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5/5/2022-- Today on The Horse Race, Steve and Lisa begin the episode by running through the newest fundraising numbers of the candidates running for statewide office. Plus, Lisa breaks down the results of the special election for the District 1 Boston City Council seat. The MassINC Polling Group is out with new data on how parents feel about their children's academics and wellbeing in school. Compared to the last wave of education polling, Steve explains, this time around parents aren't quite as optimistic. In the fall, parents were largely confident their children would catch up and get back on track academically given the new all in-person school format. So far, reality has not quite lived up to those expectations. Read more about the poll at Finally, the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade sent shockwaves throughout the country. Today's guest, Rebecca Hart Holder, executive director of Reproductive Equity Now, joins the hosts to explain what the implications would be in Massachusetts if and when the landmark decision falls away. This episode of The Horse Race was brought to you by Benchmark Strategies. Benchmark is setting a new standard as Boston's fastest-growing public affairs consulting firm. To know more, connect with Benchmark on Twitter @benchmarkBoston. Full transcription found here:
4/28/22--This week, Steve and Lisa discuss the state of COVID rates in Massachusetts, and what we might be missing when we talk about numbers of positive cases. New data from The MassINC Polling Group shows there are disparities between the households that use at-home tests to test for COVID and those that get tested at a testing site. That means we may be undercounting cases in specific places and groups. Wealthier people are more likely to have been testing themselves at home, where positives would not be reported. Schools and lower-income areas are perhaps overrepresented since they would potentially be caught in official reporting channels. Later on in the show, Steve is joined by Manny Cruz, Director of Advocacy in Massachusetts for Latinos for Education, and Ralph Saint-Louis, a Policy Fellow at Teach Plus Massachusetts and a science teacher at Lowell High School, to discuss the Educator Diversity Act, which, if passed by the legislature, would seek to make Massachusetts educators a more diverse workforce. As of now, 42% of all students in Massachusetts identify as students of color, but only 10% of all teachers in the state identify as Black, Latino or API.
4/21/22-- Today, The Horse Race is breaking down two state-focused polls out this week. The first is a poll conducted by the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion, which asked likely Democratic primary voters about their choices in the 2022 races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and state auditor. The poll shows gubernatorial candidate Maura Healey with a strong lead over opponent Sonia Chang-Diaz, which grew since The MassINC Polling Group's poll on the candidates from January. A second poll released this week was conducted by The MassINC Polling Group and its research director/guest co-host for this week's episode, Rich Parr. The MPG/Boston Globe poll surveyed Massachusetts residents about their opinions on climate change. This poll is one of a series of statewide climate surveys, and it found that residents consider climate change to be less of a concern than in 2019, when the last wave was conducted. However, that's not to say residents don't feel climate change is a serious threat. Majorities say that climate impacts, including heat waves (58%), coastal flooding (60%), and more powerful storms (62%), are already or very likely to hit the state in the next 5 years. The poll included additional responses from Black, Latino, and Asian residents, to enable a closer look at opinion between and within each group. Consistent with national polling, Black and Latino residents are more likely to say climate change is a “very serious” problem for the state. This poll also echoes national polling in showing a large partisan gap in concern about climate, with 62% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents calling it a very serious problem, compared to just 22% of Republicans and Republican leaners. Click here to read more about the poll: -- A statement from a spokesperson for the state Cannabis Control Commission in regard to a prior episode of The Horse Race: "On March 14, the Boston Globe reported that Creative Services, Inc. (CSI) was exposed to a data breach that compromised the information of 164,000 individuals, including 1,982 individuals who are associated with Massachusetts cannabis licenses or license applications, as well as 75 Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) staff. In an interview during the March 31 episode of The Horse Race, the guest falsely stated that the Commission had been exposed to a data breach. The Commission does require all individuals listed on an initial license application to have a background check performed, via the Commission, with CSI. However, it is important to clarify that the Commission does not require, nor recommend, any particular company to perform background checks on the employees and/or agents they hire. Please note: as of the Commission’s April public meeting, there were 19,358 active agent registrations in Massachusetts’ adult-use cannabis industry, and 9,117 active agent registrations in the medical use industry. The guest being interviewed also suggested that, because of this event, the Commission should be audited. Regarding any comments as to whether the Commission has been audited, there is currently an audit by Auditor Bump’s office underway and has been for some time."
