Elizabeth Warren Is Still Running in Massachusetts, We Think — Beacon Hill Recap

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/08/25/elizabeth-warren-is-still-running-in-massachusetts-we-think-beacon-hill-recap/

By Matt Murphy
State House News Service

She wrote a book last year, her second since taking office, and earned about $389,000 off it.

She released 10 years’ worth of tax returns, which is 10 times the number of returns President Donald Trump has released. And she’s a frequent guest on late-night and national cable television.

She’s clearly running for … re-election to the U.S. Senate.

Elizabeth Warren, the popular Democrat and Trump irritant, makes more headlines these days for what she might want to do in 2020 than for what she is doing in 2018. And understandably so. From proposing comprehensive anti-corruption legislation this week to the aforementioned sudden tax return dump on Wednesday, everything she’s doing looks and feels like something a candidate for the White House might be doing to gear up.

But this week showed how Warren has a foot in two election cycles at all times.

The release of her taxes dating back to 2007 provided a momentary distraction from her comments earlier in the day on CNN where she responded to the murder of Iowa teenager Mollie Tibbetts allegedly at the hands of an illegal immigrant.

“I’m so sorry for the family here, and I know this is hard not only for the family but for the people in her community, the people throughout Iowa. But one of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are,” Warren said.

Warren’s quick pivot from Tibbetts to the “real problem” of family separations at the border drew swift condemnation from the GOP candidates for Senate in Massachusetts. By Friday, state Representtive Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), the perceived front-runner in that primary, had spun Warren’s remarks into a web ad featuring the mother of Matthew Denice, a young Milford man killed in 2011 when he was struck by an illegal immigrant who was driving drunk.

“Maureen Maloney will never be unified with her son Matthew,” the ad concludes.

Republicans want to believe they have a chance to beat Warren in November, and episodes like this will give them fodder for the campaign trail. The voters just have to choose a messenger on Tuesday, September 4. But, as the Boston Herald explored the next day, there’s also the question of what everything Warren says and does will mean in states, like, say, Iowa, after November, assuming she’s still a senator.

While Warren’s comments about immigration caused a bit of an uproar, it was not the Democrat’s critics Shaleen Title was talking to when she Tweeted “chill the hell out.” The Cannabis Control commissioner was instead drawing attention to the fact that the CCC was finally getting ready to license the first two testing laboratories in the state.

The labs to test the quality and safety of Bay State-grown weed were the last piece of the puzzle to be put in place before the state’s recreational marijuana market could begin to sprout. Cannabis Control Commission chairman Steve Hoffman said it should only be a matter of weeks, or maybe months, before the first retail shop opens its doors, but it’s up to the businesses now to get their plants in order.

Assuming Hoffman is right, it will have taken the better part of two years to implement legal marijuana sales after voters approved it in 2016. But that’s still faster than casino gambling.

It’s been nine long years since Therese Murray cocked her arm, like she was pulling a slot lever, and uttered the now infamous rationale for expanded gaming in Massachusetts: “Cha-ching,” she declared, mirthfully.

It would be two more years before lawmakers, including Murray, would get on the same page with then-Governor Deval Patrick and legalize casino gambling, and seven more before the first bettor would take a risk and say, “Hit me,” on 16.

But this week, that day finally arrived.

MGM Springfield opened its doors on Friday after days of speeches, parades, and dance troops heralded the moment as a one that will, hopefully, be a boon to state finances and the economic prosperity of a sometimes-overlooked city in western Massachusetts.

“It’s a city that was down on its luck for many years. We’ve developed something here, a real urban renewal project. We’ve put 3,000 men and women to work. I think we’re going to get a good return but I’m really gratified by the fact that we’re here helping this city pull itself up,” said MGM Resorts International chief executive officer Jim Murren said.

Soon the Budweiser Clydesdales, the Dropkick Murphy’s, and Stevie Wonder will have cleared out of Springfield, and time will tell whether the new jobs, restaurants, and entertainment tied to the casino will deliver on the promises of expanded of gaming.

But for at least this week, as Gaming Commission chairman Steve Crosby deadpanned, “After seven long years, I say, it’s about time to party.”

Candidates for office have another 10 days to go before they can start partying, or least begin to focus on the general election if they’re lucky enough to emerge victorious in their primary.

But Dan Koh had some cause for a little celebration this week with the release of just the second poll in the Third District Congressional race that showed Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s former chief of staff climbing to the top of the large Democratic pack.

Koh, who finished fourth in the UMass Lowell poll in April, now appears to be leading the field with 19 percent, but the 29 percent of undecided voters could still swing the election in any direction.

Former front-runner Rufus Gifford clocked in just behind Koh with 13 percent where he was tied with state Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover). The top tier of the field was rounded out by Lori Trahan at 8 percent and state Representative  Juana Matias (D-Lawrence) at 6 percent.

Rather than counting votes, employees at McLean Hospital earlier this year were tallying prank telephone calls as the switchboard was flooded with harassing robo calls. Little did they know at the time, the calls were coming from inside the hospital.

In a bizarre sidebar to the troubling accusations of sexual assault against Bryon Hefner, the former Senate president’s civil-law husband pleaded guilty this week to using automatic calling web sites to harass and annoy the staff of the Lincoln clinic where he was supposed to rehabbing for alcohol abuse.

He was sentenced to a year of probation.

STORY OF THE WEEK:  Springfield learns the wonder of it all.

SONG OF THE WEEK:  Jim Murren recalled what was like in Springfield in 1981 when bands like the Doors and the Grateful Dead rolled through town, and now visitors to the city once again have something to do all day and all through the night.