Massachusetts convention attendees have selected Democrats to appear on primary ballot
Massachusetts Democrats held their party convention over the weekend and the roster of party candidates is now set.
The state Democratic convention was held over the weekend in Worcester. It marked the end of the line for some hopefuls who didn't get that 15% support.
Reporter Matt Murphy, with the State House News Service, outlines which candidates will be pushing forward with support of the Democratic Party.
Matt Murphy, State House News Service: Well, where to start? As expected, Attorney General Maura Healey, easily securing the party's endorsement in the race for governor in 2022 on Saturday, earning over 71% of the vote. But Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Boston Democrat, getting nearly 29% and more than enough to qualify and ensure that there will be a primary for governor. Similar in the race for attorney general, all three candidates getting what they needed to move on. Then Quentin Palfrey, after two ballots, secured the party endorsement. But he'll be joined by former Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell and Labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan.
You talk about people not making it; That was the race for lieutenant governor.
Five people went into the convention hoping to continue to the September 6th primary. Only three will after Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll easily won the endorsement with 41% of the vote. She was followed by Rep. Tammy Gouveia and Senator Eric Lesser. Those three will move on. However, Senator Adam Hinds of Pittsfield, and former businessman and college lecturer Bret Bero were unable to secure the 15% that they needed. Senator Hinds coming very, very close, but just getting 12%... just shy of what he needed.
And, finally, in the race for auditor, we saw transportation advocate Chris Dempsey secure the endorsement over State Senator Diana DiZoglio of Methuen. But both will move on. And State Treasurer Deb Goldberg running unopposed, moved on by acclamation, also with the party's endorsement.
Carrie Healy, NEPM: A judge still needs to sign off on this, but last week, the state settled a class action lawsuit with defendants who had convictions vacated in the state drug lab scandal. It all stems from convictions based on now discredited work by two chemists who tampered with drug evidence. What does this $14 million settlement mean for the participants in that class action?
It does feel like these cases have been going on forever. This was quite a while ago, and we've seen both these chemists involved in the evidence tampering, Annie Dookhan and Sonya Farrack, convicted. But this settlement resolves claims brought by roughly 31,000 defendants who each share in some of the proceeds, anywhere from $150 to $1000 or more will go to each one of these defendants to offset the fees; parole and probation fees and fines that they may have paid that stemmed from their convictions that were overturned because the evidence in their cases had been tampered with. And there's also a sizable chunk of money, $1.4 million going to the lawyers who took on these cases, helping to fight in court to ensure that these convictions were overturned.
And finally, Governor Charlie Baker, federal officials and others have all indicated their support for a passenger rail extension into western Massachusetts. In fact, back in March, the governor filed a bill on this measure and implored the legislature to act expeditiously so that new federal infrastructure money could be guaranteed for use in this east-west rail buildout. It's June and the legislature hasn't acted. So, what is the latest on East-West rail?
The idea here stemming from conversations with Governor Baker had with Congressman Richard Neal and other members of the Western Mass delegation, was that in order for this East-West rail project to move forward and bring passenger service from Worcester to Springfield to Pittsfield, they wanted to put in place a new rail authority to oversee the implementation and development of this project with the rail carriers and the feds and all the interested parties. The hope here was to get this inserted into a transportation bond bill that the governor had already filed. So far that has not happened, but that bill is still moving and is still very much alive.
A transportation committee recommended a version of the governor's transportation spending bill without the rail authority or any of the other legal frameworks that the Governor and the delegation were seeking to help make this rail project happen. But it is still being vetted by several other committees and has not yet surfaced for a vote in the House. So, it's still possible that lawmakers will add what the governor is looking for to this bill before it gets voted on. But so far, leadership has been quiet on whether or not they support this plan, which the governor, Neal and others say is essential because it is not within the MBTA's capabilities to oversee a project of this magnitude so far away from the capital city on the coast.