Saturday, December 25, 2010


Scaling The Hill would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy holiday season.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Senator Knapik Named to Bi-Partisan Special Committee on Probation Department Reform

Senator Michael R. Knapik (right) has been appointed to the Special Committee on Probation Reform, which will be charged with providing recommendations to the Legislature for restructuring the embattled Massachusetts Department of Probation.

Joining Knapik on the committee are Senators Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton) and Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton), and Representatives Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset), Byron Rushing (D-Boston) and Jay Barrows (R-Mansfield). Also serving on the committee are three appointees of Governor Patrick, including Executive Office of Public Safety General Counsel Gregory Massing, Executive Office for Administration and Finance General Counsel David E. Sullivan, and First Assistant Deputy Legal Counsel to the Governor Abim Thomas.

"I am pleased the Senate President has asked me to serve on this committee," Knapik said. "It is imperative that we work to earn back the public's trust for this very important department."

Last month, the Supreme Judicial Court released the findings of a report that called into question the hiring practices of the Probation Department. The report, which recommended disciplinary action against department leadership, was commissioned in response to a Boston Globe "Spotlight Series" that exposed a culture of political patronage at the agency where individuals "sponsored" or connected to influential state leaders were often favored over more qualified applicants for positions in the department.

The Supreme Judicial Court has commissioned its own panel, to be led by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, to review hiring and promotion procedures throughout the entire judicial system. Harshbarger's team is expected to file a report on the Probation Department within 90 days and a report encompassing the rest of the Trial Court departments within six months.

"The citizens of Massachusetts deserve a Probation Department dedicated to the cause of public safety and ensuring that probationers are living up to the terms of their sentencing," Knapik said. "I am confident this committee will recommend reforms to the hiring process and department administrative functions with these goals in mind."

Knapik said his committee is expecting to file its report by the end of January.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Senator Tarr Holds Annual Toy Drive

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (left) and North Shore 104.9 FM will be hosting their 15th annual North Shore Holiday Toy Drive on Thursday, December 9.

The live broadcast runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with stops scheduled in Beverly, Lynn, Marblehead, Middleton, Ipswich, Essex, Manchester, Rockport and Gloucester. However, toy donations will be accepted at designated locations throughout the North Shore until Friday, December 17.

Be sure to check out yesterday's article from the Gloucester Times to learn more about the toy drive and how you can make a donation to brighten a child's holiday this year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Today marks the 69th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, an event that mobilized the entire nation and precipitated America's entry into World War II.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 7, 1941 "a date that will live in infamy." More than 2,345 U.S. military personnel were killed, and another 1,247 wounded, in the early morning surprise attack.

Today, Scaling The Hill remembers and pays tribute to the many men and women who served at Pearl Harbor, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We also salute those who are currently serving overseas to help keep America strong.

Monday, December 6, 2010

In Case You Missed It...

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr was a guest on the Fox 25 Morning News' "Tolman and Gray" segment last Thursday, filling in for Rob Gray. Tarr joined former Senator Warren Tolman in Fox 25's Beacon Hill studio to discuss some of the latest state and national political news, including the current stalemate in Congress over the extension of unemployment benefits, which are due to run out in just a few more weeks. Use the video link below to check out the segment in its entirety.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Senator Tisei Delivers His Farewell Speech

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei delivered his farewell address to his Senate colleagues yesterday afternoon, and the State House News Service's Mike Deehan was there to record it.

Twenty-six years ago, at the age of 22, Senator Tisei made his first successful run for elected office, winning an open seat in the House of Representatives to represent the residents of Lynnfield and Wakefield. After serving three terms in the House and 10 in the Senate, he still holds the distinction of being the youngest Republican ever to be elected to the MA House.

To hear Senator Tisei's remarks, just click on the link below provided by the State House News Service.

Senator Tisei Looks Back and Looks Ahead

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei (right), who will be ending a long and distinguished career in public service when he leaves the Senate on January 4, recently sat down for an interview with State House News Service reporter Kyle Cheney. As he prepares to return to private life, Tisei reflected on his 26 years in elected office, his recent campaign for Lieutenant Governor as Charlie Baker's running mate, and his future in politics. Click here to read the story.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One Step Up, Two Steps Back

So much for progress on the jobs front.

Last month, Governor Patrick was trumpeting the news that Massachusetts employers had added 10,000 new jobs in October, following two straight months of job losses. But those short-term gains threaten to be swept away by a series of layoff announcements that have been making headlines since the November 2 election.

Today's announcement that State Street is eliminating 400 jobs follows reports of significant job losses at other big-name employers, including Genzyme, Biogen and Raytheon. General Electric, which has already laid off 600 workers this year, is threatening to cut even more jobs, but is asking the state for a $25 million tax credit to limit the number of new job cuts to 150.

Clearly the state's economy is not "on the mend and on the move," as Governor Patrick would like everyone to believe. Unless serious steps are taken to make Massachusetts more competitive, jobs will continue to disappear from our state at an alarming rate.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Senator Tarr Elected New Minority Leader

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (left) has been unanimously chosen by his colleagues to lead the Senate Republican Caucus during the upcoming 2011-2012 legislative session as the new Senate Minority Leader.

