Marie St. Fleur

Dorchester delegation joins House in supporting DiMasi

Members of the Dorchester delegation stood squarely behind state House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi's re-election bid earlier this month as ethics questions cast a cloud over his close associates.

Local lawmakers, all fellow Democrats, said DiMasi has run the 160-member House well and has kept an "open-door policy." They also cited his focus on the economy as they head into the new legislative session, which officially started on Wednesday, Jan. 7 with the vote on DiMasi as their first item of business.  Read more

Lawmakers prepare flurry of bills for deadline

Preserving education. Reforming of the criminal offender information system. Protecting local aid to cities and towns.

Those are some of the issues facing lawmakers as they prepare to kick off another two-year session. And those are just the ones that are personal to them. Looming large are changes to the state's transportation infrastructure, and pension and ethics reforms.

Keeping safe local aid - which cities and towns depend on from the state to pay for teachers, firefighters and police - is a top priority for most, including the Dorchester legislators.  Read more

Pay bump for lawmakers a political consideration this year

State lawmakers are in line for a pay raise this year, and that includes the Dorchester delegation.

Thanks to a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution, lawmakers receive pay hikes every two years. The governor is tasked with deciding how much of a raise lawmakers will receive and the governor's Executive Office of Administration and Finance is due to issue its calculation of the raise this week.

While their Republican colleagues have called for a one-year freeze on any salary increase because of the stagnant economy, local lawmakers this week defended the coming pay bump.  Read more

Former rival: St. Fleur has been a disappointment

It is inevitable that there will be a changing of the guard relative to representation for people of color at the State House. With the defeat of Dianne Wilkerson in the primary and her recent indictment, the communities of color could lose their most articulate and effective voice in the Legislature.  Read more

Drop-out bill establishes commission

Gov. Deval Patrick last week signed a bill aimed at reducing the school drop-out rate by setting up a commission to look into the problem. The bill (S 2766) was shepherded through the Legislature by Dorchester's state Rep. Marie St. Fleur.

Boston has a 40 percent drop-out rate, according to Lew Finfer, executive director of the Massachusetts Communication Action Network. Dropouts also earn $465,000 less in their lifetime than high school graduates.  Read more

Only token opponents for St. Fleur, Hart

A pair of perennial candidates will challenge two of Dorchester's most powerful incumbent lawmakers this fall in a sleepy state election cycle that will likely benefit from a huge turnout for the presidential showdown in November.

Marie St. Fleur, a state representative since 1999 and vice-chair of the Committee on Ways and Means, was re-elected to the Fifth Suffolk seat with a roaring 84 percent in 2006. Now, she will gear up for another re-election campaign and for a familiar challenger, Roy Owens, in the Democratic primary in September.  Read more

Keeping up with the pols and their spending habits

One local lawmaker returned money to an Indian tribe after their leader disgraced himself. A senator spent $85 on make-up for the St. Patrick's Day breakfast in South Boston. And the rest of Dorchester's State House delegation showered their campaign funds on local charities and flower shops.

Campaign finance reports, available at the Office of Campaign and Political Finance's website, are a goldmine for political junkies and politicians eager to see where their colleagues and potential opponents stand. They can also be a source of some headaches.  Read more