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The Horse Race

Author: Steve Koczela; Jennifer Smith; Stephanie Murray; Libby Gormley

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Your weekly look at politics, policy, and elections in Massachusetts.

THE HORSE RACE: Steve Koczela, host; Jennifer Smith, host; Stephanie Murray, host; Libby Gormley, producer; Maureen McInerney, graphic designer.
142 Episodes
6/3/20--This week we're bringing you a slightly different version of The Horse Race, a one-on-one conversation between our host and former Dorchester Reporter news editor Jennifer Smith, and Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell. Jenn and Councilor Campbell discuss the protests against systemic racism and police brutality that have broken out in cities all over the world, including Boston, in response to the death of George Floyd by the hands of law enforcement officers. Campbell emphasizes the importance of civil disobedience -- "We know we wouldn't be where we are if folks didn't get out and march," -- but also the necessity to protect police officers -- "Police are people, too." Campbell describes witnessing the many killings of black people by police, "tragic," but also sees this uprising of outrage as "an opportunity to finally implement all the ideas, the solutions that folks in communities of color have been pushing for decades." Some of those ideas Campbell mentioned include diversifying public safety agencies, getting body cameras in every police unit, and making Boston's COOP board a civilian review board.
5/28/20--As Massachusetts businesses begin to reopen, how are residents thinking about their transportation options? New data from The MassINC Polling Group shows that residents are leery about utilizing transit options that involve proximity with others, such as buses and trains. Bay Staters are more amenable to the idea of using solo transportation modes -- walking, bicycling, and driving their own cars. With traffic congestion pre-pandemic already at a breaking point, could the next year bring forth a "carapocolypse" worse than anything we've seen before? Time will tell. CommonWealth reporter Sarah Betancourt stops by The Horse Race to share her recent coverage on the state's unemployment insurance website. For months, the only two languages available on the website were English and Spanish, making it difficult if not impossible for non-English and Spanish speakers to navigate the site and file unemployment claims. This week, multiple new languages were added, weeks after the Governor's office had promised them.
5/21/20-- The coronavirus is leaving nothing untouched these days, and that includes our beloved horse racing. We mean that literally, as it was announced the Belmont Stakes, rescheduled and shortened for June 20, will serve as first leg of Triple Crown. No spectators allowed, for obvious reasons. In #MAPoli news, Governor Baker released details this week about Massachusetts' reopening, leaving our hosts wondering how to maintain social distancing etiquette as more outings, albeit with restrictions, become available. Horse Race co-host and Politico MA Playbook author Stephanie Murray has been keeping a close eye on the #Veepstakes, and runs us through the names that have been circulated as Joe Biden's potential running mate. That list includes Bay State Senator Elizabeth Warren. What could she uniquely contribute that other potential noms could not? Finally, Tuesday's state Senate special elections resulted in 2 more districts turning from red to blue, putting Democrats in control of 90% of the Senate. MassGOP party chairman Jim Lyons said the party's strategy for November's state elections involves zeroing in on districts where Republicans have historically done well, State House News Service reported. Ultra-blue districts considered to be lost causes, meanwhile, will be largely ignored.
Episode 131: H-O-R-S-E

Episode 131: H-O-R-S-E


5/13/2020--We're back with another live edition of The Horse Race Happy Hour Livestream which you can watch here: We begin with Governor Baker's 4-phase reopening plan that illustrates a very basic roadmap of how businesses will begin to open up shop once again. Baker's plan, which he announced on Monday, is short on details and leaves business owners wondering what exactly is in store for them. No guidance has yet been provided in regard to non-business related social distancing measures among individuals. The NBA was one of the first major sports organizations to suspend its season when the coronavirus pandemic became a serious threat in the United States, and while diehard sports fans are eager to see their teams play again, and the organization tries to navigate a path forward, one player is calling for patience and ensuring safety comes first. Enes Kanter, center for the Boston Celtics, joined The Horse Race Livestream, sharing that he's one of those people who's used the extra time quarantine has granted all of us to actually engage in self-improvement. He's taken up cooking, reads often, watches documentaries, and plays piano, though, he admits, "My fingers are too big. I’m pushing the wrong buttons all the time." While he's itching to get back out on the court, he emphasizes, "There’s something way bigger happening than basketball. There’s so many people out there losing their lives, losing their loved ones, losing their homes and businesses, so I feel like, let’s just focus on that right now. And then, I feel like, basketball will come later.” Last week, WBUR released poll findings on Massachusetts nurses on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle. Our own Steve Koczela of the MassINC Polling Group orchestrated the poll and shared some of the most notable findings. Despite roughly half of the nurses surveyed reporting their workplaces don't have sufficient personal protective equipment, a majority cited levels of morale as somewhat or very high. In looking at leadership during the crisis, an overwhelming majority of nurses approve of the job Governor Baker is doing. This rings true with the general population's approval of Baker as well.
