Reporter's Notebook: Galvin-Collins kerfuffle over state committee slot

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Mar. 8, 2012

An intra-party squabble spiced up an otherwise sleepy Super Tuesday as a state representative from South Boston and an activist from Dorchester faced off for a state Democratic Party committee slot. Craig Galvin, a Dorchester Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for City Council last year, has been waging a write-in campaign to be the committeeman for the First Suffolk Senate district. A man and a woman from each of the state’s 40 Senate districts are elected to committee seats, which are up for grabs every four years in the presidential election year.

After state Sen. Jack Hart (D-South Boston) passed on another run at the state committee seat last year, Galvin jumped in, but a signature-gathering snafu prevented his name from making it onto the March 6 ballot, forcing him to run as a write-in.

Last week, another Democrat said he was running his own write-in campaign: state Rep. Nick Collins of South Boston. Because of the write-in voting, results were not expected to be available until later this week, after the Reporter went to press.

Primary turnout in the city was anemic, with just under 8 percent of Boston voters going to the polls. Former Gov. Mitt Romney, a Belmont Republican, won 7,562 votes, or 69.2 percent, in Boston. Texas Congressman Ron Paul came in second, with 13.3 percent of the vote, and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum received 11 percent.

Statewide, Romney appeared to pick up 72 percent of the vote to Santorum’s 12 percent and Paul’s 10 percent.

President Obama, a Chicago Democrat, did not have any opponents on the ballot, and in Boston, he racked up 12,980 votes.

The weekend before Super Tuesday, Galvin said Collins called him to tell him he was running. Galvin said he was “shocked to hear that he was running because of his commitment to me earlier.”

But Collins disputes that, saying he was neither asked for an endorsement of Galvin nor did he give one. He said he learned of the open seat from Galvin and eventually decided he wanted to run.

In an e-mail over the weekend to supporters, Collins wrote, “I have been working with constituents, colleagues, and advocates on issues that need to balance the intersection of spending and human services. Having a strong voice at the convention to help shape the platform of the party is a role that I want to play.” The state convention will be held in for Springfield on June 2.

The Collins e-mail also laid out how to put a sticker with Collins’s information on the presidential primary ballot.

On Sunday night, state Treasurer Steve Grossman’s campaign posted to Twitter an endorsement of Collins.

Galvin said he has the support of Collins’s colleagues in Dorchester’s all-Democratic State House delegation, including Hart, City Councillor Frank Baker and state Reps. Marty Walsh, Linda Dorcena Forry, and Carlos Henriquez.

“I’ve been in this race for months. I pulled papers to run for this seat,” Galvin said Monday. “I’m dedicated to the Democratic Party and look forward to representing the people of the First Suffolk District.”

In maiden speech, Baker calls for 24/7 substance abuse helpline
District 3 City Councillor Frank Baker, in his first speech to his colleagues, last week called for a 24-hour substance abuse help line, saying the city and the state do not have a round-the-clock service.
Substance abuse help lines do exist at the city and state level, but they do not function 24 hours a day, according to Baker. “We need to ask ourselves why we don’t have a helpline in the City of Boston, why the services provided are not available 24 hours a day, and what we can do to make this invaluable resource accessible to our residents,” Baker said.

The freshman city councillor said the issue is personal for him; he lost a 25-year-old niece to heroin last year and a brother to drug overdose 19 years ago. The latter sent him into a negative spiral and resulted in an arrest record, which came up during the 2011 campaign.

“As many of you may know, the prognosis for substance abuse recovery is further improved by being able to easily access community-based social supports,” Baker said. “By expanding access to substance abuse support, the residents of Boston dealing with issues surrounding substance abuse will be better equipped to understand their options, help themselves or those in need gain access to programs, and hopefully reduce the number of drug overdoses in the City of Boston.”

Former mayor Flynn backs Brown on ‘conscience clause’
Former Mayor Ray Flynn last week wrote a letter of support for U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s push for a “conscience clause” exempting employers from covering contraceptive services based on religious or moral objections.

“As a proud American and strong defender of the US Constitution, I want to thank you for your courageous political and moral leadership on this and other issues,” Flynn, a conservative Democrat and a former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, said in the letter, which was released by Brown’s office. “I intend to tell anyone who will listen how you stood tall in protecting the human and civil rights of everyone.”

The Senate voted 51-48 last Thursday to kill the “conscience clause” measure; Democrats have blasted the amendment as too broad.

Flynn voted for Brown, a Wrentham Republican, in the 2010 special election to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. In October, Flynn escorted the freshman senator around the Irish Heritage Festival in Adams Corner.

Brown is up for reelection in the fall and facing Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

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