Raimondo stands by hedge-fund adviser canned by Mass.

June 24th, 2014 at 12:10 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – General Treasurer Gina Raimondo is keeping for now the California financial adviser that helps her office pick hedge funds for the state’s investment portfolio, despite a recent decision by the Massachusetts pension board to cut ties with the same company.

Read the rest of this story »

Here’s what’s going on with casinos in Southeastern Mass.

January 29th, 2014 at 4:11 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

A casino is coming to Southeastern Massachusetts.

Or is it two? And is it coming to Taunton – or Fall River? Or New Bedford?

Rhode Island has a lot riding on the answers: gambling is the third-largest source of state revenue.

WPRI 12 reporter Steve Nielsen – who’s also the anchor of our brand-new 6:30 p.m. nightly newscast on Fox Providence – dug into the various proposals, licenses and applicants to sort out where things stand. Here’s what Steve found out.

We’ve been hearing about casinos coming to Southeastern Massachusetts for years. To say it’s a confusing process would be an understatement. With Foxwoods announcing plans this week to build a casino in Fall River, here’s a look at the situation.


IHS: RI won’t get back to its pre-recession job count until 2018

September 30th, 2013 at 10:55 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

A top forecasting firm says the Rhode Island job market will remain depressed for another half a decade.

Rhode Island won’t finish recovering all the jobs it lost during the Great Recession until sometime in 2018, five years from now, according to the latest analysis by IHS Global Insight reported by The Wall Street Journal.

IHS continues to predict that Rhode Island is one of only three states – along with Michigan and Nevada – where payroll employment will be stuck below pre-recession level until 2018. By contrast, Massachusetts and New York have already reached new employment highs, and Rhode Island is also projected to lag New Hampshire (2014), Vermont (2014), Maine (2016) and Connecticut (2016).

Nonfarm payroll employment in Rhode Island fell from 496,400 in December 2006 to 456,800 in August 2009, a drop of 39,600 or nearly 8%, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Employment totaled 468,100 last month, up by 11,300 from the August 2009 trough – which comes out to an average annual gain of 2,825 jobs since August 2009, suggesting it could take 14 years to recover employment unless the pace speeds up.


• Related: RI regains only 22% of jobs lost in recession as Mass. passes 100% (April 17)

Murdoch sells Standard-Times; GateHouse to manage it

September 3rd, 2013 at 6:31 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has sold its Dow Jones Local Media Group – which owns 33 publications including the New Bedford Standard-Times, the Cape Cod Times and The Inquirer and Mirror of Nantucket – and handed over their management to GateHouse Media Inc.

Read the rest of this story »

Joe Kennedy III is 23rd-richest in Congress, worth at least $15M

August 20th, 2013 at 6:05 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) – Freshman Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III isn’t just one of the youngest members of Congress. He’s also one of the wealthiest.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Patrick Kennedy inherits millions from late father Ted (Aug. 25, 2010)

RI gaining clout in Congress while Massachusetts loses it

July 29th, 2013 at 12:17 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Michael Mullen, Jack Reed, Edward KennedySurveying the diminished clout of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation, Stonehill College’s Peter Ubertaccio writes for The Boston Globe:

The Bay State now ranks last in Senate seniority, and no member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation holds a committee chair or leadership position in either the Senate or the House. For the first time since early 1919, no member of our House delegation has served with a speaker from Massachusetts. …

Senator Edward Kennedy’s death in 2009 ruptured an important historical axis upon which the Commonwealth so depended for its influence. …

Why does this matter? Seniority, leadership, and clout bring two key benefits: prioritizing federal dollars and articulating political values. …

There is no easy solution to our dilemma. It requires the continued cultivation of political leaders who see their futures within the institutions they now call home.

This is a real challenge for Massachusetts. When I asked U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in January what makes an effective senator, his first response was: “Seniority, which you can’t do much about – it is what it is – but as time goes by you need to be ramping it up the match your seniority.”


Watch Executive Suite: Tufts Health CEO James Roosevelt Jr.

July 29th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Watch Newsmakers: Fall River Mayor Flanagan, Rep. Cicilline

July 21st, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The RI job market looks like it’s finally – slowly – recovering

July 2nd, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Don’t look now, but it appears that Rhode Island’s long-suffering job market is finally on the mend.

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate has been falling steadily for more than three years now – from 11.9% in February 2010 to 8.9% last month – but veteran Nesi’s Notes readers know the level of joblessness can be a misleading indicator because it doesn’t count those who’ve dropped out of the work force altogether.