5/7/20--On today's episode we're joined by special guest Irene Li, co-founder and owner of Mei Mei in Boston. She talks about the response to the coronavirus pandemic in the restaurant industry at large, and how things look for her eatery in particular. “We know that we are going to weather this thing, even though we don’t know what the other side will look like.” Mei Mei is one of many Boston restaurants now selling groceries after the city made it legal two weeks ago. Consumers can pick up a variety of items that might be out of stock at grocery stores. Li says, “Sometimes somebody will come in just for dumplings and 4 rolls of toilet paper. Other times they’ll buy a $45 grocery box that has eggs and butter and different veggies, flour and yeast.” The social distancing orders have put a strain on restaurants' bottoms lines and have forced Li and other owners to get creative. “It’s all about thinking about new ways to connect with our guests.” Like making Mei Mei's in-person dumpling-making classes into virtual ones, about which she says, “We are selling those tickets out faster than we can put them up on our website." In case you missed it, Wednesday, May 6 marked the first day that mask-wearing became mandatory in the state of Massachusetts. Governor Baker's order applies to anyone "who is in a place open to the public in the Commonwealth, whether indoor or outdoor, and is unable or does not maintain a distance of approximately six feet from every other person." We're looking at an extremely crowded field vying for the Massachusetts 4th District congressional seat. A ruling put forth last month by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court cut in half the number of signatures required to get on the primary ballot. As a result, a whopping 10 Democrats and 1 Republican have qualified for the primary.
Episode 129: Mailed It

Episode 129: Mailed It


4/29/20-- When Governor Charlie Baker announced the statewide stay-at-home advisory and non-essential business closure, the expiration date was set for May 4 - this Friday. But on Tuesday, Baker announced the order would remain in place until May 18. That’s another three weeks of closed businesses, remote work, and for many, lost jobs and wages. Even after a 3 week period in which hopefully the number of cases will begin to decline, people are skeptical that a May 18th reopening will in fact take place. After all, this is now the third end date for the stay-at-home and business closure order (April 7, May 4, May 18). So, when can we expect Massachusetts to reopen? As Stephanie Murray explains, Governor Baker often talks about “facts on the ground.” He’ll be looking for downward trends in hospitalizations, deaths, and new cases before making significant moves in reopening. In other news, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Monday the launch of a new program to test residents for coronavirus antibodies. Gov. Baker is lukewarm on using the tests statewide given that their accuracy has not yet been verified.“I think a test that up to a third of the time is wrong is not very helpful.” In an effort to avoid the outcome of Wisconsin’s presidential primary election, wherein roughly 400,000 people went in person to the polls which resulted in at least 36 new cases of coronavirus, Massachusetts is making plans. Secretary of State Bill Galvin said he will announce in early May his plan to expand early voting and voting by mail. State Senator Cynthia Creem has proposed vote by mail legislation, as has our special guest, State Senator Becca Rausch. She’s calling for universal vote by mail. “That means it’s universal to the greatest possible extent for everybody in the Commonwealth who votes, and also automatic to the greatest possible extent.” Under the legislation, everyone registered to vote would receive a ballot in the mail for the November general election, and everyone enrolled in a party would receive a ballot in the mail for the September primary. Those who are unenrolled would apply for the ballot of their choice. The bill also mandates that poll workers be supplied with personal protective equipment, and that election day become a paid holiday.
4/22/2020-- In case you missed our Facebook Live Happy Hour show, you can watch the full thing here! This week brought forward a handful of notable moments. Namely, President Trump said Tuesday he’s going to temporarily suspend immigration to the U.S., a move that we still don’t know a lot about. Meanwhile in Massachusetts, Governor Baker announced schools will remain closed in Massachusetts for the rest of the school year. State House News reporter and BFF of the pod Katie Lannan drops into the virtual hangout to fill in the hosts on how the wheels of state government continue (slowly) to turn. Much of the legislation on Beacon Hill now is understandably COVID-19-focused, such as the housing bill that was passed this week. The bill puts a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions, providing temporary relief to the many who've lost jobs and wages as a result of the crisis. Next, Dan Cence, CEO and Managing Partner of Solomon McCown & Cence breaks down a buzzword that's no doubt been circulating throughout many corporate conversations these days: crisis communications. Leaders in the midst of a moment like this must decide what to do and what to say to the people they're leading. As we've seen, the crisis communications of different mayors, governors, and national leaders has run the gamut. Cence provides insight into what sets some leaders apart when it comes to effective crisis communication.