4/14/2022-- The Masachusetts House of Representatives released their FY 2023 budget proposal this week, and friends of the pod as well as State House News Service reporters Katie Lannan and Chris Lisinski are here to break down the line items as well as the differences in budget priorities between Governor Baker and the House and Senate. Chris and Katie also dive into the news of a union in the works among Senate staffers who say they are seeking pay equity and a culture change in their workplace. Plus, a new study finds an uptick in the number of reporters covering state houses across the country.
4/7/2022--This week on The Horse Race, we bring you another of the Internet's Finest: a list from ranking Boston as the fourth-best "pizza city" in the U.S. In case you were wondering, it ranks above both New York City and Chicago. Steve and Jenn dissect the list's confusing criteria for assembling such a list. Please do let us know your thoughts on this -- does Boston deserve its place on the list? Tweet at us @The_HorseRace. For our first segment, Steve and Jenn discuss the new developments in statewide races this week. Progressive Massachusetts released more endorsements this week, lending their support to Quentin Palfrey for attorney general, Chris Dempsey for state auditor, and Tanisha Sullivan for secretary of the commonwealth. The group has already endorsed Sonia Chang-Díaz for governor and Rep. Tammy Gouveia for lieutenant governor. The hosts also discuss the financial status of each of the campaigns in the races for attorney general and governor. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johston issued a joint statement last year agreeing to share best practices on regional economic regeneration. That’s exactly what’s been happening since October of last year here in Massachusetts. The UK Consulate of Boston has visited five Gateway Cities in Massachusetts, learning how these communities grow prosperity and sharing the UK’s approach to regional economic growth. Peter Abbott, the British consul general to Boston, drew up the findings and joins Jenn and Steve on The Horse Race to share those findings.
3/31/22--It shouldn't be too difficult to sit back, relax and enjoy this week's episode of The Horse Race because, according to a WalletHub study (, the state of Massachusetts ranks among the least stressed states in the nation. Jennifer, Lisa, and Steve have a lot to say about the accuracy of this study. Later, in light of Governor Charlie Baker's HireNow program geared towards getting people back to work and meeting employers needs, we discuss why so many people across the country are leaving their jobs in the first place. MassINC Polling Group research associate and producer of the pod Libby Gormley talks through a Pew Research poll documenting U.S. workers' reasons for quitting jobs in 2021. ( Finally, this week Governor Charlie handed out his first endorsement in a statewide race this year. It went to Republican candidate for state auditor, Anthony Amore. Amore joins us on the show to discuss his approach to the race as the sole Republican, his priorities if elected, and how his background as a federal agent, Homeland Security official, and museum security director has prepared him to take on the office.
3/24/2022--This week on The Horse Race, a new development in the Republican primary race for governor. Candidate Geoff Diehl announced his running mate, Leah Cole Allen. Allen served briefly as a state representative in YEAR before becoming a nurse. "She keeps Diehl's ticket firmly in conservative territory," Lisa explains. Allen is anti-abortion, anti-mask and vaccine mandates, isn't vaccinated herself, and and told reporters she thinks there’s “enough evidence” to support the possibility of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. The race for Secretary of the Commonwealth also saw some developments this week. Candidate Tanisha Sullivan enjoyed a suite of endorsements from state Reps. Russell Holmes, Nika Elugardo and Liz Miranda; and Boston City Councilors Julia Mejia, Ruthzee Louijeune, Ricardo Arroyo, Kendra Lara and Tania Fernandes Anderson. Last month, Senate President Karen Spilka appointed a new Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation -- Brendan Crighton. Sen. Crighton drops by The Horse Race to talk about leading on transportation in a time when congestion on the roads is as bad as it ever was and T ridership is a fraction of pre-pandemic levels. Finally, Lisa delivers a recap of Wednesday's virtual event hosted by State House News wherein House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka provided insight into the priorities for the rest of this legislative session. Also, in a surprising turn of events. Mariano disclosed his endorsement for the Massachusetts governor's race in candidate and current state Attorney General Maura Healey.
