141 episodes

Your weekly look at politics, policy, and elections in Massachusetts.

THE HORSE RACE: Steve Koczela, host; Jennifer Smith, host; Stephanie Murray, host; Libby Gormley, producer; Maureen McInerney, graphic designer.

The Horse Race Steve Koczela; Jennifer Smith; Stephanie Murray; Libby Gormley

    • News
    • 4.8, 31 Ratings

Your weekly look at politics, policy, and elections in Massachusetts.

THE HORSE RACE: Steve Koczela, host; Jennifer Smith, host; Stephanie Murray, host; Libby Gormley, producer; Maureen McInerney, graphic designer.

    Episode 133: Roam Alone

    Episode 133: Roam Alone

    5/28/20--As Massachusetts businesses begin to reopen, how are residents thinking about their transportation options? New data from The MassINC Polling Group shows that residents are leery about utilizing transit options that involve proximity with others, such as buses and trains. Bay Staters are more amenable to the idea of using solo transportation modes -- walking, bicycling, and driving their own cars. With traffic congestion pre-pandemic already at a breaking point, could the next year bring forth a "carapocolypse" worse than anything we've seen before? Time will tell.

    CommonWealth reporter Sarah Betancourt stops by The Horse Race to share her recent coverage on the state's unemployment insurance website. For months, the only two languages available on the website were English and Spanish, making it difficult if not impossible for non-English and Spanish speakers to navigate the site and file unemployment claims. This week, multiple new languages were added, weeks after the Governor's office had promised them.

    • 33 min
    Episode 132: Veepstakes and Hot Takes

    Episode 132: Veepstakes and Hot Takes

    5/21/20-- The coronavirus is leaving nothing untouched these days, and that includes our beloved horse racing. We mean that literally, as it was announced the Belmont Stakes, rescheduled and shortened for June 20, will serve as first leg of Triple Crown. No spectators allowed, for obvious reasons.

    In #MAPoli news, Governor Baker released details this week about Massachusetts' reopening, leaving our hosts wondering how to maintain social distancing etiquette as more outings, albeit with restrictions, become available.

    Horse Race co-host and Politico MA Playbook author Stephanie Murray has been keeping a close eye on the #Veepstakes, and runs us through the names that have been circulated as Joe Biden's potential running mate. That list includes Bay State Senator Elizabeth Warren. What could she uniquely contribute that other potential noms could not?

    Finally, Tuesday's state Senate special elections resulted in 2 more districts turning from red to blue, putting Democrats in control of 90% of the Senate. MassGOP party chairman Jim Lyons said the party's strategy for November's state elections involves zeroing in on districts where Republicans have historically done well, State House News Service reported. Ultra-blue districts considered to be lost causes, meanwhile, will be largely ignored.

    • 41 min
    Episode 131: H-O-R-S-E

    Episode 131: H-O-R-S-E

    5/13/2020--We're back with another live edition of The Horse Race Happy Hour Livestream which you can watch here: https://www.facebook.com/massincpolling/live

    We begin with Governor Baker's 4-phase reopening plan that illustrates a very basic roadmap of how businesses will begin to open up shop once again. Baker's plan, which he announced on Monday, is short on details and leaves business owners wondering what exactly is in store for them. No guidance has yet been provided in regard to non-business related social distancing measures among individuals.

    The NBA was one of the first major sports organizations to suspend its season when the coronavirus pandemic became a serious threat in the United States, and while diehard sports fans are eager to see their teams play again, and the organization tries to navigate a path forward, one player is calling for patience and ensuring safety comes first.

    Enes Kanter, center for the Boston Celtics, joined The Horse Race Livestream, sharing that he's one of those people who's used the extra time quarantine has granted all of us to actually engage in self-improvement. He's taken up cooking, reads often, watches documentaries, and plays piano, though, he admits, "My fingers are too big. I’m pushing the wrong buttons all the time."

    While he's itching to get back out on the court, he emphasizes, "There’s something way bigger happening than basketball. There’s so many people out there losing their lives, losing their loved ones, losing their homes and businesses, so I feel like, let’s just focus on that right now. And then, I feel like, basketball will come later.”

    Last week, WBUR released poll findings on Massachusetts nurses on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle. Our own Steve Koczela of the MassINC Polling Group orchestrated the poll and shared some of the most notable findings. Despite roughly half of the nurses surveyed reporting their workplaces don't have sufficient personal protective equipment, a majority cited levels of morale as somewhat or very high. In looking at leadership during the crisis, an overwhelming majority of nurses approve of the job Governor Baker is doing. This rings true with the general population's approval of Baker as well.

    • 37 min
    Episode 130: Food for Thought

    Episode 130: Food for Thought

    5/7/20--On today's episode we're joined by special guest Irene Li, co-founder and owner of Mei Mei in Boston. She talks about the response to the coronavirus pandemic in the restaurant industry at large, and how things look for her eatery in particular. “We know that we are going to weather this thing, even though we don’t know what the other side will look like.”