Watch the video version here! 4/15/20-- Impacts from the COVID-19 outbreak continue to be felt, as it claims more and more lives, axes the economy, and leaves everyone feeling at least a little uncertain and unsafe. The Trump administration and governors throughout the country have, since the beginning of the virus' spread, disagreed on how to respond. For the most part, though, governors have implemented aggressive actions in their own states that were often more sweeping than what the president installed. However, on Monday, Trump claimed during a press briefing that it was ultimately up to the president to decide when and how to reopen states. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to the notion of the president overriding governors' decisions about reopening state economies, saying such an act would cause a "constitutional crisis." Cuomo announced Monday that the governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Delaware would work together in planning the reopening of the states' economies. Once state economies do reopen, though, it's not as if everything will go back to normal. One potentially lasting effect of the coronavirus may be public transportation ridership in Massachusetts. According to WBUR, subway ridership is down 92.7% as of April 9, and bus ridership is down 78% compared to the week of Feb. 24 - Feb. 28. The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed an $18 billion transportation bond bill in the first week of March. Will political will remain as strong when we come out of our respective bunkers and hit the streets again? Or will people's lingering distrust of public spaces and communal surfaces discourage them from taking the T and lead them to rely on driving more than ever? Getting ballot questions in front of voters is a long, expensive tasks that requires many, many signatures. Acquiring those signatures has traditionally required a bunch of in-person contact. Now that such an interaction is pretty much forbidden, how will ballot questions stand a chance of advancing? As it stands now, if the legislature neither dismisses nor signs into law the 4 initiative petitions before them, ballot question organizers will be required to gather 13,000 signatures by July 1st for their questions to make it to the ballot. George Cronin, managing director for Rasky Partners' public affairs practice, drops by The Horse Race to provide his expert analysis.
Watch the video version here! 4/8/20--Almost a month has passed since Governor Charlie Baker announced a state of emergency, and state officials expect the coming days (April 10-April 20) to produce the peak of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts. As of Wednesday, confirmed cases in Massachusetts are up to 16,790, according to The Boston Globe. But the toll of coronavirus isn't hitting all demographics equally. Reports from cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Detroit show that African Americans are experiencing disproportionate impacts from coronavirus. According to NBC, Chicago reported 70% of people who died from COVID-19 were black, though just 30% of their population is black. Similar disparities are appearing in Boston as well. Areas like Hyde Park, Mattapan, Dorchester, and East Boston that are home to large communities of color are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 than other neighborhoods in Boston. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is calling for demographic data on COVID-19 illnesses including racial data to address disparities in communities of color. Meanwhile out in Western Massachusetts, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz has recovered from COVID-19. He pops into The Horse Race’s virtual session to talk about how his city is managing a response. He says that the federal response was sluggish, and state-level actions didn't quite meet the level of aggression he felt they ought to. As a result, Narkewicz says, localities are finding their own footing on how best to adapt. Horse Race pollster extraordinaire Steve Koczela provides an update on how Massachusetts residents are feeling as the outbreaks impacts continue to charge ahead. According to new data from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and The MassINC Polling Group, the physical, emotional, and fiscal health of residents is taking a hit. People--especially lower-income, hourly, and part-time workers-- are losing jobs or wages, dealing with the constant onslaught of frightening headlines, and--particularly urban dwellers--are exercising and getting outdoors less frequently now. On the upside, people are connecting (virtually) with loved ones now more than before.