A member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1991-1994, Tarr has served in the State Senate since 1995 and will formally assume the title of Minority Leader on January 5, 2011. Tarr succeeds Senator Richard R. Tisei, who has served in the Legislature since 1985 and as Senate Minority Leader since 2007.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Scaling The Hill 2010 would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ON THE AIR: Senator Tarr Offers His Suggestions on Ways to Improve Melanie's Law

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr joined Fox 25 Morning News co-anchor Gene Lavanchy on Wednesday morning to discuss a new report by the National Transportation Safety Board that suggests Massachusetts is not doing enough to crack down on repeat drunk drivers. Senator Tarr agreed that the state's newest anti-drunk driving law -- known as Melanie's Law -- can be improved to make our roads safer.

One idea backed by Senator Tarr is a proposal to prevent repeat offenders from being able to "bundle" multiple charges to avoid harsher punishment. Senate Minority Whip Robert Hedlund will be filing a bill to this effect when the new legislative session convenes in January.

Be sure to check out Senator Tarr's complete interview with Gene Lavanchy by clicking on the link below.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ON THE AIR: Senator Tarr Discusses Governor's In-State Tuition Proposal on Fox25

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr sat down for an interview with Fox 25 News reporter Nicole Jacobs on Tuesday afternoon. Senator Tarr discussed Governor Patrick's plans to pursue an in-state tuition program that would provided discounted tuition rates to undocumented individuals who enroll at a state college or university. You can check out the full segment that aired on Fox, including an excerpt from Senator Tarr's interview, by clicking on the link below.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


The willingness of our citizens to give freely and unselfishly of themselves, even their lives, in defense of our democratic principles, gives this great Nation continued strength and vitality.
-- President Ronald Reagan, in his 1981 Veterans Day Proclamation

Scaling the Hill 2010 salutes our nation's veterans and their families for the many sacrifices they have made to help keep America free. Please take a moment today to remember the veterans in your community and to thank them for their service to our country.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Senator Tisei Discusses Election with Jeff Katz

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei (right) was a guest on this morning's Jeff Katz Show on RushRadio 1200. During his appearance, Senator Tisei answered questions about the 2010 election, his campaign for Lieutenant Governor, the state of the Massachusetts GOP, and his future plans as he prepares to step down from the State Senate in January. If you missed it, be sure to check out the complete interview on the RushRadio podcast.

Friday, November 5, 2010

ON THE AIR: Sen. Hedlund on 'Broadside'

Senate Minority Whip Robert L. Hedlund (left) appeared on NECN's Broadside this week to discuss the results of Tuesday’s statewide elections with host Jim Braude. Hedlund appeared alongside Daniel Winslow, former counsel for Governor Mitt Romney, who won a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the Ninth Norfolk District on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ON THE AIR: Senator Tisei on Jeff Katz Show

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei (right) was a guest on RushRadio 1200's Jeff Katz Show this morning, where he talked about the 24,000 jobs Massachusetts lost over the last two months and Governor Patrick's failure to acknowledge the true extent of the state's estimated $2 billion budget deficit. In case you missed the interview, be sure to check it out in its entirety on the RushRadio podcast.

Friday, October 22, 2010

ON THE AIR: Tarr on Fox Morning News

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr joined former state Senator Warren Tolman in the Fox 25 Beacon Hill studio yesterday morning to discuss the 10th Congressional District race and the race for Governor. In case you missed it, you can check out the entire segment by clicking on the link below.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In Case You Missed It...

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr was an in-studio guest on the Fox 25 Morning News today, joining former State Senator Warren Tolman in the Beacon Hill studio for a spirited discussion about the latest poll numbers in the Massachusetts Governor's race and what it means just 19 days before the November 2nd general election. Click below to watch the segment in its entirety.

ON THE AIR: Senator Hedlund on Broadside

Senate Minority Whip Robert L. Hedlund (left) appeared on NECN’s Broadside this week along with former colleague Warren Tolman. The two engaged in a spirited discussion about the upcoming November 2010 election.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

'Tarr and Tolman' on Fox 25 Tomorrow

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (left) will be back on the Fox 25 Morning News on Thursday, continuing his extended pre-election stint as one-half of the weekly "Tarr and Tolman" segment. The segment will air live at approximately 7:15 a.m.

Although it's subject to change, some of the potential topics up for discussion tomorrow include: the MA Congressional and Governor's races; the amount of money being spent on political campaigns nationally; and the potential fallout if Question 3 passes on the November 2nd ballot. Be sure to tune in for what's sure to be a lively discussion of the latest state and national political news.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Senator Tarr on Fox 25 Morning News

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr appeared on Fox 25 Morning News today, along with former State Senator Warren Tolman and Fox 25 Morning News co-host Kim Carrigan. The segment focused on last week's decision by Holliston attorney Paul Loscocco to abandon his campaign for Lieutenant Governor as the running mate of Treasurer Tim Cahill on the Independent ticket. There was also some dicussion about President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to Boston on October 16.

Be sure to check out the clip below.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In Case You Missed It...

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei (right) was a guest on WRKO's Charley Manning Show yesterday afternoon, where he talked about the FY11 supplemental budget now pending before the Senate and the Senate Republican Caucus' letter to Governor Patrick requesting more information on what state accounts are facing immediate deficiencies and require additional funding.

Click hear to listen to the interview in its entirety.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Senate GOP Caucus Responds to Governor's Statement on Supplemental Budget

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei issued the following statement today on behalf of the Senate Republican Caucus in response to Governor Patrick’s statement regarding the supplemental budget currently pending before the Senate:

“Today, prior to the Senate’s consideration of a $420 million supplemental spending bill, the members of the Republican Caucus of the State Senate asked the Governor three straightforward questions regarding the fiscal viability of the Commonwealth and the long-term plan for Fiscal Year 2011. The Governor’s refusal to answer these questions is indicative of his lack of leadership and his lack of stewardship over the state budget the past four years.

