Democratic gubernatorial candidate Maura Healey’s campaign won’t release the questionnaires she has filled out seeking the endorsement of special interest groups.
A spokeswoman for the campaign initially said the decision about releasing the questionnaires was up to the interest groups. One of the groups, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, said it was leaving the decision to the candidates. Healey’s campaign then said it wouldn’t be releasing the candidate’s answers, offering no explanation why.
The issue of questionnaires first surfaced earlier this year, when Chris Dempsey, a Democratic candidate for state auditor, said he would be releasing his responses to be fully transparent and accountable. (He hasn’t released the questionnaire of Reproductive Equity Now because the organization asked him not to.)
Dempsey called on his rivals in the race to be equally transparent; his primary opponent, Sen. Diana DiZoglio, released several, but not all, of her questionnaires, while Republican Anthony Amore has released none of his so far. A Boston Globe editorial urged all candidates to release their questionnaires, saying they shouldn’t be making promises in secret.
Healey, who is currently the state’s attorney general, is facing no challenger in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and has participated in no debates, so releasing the answers to the questionnaires could illuminate where she stands on issues of importance to special interest groups.
In an interview with CommonWealth on August 12, Healey was asked if she supports MCAS and its graduation requirements.
“I think assessment is important. I think accountability is important. How you assess is something that I think is really open to discussion right now, as we know more about students and particularly their social emotional capacity,” she said.
Asked whether she believes a high-stakes test is the best way to assess students, she didn’t answer directly.
“I’m saying it is appropriate to look at MCAS right now and look at what it is measuring and what it is not measuring and are the things that are being measured the things that are actually setting students up for success,” she said. “I support an assessment test. I support standards and accountability. However, I also believe it is important that we actually engage with what that assessment is and make any changes that we need to make. This gets to the graduation requirement. What is it achieving? What is it not achieving? And I, as somebody who wants to be the education governor, recognizing the imperative of providing a quality education to every child in the state, regardless of zip code or income level, these are the kinds of hard conversations that we need to be having right now.”
The Massachusetts Teachers Association says in its candidate questionnaire that it favors eliminating the high-stakes nature of the MCAS test for high school graduation, supports “alternative measures of academic success,” and wants to expand state support for local school districts to develop their own assessment frameworks. Candidates are asked whether they agree or disagree with the MTA’s position.
In the auditor’s race, DiZoglio checked that she agreed with the MTA’s position. Dempsey checked neither box and instead wrote that his sister teaches at a consortium school in New York City that hasn’t adopted standardized testing and instead uses an alternative approach that provides “a fuller picture” of what students know and can do. He said he wants to explore alternative approaches to testing, although he believes “measurement is essential.”
Energy alarm bells: The operator of the New England power grid and six of the region’s utilities call for the creation of an energy reserve that could be tapped when energy supply chains are disrupted. The group also says the LNG facility in Everett needs to remain open beyond June 2024, when the accompanying Mystic Generating Station is scheduled to close.
– The grid operator, ISO New England, and the utilities issue a memo laying out the region’s energy security challenges and potential solutions in advance of a conference sponsored by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Vermont.
– With clean energy initiatives delayed (a transmission line to carry hydro-electricity from Quebec into Maine is in limbo), ISO New England and the utilities say access to natural gas is needed. “It is critical to the region’s decarbonization goals that the lights and heat stay on in New England – and, for the foreseeable future, that requires gas,” they say. Read more.
Out of control: John Infranca, a professor of law at Suffolk University Law School, reports that zoning variances are used nearly all of the time in Boston, imposing unnecessary costs and delays on development. Read more.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
The controversy enveloping the Suffolk DA’s race is turning the the Boston City Council into a mud wrestling pit, as council president Ed Flynn strips fellow councilor – and DA candidate – Ricardo Arroyo of his leadership posts, while City Councilor Kendra Lara takes aim at Councilor Frank Baker, who filed a request for police reports on past sexual assault allegations involving Arroyo, by asking for reports of Baker’s past drug arrest. (Boston Herald)
Worcester breaks ground on a 24-unit apartment building that will offer permanent, supportive housing for people who were chronically homeless. (Telegram & Gazette)
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito visit Springfield to celebrate the demolition of the Civic Center Garage near the MassMutual Center to make room for a new garage/restaurant/ retail space. (MassLive)
Worcester will offer employees free parking and consider removing requirements for drug tests and physicals for some city jobs, as the city seeks to recruit and retain staff. (MassLive)
A Gallup poll suggests more people are smoking marijuana than cigarettes. (NPR)
The Boston Globe endorses Andrea Campbell in the Democratic primary for attorney general. Globe columnist Joan Vennochi says the endorsement of AG candidate Shannon Liss-Riordan by Campbell’s one-time Boston city council colleagues Michelle Wu and Kim Janey and Sen. Elizabeth Warren smacks of the politics of revenge.
Politico reports that the third candidate in the Democratic race for AG, Quentin Palfrey, will end his campaign today, a move that would scramble the calculus going into the final week before the September 6 primary, especially if Palfrey were to endorse one of the remaining two candidates.
Through a quirk of election timing, the state Republican Party will get to choose the GOP nominee for a North Shore state rep seat, and one contender is a right-wing agitator who organized buses to go to Washington for the January 6 protest that morphed into the Capitol insurrection. (Boston Globe)
Essex Sheriff Kevin Coppinger touts reforms he’s made to address opioid addiction in jails as he seeks reelection. (Salem News) His opponent Virginia Leigh is a social worker who portrayed Coppinger as a reluctant reformer, while touting her vision of the role as one focused on treatment and rehabilitation. (Eagle-Tribune)
School bus companies are still facing a shortage of drivers. (WickedLocal)
Northampton, which already has 12 marijuana dispensaries, explores capping the number of stores it will allow. (MassLive)
Rep. Seth Moulton, after meeting with T general manager Steve Poftak and touring Orange Line repair work, expressed incredulity at what he says is the “rudimentary” level of work being done. “This would be like shutting down all of I-93 to fill potholes and paint lane lines,” he said. (Boston Herald)
A former New Bedford priest is sued for allegedly sexually molesting a boy in the 1980s. (Standard-Times)
First came All the President’s Men, The Post, and Spotlight, but now the Washington Post is working with Imagine Entertainment to produce regular features about the Post and the stories it covers. (Vanity Fair)
Dan Kennedy explains the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. (Media Nation)