With the 2014 Massachusetts Republican Primary just days away, I hope GOP activists ask themselves one crucial if not existential question before they cast their vote. The question they all should seriously ponder is this: will the candidate they support maintain the status quo for Beacon Hill's minority party or will said candidate join other like-minded Republicans in electing new leadership representing a new GOP when the time comes for its members to do so?
If activists are happy with the faux opposition party on Beacon Hill led by Brad Jones then - by all means - said activists should proudly vote for those GOP candidates who get a thrill up their leg at the thought of being a dependable rubber stamp. And if Jones prevails thanks to said candidates, said activists shouldn't bitch & moan over the gradual yet continuing diminishment of the Massachusetts Republican Party as a serious political party in the eyes of the voters.
If activists are unhappy with Jones' obsequious relationship with Democrat House Speakers (no matter who holds the title), his indifference towards the Republican rank-&-file, & his lack of interest (if not imagination) in building an effective opposition party with an eye towards one day making the GOP the majority party, then said activists & their respective networks of family, friends, & colleagues should identify & vote for those who share their vision of a post-Jones Republican Party. It's going to take time & a lot of effort to make that dream a reality. But the time to effectuate that change starts on September 9, 2014. Think strategically. Be the change you seek. Vote for change this Tuesday.
(A former state representative colleague of Jones weighs in - promoted by Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno)
It used to be that the Minority Leader was the leader of the opposition. Maybe we should change it to Minority Cheerleader, because it seems there is no limit to the ridiculous things Brad Jones is willing to do to curry favor with Speaker DeLeo.
I'll start with a recap of the situation we're all aware of. We're being overrun by illegal aliens, and our government - both state and federal - is pushing them onto us as if it is the duty of Massachusetts or the United States to feed, clothe, and educate the entire planet via the forced extraction of taxes from our population.
Let's be perfectly clear: There is no humanitarianism in government. Deval Patrick let a teenage girl languish in a Boston hospital, ripped away from her parents, for 16 months. He has a 77 acre property in the Berkshires, absolutely none of which he is pledging to aid this "humanitarian crisis." Your faith and your values call you to act, Deval? You had better hope St. Peter buys your story, because I don't. Go chat up your progressive piety somewhere else. It is a shame that your heart is the exact size and shape of my wallet, and if I ever see you in person I intend to shame you myself.
Fortunately, I am a blessed man. Living in Taunton I have two of the best State Representatives one could possibly ask for, and their work on this issue proves it. Most of us followed, and likely attended yesterday's rally at the State House, for which Shaunna O'Connell was a large part and an able speaker for the cause. Shaunna has been bringing the fight to Beacon Hill on important issues, and has the recognition for it.
Earlier this month RMG diarist, The Angelic One, posted on the current saga at Market Basket. He outlined steps employees Associates could take to affect change at their beloved company. The Market Basket Associates seem to be taking his advice to heart.
This week headquarters associates demanded that the board reinstate Arthur T. Demoulas or they were going to exercise a work stoppage before the weekend. This prompted the new leadership team of Thornton and Gooch - who ran Radio Shack and Shaws into the ground - to say any employee who walks out would be fired.
With their demands not met, the entire headquarters operation is staging a work stoppage tomorrow. They are standing up for their principles, regardless of the consequences to them. It is a profile in leadership that Brad Jones should aspire to.
From the Save Market Basket Facebook Page.
Today's Meeting with F&G
Today at 3pm, F&G met with all HQ associates and told them that they have not gotten an answer from the Board regarding the demand to bring back ATD. They talked of a letter they sent to all associates which stated that any person who makes the decision to not go to work will be permanently replaced because they will have been seen as abandoning their jobs. HQ associates who were firm in their beliefs before this meeting became enraged at the threatening tone of the letter. Their livelihoods, their families, their association with the company they all love were being put in jeopardy for even thinking about protesting the current regime's plan to change forever the Market Basket way. Many of our associates spoke passionately, with voices shaking, and Gooch could only respond "Do your jobs. Do your jobs." More than one noted that ATD never spoke to them in such a way.
These two were given one simple job to do by all at HQ last week: get an answer for us. They did not do their job. Instead they focused on threatening each and every family member we have at HQ.
The meeting ended with associates walking away from F&G more irate and firm in their resolve than ever. Tomorrow, July 18, one year to the day that we had a rally in Andover, our associates at HQ will not be going to work. They will be backing up their words with actions and will be standing up for something they care so much for. They once again send the message to the board to bring back ATD and to the stores that they simply give them their support and nothing else. Continue to take care of our customers.