Again, we call on the Governor to publically provide details of the fiscal status of the programs that are in deficiency a mere three months into the state’s fiscal year. The Governor needs to open up the state’s books so that we can make an informed decision as we consider the supplemental budget before the Senate.”

Click here to view a copy of the Caucus' letter to Governor Patrick.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Say Hello to 'Tolman and Tarr'

It's official: Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (left) will be appearing on the Fox Morning News every Thursday morning between now and the November 2nd general election as part of the station's popular "Tolman and Gray" segment. Tarr, who in the past has filled in periodically for political consultant Rob Gray, will be debating the latest political news with former State Senator Warren Tolman.

The first of the "Tolman and Tarr" segments aired this morning, and featured a discussion of the governor's race. Fox 25 Morning News co-host Kim Carrigan asked the two which candidate they thought might break from the pack in the closing weeks of the campaign, and whether or not they think Independent Tim Cahill will stay in the race after dropping sharply in the polls.

In case you missed this morning's segment, you can watch it here. And be sure to tune in every Thursday at approximately 7:15 a.m. for "Tolman and Tarr".

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ON THE AIR: Senator Tisei Featured on Jeff Katz, Charley Manning Shows Today

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei was a guest on RushRadio's Jeff Katz Show this morning, where he discussed jobs and taxes, including the eight tax increases passed over the last three years which have stifled job growth in the Commonwealth. With the state's unemployment currently at 8.8 percent, Massachusetts has a higher jobless rate than 25 other states.

To listen to the interview in its entirety, click here. Also, be sure to tune in to WRKO's Charley Manning show this afternoon, as Senator Tisei is scheduled to call in.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In Case You Missed It: Lt. Governor Candidates Square off in Second Debate at Curry College

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei (right) and the three other candidates for Lieutenant Governor squared off in their second debate yesterday, answering questions about immigration, taxes, jobs and health care while sharing their views on the role of the Lieutenant Governor.

Hosted by Curry College, the event was co-sponsored by the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, WCVB-TV, the Patriot Ledger and It was held just five days after the candidates' first debate, which took place on September 22 at Suffolk Law School.

If you weren't able to catch the live webstream of yesterday's hour-long debate, you can watch it in its entirety on the Patriot Ledger's website.

Up next for the Lieutenant Governor candidates is a debate at Holliston Town Hall, which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

ON THE AIR: Sen. Tarr on Fox Morning News

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (left) was a guest today on the Fox 25 Morning News' "Tolman and Gray" segment, filling in for Rob Gray. Along with former State Senator Warren Tolman, Tarr offered his critique of this week's debate between the candidates for Governor. They also discussed the national GOP's "Pledge to America" regarding jobs, spending, Washington reforms and Obamacare.

Click here to see the segment in its entirety.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Senator Ross to Appear on 'Ask the Rep'

State Senator Richard Ross (left) is slated to appear on the next broadcast of Representative Thomas Conroy’s Wayland cable access show, “Ask the Rep” on Wednesday, Sept. 22 from 7-7:30 p.m. Viewers can call in during the show at 508-358-3472 or e-mail their questions before Sept. 21 to Senator Ross will discuss his special election win back in May, what’s going on up on Beacon Hill and the upcoming November election.

ON THE AIR: Sen. Tisei on the Jeff Katz Show

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei (right) was a guest on RushRadio 1200's Jeff Katz Show yesterday morning. Tisei discussed Tuesday's primary election results and offered his take on WBZ radio's gubernatorial debate that took place immediately after the polls closed.

Click here to listen to the interview.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Election 2010: Get Out and Vote

Today is Primary Day in Massachusetts, with a number of contested races taking place for the State Legislature, Congress and two of the state's Constitutional Offices. This year's election promises to be one of the most important in years, with the outcome determining the direction the Commonwealth will take over the next four years, so be sure to vote before the polls close at 8 p.m. Don't know where to vote? Just click here to find out where to go to cast your ballot.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years Later, We Still Remember

Today, on the ninth anniversary of 9/11, the Senate Republican Caucus joins with Americans everywhere in remembering the victims of the 9/11 attacks and saluting the many brave men and women who are serving our country at home and abroad to keep America safe.

You can be sure that the American spirit will prevail over this tragedy. -- former Secretary of State Colin Powell

Friday, September 10, 2010

Senator Tisei Profiled in MV Times

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei (right) sat down recently with a reporter from the Martha's Vineyard Times to talk about his life in politics. During the interview, Tisei discussed his early political aspirations as a Lynnfield High School student, his first successful run for the House of Representatives at the age of 22, his election as Senate Minority Leader in 2007, and the honor of being chosen as Charlie Baker's running mate.

Be sure to check out the full article.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In Case You Missed It...

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr joined former state Senator Warren Tolman on the Fox 25 Morning News' "Tolman and Gray" segment this morning. The two discussed last Tuesday's night gubernatorial debate, but disagreed on who won, with Tolman picking Governor Patrick and Tarr siding with Charlie Baker. They also talked about next Tuesday's primary races, including the hotly contested campaign to succeed Bill Delahunt in the 10th Congressional District and the statewide races for Auditor and Treasurer.

To view the segment in its entirety, click here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

ON THE AIR: Senator Tarr on Fox 25 News

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (left) will be filling in for Rob Gray on Thursday's "Tolman and Gray" segment, which will air live from the Fox 25 Morning News' Beacon Hill studios beginning at approximately 7:15 a.m.

