Your weekly look at politics, policy, and elections in Massachusetts.
THE HORSE RACE: Steve Koczela, host; Jennifer Smith, host; Libby Gormley, producer; Maureen McInerney, graphic designer.
Episode 181: A Trot Down Memory Lane
5/12/21--Listeners, The Horse Race is taking a step back for a few weeks as we prepare to bring you a brand-new series this summer! So be sure to stay on the lookout for that, and in the meantime, we leave you with this last episode where Steve and Jenn are joined by the founding members of The Horse Race -- original cohost Lauren Dezenski and original producer Hannah Chanatry. The four reminisce on the nearly four years since the podcast began and the many guests, segments, live shows, and horse puns that came along with it. Enjoy, and we'll be back in your ears soon!
Episode 180: Thanks for the Mem-Murrays
5/5/21-- It's a bittersweet day here in the virtual bunker because it is Stephanie Murray's last appearance as co-host of The Horse Race! She is taking a new role at Politico as author of The Morning Score, a national weekly newsletter.
Stick around to the end of the episode to hear how Stephanie has scene the political landscape change in her years on the #mapoli beat. But to begin, we're talking about a persistent debate among Massachusetts officials about whether to make vaccines mandatory for public workers. Many Democratic officials and public figures say yes. Governor Baker's stance is a hard no.
Later in the show we're joined by Miles Howard, a freelance journalist who recently published a column in the Boston Globe posing the idea of turning empty office space into desperately needed affordable housing in Boston. He explains how it might work, what's standing in the way, and whether we can predict a return to offices or the continuation of widespread remote work.
Finally, Jenn and Steve grill Stephanie on her time covering Massachusetts politics and engage in a #mapoli lightning round digging up her favorite moments as a reporter and, more importantly, a proud Bay Stater.
Episode 179: The GIF That Keeps on Giving
4/28/21--This week on The Horse Race, we bring you some bittersweet news. Our very own, extremely talented, reporter and co-host extraordinaire, Stephanie Murray, will be joining us for just one more episode of The Horse Race! She has been promoted to a national position for Politico, so keep an eye out for her as the new author of The Morning Score.
In other big #mapoli news, Massachusetts is making big reopening moves. New reopening guidelines include, effective May 29th,(dependent on public health and vaccination data) gathering limits will increase to 200 people indoors and 250 people outdoors; May 10th will bring the opening of amusement parks and water parks at 50% capacity; and on August 1st other industries will be permitted to open such as nightclubs, saunas, and ball pits (?).
Jenn has been closely following the Boston mayoral race and analyzes the newest development, or lack thereof. State senator Nick Collins announced he will not be running for mayor of Boston. Many had speculated he might jump into the race, but his official decision not to run means in all likelihood, the race for Boston mayor will for the first time in history not include a white man.
Steve sounds off on Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin's deflection on the question of whether he'll run for re-election. Galvin has been in office since 1995, and his response to the State House News Service that he "enjoy[s]" his job indicates he might run for an eighth term.
New data from the 2020 Census is out this week. Some states’ Congressional seats will change as a result, but Massachusetts will keep its same nine. Stephanie Murray explains what the data tells us about our districts and provides national context as well.
In the wake of devastating mass shootings this year, a Massachusetts reporter looked into why the commonwealth's rates of gun deaths are the lowest in the country. Sarah Betancourt's Guardian article details the work of John Rosenthal, co-founder of Stop Handgun Violence, an organization that is in part responsible for the low gun death rates. She stopped by The Horse Race to tell us what gun restrictions contribute to our state's performance and explains in what other ways Massachusetts is in fact contributing to the gun violence epidemic.
Episode 178: Recounting the Days
4/21/21--This week, there's good news surrounding the vaccine in Massachusetts. Saturday marked a happy milestone in that the state surpassed 2 million residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
In national news, all eyes were on Minneapolis Tuesday night when a verdict came down on the Derek Chauvin trial. Chauvin was convicted on all charges in the death of George Floyd. Massachusetts political figures have since been responding to the decision, including the six Boston mayoral candidates during a forum Tuesday night.
Jenn and Stephanie parse the candidates' responses during the forum to issues including racism, police accountability, the Boston Planning and Development Agency, affordable housing, and education.
Later, the hosts are joined by Boston Globe reporter Matt Stout, who wrote about a puzzling development upon an election that occurred more than a year ago. He explains why a former write-in candidate for the Republican state committeewoman is suing the Secretary of State's office.
Episode 177: Mayorals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.
4/14/21-- This week, there is a lot of #bospoli news to discuss, and it begins with the Boston Police Department. Acting Mayor Kim Janey on Tuesday named the executive director of Boston’s first Office of Police Accountability and Transparency. This comes as the department is reeling from two major scandals. Jenn and Stephanie discuss where things stand now, and what the future may hold the BPD.
Next, Steve Koczela has new data from a poll conducted by The MassINC Polling Group and sponsored by WBUR and The Dorchester Reporter. The poll asked Boston residents who they're voting for in the mayoral election, what issues are most important to them, and what they'd like to be done about the lack of affordable housing in the city.
Finally, we are joined by Nicole Calabrese, the leader of a ballot committee urging Wakefield residents to vote "no" on the question of whether to keep Wakefield Public Schools' current logo. The logo, which depicts an Indigenous person, has drawn debate for years. And recently, the rhetoric surrounding it has gotten so vitriolic as to polarize the town. Calabrese explains how things got so bad and what will happen next.
Full transcript here: https://www.massincpolling.com/the-topline/episode-177-mayorals-for-spring-groundbreaking
Episode 176: Born to be Dialed
4/7/21-- This week, Steve, Jennifer, and Stephanie discuss the #bospoli news that Acting Mayor of Boston Kim Janey is in fact running for full-term mayor. She made the announcement Tuesday morning, alongside the release of a campaign ad that speaks to Boston's long history of white male leaders as well as her promises to address issues such as housing and income inequality. She will have been mayor for eight months by the time the election rolls around, giving her a significant incumbency advantage over her peers also running for the office.
And speaking of running for office, former state senator and once-co-host of The Horse Race Ben Downing stopped by the virtual bunker to discuss his officially campaign for Governor. The Democrat also recently released his climate plan that he says goes further than the recently passed legislation under the Baker administration.
Finally, Stephanie asks pollster Steve and law scholar Jennifer about the recent Supreme Court decision that allows the use of auto-dialers to cell phones. The move significantly shifts the polling landscape and is a resolution that has come after a decade of litigation and millions of dollars spent.
Full transcript here: https://www.massincpolling.com/the-topline/episode-176-born-to-be-dialed
Honestly really good
I look forward to listening to the Horse Race every week!!! The hosts are great interviewers, funny, well-informed— it’s great. I recommend it to all my mapoli involved friends
Essential mapoli podcast
The Horse Race is a must for mapoli addicts. The presentation style is refreshingly free of rancor and bias and offers true expert analysis.
Good but biased
I am a loyal listener and enjoy the hyper local takes on politics in Massachusetts. Caveat emptor however, the content is very biased towards liberals and Democrats. They tend to toss softball questions to liberals and 100 MPH fastballs to anyone remotely center right. But despite that, it’s a good listen.