That’s why it’s helpful to look at another measurement: the employment-population ratio, which measures how many Rhode Islanders have a job out of all the state’s residents ages 16 and up (unless they’re in the military or behind bars). And for the first time in years, Rhode Island’s employment-population ratio is looking up.

The improvement isn’t as speedy or significant as you’d hope to see in the wake of such a devastating recession, but the trend is clearly in the right direction. As this chart shows, the share of the Rhode Island population with a job has risen from a low of 58.9% in October 2011 to 60.1% last month:


As you can see, the unemployment rate has fallen much more quickly than the employment-population ratio has risen, which is part of why the jobless number alone doesn’t tell the whole story. But the ongoing increase in the share of adult Rhode Islanders with a job is a hopeful phenomenon.


NBA’s first openly gay player thanks Joe Kennedy for support

April 29th, 2013 at 12:29 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) – Former Boston Celtics player Jason Collins became the first openly gay active athlete in a major U.S. sport on Monday, and he’s crediting Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III with helping him make the announcement.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Enthusiastic Joe Kennedy III says it’s ‘surreal’ to join Congress (Jan. 7)

RI regains 22% of jobs lost in recession as Mass. passes 100%

April 17th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

It’s a tale of two states.

Massachusetts achieved a happy milestone in January, as employment in the Bay State reached 3.31 million jobs – passing the pre-recession peak of 3.3 million reached in April 2008, and meaning Massachusetts has regained all the jobs the state lost during the Great Recession.

“The numbers are really pretty remarkable,” one private-sector researcher marveled to The Boston Globe.

They also offer a grim contrast with the numbers in Rhode Island, which has only regained 8,700 of the 39,600 jobs it lost during the downturn. Put another way, Massachusetts has recovered 110% of the jobs it lost during the recession; Rhode Island has recovered just 22%.

Here’s a chart – Rhode Island is blue, Massachusetts is red, and 100 equals previous peak employment:



Watch Newsmakers with Congressman Joe Kennedy III

March 31st, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

(Happy Easter!)

Study: Mass. 2nd-best for spending transparency; RI 5th-worst

March 27th, 2013 at 12:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

If Rhode Island’s state leaders want to be more transparent about government spending, they don’t need to look far for inspiration.

Massachusetts is the second-most transparent state government in the country when it comes to detailing its spending online, topped only be Texas, according to a new study from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. But Rhode Island is among the least transparent, with the fifth-worst level of disclosure.

Massachusetts scored a 93 for transparency out of a possible 100 points; Rhode Island only scored a 54.

Rhode Island is one of seven lagging states that “maintain transparency websites but are missing important pieces of their checkbooks and other spending data that are available on most other websites,” the study said. The critique continues:

While all these states provide checkbook-level detail on the payments made to vendors through contracts and grants, only one state – Ohio – provides information on economic development tax credits. The information on contracts and grants is not as comprehensive or as easy-to-access as the information in higher-rated states. For example, many states do not make details available about the specific goods or services purchased or provide information about past expenditures.

Lagging States lack other information commonplace on many other states’ transparency websites. Only two states post information on city and county spending, and only three states make available tax expenditure reports that detail the total funds lost through exemptions, abatements, credits and other tax break programs.

Rhode Island was dinged for failing to provide checkbook data about economic-development subsidies, tax credits, tax expenditures and spending by cities and counties.

Update: A reader points out the annual reports on tax expenditures are available here.

• Related: Analysis: The good and bad on Chafee’s transparency website (Jan. 10)

Map: There are a lot of Irish-Americans in Massachusetts

March 17th, 2013 at 5:28 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! There are plenty of people to celebrate with around here.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 22.7% of Massachusetts residents and 18.5% of Rhode Island residents were of Irish ancestry in 2011, compared with 11.1% for the nation as a whole.

Jed Kolko, chief economist at real-estate data firm Trulia, put together a bunch of information on where Irish-Americans live in the United States. As this map shows, Eastern Massachusetts is a hot spot – though the closer you get to Rhode Island, the lower the percentages are:


Enthusiastic Joe Kennedy III says it’s ‘surreal’ to join Congress

January 7th, 2013 at 11:16 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

​By Ted Nesi

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPRI) – Hours before Joe Kennedy III’s swearing-in last week, his brand-new congressional office looked like a college dorm room on freshman move-in day.

