With U.S. Sen. Scott Brown making his willingness to work with Democrats and support from Democrats a theme of his reelection campaign, House Speaker Robert DeLeo is also making a point to show he's willing to work across the aisle. With 32 House Republican incumbents seeking reelection and 35 challengers on the ballot in November, Democrats face no threat of a Republican takeover in Washington and DeLeo's team of Democrat has no trouble outvoting Republicans as Democrats sometimes do in the U.S. Senate. During a WBZ-AM radio interview last week, DeLeo conceded that Democrats can say they'll keep control of the Massachusetts House next year due to the low volume of Republicans running. "I might even get some of those Republicans too. I'm aiming to get everybody next year," DeLeo said, adding, with regard to House Minority Leader Brad Jones, "I don't know Brad Jones might not agree with that."
When host Dan Rea said House Democrats seemed to get along with House Republicans, who he asserted are "not crazy," DeLeo said, "I'll tell you, this probably isn't the most popular thing to say in election year but I consider Brad Jones to be a good friend. We've worked on a whole host of issues together. We have an interesting relationship. Sometimes you can find us yelling and screaming at one another. But at the end of the day, what I'm most proud of, what we do in Massachusetts, is that we work together." Without mentioning Jones' support for a health care cost control law that recently divided House Republicans, DeLeo noted that Jones supported this year's state budget, expanded gaming legislation, and court system reform bills drafted by House Democrats.
"I'd have to say that whether it's Leader Jones or the members of the party, they're welcome to come into my office and quite frankly if they've got good ideas I'm open to them I don't care what you are, Democrat, Republican, north, south, east, west," DeLeo said. DeLeo agreed with Rea when he said that the "enmity" between the major parties in Washington D.C. does not appear to exist in the Massachusetts Legislature. "That's I think one of the great factors that we have here in Massachusetts, is the fact that we are able to work together in terms of the production of legislation," DeLeo said. - M. Norton/SHNS