Thursday, September 24, 2009

Alan Khazei Kicks Off His Campaign in Boston Common Today

Alan Khazei launches his citizen-led campaign for the United States Senate today at noon at the Gazebo in Boston Common. I'm still very curious to see if the City-Year founder can put together a campaign apparatus to compete with Coakley, Capuano, and Pagliuca. Maybe today's event will provide a sense of how much public interest exists for a Khazei candidacy. Check out his latest campaign video here. Below I've posted his appearance on the Colbert Report in January.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Preliminary Election Results: Menino vs. Flaherty

The results are in, and it looks like we're in for a final election of Menino vs. Menino Light. The voters seem to have confirmed the prevailing wisdom. Menino has done a pretty decent job running the city, and the fact that he more than doubled the votes of his closest opponent solidifies his position as the formidable incumbent.

However, there are signs that Boston is ready for a change. After sixteen years of consolidating power and influence into his own hands, Menino may be holding the city back. If voters are ready to put Mumbles out to pasture, Flaherty is the natural successor. A city councilman who modeled his career after Menino, Flaherty was even described by the Boston Globe as, "the Menino of 1993 returning to haunt the 2009 version." Flaherty has portrayed himself all along as the updated version of the old model. He's Menino 2.0: reliable, trustworthy, and updated for a new era.

Yet over a quarter of the voters rejected both Menino and Flaherty, something that is at once invigorating and crushing for anybody dissatisfied with the status quo. Invigorating because with a campaign almost solely driven by the premise that Menino has too much power, Sam Yoon came within 2300 votes of overtaking Flaherty. Invigorating because Kevin McCrea, who ran a campaign around the notion that business as usual shouldn't be tolerated, garnered over 4 percent of the vote. And crushing because had Yoon's and McCrea's votes been consolidated by one progressive candidate, we might be looking at a real referendum on the status quo in November. Instead we're forced to choose between Menino and Menino 2.0.

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Massachusetts Senate Passes Interim Appointee Bill

Both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald reported that the Massachusetts State Senate passed the bill that will allow Governor Deval Patrick to appoint an interim senator. The bill passed by a vote of 24-16 and barring any parliamentary delays in the enactment of the new law, Patrick should be able to send a temporary senator to Washington in time to vote on health care reform. The interim senator will likely play a crucial role in the health care battle where reform proponents are trying to scrape together a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

So is the new law a flip-flop by a politically motivated body looking out for its own interests? Of course, but that doesn't mean it isn't the right thing to do. Massachusetts should have two senators representing their interests in Congress. Massachusetts Democrats may deserve chastisement for manipulating the political process, but not for this month's actions. Their transgression was five years ago when they changed the law in a transparent ploy to prevent Mitt Romney from appointing a Republican interim senator. The current effort to reverse the law may be motivated by party interest, but it is still a correction of a past mistake.

Give the legislators some credit. At least they removed the provision that would have required the interim senator to be a member of the party of the previous occupant. Such a requirement would have been a maneuver almost as self-serving and disingenuous as the 2004 law that prevented the Republicans from slipping into the Massachusetts Senate seat for a few months.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Is Mayor Menino Too Powerful?

Okay, my Photoshop skills are a bit rusty, but you get the idea. Has Mayor Menino's massive political clout become his biggest liability? Will voters be swayed by the argument that the city is being held back by a system in which too much power is concentrated in one man? Or will Boston voters be content with another four years of the city's longest reigning and most popular mayor.

As the preliminary Boston mayoral election approaches, questions have been raised over whether Tom Menino has been in power too long and and whether he has accumulated too much power. Menino has come under increasing scrutiny for his tight grip on city affairs, but it remains unclear whether one of his opponents will be able to unseat the four-term incumbent. Perhaps the preliminary on Tuesday will provide some insight as to which way Boston voters are leaning. The election will narrow the field down to two candidates, likely pitting Menino against one of his three challengers Kevin McCrea, Sam Yoon, or Michael Flaherty.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Interim Appointee Bill Passes in Massachusetts House, Pagliuca Announces, Capuano and Khazei Videos

Big day for matters involving the Kennedy Senate seat. Stephen Pagliuca jumped into the race, announcing his candidacy at the TD Garden. Although not a seasoned politician, Pagliuca will be a factor in the race because of his financial resources (Somewhere around $400 million). You can expect to encounter the Celtics co-owner quite a bit over the next few months when you turn on your t.v. or radio. Will Massachusetts voters elect someone who supported Mitt Romney over Ted Kennedy to fill Teddy's seat?

Meanwhile, the legislation that would allow Governor Deval Patrick to appoint an interim Senator passed in the Massachusetts House today. Notably, the provision requiring the appointee to be of the same political party as the previous occupant of the Senate seat was removed from the bill. The legislation may have a tougher time getting through the state Senate where Republicans hope to stall the measure.

Below, I've posted videos of two other potential candidates for the Kennedy seat. First is Congressman Mike Capuano's attempt to identify himself as the most Teddy-like candidate, citing his voting record. Capuano is expected to announce his candidacy on Friday.

Next is a video from potential candidate and City Year founder Alan Khazei. Khazei has pulled nomination papers and has begun gathering signatures. Khazei is the most intriguing candidate in my eyes so far. A political outsider who seems genuinely concerned with improving the welfare of others. Whether he can generate the political support or the fundraising to run a campaign is still be answered.

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Stephen Pagliuca Readies for Senate Race

It looks like Stephen Pagliuca, co-Celtics owner, is jumping in to the Senate race adding a wild card. Howie Carr tore up Pagliuca in the Herald yesterday, painting him as an ego-maniac with more money than he knows what to do with. We'll see if Pagliuca can emerge as a candidate of substance in the coming months. For now, he certainly has the resources to shake up the race. Check out his Forbes profile.

Martha Coakley's Health Care Message

This is the statement Martha Coakley issued via e-mail last night regarding health care. With health care reform looming as the most pressing issue in front of Congress, Coakley is trying to establish herself as somebody who can fill Ted Kennedy's shoes.

Reforming America’s health care system is critically important. The stakes have never been higher. Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that 40 percent of employers plan to increase their workers’ expenses for doctors’ visits. And, eight percent plan to eliminate employee coverage altogether.

If we do nothing, annual health care costs for employers will more than double over the next decade -- to a startling $28,530 per employee.

These numbers are unsustainable. But they are not inevitable.

As Attorney General, I have fought to lower health care costs and have returned millions to the Commonwealth in Medicaid fraud recoveries.

I am running for the U.S. Senate to help fix our badly broken health care system once and for all. I believe we need to expand access to quality health care, control costs, and support a strong public option. Please go to to learn more.

Screen shot of health care video

click above to listen to Martha speak on health care in her own words

Ted Kennedy called health care reform "that great unfinished business of our society." I believe that everyone in America should have access to quality, affordable health care. I believe that doctors and patients - not insurance companies - should be in charge of health care decisions.

As your Attorney General, I have worked tirelessly to help Massachusetts realize these goals. Our progress on health care has become the touchstone for a national plan that will help make our shared vision of quality, affordable health care a reality for all Americans. As your Senator, I will fight for a health care system that works for all of us.

As always, thank you for your friendship and support.


Martha Coakley