Read the rest of this story »

• Related: Joe Kennedy III met his wife in Warren’s Harvard Law class​ (Jan. 3)

RI Republicans share painful election with Mass., Calif. GOPs

December 27th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Rhode Island’s Republican Party took it on the chin last month, once again failing to win a single federal or statewide office and managing to lose seven of their 18 seats in the General Assembly. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise, since just 10% of Rhode Island voters are registered Republicans.

If it’s any consolation, Rhode Island Republicans aren’t alone in their troubles – at least two other state GOPs are reeling in the aftermath of this year’s voting. The Boston Phoenix’s David Bernstein reports on the Massachusetts Republican Party’s problems:

But this year, there’s something different about the postmortems, in the wake of Scott Brown’s eight-point loss for re-election to the US Senate and Richard Tisei’s narrow defeat to Congressman John Tierney.

This time, it’s GOP insiders and officeholders in the state suggesting that their cause is hopeless — that their numerical and institutional disadvantages just might mean that they simply cannot win, beyond a small smattering of state legislative districts and countywide law-enforcement positions. …

The defeatism within the party suggests that top-flight candidates might be hard to recruit. If so, the Democrats’ stranglehold on the state will only tighten. And we will look back at 2012 as the year the MassGOP surrendered.

On the West Coast, Politico’s Charlie Mahtesian reports on the California Republican Party’s drubbing:

Just when it looked like things couldn’t get any worse for Republicans in California, it appears they did. And at the congressional level, there are still three uncalled House races where GOP incumbents are trailing their Democratic challengers with 100 percent of the votes in. …

The presidential exit polls paint an especially grim picture that suggests the state won’t be competitive in any way for a long time. Obama won every income group, every education group, big and small cities, suburbs and independents.

One point that stands out in all three cases is that the occasional election of a prominent Republican officeholder isn’t necessarily a signal that the state party’s long-term prospects are improving.


Are you ready for yet another U.S. Senate election in Mass.?

December 13th, 2012 at 4:14 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Will Massachusetts have six U.S. Senate elections in the space of eight years?

It certainly looks possible after Thursday afternoon’s announcement that Susan Rice is withdrawing from consideration as President Obama’s next secretary of state, opening the door for the president to appoint Mass. U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

If Kerry gets the job, Massachusetts could have a special election as soon as June to fill Kerry’s seat for the reminder of his term, which ends in January 2015. Potential candidates include a long list of Democrats – though not Congressman-elect Joe Kennedy III – and Republicans Scott Brown or Bill Weld.

A special election next year would be the fifth time Massachusetts residents have gone to the polls to choose a U.S. senator since November 2006.

Bay State voters re-elected Ted Kennedy for the final time that year, then re-elected Kerry in 2008, elected Scott Brown to finish Kennedy’s term in 2010, and replaced Brown with Elizabeth Warren last month. And special election or not, they will vote for U.S. senator again in 2014 when Kerry’s current term ends.

​(photo: AP/Gerald Herbert)

Watch Perry Como and Lena Horne sing about New England

November 21st, 2012 at 12:16 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Here’s a fun blast from the past via YouTube for this Thanksgiving Eve – Perry Como and Lena Horne singing a medley of songs about New England. The show, hosted by Como, was taped March 4, 1965 at the then-new War Memorial Auditorium in Boston, forerunner of the Hynes Convention Center.

While Como and Horne don’t sing “Rhode Island is Famous for You,” Massachusetts is well-represented:

… are there any famous songs about Maine or New Hampshire?

Who’ll run for US Senate in Mass. if Kerry joins the cabinet?

November 14th, 2012 at 10:06 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

A terrific piece from Frank Phillips and Michael Levenson runs down the potential musical chairs in the Bay State if President Obama decides to appoint U.S. Sen. John Kerry as defense secretary or secretary of state. From The Boston Globe:

A Senate vacancy would probably create a comeback scenario for Senator Scott Brown, the Republican who lost the seat to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in last week’s election. …

Among the high-profile Democratic officeholders who are expressing interest are three of the state’s congressmen: Edward J. Markey of Malden, the 66-year old dean of the congressional delegation; Michael E. Capuano of Somerville, who ran second to Martha Coakley in the 2009 Senate primary; and Stephen F. Lynch of South Boston, a conservative Democrat who won his seat in a 2001 special election in which several liberals divided the vote on the left.

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who has gained the attention of the political world by prosecuting former speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, has also been mentioned as a potential candidate, despite her lack of electoral experience. …

Coakley has not ruled out a run, but insiders said she would not be a Democratic favorite after her poor performance in the 2010 special election.