Tarr will be joining former state Senator Warren Tolman to discuss Tuesday night's gubernatorial debate, the upcoming primary elections (both local and national), and the Obama jobs bill. Be sure to tune in tomorrow morning for what is sure to be a lively discussion.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Federal Grant Spells More Bad News for MCAS

The Boston Globe is reporting today that Massachusetts will share a $170 million federal grant with 24 other states and Washington, D.C. Although the purpose of the grant is to help pay for the development of a new standardized testing system for students, the Patrick-Murray Administration is still claiming the MCAS is not in jeopardy.

“It doesn’t mean the end of MCAS,” Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester told the Globe. “It could supplement it …”

Pardon us for being skeptical, but when it comes to education policy, the Patrick-Murray Administration tends to publicly say one thing and end up doing another. Just look at the Gloucester charter school debacle, which showed the corner office is more interested in following the politically-expedient path than doing what’s best for the students of Massachusetts.

The Globe noted that any move to drop the MCAS and adopt the new testing system would have to be approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Considering this is the same board that two months ago unanimously approved the adoption of the federal Common Core curriculum standards – the very same standards on which the new tests will be based – it’s easy to connect the dots and realize that the MCAS’ days are numbered.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More Bad News for Massachusetts

Is Massachusetts really making a robust recovery from the recession like the Patrick-Murray Administration keeps saying we are? We’d like to believe it, but all signs seem to indicate otherwise.

Just take a look at this week's headlines. Our 9 percent unemployment rate is the second-highest in the New England region, home foreclosures were up 80 percent in July (a direct result of the state’s high unemployment rate, according to Banker and Tradesman), and consumer confidence is down so much that retailers experienced a disappointing back to school season in August.

As If all this wasn’t bad enough, the State House News Service is now reporting that the state’s budget deficit has grown even more than originally anticipated, with a $2 billion deficit projected for Fiscal Year 2011.

Clearly, things aren’t as rosy as the Patrick-Murray Administration would like everyone to believe. But what’s really disappointing is that Beacon Hill decided to resort to its old “tax and spend” ways to try to bail the state out of its mess, rather than pursuing meaningful government reforms and cost-saving measures to help create new jobs and reduce the deficit.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

MA Unemployment Rate Higher than Region's

Governor Patrick keeps saying that Massachusetts is coming out of the global recession "faster and stronger" than the rest of the nation. But as the State House News Service reports, the state's unemployment rate remains a cause for serious concern, with Massachusetts continuing to post jobless numbers that are higher than all but one of its New England neighbors and well above the regional average.

Citing newly-released data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, SHNS notes that the Commonwealth's unemployment rate of 9 percent is significantly lower than Rhode Island's rate of 11.9 percent. However, Massachusetts still ranks higher than Connecticut (8.9 percent), Maine (8.1 percent), Vermont (6 percent) and New Hampshire (5.8 percent).

Even with unemployment holding steady at 9 percent, this number is unacceptably high, and proof that much more needs to be done to create jobs and get the state's 312,000 unemployed residents back to work.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Patrick Judicial Appointee Withdraws

What is it with the Patrick-Murray Administration and its judicial appointments?

For the second time in five weeks, one of the administration’s judicial nominees has been forced to withdraw his name from consideration prior to a confirmation vote of the Governor’s Council.

The latest casualty is Chris Maclachan, an attorney at the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), who was recently nominated by Patrick to serve as an administrative law judge for the DIA at a salary of $94,700 a year. In a letter dated August 20 (a Friday, naturally), Maclachan abruptly pulled himself out of the running, citing “persoanl (sic) reasons.”

After doing some digging, the State House News Service discovered the real reason behind Maclachan’s withdrawal: although he listed his place of residence on his nomination form as Haverhill, MA, Maclachan is actually a longtime resident of Derry, New Hampshire. This revelation came to light after Governor’s Councilor MaryEllen Manning spoke with Maclachan, who admitted to her he only recently began renting an apartment in Haverhill.

Manning, you may recall, was one of two Councilors to raise questions about another Patrick nominee, Attorney David Aptaker, who was in line for a position at the Middlesex Family and Probate Court before it was learned he had failed to disclose some controversial political campaign donations. Aptaker’s withdrawal was announced on – what else – a Friday: July 16 to be exact, or five weeks to the day before Maclachlan ended his candidacy (for more information, see our July 2 post, "Tim Murray Pulls a Sergeant Schultz"; our July 15 post, "Where Was Tim?"; and our July 17 post, "If It's Bad News, It Must be Friday").

We appreciate Councilor Manning’s due diligence in vetting candidates that come before the Governor’s Council, which is chaired by Patrick’s second-in-command, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray. Perhaps if Murray himself did a better job vetting these candidates ahead of time, the administration would have been spared the embarrassment of yet another botched nomination.

Globe Backs Health Care Plan Design

The Boston Globe has come out in support of one of the Senate Republican Caucus’ major reform proposals, agreeing that cities and towns should be given more flexibility to design their health care plans without having to go through the collective bargaining process.

In a Sunday editorial, the Globe called on legislative candidates to endorse municipal health care plan design, as well as a series of pension reforms and a proposal to move Medicare-eligible municipal retirees off their local health plans and onto Medicare. The health care savings alone would save cities and towns $175 million in the first year.

“Almost every candidate claims to favor reform, but many shun the difficult choices,” the Globe noted, adding that savings from the proposed reforms “would go a long way toward keeping cities and towns solvent in the near term.”