They Are Market Basket.
We Are Market Basket
If these employees are fired, I have shopped at Market Basket for the last time.
Hopefully Brad Jones and his leadership team are taking notes...
Yesterday, in closing arguments, federal prosecutors named Democratic Speaker of the House Bob DeLeo as an unindicted co-conspirator in a bribery scheme for public jobs. This came in closing arguments of the months long probation trial at the federal court house on Fan Pier in South Boston.
The Boston Globe wrote a story about lawmakers who lamented the prosecution's descriptions of DeLeo. Those lamenting the poor treatment of Mr. Speaker, include DeLeo's chief Republican lieutenant Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-Reading).
Representative Bradley H. Jones Jr., the House Republican leader, said the trial's depiction of insiders trading jobs for votes has been "a huge demonstration of the shortcomings of one-party government."
Yet he refrained from attacking his Democratic rival personally, pointing out that prosecutors have not charged DeLeo with any crime. "The old saying is, 'Where do you go to get your reputation back?' " Jones said.
That's right, the supposed leader of the opposition, who in reality is just another park of DeLeo's leadership team, basically defended the actions of the Speaker.
By doing so he removed one of the strongest attacks Republican candidates have against the corrupt Democratic majority. Once again foiling the electoral prospects of the party he purports to be a leader of.
It is time that we change Beacon Hill. That begins with the resignation, or replacement of Brad Jones as the majority protecting Minority Leader.
Call your members of the State Committee and ask them to publicly call for Jones resignation. Without it, we will remain a minority party in perpetuity.
BY VOTES so lopsided they were practically unanimous, 144-7 in the House and 38-1 in the Senate, the Massachusetts Legislature last week approved a $36.5 billion budget for fiscal 2015, the largest in state history. The puny band of Republicans who voted against the budget - Senator Robert Hedlund and Representatives James Lyons, Leah Cole, Geoff Diehl, Shawn Dooley, Ryan Fattman, Marc Lombardo, and Leonard Mirra - had no hope of changing the outcome. They didn't even represent a majority of the negligible GOP caucus.
They did, however, take their duties as elected legislators seriously enough to not merely cast a protest vote, but also explain it. None did so more notably than Lyons and Lombardo, who wrote a 1,250-word memo detailing "Why We Voted Against the Budget," and posted it online. The two representatives, both in their second terms, laid out seven principal - and principled - objections to the budget. Among them:
"When someone asks me, have I read the 500 pages that came out this morning? - I printed them off, I'm glancing through them," Representative Denise Andrews of Orange said, according to State House News Service. "But I haven't read it, and I won't, because I believe in the process that we're engaged in. I came in three years ago and have witnessed nothing but excellence and fiscal management from the chairman of Ways and Means and his team."
Lyons and Lombardo, who also entered the Legislature three years ago, take a very different view of their responsibilities. "We need a vigorous clash of ideas about how tax dollars should be spent," says Lyons, a former Democrat. "A small group of us are determined to promote a fiscally conservative philosophy, and we think if we promote it openly, the support will build."
You don't have to be a conservative or a Republican to appreciate that attitude - just a citizen who understands that democratic self-rule wasn't made for unquestioning sheep, and wants a state government that understands it too.
It is time to retire Brad Jones from his leadership position. The time for aquiesence is over.
With House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's historic defeat in yesterday's Virginia GOP primary, the Tea Party movement has managed to score an impressive victory after a series of failed challenges against other Republican incumbents.
National Review Online's Joel Gehrkehas already sorted out the winners & losers. I tend to agree with him that immigration reform is dead for this year & that the divisions within the GOP will continue to play themselves out.
Can it happen here in Massachusetts? Will Tea Party candidates (or candidates supported by the Tea Party) field enough GOP candidates who, if they win, have enough votes to replace current House Republican Minority Leader Brad Jones with someone more attuned to the party's grassroots? We'll have to wait & see, won't we?
Last week Red Mass Group looked at which Masachusetts Republican State Representatives had the most cash on hand. Today we'll look at who raised the most cash in 2013. Based on records from the Office of Campaign and Political finance the average raised by incumbent Republican State Representatives was $21,236 and the median was $15,680.
Leading fundraising by GOP incumbents was Brad Jones with $65,148, followed by Ryan Fattman with $59,814, Shaunna O'Connell with $51,409, Leah Cole with $43,350 and Vinny Demacedo with $39,006. Cole's numbers include the amount raised for her special election in the beginning of 2013.