Watch the video version here! 4/1/20-- It’s been 11 days since Governor Charlie Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory to the people of Massachusetts, and today, he extended it from April 7th to May 4th. Since then he’s also asked that out-of-state visitors self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival to Massachusetts, or just don’t come here at all. Within the stay-at-home advisory is the mandate that schools and non-essential businesses remain closed until May 4th. These orders have brought up the question of, what defines an essential business? The state deemed recreational marijuana shops non-essential, but liquor stores essential, for example. The coronavirus pandemic’s impacts on our democracy keep coming, and the most recent example of that for Massachusetts elections was the cancellation of the Democratic National Convention. The convention, scheduled for May 30th in Lowell, was cancelled by party chairman Gus Bickford, and the convention endorsement effectively handed to incumbent Senator Ed Markey, facing challenger Joe Kennedy. Stephanie Murray clears up some of the confusion surrounding this news. The anxiety surrounding the future of our economy feels inescapable. And according to polling from The MassINC Polling Group and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the impacts are taking a different toll on the various groups that make up the workforce here in Massachusetts. Younger workers tend to bear more of the brunt of the economic toll, resident pollster Steve Koczela explains. Thank you very much to our listeners for their creative responses to the question, what is one thing you don't have in your quarantine bunker that you wish you did? Now, for this week's question: what's a new hobby you've picked up or an old one you've returned to as result of the long, quiet days?
3/25/20--It's another week of podcasting from our respective bunkers, and another week of coronavirus developments coming at us at breakneck speed. The impacts of the outbreak are even dipping into our elections even, exhibited by the moves to push back the March 31 special elections. Governor Charlie Baker administered a stay-at-home order, shuttering all non-essential businesses. Will Bay Staters listen to the Governor's call? According to the newest poll put out by The MassINC Polling Group and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the majority probably will, as most residents have already been tamping down their social interactions and non-essential errands already. Becky Walker Grossman is a Newton City Councillor running for Congress in the Massachusetts 4th Congressional District, and she joins Steve and Stephanie remotely to talk about her run. She says the outbreak has brought new significance to the issues that were important before all of this -- namely universal health care and access to childcare. 526950
3/18/20-- The spread of coronavirus has continued to ramp up across the state and the nation at large, and lots of people are switching to remote work. That includes us over at Horse Race Global Media HQ, so bear with us as we transition away from the comfort of our cozy podcast studio and wrangle with the technology that allows us to conduct interviews from a distance. Our first guest is Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, who updates us on how the Council operations have changed, and what it's like trying to connect with constituents in a time when connecting in person is medically inadvisable, but people are concerned and have many questions for local leaders. Next, Representative Jon Santiago serves the 9th Suffolk District of Massachusetts as both a member of the House of Representatives as well as an emergency room doctor for Boston Medical Center. He gives us a sense of what people -- both patients and fellow physicians -- are concerned about, as well as what policy ideas are circulating on the state and federal level to ensure the needs of our most vulnerable populations are met.
3/11/20-- This week on The Horse Race, we're celebrating International Women's Day with an all-female cast. We begin with the scary news of the ever-growing novel coronavirus that has now been officially dubbed a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Here in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker has declared a state of emergency, and as Politico reporter Stephanie Murray can attest, candidates campaigning for office are taking measures to limit human contact and reduce risk. WBUR reporter Zeninjor Enwemeka drops by talk about her recent coverage on the individual and state-level responses to the virus outbreak. Stores are suffering wipeouts of necessities like canned goods and toilet paper as consumers stock up for potential quarantine. But, she mentions, people she's spoken to are not exhibiting an attitude of panic, but rather an eagerness to be prepared. Meanwhile, the MBTA announced it will be cleaning and disinfecting its vehicles every four hours to tamp down on the spread of the contagious illness. Next up, Nina Liang, Quincy City Council President and executive director of Emerge Massachusetts makes a reappearance on The Horse Race, this time to talk about the national and state climate surrounding women in politics. Elizabeth Warren supporters were vocal about feeling dejected when the Massachusetts senator declared her withdrawal from the presidential race, and many of them pointed to the issue of sexism and the constant nagging buzz in Warren's ear that she didn't possess electability, a critique that's been widely branded as sexist on its face. Liang talks about the future of women in politics and what Emerge, an organization dedicated to aiding Democratic women who want to run for office, is doing about it. Finally, BFF of the pod and newly elected President of the Massachusetts State House Press Association Katie Lannan brings us an update on the new role as well as how the organization and the state legislature is doing in terms of gender parity.
3/5/20-- Super Tuesday has come and gone, and The Horse Race team is breaking down how it all unfolded. This week on our very special live edition, however, the Horse Racers were not the sole hosts! Gina Christo and Wilnelia Rivera of the Deep Democracy podcast served as special guest co-hosts, bringing insight and no shortage of hot takes to the conversation. Later, Will Rasky of Rasky Partners joins the discussion. He serves as an advisor to Unite The Country, an independent expenditure group supporting Joe Biden, and had a few things to say about the wild ride that has been Biden's ranking in the Democratic primary.