All of these money-saving ideas were included in an August 18 “open letter” to legislators and candidates from Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer (above, right), who said, “It is imperative that the Legislature act in 2011 to help municipalities address the unsustainable increases in the costs of health care and pensions that are leading directly to the layoffs of teachers, police, fire and other local employees.”

The so-called municipal relief bill that passed this session “fails to address either of these issues in a meaningful way,” he added.

Friday, August 27, 2010

In Case You Missed It...

The Fox 25 Morning News crew came to Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei's hometown of Wakefield this morning for it's latest "Zip Trip" stop. Be sure to check out Senator Tisei's tour of his "Five Favorite Places in Wakefield" with morning personality VB by clicking here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

ON THE AIR: Senator Tisei Discusses Democrats' 'Conversion' with Charley Manning

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei (right) was a guest this afternoon on WRKO's Charley Manning Show.

During the half-hour segment, Tisei took phone calls and discussed today's Boston Globe story about Democratic incumbents who are facing strong Republican opposition in the fall elections and are now embracing the GOP's position on issues like taxes and public benefits for illegal immigrants to help their re-election chances. Tisei also spent some time talking about the Patrick-Murray Administration's recent branch closings and fee increases at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, where the average waiting time for consumers has jumped 40 percent since 2008.

Click here to listen to the segment in its entirety.

Friday, August 20, 2010

ON THE AIR: Senator Tisei on Fox 25 'Zip Trip'

The Fox 25 Morning News crew is heading to Wakefield -- the hometown of Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei -- for a live broadcast next Friday as part of its popular "Zip Trip" series. In preparation for the visit, morning personality VB (above, left) joined Tisei for a brief tour of the senator's "five favorite places in Wakefield." The segment is set to air next Friday, so be sure to tune in to find out what made the list.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Latest Jobs Figures No Cause for Celebration

The Patrick-Murray Administration issued a press release today touting the latest jobs figures for July as a sign the state is “rebounding” from the recession. The truth, however, is that Massachusetts is barely treading water.

The statewide unemployment rate remains at 9 percent, with 312,300 residents still out of work. Some communities are experiencing even higher, double-digit numbers, with Lawrence posting a 12.4 percent unemployment rate in June (July figures for individual communities are scheduled to be released on August 24).

Just today, the State House News Service reported that “Massachusetts remains far from its jobs peak of 2001 and the state has turned to federal loans to keep unemployment checks flowing.” Although the state has added 36,600 jobs in the last year, it’s also seen a net loss of 154,000 jobs since Governor Patrick took office.

The Patrick-Murray Administration can issue all the press releases it wants, but that doesn’t hide the fact that much more needs to be done to get the Commonwealth back on track and get Massachusetts residents back to work.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Senator Tisei's Statement on NPV Signing

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei issued the following statement today regarding Governor Deval Patrick’s decision to sign legislation authorizing Massachusetts to join a multi-state compact to elect the President by national popular vote:

“With the stroke of a pen, Governor Patrick today is scrapping a system established by the Founding Fathers that has been in place for over 200 years and has worked well for generation after generation.

This is nothing more than an attempt to circumvent the Constitution, promoted by individuals who are still not over the fact that George Bush defeated Al Gore in the 2000 Presidential Election. It’s a terrible idea that will disenfranchise many voters and will give disproportionate power to those states with large population centers.

The sad part is how quickly this bill made it through the Legislature and on to the governor’s desk. If Governor Patrick and the Legislature had placed the same priority on job creation, tax relief, and other legislation that would actually help the taxpayers of the Commonwealth, rather than catering to a narrow special interest group, our state would be in much better shape.”

Monday, August 2, 2010

ON THE AIR: Tarr on 'Broadside' Tonight

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr will be appearing as an in-studio guest on New England Cable News' "Broadside" tonight to discuss casinos with guest host Michael Graham, who is filling in for Jim Braude. The show airs live at 6 p.m. and will be re-broadcast at 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Business As Usual on Beacon Hill

Last week, we told you about the Patrick-Murray Administration’s decision to abandon the MCAS exam and the state’s top-rated academic standards in favor of the national Common Core education model. This occurred just days after Governor Patrick received the endorsement of the MA Teachers Association – the same teachers union that pumped $2.6 million into his 2006 campaign for governor (see our July 20th posting, “MTA + $$ = The End of MCAS”).

This week, it was more “business as usual” on Beacon Hill. With Governor Patrick visiting the troops in Iraq, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray used his powers as Acting Governor to sign legislation that just so happens to benefit one of his major campaign donors.

Today’s Boston Herald reports the chief executive officer of the Savings Bank Life Insurance Co. made out a $500 check to Murray – the maximum contribution allowed under law – just six days before Murray signed a bill that will allow the company to begin charging different insurance rates for men and women. According to the Herald, SBLI CEO Robert K. Sheridan has made a total of $1,450 in contributions to Murray over the last four years.

The Patrick-Murray Administration denies there was any quid pro quo, but the situation seems anything but transparent – and it certainly doesn’t seem to pass the smell test.

Monday, July 26, 2010

GOP Leaders Hit Closed-Door Casino Talks

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei and House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. today criticized House and Senate leadership for excluding Republican negotiators from a late-afternoon summit on casino gambling.

The State House News Service reports that following today’s leadership meeting with Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo are meeting with House and Senate conferees in a “last-ditch effort to salvage” the casino bill before the end of session. However, neither of the two Republicans serving on the conference committee – Senator Richard Ross and Representative Paul Frost – has been asked to participate in the meeting.