    Mei Mei is one of many Boston restaurants now selling groceries after the city made it legal two weeks ago. Consumers can pick up a variety of items that might be out of stock at grocery stores. Li says, “Sometimes somebody will come in just for dumplings and 4 rolls of toilet paper. Other times they’ll buy a $45 grocery box that has eggs and butter and different veggies, flour and yeast.”

    The social distancing orders have put a strain on restaurants' bottoms lines and have forced Li and other owners to get creative. “It’s all about thinking about new ways to connect with our guests.” Like making Mei Mei's in-person dumpling-making classes into virtual ones, about which she says, “We are selling those tickets out faster than we can put them up on our website."

    In case you missed it, Wednesday, May 6 marked the first day that mask-wearing became mandatory in the state of Massachusetts. Governor Baker's order applies to anyone "who is in a place open to the public in the Commonwealth, whether indoor or outdoor, and is unable or does not maintain a distance of approximately six feet from every other person."

    We're looking at an extremely crowded field vying for the Massachusetts 4th District congressional seat. A ruling put forth last month by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court cut in half the number of signatures required to get on the primary ballot. As a result, a whopping 10 Democrats and 1 Republican have qualified for the primary.

    • 39 min
    Episode 129: Mailed It

    Episode 129: Mailed It

    4/29/20-- When Governor Charlie Baker announced the statewide stay-at-home advisory and non-essential business closure, the expiration date was set for May 4 - this Friday. But on Tuesday, Baker announced the order would remain in place until May 18. That’s another three weeks of closed businesses, remote work, and for many, lost jobs and wages. Even after a 3 week period in which hopefully the number of cases will begin to decline, people are skeptical that a May 18th reopening will in fact take place. After all, this is now the third end date for the stay-at-home and business closure order (April 7, May 4, May 18). So, when can we expect Massachusetts to reopen? As Stephanie Murray explains, Governor Baker often talks about “facts on the ground.” He’ll be looking for downward trends in hospitalizations, deaths, and new cases before making significant moves in reopening.

    In other news, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Monday the launch of a new program to test residents for coronavirus antibodies. Gov. Baker is lukewarm on using the tests statewide given that their accuracy has not yet been verified.“I think a test that up to a third of the time is wrong is not very helpful.”

    In an effort to avoid the outcome of Wisconsin’s presidential primary election, wherein roughly 400,000 people went in person to the polls which resulted in at least 36 new cases of coronavirus, Massachusetts is making plans. Secretary of State Bill Galvin said he will announce in early May his plan to expand early voting and voting by mail. State Senator Cynthia Creem has proposed vote by mail legislation, as has our special guest, State Senator Becca Rausch. She’s calling for universal vote by mail. “That means it’s universal to the greatest possible extent for everybody in the Commonwealth who votes, and also automatic to the greatest possible extent.”

    Under the legislation, everyone registered to vote would receive a ballot in the mail for the November general election, and everyone enrolled in a party would receive a ballot in the mail for the September primary. Those who are unenrolled would apply for the ballot of their choice.

    The bill also mandates that poll workers be supplied with personal protective equipment, and that election day become a paid holiday.

    • 41 min
    Episode 128: The Horse Race Happy Hour

    Episode 128: The Horse Race Happy Hour

    4/22/2020-- In case you missed our Facebook Live Happy Hour show, you can watch the full thing here!

    This week brought forward a handful of notable moments. Namely, President Trump said Tuesday he’s going to temporarily suspend immigration to the U.S., a move that we still don’t know a lot about. Meanwhile in Massachusetts, Governor Baker announced schools will remain closed in Massachusetts for the rest of the school year.

    State House News reporter and BFF of the pod Katie Lannan drops into the virtual hangout to fill in the hosts on how the wheels of state government continue (slowly) to turn. Much of the legislation on Beacon Hill now is understandably COVID-19-focused, such as the housing bill that was passed this week. The bill puts a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions, providing temporary relief to the many who've lost jobs and wages as a result of the crisis.

    Next, Dan Cence, CEO and Managing Partner of Solomon McCown & Cence breaks down a buzzword that's no doubt been circulating throughout many corporate conversations these days: crisis communications. Leaders in the midst of a moment like this must decide what to do and what to say to the people they're leading. As we've seen, the crisis communications of different mayors, governors, and national leaders has run the gamut. Cence provides insight into what sets some leaders apart when it comes to effective crisis communication.

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
31 Ratings

31 Ratings

amoream ,

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.

Horse Racing is legal again! ,


The Horse Race is a weekly must listen for anyone interested in Massachusetts policy/politics. Steve and Dez offer deep insights and it’s fun to boot. Great guests and special correspondents too. Definitely subscribe.

Rebekah39 ,

Great show!

Very informative and fun to listen to.

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