2/26/20-- Super Tuesday is now less than a week away, and once those results are in (which we will be breaking down at our live podcast the following Wednesday--register at, we will likely have a much better understanding of what the path to the nomination may look like. Our home state of Massachusetts is of course one of the 14 states participating in Super Tuesday, and Bernie Sanders is gunning for the 91 delegates the state has to offer. The Sanders campaign is putting on a 4-day music and canvassing festival known as Berniepalooza in Worcester starting Friday. Plus, Sanders rallies are set to take place in Springfield Friday and Boston Saturday. If Sanders is successful and wins the majority of Massachusetts delegates, that will leave a mark on home state Senator Elizabeth Warren's campaign. Joining as a guest on The Horse Race today is member of the Boston Democratic Socialists of America, Beth Huang. Boston DSA backs candidate Bernie Sanders, and Huang recently co-wrote an article on the subject of a potential contested convention--something Sanders has been vocal about opposing. Her tweet accompanying the article reads, "We will primary every superdelegate and take mass direct action if the DNC steals the nomination from Bernie Sanders."
2/19/20--We're coming at you today sandwiched between two debate nights. The first was yesterday's face-off between U.S. Senate candidates Congressman Joe Kennedy III and incumbent Ed Markey, and tonight's is, of course, the Democratic Primary Debate on the Las Vegas stage, where candidates Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. First, Jennifer and Stephanie recap last night's U.S. Senate debate hosted by WGBH. The two Democrats share most of the progressive views, and as Jenn noted, neither candidate voiced a succinct and definitive reason as to why he stands out in this race. "Both of these folks have been doing their, sort of, press tour about why Markey thinks he should keep the seat and why Kennedy thinks he should get it, but they didn't, either of them, really seem to have a short, quick, clean answer even after all of this time," Jenn said. -- Laws mandating that mental health be treated with the same level of seriousness and coverage as physical health have been on the books for 20 years now. But state lawmakers are now calling out a lack of regulation that has kept mental health on the back burner for decades, leaving many people with mental illness struggling. And last week, the Senate passed the Mental Health ABC Act. Steve sat down with Senators Julian Cyr and Cindy Friedman, two of the people responsible for the bill. Friedman said of the mental health parity laws that were first established 20 years ago, "I believe that the way that we enforced it was very general, and I think that what we saw is that it was just a lot of self-reporting." With the new legislation, Friedman says, "What we've done is say, 'Okay, we're really serious.'" Under the new bill, carriers would be responsible for reporting that they comply, and, as Friedman explains, "They have to show us, for instance, what the process is for determining whether a medical surgical benefit is covered versus what the process was for a similar mental health benefit." Cyr has had his fair share of mental health struggles and said that outpatient mental health therapy has been helpful in both managing his anxiety and "in helping me do things I never dreamed I could." Cyr himself has not been able to get consistent insurance coverage for his mental health care. "I'm probably one of the most savvy consumers you can imagine. I'm a 34-year-old State Senator. I know how to navigate bureaucracies and systems," Cyr said. "If I can't do this, imagine how many other people in the Commonwealth can't get the care they need and deserve."
2/12/20-- The day we've been talking about for months has come and gone: The New Hampshire Primary. It presented few surprises if you've been paying attention for the past couple of weeks. Pete Buttigieg won the Iowa Caucus, and Bernie Sanders has enjoyed first-place polling status in the state. Sanders came out on top with 25.7% of the vote with Buttigieg right behind at 24.4%. Amy Klobuchar pulled out a startling third-place finish with 19.8% and six delegates. Neither Elizabeth Warren (finishing fourth) nor Joe Biden (fifth) who've previously enjoyed instances of high popularity this campaign won a single New Hampshire delegate. Last week, after the release of new data from The MassINC Polling Group on Massachusetts residents' opinions on climate change , we talked a lot about net-zero carbon emissions. The goal of net-zero by 2050 is one shared by the Massachusetts Senate, House, and Executive Office. And during MPG's poll release event, Secretary Katie Theoharides of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs emphasized the importance of this science-based target. But we didn't delve into what exactly net-zero emissions by 2050 means nor what steps we can expect will be taken to get us there. For that, Steve spoke with Eugenia Gibbons, Policy Director for the Green Energy Consumers Alliance. "We have to reduce those emissions as quickly as possible," Gibbons said. "The first way you do that is to try to eliminate the amount of emissions you're putting into the air through your human activity, but then net-zero is achieved when you allow for other strategies to absorb the remaining carbon from the atmosphere so you can get to a place where there's zero." Steve brought up the debate swirling about whether to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, we should rely on existing sources of energy like natural gas as an interim step to ultimately get us to completely clean renewable energy. "The science tells us where we need to be. and we don't have anymore time to waste," Gibbons responded. "We do need to stop investing in fossil fuel infrastructure, and we do need to be looking at ways to accelerate adoption of clean alternatives. And the longer we take to do that, the harder it's going to be to get to where we need to be."