Governor Patrick, the state’s leading Democrat, told The Globe he won’t run for Senate if there’s a vacancy. If Kerry does resign the seat he’s held for 27 years, Patrick would have to appoint an interim senator to fill the job until a special election is over. Kerry’s current term expires in 2014.

Phillips and Levenson also report former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II (father of the newly elected 4th District congressman) and former Congressman Marty Meehan won’t run, while former Gov. Bill Weld might consider it but would defer to Scott Brown.

Looking ahead to 2014, the reporters also mention three potential candidates for Massachusetts governor (Patrick is term-limited): Charlie Baker, the Republican who lost to Patrick in 2010; Treasurer Steven Grossman; and Lt. Gov. Tim Murray.

(photo: Gerald Herbert/AP)

The Providence economy is average, and thus a real failure

November 9th, 2012 at 9:51 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Matt Yglesias writes for Slate (emphasis added):

There are certainly poor people here in Washington, struggling families in New Jersey, difficult sections of Philadelphia, and even in glitzy New York, many people having a hard time getting by in public housing. But on the whole this is a very prosperous section of the country, and when you combine its wealth and its size, it’s one of the most economically successful regions in the world.

Click over to ye olde Brookings State of Metropolitan American map and you’ll see that Davidson’s journey started in the New York metropolitan statistical area, which has the 13th highest median income out of America’s 100 largest MSAs. …

The Northeast’s laggard area is the Providence, R.I./New Bedford, Mass./Fall River, Mass., MSA that’s only 43rd in median household income with a number that’s only slightly above the national median. The Northeast corridor is so rich and successful, in other words, that Providence’s averageness looks like failure.

Which is hardly to say that the Northeast is perfect. But I think dwelling on its pockets of industrial decline misses the biggest story here. The real questions to ask are about the linked issues of why the cost of living is so high and the population growth so relatively low in this economically dynamic region.

In the wake of their smashing election victory on Tuesday, Rhode Island liberals may want to ponder Yglesias’s observation and a related point from Michael Mandel: “Progressives cannot achieve their social goals without faster growth.” For more, read David Leonhardt on why growth matters.

• Related: RI ‘used to be about as rich as Mass.,’ then ‘stagnated terribly’ (Sept. 5)

Schilling selling Mass. home for $3.5M after 38 Studios collapse

October 2nd, 2012 at 2:28 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

MEDFIELD, Mass. (WPRI) – Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has put his 26-acre property outside Boston on the market and is seeking nearly $3.5 million, less than four months after his taxpayer-backed company 38 Studios filed for bankruptcy.

Read the rest of this story »

Update: Boston magazine’s Jason Schwartz tweets:

• Related: Schilling talks 38 Studios tonight in ESPN documentary ‘Broke’ (Oct. 2)

A key point about comparisons between RI and Massachusetts

September 30th, 2012 at 4:06 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

From this morning’s Providence Journal (emphasis mine):

Jim Stergios, of Boston’s Pioneer Institute, said Rhode Island should be careful about copying Massachusetts.

“While Rhode Island may consider Massachusetts is doing better,” Stergios said, “the fact of the matter is Massachusetts is Greater Boston and three Rhode Islands grafted onto it.

“The high unemployment rates you see in those areas are similar to those in Rhode Island.”

Right! Rhode Island doesn’t want an economy that’s more like, say, Fall River’s – Rhode Island wants an economy that’s more like Boston’s (or Stamford’s). And that’s a big, long-term project.

• Related: It could be worse, Rhode Island – we could be Connecticut (June 30, 2011)

RI ‘used to be about as rich as Mass.,’ then ‘stagnated terribly’

September 5th, 2012 at 1:21 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Slate’s Matt Yglesias serves up some real talk about Rhode Island (emphasis mine):

The real truth, as noted in this great Andrew Gelman post from five years ago, is that there isn’t that much change over time in states’ economic well-being. All things considered the best predictor of how rich a state was in 2000 was simply how rich it was in 1929. There are some exceptions to this.Rhode Island used to be about as rich as Massachusetts and has stagnated terribly.

[T]he truth is that it’s very difficult to alter to the long-term trajectory of a state’s economic fortune. That’s primarily because people can move. If Mississippi starts doing a much better job of preparing its students to succeed in higher education, a lot of those people will probably leave and move to higher-income states like Connecticut or Massachusetts. Indeed, neither [Deval] Patrick nor Romney was born in Massachusetts. Rather, like many of the state’s most successful individuals they moved to the Bay State from elsewhere to go to Harvard and then stuck around. But creating Harvard was a smart public policy initiative undertaken in the seventeenth century and not something anyone alive today can take credit for.