A review of campaign finance reports filed with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance shows that Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-Reading) and Ryan Fattman(R-Webster) lead all incumbent Republican Representatives in fundraising. Jones and Fattman are both above $100,000 in cash on hand to begin the 2014 election season. The average cash on hand for GOP Representatives is $25,634, but the median is almost $12,000 below that at $13,822.
The top five GOP incumbents for cash on hand are:
Brad Jones $132,519.00
Ryan Fattman $106,179.00
Susan Gifford $51,729.00
Steven Howitt $48,645.42
Brad Hill $47,812.35
The bottom five GOP incumbents for cash on hand are:
Kim Ferguson $4,158.69
David Viera $3,862.25
Sheila Harrington $3,085.13
Leah Cole $2,899.67
Don Wong $314.32
Leah Cole's (R-Peabody) showing is because of archaic campaign finance laws in the Commonwealth which have a yearly, not election based cap on donations. Since Cole won in an early 2013 special election, there was a cap on her donations for the year. Anyone that gave $500, for that special election, could not give again in 2013. This significantly hampered Cole's ability to fundraise.
A full listing of all the incumbents can be found below the jump.
As my RMG colleague Rob Eno pointed out today, Massachusetts House of Representatives Minority Leader Brad Jones scrambled to co-author legislation designed to amend the rules of the House so that the restriction to bills on the House floor would be lifted. This victory for transparency was made possible by a hearty band of Republican House members dubbed the "Gang of Five". The resolution filed by Dan Winslow was supported by his plucky Gang of Five colleagues Shaunna O'Connell, Jim Lyons, Marc Lombardo, & Geoff Diehl. Everyone else - including Democrats! - knew a good thing when they saw it & quickly threw their support behind the legislation. The rest, as they say, was history.
But the question remains: why didn't Jones himself take the initiative to challenge the lack of transparency promulgated by Speaker of the House Bob DeLeo? Why did he wait till the last minute to help his GOP colleagues? WHY?
As Eno pointed out in another post, special election Republican candidates Carol Claros & David Steinhof actually did pretty good considering the fact that both first-time candidates had scarce resources & their respective races happened deep within Democrat territory. Still, DeLeo had no problems publicly pounding the pavement & shaking the money tree for the members of HIS party like Dan Donahue (Claros' opponent) who were also running in those special elections.
Now where was the Minority Leader when two Republican candidates had a chance to win two open seats? Sure, the MA House Republican PAC doled out $500 & Jones personally donated $100 to Claros (no word yet if he did the same thing for Steinhof), but...but was THAT all he did? Why wasn't an independent expenditure from the GOP PAC done for either Claros or Steinhof? Jones allowed his name to be attached to an invitation to an event for Steinhof but he never showed up at said event. In fact he was completely absent from ANY event staged for Claros & Steinhof. He was a NO-SHOW!!!
Some Establishment Republicans may titter over a cartoon & squeal, "where's Waldo?" but ALL GOP activists should righteously respond with "the hell with Waldo - where's Jones? What's he doing? Where's the leadership?"
When I called upon Republicans in the MA House of Representatives to start thinking about a post-Brad Jones GOP (& to act upon it), one person responded by stating that rank-and-file Republicans must like him as a leader otherwise he wouldn't get re-elected. But that argument to me doesn't mean anything. Fear can make people do things that are against their political principles (let alone the principles of their political party) - especially when they witness what happens to other members of their caucus who are perceived to lose favor with (or incur the envy of) Jones himself.
Take for example Jones' decision to remove Shaunna O'Connell from the Ways & Means Committee & replace her with Matt Beaton. I'm sure Beaton is a nice guy but he comes from a district that's considered "safe" for a Republican. O'Connell comes from the city of Taunton - not exactly a bastion of GOP strength. You'd think that a rising star like O'Connell would find a mentor in Jones. You'd think that he would keep her in a high profile position to give her the leverage she needs in a city like Taunton. You'd think that both Jones & O'Connell would work together on an urban strategy that is ESSENTIAL for the GOP's long-term success. "Let's win one for the Gipper," you'd hope they'd cheer!
But then again I pinch myself & remember that it's Brad Jones we're talking about here. Not exactly the brightest bulb in the closet when it comes to Republican strategy in both its short term & long term forms. That lack of mentorship & support was demonstrated yet again when a study done by Leah Cole didn't get passed in a conference committee report on the budget. If Jones wanted that study to get through, it would've gone through in a heartbeat.
But does Jones have the heart to assist his members? From what I've heard, Jones has been AWOL when it comes to attending the few available events for GOP state representative candidate Carol Claros as she runs for office.