3/17/2022-- Happy St. Patrick's Day from all of us at The Horse Race! Steve and Jennifer discuss the return of the in-person St. Patrick's Day breakfast, happening this Sunday. It's an almost annual tradition of Massachusetts politicians gathering and making jokes at one another's expense for what Jennifer describes as "basically a big Irish roast." Plus, big news coming out of the U.S. Senate-- a bill passed that would make Daylight Saving permanent, ending the ritual of turning the clocks forward and backward and gracing us all with an extra hour of daylight in the winter. The development has Sen. Ed Markey who proposed the bill "walkin' on sunshine." The Census undercount also made headlines this week. So far the U.S. Census Bureau has only released the national numbers, but if the nationwide undercount scales down proportionately to the state level, what could that mean for Massachusetts? Boston Indicators' Luc Schuster drops by The Horse Race to answer that question and more. For one thing, Luc says, "It would mean we missed almost 47,000 Latinos living in Massachusetts." Finally, Matt Murphy of the State House News Service explains the proposed changes to our liquor license laws, brought to lawmakers by the Massachusetts Package Stores Association. It would effectively double the number of allowable licenses any one retailer can hold to 18 by 2031, but also reduce the cap on licenses for the sale of all alcoholic beverages from nine to seven. But it faces severe opposition from many food industry groups.
3/10/11-- This week, while certain industries are seeing patrons come back in droves amid the bottoming out of COVID cases -- arts and culture venues, restaurants, gyms -- one space that has yet to see such an influx are corporate office. Steve wrote about the risk this phenomenon poses to downtowns like Boston in CommonWealth. And later, it's caucus season in Massachusetts. Yawu Miller, reporter for The Bay State Banner covered the ins and outs of the 2022 Massachusetts season. He stops by to share his insights about the importance of Ward 18, drastic changes to the caucus landscape since the 90s and even the 2010s, and what it all means for the electorate writ large.
3/3/2022--This week on The Horse Race, Jennifer, Steve, and Lisa discuss the growing field of candidates in two major statewide races: attorney general and lieutenant governor. Republican Jay McMahon, who’s run for political office in Massachusetts before, stepped into the race for state attorney general. Anthony Amore, the 2018 secretary of state candidate is now running for state auditor. And former state rep Kate Campanele joined as Chris Doughty’s running mate, making her the first Republican to enter the race for lieutenant governor. Later, state Senator Diana DiZoglio drops by The Horse Race to talk aout her bid for state auditor. She explains her goal of bringing more transparency and accountability to how taxpayer money is spent, shares the details of her social justice plan, and, as Republican Anthony Amore makes his entrance into the race, discusses whether there is a partisan angle to the office.
2/24/2022--This week, the hosts are off for February school vacation. Please enjoy the 2022 edition of Horse Race outtakes, and we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week.
2/17/2022--Today on The Horse Race, we look ahead to next week’s reopening of the State House. After more than 700 days of closure due to COVID, doors open on Tuesday, and legislators will return to their offices. In this week’s installment of State House Roundup, friends of the pod Katie Lannan and Chris Lisinski of State House News Service break down the ramifications of the in-person return and highlight the major policies being tackled on Beacon Hill now— namely, voting reform, a bill to create a pathway for undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses, and a drug pricing transparency bill. This week also saw the exit of Harvard professor Danielle Allen from the governor’s race. Allen cites the caucus and nominating process as major barriers to nontraditional candidates’ access to the ballot. Her departure leaves two remaining candidates in the Democratic primary — Attorney General Maura Healey and state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz. Full transcript:
2/10/2022-- This week on The Horse Race, Lisa and Jenn discuss this week’s announcement out of the Governor’s office that the mask mandate for schools will end Feb. 28 and the reactions from the candidates running for Governor which, unsurprisingly, follow party lines. In the first of a series of segments interviewing State Auditor candidates, Jenn, Steve, and Lisa speak with Chris Dempsey, who speaks about his plans to audit the State Police and create an Auditor's commission on environmental justice.