This is something too often missed in all the debates over Rhode Island’s economy - after starting at parity after World War II, the state has spent six decades losing ground economically to its neighbors, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s. That’s a major problem for a variety of reasons, many of which were noted by Josh Barro in his must-read post from May.

Yglesias also indirectly references this 2005 Steve Sailer post tabulating “the monetary standard of living by state, as calculated by median income for a family of four divided by the Accra’s cost of living index.” Sailer gives Minnesota the highest standard of living, “at least in terms of things money can buy (i.e., not weather).”

As for Rhode Island? It was way down the list at #40, far behind Connecticut (#15), Massachusetts (#20) and Vermont (#33). (The other two New England states weren’t ranked due to lack of data.)

Kennedy holds Attleboro fundraiser Saturday as quarter closes

March 27th, 2012 at 10:46 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Kennedy in Norton on Saturday

Joe Kennedy III will be in Attleboro on Saturday to raise money for his congressional campaign.

Former State Rep. Max Volterra and his wife, Marion, will host the “grassroots fundraiser” at their home in the city on Saturday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The suggested contribution is $25. The event will be held on the last day of the fundraising quarter, which will offer the first indication of Kennedy’s ability to raise money.

Attleboro is one of the largest cities in Massachusetts’ overhauled 4th Congressional District, the pre-redistricting version of which is now represented by Congressman Barney Frank. Kennedy held one of his campaign kickoff events in Attleboro on Feb. 16 and has returned to the area for other events since then.

Republicans Sean Bielat, who made an unsuccessful bid to unseat Frank in 2010, and Elizabeth Childs are both seeking their party’s nominations in the 4th District, as are Democrats Herb Robinson and Jules Levine. So far, though, this latest Kennedy campaign is looking like a juggernaut.

• Related: Kennedy III kickoff shows power of dynasty, Elizabeth Warren (Feb. 16)

(photo: Kennedy campaign)

Kennedy III kickoff shows power of dynasty, Elizabeth Warren

February 16th, 2012 at 1:31 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Never underestimate the power of dynasty.

If you squint, the political leadership in this corner of Southern New England could be straight out of 1962. A governor named Chafee is running Rhode Island, while a Kennedy barely past his 30th birthday is making a bid for Congress many view as a coronation.

But Joe Kennedy III’s arrival in Attleboro on Thursday for a lunchtime campaign kickoff offered clear evidence that, gripes aside, his family name is still far more of an asset than a liability here in the Bay State – no surprise considering an early poll gave the newcomer a 32-point lead over his would-be Republican opponent.

Kennedy’s response to those critics will sound familiar to anyone who covered Patrick Kennedy in 1994 or, for that matter, Ted Kennedy in 1962. “It’s my name on the ballot,” he told reporters. “I’m extremely proud of my family’s service here and across the country.” Translation: I’m my own man – oh, and I’m a Kennedy.


Joe Kennedy III to kick off U.S. House bid in Attleboro, Taunton

February 15th, 2012 at 6:18 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

• New: Kennedy name still has clout (Feb. 16)

Joe Kennedy III will kick off his campaign for Massachusetts’ newly redrawn 4th Congressional District seat on Thursday with a few local stops.

Kennedy’s daylong campaign kickoff will take him to five key communities in the 4th District, including stops at Morin’s restaurant in Attleboro at noon and New Weir Pizza in Taunton at 5 p.m., his exploratory committee said. He’ll also make appearances in Newton, Milford and Westport.

“I’ve spoken to people from across the 4th Congressional District  - from Newton to Fall River  - who believe that Washington no longer works for them,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I will work hard to earn every vote and if elected bring that fight for fairness to the US Congress.”

Kennedy, 30, is the son of former Congressman Joe Kennedy and grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy. He jumped into the race after Congressman Barney Frank decided to retire rather than learn the ins and outs of an overhauled constituency.

The Boston Globe called Kennedy’s announcement “perhaps the least surprising in recent Massachusetts political history.” A poll this month gave him a whopping 32-point lead over his Republican opponent, Sean Bielat, whom Frank defeated 54%-43% in 2010. The survey showed Kennedy at 60% and Bielat at 28%.