“It’s pretty pathetic that it’s come down to this, where decisions on a proposal that will dramatically impact the landscape of the entire state are being made behind closed doors without input from Republican members,” said Senator Tisei. “It’s ironic this is happening under the watch of the same governor who campaigned on a promise of more openness and transparency in state government. This is nothing more than the same old ‘business as usual’ on Beacon Hill.”

“This latest stunt further highlights that the status quo is alive and well on Beacon Hill,” said Representative Jones. “It is this kind of shady behavior that the people of Massachusetts are fed up with and though I am not surprised by this latest display of arrogance, I am indeed disappointed and frustrated especially since this is an issue where Republicans have been supportive.”

The casino gambling bill has been in conference committee since July 6. Unless the House and Senate agree on a compromise by July 31, the bill will have to be re-filed for the 2011-2012 session.

In Case You Missed It: Another Newspaper Backs Senator Tisei on National Popular Vote

Another newspaper is backing Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei (right) in his efforts to block the passage of the pending National Popular Vote bill.

Tisei opposes the bill, which he sees as nothing more than an attempt to circumvent the Constitution and the way we elect our U.S. President. The bill would require Massachusetts to commit its electoral college votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote nationwide -- even if that candidate fails to receive the support of a majority of the state's voters.

Tisei believes the National Popular Vote would disenfranchise many smaller states, a concern shared by the Newburyport Daily News. In a recent editorial, the newspaper noted that:

"The election of the president is, by the design of the founders, a contest to win states, not merely to win votes. That legislators in this state, one of the original adopters of the Constitution, would subvert that design in the name of a fashionable populism is horrifying."

To read the editorial in its entirety, click here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MTA + $$ = The End of MCAS

We all knew the days of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test were numbered when Governor Patrick decided to name Paul Reville – a strident opponent of the MCAS – to the Board of Education. It was really just a question of when the Governor would finally drop the charade and go back on his oft-repeated assertion that “we’re not walking away from the MCAS.”

Last Friday, Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester made it official when he released a memo recommending that Massachusetts adopt the proposed national Common Core standards. Tomorrow, the Board of Education is scheduled to vote on his recommendation (be sure to check out today’s Boston Herald editorial, “Slipping Standards”).

If this vote had taken place prior to Governor Patrick’s education reorganization, we would have expected the board to engage in a spirited debate, while holding the Patrick-Murray Administration’s feet to the fire and forcing them to defend the rationale of abandoning a test that is recognized as the best in the nation. But that was back when the board still clung to its long and proud history of independence; the reorganization has left the board a shell of its former shelf, and there’s little doubt how the vote will go.

So what proved to be the tipping point for the Patrick-Murray Administration?

For starters, the federal government dangled the prospect of the state qualifying for up to $250 million in one-time federal aid if it adopts the national standards by August 2. That money would come in handy, but is it really worth dumbing down our highest-in-the-nation academic standards to get it? We don’t think so.

Then, of course, there is the influence of the state’s teachers’ unions, which have long opposed the MCAS. Patrick is clearly beholden to the unions. In fact, the Massachusetts Teachers Association pumped nearly $2.6 million into his 2006 campaign for Governor, and endorsed his re-election just days before Commissioner Chester released his memo.

A quid pro quo? You be the judge.

In Case You Missed It...

For the second week in a row, Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (left) filled in for Michael Sullivan on Fox 25's "Monday Morning Quarterbacks" segment. Tarr joined former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger live in the Beacon Hill studio yesterday morning to discuss the latest state and national political news, including small business healthcare concerns; U.S. Senator Scott Brown's vote for the federal finance bill; the recent war of words between members of the NAACP and the Tea Party movement; and President Obama's vacation controversy.

In case you missed it, you can watch the clip here. But be forewarned, the closing seconds of the 10-minute segment include an off-key rendition of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" sung by Harshbarger at the urging of Fox Morning News co-host Kim Carrigan.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

If It's Bad News, It Must Be Friday

Last October, the State House News Service observed that the Patrick-Murray Administration seems to have a "mildly pathological fixation" with dumping bad news on a Friday afternoon in an attempt to minimize the need for PR damage control.

The Administration was at it again late yesterday, disclosing not one but two pieces of bad news. First, Governor Patrick announced that his embattled nominee to the Middlesex Family and Probate Court, Attorney David Aptaker, had withdrawn his name from consideration in the wake of growing opposition to his candidacy. The Senate Republican Caucus called for Aptaker's resignation two weeks ago, following revelations that he had failed to disclose hundreds of dollars in questionable campaign contributions on his judicial application.

But the bad news didn't end there. Word also leaked out late yesterday afternoon that the Patrick-Murray Administration is poised to dump the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Systems (MCAS) test and replace it with what is sure to be a less-rigorous and watered-down national standard. This would represent a major step backwards for education reform, given that the high standards set by the MCAS have resulted in Massachusetts' students leading the nation in a number of testing categories.

It's not surprising to see this full-scale attack on the MCAS. After all, this is the same Governor who stripped the state's Board of Education of its long-standing independence, politicized the charter school approval process, and used one of his first appointments to name one of the MCAS' most strident opponents to the board. And let's not forget that Patrick is also beholden to the anti-MCAS teachers unions, which have donated heavily to his campaign.

The Governor's latest actions remind us of an Associated Press story that appeared last fall, in which Boston University communications professor Tobe Berkovitz compared the Administration's Friday-afternoon press dumps to what happened in the final days of the Nixon White House.