Notice the pattern here? Jones appears to distance himself from strong, independent Republican women whose leadership qualities present a sharp contrast to the "lead-from-behind" boy's club that best exemplifies the House Minority Leader's office. That wasn't always the case (Elizabeth Poirier was appointed by Jones to be Assistant House Minority Whip) so one has to wonder why Jones no longer cultivates women to hold positions of power within the House Minority Leader's office. Well, maybe that's the price a party pays when it allows its alleged leaders to enjoy automatic re-appointments when the record shows said leaders no longer merit their position (&, in fact, hurt the party the longer they cling to power). Jones is a relic of the past & should be placed in a GOP museum. We need new blood - ASAP!
The recent revelations that House Minority Leader Brad Jones has acted as an enabler for Beacon Hill's majority party in the House of Representatives should come as no surprise to long time Republican activists.
Jones has been & will continue to be an apt symbol of GOP impotence. He is comfortable with a status quo that he hopes will reward him with perks & a nice pension once he retires from public life. He has no interest in rocking the boat. He has no interest in effectuating genuine political change. Jones is content to play a faux opposition leader & he gets away with it because too few within the party call him out on it. Most of them are too busy fawning over his fake leadership credentials & his manufactured "celebrity". Want to see human self debasement in action? Check out the Republicans who get weak at the knees and gush over Jones when he deigns to acknowledge their presence.
The GOP State Committee should have as an agenda item a meeting with both Jones & Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr in order to determine why both men have failed to advance Republican ideas & elect more Republican candidates. Is that likely to happen? Not with the current makeup of the membership. Members of the House GOP, however, should instigate among themselves some serious discussions about a post-Jones era on Beacon Hill. It's LONG overdue.
After reading yesterday's story about Marc Lombardo and Jim Lyons fighting for Members's Rights on the House Floor during informal sessions, you may ask yourself, what's the big deal? Only uncontroversial bills are supposed to pass during informal session.
The problem is that over the past 10 months three bills advanced during informal session that warranted the full house acting with a roll call. Here are those bills you can judge for yourself.
Coffee shops, bistros, and so-called holes in the wall will no longer be allowed to skirt a state health regulation if a bill passed by the Massachusetts House Tuesday becomes law.
The bill would close a loophole that exempts restaurants with fewer than 25 seats from a state law that requires such businesses to have someone on site who is trained in the procedures for removing food lodged in someone's throat, said state Representative Ruth Balser, Democrat of Newton.
Dave Andleman of the Restaurant and Business Alliance explained the bills ramifications.
"With the Massachusetts hospitality industry losing 7,000 jobs in the last 3 months, we should not add more costs to our small businesses," David Andelman, alliance president, said in a statement.
"While we applaud the good intention of this bill, it is not fair that this vague bill burdens any businesses with liability for something beyond their control," Andelman said.
You may remember, earlier this year, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a $4B supplemental budget in informal session. This was with no debate, and could have been stopped if one member of the house objected, as these are the rules during informal sessions. The Republican Leadership Office, led by Bradley Jones (R-Reading) did not object to this spending bill.
This was the impetus for the conservative faction of the the Republican Caucus to start attending informal sessions, to stop bad legislation and spending bills from being passed while virtually no-one was in the House Chamber. As part of that process the conservative members were given access to the "can", the place where the days bills are kept, near the Rostrum.
That changed this week. Speaker DeLeo's office gave notice to the Republican Leadership Office (RLO) that only one person from both parties would be allowed near the Rostrum during informal sessions.
Red Mass Group has obtained Bradley Jones' email to members outlining the change.
Dear GOP Colleagues:
I am writing to let you know the Republican Leadership has been informed by the Speaker's office that only members of the Republican Leadership or the member designated to cover session by the RLO will be permitted to go through the "can" during Informal sessions. As always, members who have an interest may go to the Clerk's office prior to session to conduct any inquiries. Likewise, the Speaker's office indicated session inquiries by Republican members should be directed to the RLO as Democrat members are directed to the Speaker's office.
Attending Informal Sessions to listen and observe is a great way of learning about the process and what is going on. So too is routinely reading the Session notices distributed by State House News and reading the House/Senate Journal. Stopping by the RLO to talk with the Leadership or staff is also a good way of finding out what is going on.
The Republican Leadership and staff work very hard prior to and during session to be aware of what is on and not on the agenda. As always the RLO and staff will continue to be vigilant during each session - holding those items of particular concern and trying to advance those of particular interest.
I would reiterate that my door is always open and I am routinely in the office. Likewise, my cell phone number and email address, both State House and personal, are in everyone's possession.