2/3/20-- Earth Day is not for another two months, but there's a lot of talk circling climate change in Massachusetts these days. Steve and Jenn break it down today with special guests, but first, an incident involving national horse race polling broke over the weekend that we at The Horse Race have a duty to address. A Des Moines Register / CNN poll surveying likely Democratic Iowa Caucus-goers was pulled before it was set for release Saturday night. According to Politico, a call center interviewer enlarged the question's font on their monitor, potentially cutting off some candidates' names in a randomized list following a question. Lis Smith, a senior adviser to Pete Buttigieg's campaign, announced the campaign had heard from a survey participant telling them not every candidate running was named when the interviewer asked who the participant supported. The incident prompted an empathetic response from Steve, our resident pollster here on the pod and president of The MassINC Polling Group who called the news "sad." "Polling involves dozens or even hundreds of things that you have to make sure are right, and they're all small things, and they're almost always all right because they're cut and paste from previous polls and that sort of thing. But something can go wrong, and something did go wrong here." The most recent poll conducted by The MassINC Polling Group avoided that fate, luckily. And it sheds new light on how Massachusetts residents think about climate change. First and foremost, the statewide poll of roughly 2,300 Massachusetts residents found that a majority of them see climate change as a serious challenge and are already feeling its impacts. There's a notable shift happening now in public opinion on climate change, which Steve can attest is rare. "On so many public opinion issues, it's just stable," he said. "The most visible example is Donald Trump's approval rating. This wild storm of stuff happening in national politics, and... nothing changes." On the issue of global warming, however, this poll finds 53% of Massachusetts residents say it is a high priority. That's a jump from 32% as recently as 2014. "This is one which reminds me more--potentially more-- of marijuana legalization opinion or same-sex marriage opinion where just inexorably over a period of years, stuff goes from one reality to a completely different reality." Find the detailed report at Turning now to Beacon Hill, Steve and Jenn make their way to the State House to speak with Senate President Karen Spilka and Senator Mike Barrett about the trio of climate bills passed by the state Senate last week. They include, among other things, the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, which, Sen. Barrett describes as, "a very ambitious goal." He said, "It puts Massachusetts right where the United Nations body wants the world to be, and in that sense we are offering world leadership." Senate President Spilka said of the legislation, "We recognize that people across the state are asking us to take action, so we strengthen our goals and our requirements for down the line." Plus, Spilka provides a look ahead at the Senate's next big priority: mental health.
1/29/20--Believe it or not, we are less than a week away from the Iowa caucuses, and the podcast bunker is filled with anticipation. Especially because after Iowa comes New Hampshire, and after New Hampshire, Super Tuesday when we all get to exercise our right to vote and revel in the democratic experience. In other news, the impeachment trial continues, and we turn to our very own pollster Steve Koczela to break down what voters think about whether Senators should call former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify during the trial. This comes after revelations that a book manuscript written by Bolton contains evidence that would incriminate the President. Stephanie Murray has just returned from New Hampshire, where she covered an Elizabeth Warren canvassing event and met campaign surrogates who connected with Warren after being victimized by the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. They shared their story with Stephanie. Finally, we turn to the most vocal advocate for an east-west rail link, State Senator Eric Lesser, whose high hopes for the potential project include improving the congestion crisis in Eastern Massachusetts and stimulating the economy in Western Massachusetts.
1/23/20--On Tuesday night, Governor Charlie Baker delivered his annual State of the Commmonwealth address, promising aggressive action to address climate change, a partnership with vocational schools and, in a breakaway from his usual stance, additional funding for the MBTA to the tune of $135 million. Stepping right into the chaos of Budget Day, Steve and Jenn drop by the State House to grill reporter and BFF of the pod Katie Lannan about what's inside the proposed state budget. Later, Rebecca Hart Holder, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, discusses the status of the ROE Act as well as the national threats to the landmark reproductive rights decision Roe v. Wade, which celebrates its 47th anniversary this week.
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