2/3/2022--- This week on the horse race, Jenn, Steve, and Lisa discuss their brushes with the 24- hour record-breaking blizzard that hit the northeast this past weekend. Shifting to the many races of 2022, Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell announced her campaign for Attorney General. Lisa spoke with Campbell about how policing reform fits in to the Attorney General’s office. Meanwhile, in the race for Massachusetts governor, GOP candidate Geoff Diehl made waves as he hired Corey Lewandowski as a campaign senior advisor. Trump’s old super PAC & South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem cut ties with Lewandowski last fall after allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances toward a Trump donor at an event. Steve shares the results of a new statewide poll stacking up Democratic primary candidates. Many voters are undecided but as of now, Maura Healey has the biggest swath of likely Democratic primary voter support of all the announced candidates. The survey asked people their support of issues such as rent control and early college. Today's guest is Tanisha Sullivan, NAACP Boston Branch President, visits The Horse Race to share why she is running for Secretary of the Commonwealth, and what she'll do to expand voting rights and increase transparency in the state government.
1/27/2022--This week brings a handful of new campaign announcements. Among them, Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin who confirmed he is seeking his eighth term in office, State Treasurer Deb Goldberg who is running for re-election, labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan who announced her bid for Attorney General, and Chris Doughty, a moderate Republican businessman from Wrentham and new entrant into the race for governor of Massachusetts. Jenn, Steve, and Lisa discuss Governor Baker's final State of the Commonwealth address that included plans for a slew of tax breaks. The special guest on today's show is Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. After just over two months in office, she answers questions regarding her major policies thus far, and her plans for the future.
1/20/2022--This week on The Horse Race, two big campaign announcements hit the news. First, it's the one we've been waiting on for months. Attorney General Maura Healey is running for Governor. She enters the race after much anticipation and speculation with a rate of name recognition and funding that dwarfs that of her competitors. Tanisha Sullivan, President of the Boston NAACP, announced her candidacy for Secretary of the Commonwealth. Bill Galvin, who has been in the position for almost three decades, has not yet announced whether he’ll run again. Vaccine mandates for indoor businesses went into effect throughout Boston this past weekend. Jenn and Lisa talk about the Twitter conversations circulating among people who’ve experienced gaps in enforcement — some businesses don’t check for vaccine proof, others do. Also recently implemented is the state’s vaccine passport system which Massachusetts residents can use to access digital proof of their vaccination status. Issues remain with that program as well, like incomplete information for veterans and residents who received jabs out of state. Our guest this week is State House reporter for MassLive, Alison Kuznitz. She explains the state’s decision to move away from their current test-and-stay program that allows asymptomatic students to stay in school so long as they test negative for five straight days. The plan is to replace it with a program wherein students receive at-home rapid tests on a biweekly basis.