(Emphasis Red Mass Group's)
Some members took offense at the second paragraph of that email, which implies that rank and file members should be effectively seen and not heard during informal sessions. This brings us to what happened yesterday.
Sources are telling Red Mass Group that Mike Franco has decided to run in the special election to fill Mike Knapik's former seat. The reason seems to be that Don Humason is the "establishment" pick for the senate seat. While the establishment may be lining up behind Humason, in no way is he an establishment pick.
Part of the misconception is that Don Humason has a very good ability to disagree, without being disagreeable. Lets look at the recent history.
In 2009, now Sheriff, Lew Evangelidis and others waged a fight for the House Republican leadership. It was a fight in which they came up a couple votes short. Don Humason was with Evangelidis and company. When the vote for speaker was cast, the legislators supporting Evangelidis over Brad Jones voted present for Speaker. It is customary to vote for the Minority leader if you are a Republican. You can see this vote on page 7A of this linked PDF.
In addition to this vote, which wasn't very establishment, Humason supported Rick Green in this year's fight for Party Chair.
When RINO Hunting, we should train our sights on actual RINOs. Humason is as far away from that as you can be.
"I've heard from a lot of tech businesses and a lot of people - more than I think we normally hear from," said Spilka. "There's a lot of information that has come to light about the tech tax and the potential impact. ... It's the opposite message we want to send the tech industry."
Asked if she still would have introduced the bill even if she weren't running for Congress, Spilka replied, "Absolutely," but also denied having any regrets for voting for the tax.
"No, I voted on the best information I had at the time," said Spilka. "There wasn't the human outcry that there is now."
Karen, sorry but the Republicans in the legislature shared with you how bad this was. Also you didn't have public hearings, so how could you hear the public's position if you shut them out of the process?
Brad Jones and Bruce Tarr had particularly pointed words for Spilka.
"It's not lost on me that she's a candidate for Congress and that we found out about her filing this bill in the media as opposed to an email to her colleagues," said House Minority Leader Brad Jones.
Critics of the tax accused lawmakers of not doing their homework.
"We were on a very dangerous path of tax-first, ask questions later," said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, whose two amendments Spilka voted against. "There was such a rush to increase taxes that a lot of time was not taken to fully consider this."
File under... Flip Flop Hooray Ho!
Dan Wolf Should Challenge Ethics Ruling in Court
It is not often that I agree with my good friends over at Blue Mass Group. On the issue of the Ethics Committee ruling on Dan Wolf's eligibility to run for public office I certainly do agree. It is preposterous to me that someone that owns a business that pays the state money for a service can't run or hold office. David Kravitz is challenging Wolf to man up and fight the ruling in court.
Wrong, Dan. If you think they are wrong, it absolutely serves the public for you to take on the Ethics Commission in court. Of course, the Ethics Commission is supposed to be a "watchdog of state government." But, to beat a metaphor to death, watchdogs can sometimes jump the fence that keeps them where they're supposed to be, and then go on a rampage through the streets, biting innocent people who weren't intruding on their territory at all. When that happens, somebody needs to get that watchdog back inside the fence. And that seems to be basically what's happened here. That unwelcome task has fallen to you.
It's important that the Ethics Commission - an unelected and basically unaccountable group of individuals whom at least 99.9% of MA residents (including me) cannot name - be free from interference in properly carrying out its mandate. It's equally important, IMHO, that the Ethics Commission not go beyond that mandate, in the process depriving the people of MA of the services of honorable public servants. As you yourself asked, "'How does getting me out of the state Senate and out of running for governor serve the public good?'"
Answer: it doesn't. So, Dan, get your lawyers to draw up the papers. If the Commission was right, the courts will say so, and you can then step away knowing you really did have no other choice. If they were wrong, you'll have done the people of Massachusetts a service. Win-win.
Fully agree here. If Wolf thinks he is being singled out, it is his duty to challenge the ruling.
The amendments coming out of the Republican Leadership office are mighty wordy. We were only able to put 4.5 amendments in the last post before reaching the character limit in our software. So here's another section of GOP Leadership Office Amendments.
Part 2 of the series on Budget Amendments will look at Republican reform amdendments, most of which were filed by Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica), Shaunna O'Connell (R- Taunton), Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), Kevin Kuros (R-Uxbridge), and Jim Lyons (R-Andover).
The House budget for Fiscal year 2014 is out, and can be read at this link. In addition, amendments to the budget were due yesterday at 5:00 PM. Here at Red Mass Group, over the weekend, we will list all Republican Amendments. They will be listed in amendment number order.
You can see the first set of amendments after the jump.