• Related: New-look 4th District likely pushed Barney Frank to retire (Nov. 28)

(photo: Kennedy campaign)

Former Mass. House speaker is visiting Central Falls – at Wyatt

February 14th, 2012 at 6:58 pm by under Nesi's Notes

First it was Whitey’s girlfriend Catherine Grieg, and now another famous name is being held at Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, the Boston Herald reports:

Disgraced former Bay State House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi is being held at Rhode Island’s Wyatt Detention Facility, a short drive from the federal courthouse in Worcester where he’s expected to be called to testify before a grand jury probing hiring and promotion corruption within the Massachusetts Probation Department.

The convicted extortionist — who last November began an eight-year sentence at a federal penitentiary in Kentucky — was listed today at a publicly accessible kiosk at the detention center where friends and family can deposit cash for people who are being held there.

DiMasi’s lawyer Thomas R. Kiley confirmed today that his client is at the Wyatt facility, but he declined to discuss why the former speaker is locked up in Rhode Island.

The backstory here is that Beacon Hill politicians are freaking out about the possibility DiMasi may testify against his former legislative colleagues before the grand jury, perhaps to secure a reduced sentence or at least a different place to serve it out.

38 Studios’ Curt Schilling won’t run for Barney Frank’s seat

December 9th, 2011 at 9:59 am by under Nesi's Notes

My former PBN colleague Galen Moore noted last month that Curt Schilling – the former Sox star who is now Rhode Island’s most famous businessman as 38 Studios’ founder – could run for retiring Congressman Barney Frank’s seat because the new 4th District includes the Republican pitcher’s hometown of Medfield.

It would have been a fun campaign, but Schilling has now told the Boston Herald he doesn’t have time for a congressional bid because of 38 Studios and family responsibilities.

“If it was any other point in time, I would do it in a heartbeat,” he told the paper’s Inside Track columnists. “But it’s an elected position — it’s 365 days a year, nights, weekends. I can’t do it right now.”

Among those contemplating a run to represent the new-look 4th are two Democrats – Joseph P. Kennedy III and Boston City Councilor Michael Ross – and Republican Elizabeth Childs.

Reed puts Frank among ‘most extraordinary’ congressmen

November 28th, 2011 at 1:45 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation say they were surprised to hear Mass. Congressman Barney Frank is not going to seek reelection and praised his three decades in Washington.

“Barney Frank has been one of the most extraordinary members of Congress in my experience,” U.S Sen. Jack Reed said. “There is a loss when you see someone with that much talent that is going to be leaving the House.”

Reed – who is a member of the Senate Banking Committee – said a big part of Frank’s legacy will be the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which overhauled the country’s banking regulations in the wake of the economic collapse.

Congressmen James Langevin and David Cicilline said they think the divisiveness in Washington may have played a role in Frank’s decision.

Read the rest of this story »

New-look 4th District likely pushed Barney Frank to retire

November 28th, 2011 at 10:22 am by under Nesi's Notes

The new map in Mass.

As WPRI 12 apparently reported first on Twitter, longtime Congressman Barney Frank will retire next year rather than run again. Part of Frank’s calculus may be the new boundaries of his 4th Congressional District drawn by Massachusetts’ redistricting panel.

The biggest change for Frank’s 4th District is the loss of New Bedford, a key Democratic stronghold, and the addition of a bunch of conservative-leaning communities in my old stomping grounds along the Rhode Island border, including Attleboro, North Attleboro, Plainville, and U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s hometown of Wrentham. That was going to be tough territory for Frank.

Among the Republicans who’ll be eyeing the now open 4th District seat are State Rep. Dan Winslow, who is close to Brown and served in the Romney administration, and Brookline’s Sean Bielat, who gave Frank a stronger-than-expected challenge in 2010. Elizabeth Childs, another Brookline resident and former Romney aide, has already thrown her hat into the ring. It will be interesting to see how Cook and Rothenberg rate the open seat.

Between the 4th District, the Brown-Warren U.S. Senate race and the Cicilline-Doherty-Loughlin 1st District fight here in Rhode Island, those of us who live along the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border can expect to see a lot of campaign commercials over the next year.

Update: In his formal statement this afternoon, Frank explicitly cited the new district as one of his reasons for retiring:

The newly configured [4th District] contains approximately 325,000 new constituents, many of them in a region of the state that is wholly new to me as a Member of Congress. A significant number of others are in the area along our east-west border with Rhode Island which I have not represented for 20 years. This means that running for reelection will require – appropriately in our democracy – a significant commitment of my time and energy, introducing myself to hundreds of thousands of new constituents, learning about the regional and local issues of concern to them and, not least importantly, raising an additional $1.5 to $2 million.