ProgressiveMass did its lobby day at the State House on Wednesday, and the Globe notes the simmering dissatisfaction with the “progressive” caucus that nonetheless won’t cross its non-progressive Speaker. I get quoted – thanks.
I have to chuckle at this kind of defense from Team Speaker:
“We have a bold agenda this session, from banning so-called gay conversion therapy as we did last month to a progressive approach toward health care and education,” said Representative Kate Hogan of Stow, a member of DeLeo’s leadership team. “As a practical progressive who likes to get things done, I’m proud to be a member of what is, by any metric, one of the most forward-leaning and progressive legislative chambers in the country.”
As I write this, I am waiting for an MBTA train in a crumbling, leaky Harvard Square station, getting on a train that smells of electric burning — all of which is a direct result of our very “progressive” Speaker’s neglect for a decade. So please don’t tell me what great things progressives are accomplishing. We are literally living their failure, on a daily basis.
DeLeo is willing to keep progressives at bay by providing victories on the social-issue front that don’t cost very much money. The progressive “health care” approach that I assume Hogan is referring to — restoring family planning funds cut by Trump — cost all of $8 million. Look, this is good. It’s also the very least we should expect.
“By any metric”, California left our clean energy policy in the dust a long while back. New York and New Jersey are now lapping us as well.
I have little doubt that DeLeo will use his $100M/year climate resiliency bill to avoid rapid action on moving to 100% renewables — just like they did last year. For a sense of scale: $100M/year would be 0.2% of the Governor’s $42.7 billion 2020 budget — to preserve the physical safety of the Commonwealth from an epochal threat. It’s not that much money. Sure, his measure is welcome — but only as part of a rapid decarbonization plan that features the transportation sector prominently (see MBTA complaint above); sets a clear 100% renewable goal in the near future (2035, should be) with mandated interim goals; and establishes a strong legal mechanism to get there (ie a bigger boost to the Renewable Portfolio Standard. We have — we have had — absolutely no time to waste – and we’ve known this for a generation. In his 10 years, by what standard has DeLeo been “progressive”? Not by the standard of the laws of physics. The legislature will likely “run out of time”‘this session — while it is we who are running out of time.
It is your “progressive” House that put the brakes on equitable school funding last year. If I had to bet, I’d say that — led by reps from the wealthy suburbs — the House will go with Gov. Baker’s bill and give half a loaf to starving districts — depriving children of the opportunity to thrive, in the name of “accountability”. First bread, then the moral code …
Will any of these things happen by themselves, or simply out of the goodness and moral commitment of our very progressive leaders’ hearts? If that were true, then these things would have happened already.
I’ve already told my rep that I’ll support a primary challenger. If he, Hogan, and the rest of the DeLeo loyalist crowd make me look foolish, then so be it. But we’re not accepting half-measures, and we’re not accepting excuses anymore. If the “progressive caucus” means anything at all, they’ll throw their weight around and cause these things to pass.