In today’s Herald Rep. Bob DeLeo Speaker of the House for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts tells all the candidates for Governor to “back off the much-maligned Legislature during the cutthroat election year. Vowing to return fire if lawmakers become a convenient campaign target.”
A Convenient Target? Targeting the House is like shooting fish in a barrel Mr. Speaker and you’re one of the wide mouth bass that makes target shooting easy. The House now serves as the poster boy for all candidates to go after. It represents what is wrong with the Government of Massachusetts.
Let’s start with the pay raise, the sales tax increase, the per diem, the tax on alcohol, the fact they voted to keep the hack holidays of Bunker Hill Day and Evacuation Day. The short sessions and informal sessions that last 1-2 hours max and the 7 weeks taken off by the House before taking action on the Education Bill. Less we forget the arm twisting flip-flopping votes on replacing the departed Ted Kennedy.
The fact that most Representatives are at the state house only 150 out of a possible 260 working days a year collecting full-time salaries while working two jobs needs to be highlighted over and over. How many Lawyers who are State Reps making $61,000 made another $75K or more in private practice? Ask someone who was laid off or whose hours were cut what he thinks about that.
Then they can talk about the ethics or lack of in the House of Representatives. Let’s start with allowing a sitting State rep. to represent a union that gets his WIFE a $10,000 raise. Then there’s always the case of wannabe speaker honest John Rogers and Tom Riley’s favorite running mate Marie St. Fleur shining examples of the quality of legislators.
Candidates should ask how rules exist that allow a State Rep to be a Mayor and a State Rep at the same time. You all took a stand against a Latino Mayor /Rep from a distressed city yet no one has voted on a rule to make sure it doesn’t happen again. What is the status of Rep. Golden’s Bill?
They should ask why the House vetoed Gov. Patrick’s attempt at stopping State Colleges and Universities from spending state appropriated money on Lobbyist to get the state school even more money? How do you justify that?
Let’s talk about how members of your own party stalled passage of amendments in December because you don’t want to reveal what the $400,000 legal cost attached to defend the previous Speaker involves. Your pal Sal has cost the taxpayers close to half a million dollars and you refuse to say why. You still haven’t offered up any facts as to what that money went to.
How about the deal that was made to allow Sal to be re-elected Speaker at the beginning of January with the full knowledge he would resign weeks later. Just giving him enough time to hire the law firm that is collecting the $400,000. Then they can mention the cuts to vital services and unions taking furloughs while the house keeps an 18 million dollar slush fund that gets no audit.
DeLeo said. “I’m not gonna sit back idly as they take on the Legislature.” No Mr. Speaker history shows us you will duck with a no comment or state that he/she doesn’t understand the legislative process. Because there is no reasonable explanation for the terrible way this House is run.
There is no debate anymore. Backroom deals out of the public eye are the norms and you lead the way. You stated yourself in December that you would have “private” caucuses to ensure the education bill goes through in time in January instead of staying in session for 7 weeks and having open debates.
The House is a Poster boy for what is wrong with the Legislature in this state. Not only should Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill take on the House but all candidates running against an incumbent for a House seat should use these points and have incumbents try to answer them.