Now that the election season is over, we are back with the Five Things you should know. Today's is a little late but will be earlier going forward.
1. The sky has not fallen
In a very tough year nationally, the MassGOP only lost a net of four seats in the legislature. This is after a concerted effort by the SEIU, MassTeachers, and others to unseat our newly elected representatives. In the end they were only able to unseat three reps in tough districts for us. We are still at higher numbers in the legislature than we've been in a generation on the House side. 2014 will be a great year, but we need to start the work now.
2. More "Fattman Republicans"
One of the more interesting things that happened to me on election night was telling Democratic State Committeewoman Mara Dolan that Ryan Fattman had won. She seemed genuinely surprised. Not only did Ryan win, he won with 70% of the vote. Jeff Jacoby sees a way forward for the MassGOP, the "Fattman Republican" model.
Maybe what it really needs are more "Fattman Republicans."
Ryan Fattman is a young state representative from Sutton, first elected to the Legislature two years ago and reelected last week with 70 percent of the vote despite a strong Democratic challenge. Talk to Fattman about Republican prospects in Massachusetts, and he doesn't bend your ear with laments about a toxic "brand" or how the national GOP platform is too extreme. He talks instead about liberty, limited government, and low taxes. About how the "R" after hisname stands for "reform." About how Massachusetts is one of the most difficult states to do business in, thanks to a Democratic monopoly that is "intrusive and expensive."
Instead of trying to recruit big names to run for office, Fattman says, the state GOP should be focused on the grass roots. The party needs candidates with close ties to their communities and the patience to learn the political ropes. But above all it needs candidates who can explain, with enthusiasm and clarity, what Republicans are offering: a Massachusetts "that empowers its citizens with autonomy and initiative."
What's wrong with Bay State Republicans is that too many of them just want to be on the winning side. Fattman knows why he wants to win and why he wants to do so with an "R" after his name.
Hearings are set this week on the New England Compounding Center scandal. Deval Patrick's Department of Public Health played a significant role in this scandal, focusing on social issues instead of doing their job. It will be interesting to see if the legislature uses it's power to swear the actors in, to ensure that the truth is told.
4. Bob DeLeo's one man "trade mission" to Italy
State House News Service is reporting that Speaker of the House Bob DeLeo is traveling to Italy this week on a one-man trade mission.
-- House Speaker Robert DeLeo is headed for Italy next week on what he's calling an "economic mission" that will take him to Milan, Turin, Rome and Naples. Aides said DeLeo is not traveling with any other public officials.
When you call your vacation an "economic mission" you can use your campaign account to pay for it. Sneaky man that Bob DeLeo.
5. State Tax Collections fall a quarter billion short
In a sign that the State's economy may be slowing down, Tax revenues are falling a quarter of a billion dollars below revenue estimates, so says State House News Service.
State tax collections are running more than a quarter billion dollars behind projections only four months into fiscal 2013 and Gov. Deval Patrick's budget aides say mid-year spending cuts are more likely, and sooner rather than later.