1/13/22--Today on The Horse Race, Jenn and Lisa discuss the biggest headlines of the week so far -- the continued issues around in-person schooling during a surge in COVID-19 cases, the newest entrant in the race for Lieutenant Governor (Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll), and the Boston's self-imposed deadline to clear tents from the Mass & Cass area wherein 140-plus people currently reside. Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Michael Bobbitt provides a glimpse into the arts and culture communities throughout Massachusetts--how are they navigating the ever-changing landscape that COVID-19 creates? As arts venues go from gearing up for reopening to welcoming back patrons to shutting down performances due to omicron infections, Bobbitt explains how arts consumption is changing, and people's expectations for art is evolving. Finally, new data out today from The MassINC Polling Group finds Massachusetts voters are amenable to shifting the cost of public transportation away from riders and toward high-income taxpayers. Friend of the pod and MPG Research Director Rich Parr explains the majority support for what's known as the "millionaire's tax" bodes well for its performance on the November ballot. The poll also asked about registered voters perceptions on transportation's climate preparedness, low-income fare discounts, fare-free modes of transportation, and what kind of condition they find the state's transportation system. This episode of The Horse Race is sponsored by Benchmark Strategies. Benchmark is setting a new standard as Boston's fastest-growing public affairs consulting firm. To know more, connect with Benchmark on Twitter @BenchmarkBoston.” Full transcript here:
1/6/2022-- After ringing in the first Horse Race episode 2022, Steve, Jenn, and Lisa discuss poll results just out from The MassINC Polling Group. The statewide poll on Massachusetts residents found just around a quarter of them feel as though the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts is better than it was this time last year. The poll also found that unvaccinated people feel the safest doing activities like going to a movie and dining indoors, while people who are the most protected (the vaccinated) feel the least safe doing the same activities. Steve also shares the favorables of each candidate in the race for Massachusetts Governor, showing Attorney General Maura Healey with the highest rate of name recognition, although Healey has yet to officially announce whether she's running. Later, CommonWealth reporter Shira Schoenberg shares the details of her recent article detailing Massachusetts schools' struggles with staffing amidst a devastating COVID surge as schools came back in session this week. Remote schooling is not an option, as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education ordered last year, so schools are left to either scramble to fill in the staffing gaps or close school down and make up the days in the spring. Full transcript here: This episode of The Horse Race was brought to you by Benchmark Strategies. Benchmark is setting a new standard as Boston's fastest-growing public affairs consulting firm. To know more, connect with Benchmark on Twitter @benchmarkBoston.
12/23/21--On the last episode of 2021, Steve and Lisa discuss their holiday plans that have largely been rearranged thanks to the brutal arrival of the Omicron variant. It's a reality confronting people across Massachusetts, and as folks plan to safely convene with friends and family, the lack of available COVID testing is making that near impossible. With case numbers rising across the country and here in Massachusetts, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu this week announced an indoor mask mandate. Meanwhile, Governor Charlie Baker unveiled a mask advisory, a move that, through the eyes of several public health advocates and political figures in the state, falls short. Joining Lisa to talk about the escalating public health crisis at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard (or Mass. and Cass.) are two reporters who have been following the situation for a while now. Tori Bedford is a reporter for GBH News, Sean Cotter for the Boston Herald. They explain the genesis of the tent city and open air drug market, which all began after the shutdown of the Long Island Bridge in 2014. Now, as the substance abuse, homelessness, and violence increase, and as the months get colder, the demand for adequate housing and resources becomes more dire. In the span of a little over a year, three Boston mayors have tried to adequately rectify the situation-- former Mayor Marty Walsh, acting Mayor Kim Janey, and current Mayor Michelle Wu. Tori and Sean break down each leader's approach and impact, and look ahead to Mayor Wu's plan not just for the immediate future, but for the long-term health and safety of the people who live there.
12/16/21--Newsrooms across the country are pushing to unionize. And those in Massachusetts are no exception. Today on The Horse Race, Jenn sits down with three guests who can speak to newsroom union negotiations from experience. State Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa is one of the columnists taking part in the strike at the Daily Hampshire Gazette in support of the paper’s union. The columnists have told Newspapers of New England, which owns the Gazette, that they will not be writing any more columns until the company agrees to a contract with its employees. Reporters Ally Jarmanning of WBUR and Kevin Slane of The Boston Globe and talk about their experience with contract negotiations — WBUR employees having gone through both establishing a union as well as well as negotiating contracts, and Globe employees undergoing a three-year-long process of contract negotiations. Full transcript here:
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