"It's right out of the Dick Nixon playbook," Berkovitz told the Associated Press. "During Watergate, they would always unload everything at 20 after 6, just before the network news went on the air at 6:30 p.m."

One can only imagine how many more bad news stories the Patrick-Murray Administration will be looking to bury on a Friday in the coming weeks.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Senator Hedlund Talks Casinos on Fox25

Senate Minority Whip Robert L. Hedlund (left) filled-in for Rob Gray during this week’s Tolman & Gray spot on the Fox 25 Morning News. Watch his take on casinos, and the ongoing legislative logjam.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where Was Tim?

Beleaguered Patrick Administration judicial appointee David Aptaker was on the hot seat yesterday, appearing before the Governor’s Council and trying to explain why he failed to disclose certain questionable campaign donations on his application.

But Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray – who normally chairs the Council’s meetings and has been one of Aptaker’s biggest supporters – was nowhere to be found. Instead, the meeting was presided over by Councilor Tom Merrigan who, ironically, was the beneficiary of special legislation that has allowed him to continue to practice law before state agencies, despite the obvious conflict of interest.

Aptaker – who has been nominated to serve on the Middlesex Probate and Family Court – claims he made “an honest mistake” and had “no intention of trying to deceive” the Governor’s Council when he failed to disclose $200 in donations to former State Senator Jim Marzilli and $550 in contributions to former Middlesex Registrar of Probate John Buonomo. Marzilli is facing multiple charges of indecent sexual assault involving four women, while Buonomo was convicted of stealing money from the court’s copier machines.

On July 2 – the day after these revelations came to light – the Senate Republican Caucus called on Governor Patrick to rescind Aptaker’s nomination, saying he had “blatantly obfuscated and misrepresented his position” and that his actions “call into question his character and qualifications to serve on the Probate Court.”

Two weeks ago, Tim Murray pulled a Sergeant Schultz (“I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!”), saying the concerns should have been brought up earlier. At the time, Murray was willing to look the other way and let Aptaker’s nomination vote proceed, despite valid concerns about his candidacy. Now it appears he’s doing it again, running for cover as the fallout continues.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In Case You Missed It...

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr took part in the popular "Monday Morning Quarterbacks" segment on the Fox 25 Morning News yesterday.

Senator Tarr joined former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger in the Beacon Hill studio to discuss the Russian spy case; Charlie Baker's latest political ads targetting Governor Deval Patrick; the mid-term Congressional elections; the hoopla surrounding NBA superstar Lebron James' decision to leave Cleveland and sign with the Miami Heat; and Spain's weekend victory in the World Cup tournament.

Senator Tarr will be back next Monday morning to do another live segment on Fox 25.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Worcester Telegram & Gazette: 'Tisei is Right' About National Popular Vote Proposal

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette ran an editorial yesterday backing Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei's claims that the proposed National Popular Vote bill represents "an end-run around the Constitution."

The editorial calls on the Senate to reject the "NPV scheme," which would drastically change the way states choose a U.S. President every four years.

"Any state joining the compact of states would agree to award its Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate winning the most votes nationwide," the editorial notes. "In some cases, that could mean overturning the expressed will of the people in a given state, merely to satisfy the sense of entitlement that clings to the 'winner' of the popular vote for president."

The Senate is scheduled to resume debate on the National Popular Vote bill on Tuesday, with several amendments still pending.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

ON THE AIR: Senator Tisei Promotes Sales Tax Holiday to Give Consumers, Retailers a Break

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei (right) has been hitting the airwaves this week to call for the reinstatement of a statewide sales tax holiday, which hasn't been offered in Massachusetts since 2008.

Tisei was a guest this morning on RushRadio 1200's Jeff Katz Show, where he talked about the House Republican Caucus' successful effort to designate August 14-15 as a tax-free weekend for consumers and retailers. Tisei also discussed the benefits of a sales tax holiday on WRKO's Tom & Todd Show and with WBZ Radio's Jon MacLean yesterday.

A longtime advocate for establishing an annual tax-free weekend in Massachusetts, Tisei is leading the charge to get the Senate to approve a new sales tax holiday before formal sessions end on July 31.

Senator Tarr Talks Casinos on NECN

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (left) was a guest this week on New England Cable News' "Broadside". Tarr and host Jim Braude had a lively discussion about expanded gaming in the Commonwealth, including the likelihood that the House and Senate can resolve their differences and deliver a casino bill to Governor Patrick's desk before the end of session on July 31.

Click here to watch the interview.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Herald: Give Consumers a Break

An editorial in today’s Boston Herald makes a strong case for offering another sales tax holiday this year, the first since 2008.

Introduced in 2004 as a one-day event, the sales tax holiday expanded to a full weekend in 2005 and has grown in popularity ever since. Between 2004 and 2008, the sales tax holiday was an annual summer event that gave tax-weary consumers a break while also helping businesses through what has traditionally been a slow sales period for retailers.

Last year, of course, the state offered no sales tax holiday. Instead, consumers were hit with a 25 percent increase in the sales tax, which jumped from 5 percent to 6.25 percent and put many local businesses at a competitive disadvantage compared to their out-of-state counterparts.

House Republicans have filed an amendment for a sales tax holiday that could come up for a vote as early as today. This is good news for taxpayers as well as merchants. As the Herald notes, the $14.9 million in sales tax revenues the state lost during the 2008 sales tax holiday is “essentially, a rounding error in the context of a $28 billion budget,” and it will help draw customers into stores and provide additional individual and corporate income tax revenues for the state.

