Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who is not yet seriously rumored to join the Biden administration, started the new year by vetoing a sweeping climate change bill.
The 2021 Boston mayor’s race was blown wide open earlier this month when then-President-elect Joe Biden announced Mayor Marty Walsh as his pick for labor secretary.
Prior to the Jan 6 announcement, City Councilors Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell were the only contenders who had announced plans to run for mayor. Wu, as an at-large councilor, enjoys citywide support that could make her an early front-runner.
Meanwhile, if Walsh gets confirmed in DC after March 5 (his departure date is unannounced), current City Council President Kim Janey would become acting mayor without any need for a special election that Walsh leaving earlier than that could trigger short of intervention from the Council and a blessing from the legislature. Janey has not announced any plans to run herself, but things could always change once she is the incumbent. As many pundits have reminded us these past few weeks, that road to the big desk, from fill-in to elected mayor, also describes the iconic ascendancy of former Boston patriarch Tom Menino.
At the time of this writing, no one else had officially announced their candidacy, but there have been a few people openly testing the waters. Marty Martinez, the current head of the Walsh’s Health and Human Services department, has publicly said he was open to a run, which would be interesting to say the least. Boston Police Commissioner William Gross, who as recently as 2018 was referring to himself as a Milton resident, has also expressed an interest in running.
Technically, the US Senate still has to confirm Walsh’s appointment before he vacates his job in the mayor’s office, but based on his State of the City address earlier this month, he expects to skip town soon.
“The truth is I’m not going to Washington alone,” Walsh said. “I’m bringing Boston with me. This city is not just my hometown, it’s my heart.”
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who is not yet seriously rumored to join the Biden administration, started the new year by vetoing a sweeping climate change bill that was sent to his desk in the last minutes of the 2020 session. The measure would have created new standards for green housing and requirements that all cars sold after 2035 be electric. Without any specifics about the legislation, Baker wrote that he had concerns with parts of the legislation in an open letter announcing his intention to veto.
The Democrat-dominated House and Senate refiled the climate bill on Jan 20, about a week after Baker first vetoed it.
“The ambitious and groundbreaking climate bill that we sent with overwhelming bipartisan support from both the Senate and the House meets the urgency of the global climate crisis,” Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ron Mariano wrote in a joint statement. “Months of work was exhaustively studied by members of the conference committee, and the result was a bill that rejects the false choice between economic growth and addressing climate change.”
Baker also used his veto power to strike out portions of a large transportation bill on Jan 15. He signed off on much of the spending in the bill, but blocked new fees on Uber and Lyft that would have gone back into the state’s transportation infrastructure.
Regardless of how Baker’s administration addresses the Commonwealth’s needs, he will have to do so with a new face at the head of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Last week, transit secretary Stephanie Pollack was tapped by the Biden administration to join the Federal Highway Administration.
Joe Biden is now the 46th president of the United States. Two-thirds of voters in this state supported the blue team, but it remains to be seen if his presidency has an impact on the Bay State beyond spurring a shuffling of the political deck.
Biden’s initial actions in the Oval Office included issuing of executive orders clarifying protections against transgender and gay people, with others extending a national moratorium on evictions through March, as well as numerous actions addressing immigration and COVID-19.
Biden also canceled the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported crude oil from Canada into the US. The pipeline was opposed by environmental activists and championed by energy companies, which is likely why the Association of Oil Pipelines was feeding conservative news media the line that Biden’s move already killed tens of thousands of jobs (the exact figure fluctuated between disreputable outlets).
Despite Biden’s work reversing orders put in place by Donald Trump, Boston activists rallied along with others nationwide on Inauguration Day. Their message: This is a moderate administration, and people ought to watch Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris closely.
“Trump was only a symptom of the crisis we’re facing, not the cause,” said Jai Chavis of the Independent Socialist Group that demonstrated on the Common. “I’ll tell you right now, Biden is not the cure.”
Zack is a veteran reporter. He writes for DigBoston and VICE, and formerly reported for the Boston Courant and Bulletin Newspapers.