Reporter's Notebook: No groundswell yet in wake of bigfoot push for Markey

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Jan. 10, 2013

If the primary goal of supportive statements from US Sen. John Kerry and other top Democrats was to clear the field for Congressman Ed Markey in a special election to replace Kerry after he takes the oath as President Obama’s secretary of state, the moves have yet to publicly bear any fruit. Other Democrats continue to consider a run for the Senate seat, including Congressmen Stephen Lynch and Michael Capuano and state Sen. Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield).

“We’re still looking at it,” Lynch said Monday, while leaving City Hall. A South Boston Democrat who shares Dorchester with Capuano, he was in the building for the City Council’s first meeting of the year.

“We’re still looking very closely at it,” Lynch said of the special election. “No final decision yet. But we’ve got a little bit of time.”

When asked what his timeline for a decision is, Lynch said the schedule for the Senate to confirm Kerry’s appointment– which will formally set off the race to replace him – remains “fluid.”

On a quiet Friday between Christmas and New Year’s, Kerry, Vicki Kennedy and the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee all issued statements praising Markey, a Malden Democrat who has served in the House for 18 terms. He has said that if the Kerry appointment takes hold he would be a candidate in the special election, which would be expected to take place in the summer.

Whether a contested Democratic primary is a good thing depends on whom you talk to. State Treasurer Steven Grossman, a former Democratic Party chair at the state and federal level, said a contested primary isn’t “such a bad thing.” If others jump in, “that’s what democracy is all about,” he said on WCVB’s Sunday chat show, “On The Record.”

Mayor Thomas Menino told the Reporter that he was “open-minded” about backing candidates. “Let’s see who the candidates are. It’s too early.” Currently, he said, “I’m not backing anyone, contrary to some rumors that I hear out there.”

Former US Sen. Scott Brown, a Wrentham Republican who lost his seat to Elizabeth Warren in November, could be a contender. But if he jumps in, that would mean he’d be be battling and fundraising for a third run in four years. “That’s pretty difficult,” Menino said.

Grossman: I’d be ‘comfortable’ sitting in the governor’s office
Treasurer Grossman said this week he’s “leaning strongly” toward running for governor in 2014. On WCVB’s “On the Record,” Grossman told the hosts that he hasn’t made a decision yet. “Governor’s the chief executive of the state. We all know that,” Grossman said. “It’s a role I’m very comfortable playing. I’ve played it in business for many years, nonprofit organizations, the last two years at treasury.”

Grossman was elected treasurer in 2010, fending off a primary challenge from City Councillor Stephen Murphy and besting Republican state Rep. Karyn Polito.

Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray has also expressed interest in running for the post, which will be up in 2014 due to Gov. Deval Patrick saying he won’t be seeking a third term.

The State House News Service on Tuesday reported a potential third contender: Dr. Donald Berwick, a Newton Democrat who worked as a health care administrator under President Obama. He told the News Service he is “strongly considering” a run for governor.

Yancey says City Hall counsel apologized to him
City Councillor Charles Yancey says the city’s corporation counsel, who represents Boston in legal matters, apologized to him the day after the two of them lashed out at one another during a City Council hearing on diversity in government.

Yancey said that Bill Sinnott went over to the councillor’s office and said he regretted the heated discussion at the Dec. 18 hearing. Despite a Reporter inquiry, Sinnott was not available to verify Yancey’s claim.

For all that, Yancey said the private apology was not enough. “His apology has to be a public one,” Yancey said, declining to say what Sinnott told him after Yancey requested it.

At the hearing, Sinnott lashed out at Yancey when he and other city officials had been given but several minutes to respond to over an hour of testimony from a few individuals of color who claimed they had been passed over for promotions at city departments.

Sinnott called the hearing a “farce” and accused Yancey, who represents Dorchester and Mattapan, of “grandstanding.” Sinnott also defended his department, saying five out of 28 attorneys are people of color. “We’re not happy with that number,” he said. He added that they are always working to increase the number. In response, Yancey called Sinnott unprofessional and “offensive.”

Yancey’s office sent out a press release after the hearing, headlined, “Yancey Investigates Boston’s Personnel Practices and Contracting Policies.” The release did not mention the back-and-forth between Yancey and Sinnott, detailing the testimony instead. It closed with Yancey pledging “future investigations” and a quote from the hearing: “If any of you are under the allusion [sic] that this is the last time I’m going to raise this issue, then you are mistaken.”

Patrick promotes Dorchester’s Powers
Rosemary Powers, a Savin Hill resident and former aide to state Sen. Jack Hart, received a promotion within Gov. Patrick’s administration last week. Formerly the senior director of government affairs, Powers will move up to deputy chief of staff for government affairs, working on Patrick’s legislative agenda. A release announcing her new job title noted that she is “the main point of contact in the Governor’s Office for elected officials at the state and local levels.”

Powers, a Suffolk University graduate, served as Hart’s chief of staff before taking the chief of staff’s position at the Department of Environmental Protection. Powers ascended to intergovernmental affairs in January 2011, tapped for a job once held by another Dorchester resident, Charlotte Golar Richie.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Check out updates to Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at Material from State House News Service was used in this report. Email us at and follow us on Twitter: @LitDrop and @gintautasd.