The Senate Republican Caucus has tried to make the sales tax holiday permanent, but so far Beacon Hill has resisted this proposal, opting instead to decide if and when one will be offered on a year-to-year basis. A permanent tax holiday would take the politics out of the process, while helping employers and taxpayers.

The Herald is right: it’s time to give consumers – and businesses – a break!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


As families across Massachusetts and the rest of the country gather to celebrate our nation's birth this Fourth of July, we here at Scaling The Hill 2010 would like to wish everyone a very safe and happy Independence Day.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tim Murray Pulls A Sergeant Schultz

Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray is sounding a lot like Sergeant Schultz these days. You know, the fictional bumbling character from Hogan’s Heroes known for constantly repeating the refrain “I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!”

How else do you explain the Lieutenant Governor’s actions at last Wednesday’s Governor’s Council confirmation hearing for Arlington Attorney David Aptaker, who was nominated by Governor Patrick to serve as the new Associate Justice of the Middlesex County Family and Probate Court? As the State House News Service has reported, Murray was willing to look the other way despite valid concerns about Aptaker’s candidacy and revelations that he was less than forthcoming on the questionnaire that accompanied his nomination application.

It seems that Aptaker neglected to mention hundreds of dollars in campaign contributions he made to disgraced former Senator Jim Marzilli (who is now facing sexual assault charges) and former Middlesex Register of Probate John Buonomo (who was imprisoned after being convicted on theft charges). Aptaker made two $100 donations to Marzilli in 2007, along with a combined $550 in donations to Buonomo in 2006 and 2008.

Aptaker also claimed to have contributed to President Barack Obama and Congressman Michael Capuano, but Governor’s Councilor Marilyn Devaney has been unable to verify those donations. Devaney and fellow Councilor MaryEllen Manning successfully moved to delay the vote on Aptaker’s nomination until July 14, despite Murray’s eagerness to dismiss their concerns and move ahead with a vote anyway.

Today, the Senate Republican Caucus hand-delivered a letter to Governor Patrick, which calls on him to rescind Aptaker’s nomination.

“Judicial nominees in Massachusetts must always be held to the highest standard,” the Caucus wrote. “The fact that Mr. Aptaker lied on his application and omitted important information about questionable campaign contributions calls into question his character and qualifications to serve on the Probate Court. The Governor’s Council should not be asked to compromise the integrity of the judicial system by rubber-stamping a candidate who has so blatantly obfuscated and misrepresented his position.”

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Republican Leaders' Statement on FY11 Budget

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei and House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. released the following statement regarding Governor Deval Patrick’s signing of the Fiscal Year 2011 state budget yesterday:

“The Fiscal Year 2011 budget signed by Governor Patrick is a testament to yet another missed opportunity by the Legislature and the Corner Office to implement real reforms in the way state government operates.

Once again, the budget relies heavily on the use of one-time revenues, including federal stimulus funding that will no longer be available next year. Governor Patrick has also failed to address the $160 million hole that has been created by Social Security reimbursements that have yet to be paid to the state, or to account for the $300 million hole created by a debt restructuring plan that is still waiting authorization by the Senate. In doing so, the Governor has simply pushed off the day of reckoning and has failed to address the serious financial crisis Massachusetts is now facing.

The state is facing a structural deficit of between $2 billion and $3 billion in Fiscal Year 2011. By taking a band-aid approach, the Governor and the Legislature continue to avoid making the tough decisions and adopting the fiscal discipline needed to rein in spending and dig the state out of its fiscal mess. This budget may be on time, but it is certainly not balanced and is anything but responsible.”

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Patrick: Full-Time Governor or Full-Time Author?

Today’s Boston Globe reports that Governor Patrick has completed the first draft of his 200-page memoir, which is due to be published next April. You may recall that the Governor jetted off to New York two years ago to ink the book deal and collect a $1.35 million advance, even as his casino proposal was going down in flames.

Patrick has already committed to a nationwide book tour, telling publishers he would not only be “delighted to participate in a vigorous media campaign” but also would be willing to “travel across the nation for book signings,” according to the Globe. Which begs the question: with the state facing a structural budget deficit of between $2 billion and $3 billion, does Patrick plan on being a full-time Governor for the people of Massachusetts or a full-time author?

The Governor’s press secretary told the Globe that Patrick completed the book during his “limited free time.” But a book signing tour is going to require Patrick to be out of the state for an extended period of time, even as the state faces a serious fiscal crisis that deserves his full attention.

We have to wonder what Patrick’s second in command (and resident pit bull) Tim Murray thinks about all this. With Patrick unable to devote his attention to his gubernatorial responsibilities 24/7, will Murray now demand that the Governor step aside and let him take over the running of the Corner Office? But that may be a problem for the residents of the state, as Murray’s most significant role as Lieutenant Governor to date has been giving traffic reports to motorists calling 5-1-1. Unfortunately, the state recently updated the system, and Tim’s rather long and self-promoting greeting can no longer be heard.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Senator Knapik Offers Thoughts on FY11 Budget

Senator Michael R. Knapik (right) was one of six conference committee members responsible for reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. Forging a compromise budget out of competing priorities is always a difficult one, but this year's process was even more daunting given the floundering economy and the many uncertainties surrounding the receipt of federal stimulus funding. Be sure to check out Senator Knapik's thoughts on this year's budget process and the Senate Republican Caucus' reform efforts, as reported by the Springfield Republican.