tax hikes nearly 100 times.
At the GOP National Convention, Massachusetts Republicans mocked Kerry with T-shirts that said "John Who?" in reference to Kerry's extended absence from the state during his campaign.
Kerry may be preparing for a little payback.
Taking up Massachusetts politics for the first time since he lost to Bush on Nov. 2, Kerry sent an e-mail to thousands of supporters, urging them to work at the grassroots for the state party.
and, Deval Patrick is getting more notice
Consider, too, that with former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich ruling out a repeat of his 2002 insurgent candidacy earlier this week, the idealistic progressives who flocked to Reich may begin searching for another candidate to back. If and when they do, Patrick could be a natural fit. For starters, he’s anti-death-penalty and pro-gay-marriage. (Patrick served in the Clinton administration when the federal Defense of Marriage Act was passed, in 1996, but prominent gay activists say he was phased out of the debate after making his opposition clear; today, Patrick calls the DOMA a "mistake.") In contrast, Reilly — like Romney — favors the death penalty. And, after gay marriage became legal last year, the attorney general alienated the gay community by using an obscure state law to prevent same-sex couples from outside Massachusetts from wedding here.
Furthermore, Patrick successfully argued for Clinton’s support of affirmative action when the president considered jettisoning it in 1996. Factor in the subtler details of his personal history that have yet to emerge — Patrick’s father abandoning his family to play the saxophone with Thelonius Monk and Sun Ra; Patrick being told to bring a "jacket" to Milton Academy and showing up with a windbreaker instead; Patrick filling out his Harvard Law School application in the Sudanese desert while working for the United Nations; Patrick suing then-governor Bill Clinton as an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Patrick joining Hill & Barlow, the former law firm of governors Mike Dukakis and Bill Weld, as partner at the age of 30; Patrick leading the Justice Department’s inquiry into the rash of arson in black Southern churches in the mid 1990s; Patrick chairing former attorney general Scott Harshbarger’s good-government gubernatorial campaign in 1998 — and he could easily become a darling of progressive voters. This, in turn, could make him a genuine threat to Reilly in the Democratic primary — and his personal wealth (during Patrick’s years as a corporate general counsel, his annual earnings approached $1 million) and ready-made nationwide fundraising network could help him neutralize Reilly’s early financial advantage.
but, he's not with liabilities
PATRICK’S MEDIA appearances last week had something of a not-ready-for-prime-time feel. Take his appearance on Greater Boston. Confronted with the one question he should have known was coming — why are you thinking about running for governor? — Patrick declared his "very deep, soft feeling" for Massachusetts. By the time of his WBUR interview, Patrick had (wisely) jettisoned this vaguely creepy explanation; instead, he spoke of his abiding "soft spot" for the state. It was an improvement, but it still gave an indulgent, wishy-washy cast to Patrick’s hypothetical candidacy.