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Two MIT grads are goading Bob DeLeo with ballot measures in his district

Two MIT grads are goading Bob DeLeo with ballot measures in his district

From an article in the Boston Globe:

OCTOBER 26, 2018
WINTHROP — Robert A. DeLeo may be Mr. Speaker on Beacon Hill. But here in this pretty seaside town, he’s just “Bobby,” the affable, cigar-chomping state representative since 1991.

He doesn’t have an opponent this year — he rarely does — and yet the powerful leader could face an embarrassing rebuke on Nov. 6.

Two recent MIT graduates who have never lived in the district but are concerned about what they see as DeLeo’s thwarting of major climate change legislation, gathered signatures from hundreds of his constituents to put some pointed nonbinding measures before residents of Winthrop and the part of Revere he represents.

One ballot question implicitly takes aim at DeLeo for successfully pressing to erase the term limits for his speakership in 2015; to hike his own total yearly pay by about 50 percent in 2017; and for presiding over a Legislature where lawmakers and their aides routinely become lobbyists.

“Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would repeal the $45,000 increase in annual compensation for the speaker of the House of Representatives . . . prohibit elected officials and their senior staff from engaging in any lobbying activity for five years once they leave office; and enact a rule that no member shall hold, for more than eight consecutive years, the office of speaker of the House of Representatives?”

The other is focused on environmental legislation that has not become law.

“He, as speaker of the House, has been blocking the passage of climate legislation,” said Daniel Mascoop, a 24-year-old transportation planner and engineer, and coauthor of the nonbinding questions. “Being from Massachusetts, I think the state can do a lot to lead [nationally] especially with climate change,” the Roslindale native said.

“But we need leadership to actually pass the bills,” he said, referring to top lawmakers.

Max Dunitz, a 27-year-old studying at a graduate program in France and the other coauthor, said he collected signatures for 40 hours in the hot summer sun on Winthrop Beach and in front of the Winthrop Marketplace “because climate change is an emergency that we must respond to.”

Dunitz, a California native, said the two questions are interrelated, because it’s through control of committee chairmanships and the extra pay that comes with them that DeLeo “maintains power in an undemocratic fashion . . . to block serious action on climate change, education, immigration” and other issues.

Mascoop said he has no particular animus toward the speaker “other than making sure politicians act ethically.”

The speaker said the measures, which he just learned about this week, caught him by surprise.

Read the rest here: Globe article.

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