Selectmen Sue Salamoff and Karen Adelman-Foster are pushing the idea, believing now is the time to join the rest of the country in turning the spotlight on matters of equity for all.
What exactly is being considered here?
That was the question posed by Natick Selectman Mike Hickey as the board began discussing last week whether to form a permanent town committee focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Board members Sue Salamoff and Karen Adelman-Foster are pushing the idea, believing now is the time to join the rest of the country in turning the spotlight on matters of equity for all.
The pair said the first step is for selectmen to form a task force that will spend four months coming up with recommendations on issues such as who will sit on a committee and what its duties will be.
Ultimately, it’s the board’s call on whether the committee becomes reality.
Natick Interfaith Clergy supports the idea. Last month, it issued a letter that not only called for the committee’s formation, but also for the town to hire a qualified professional in the field of equity to work with it to “understand and correct the problems of racism in our town.”
Salamoff and Adelman-Foster propose a nine-member task force – one selectman, two School Committee members and six members from the community. Hickey suggested the board may not want to limit itself to Natick residents to serve on the task force and committee, because outsiders may bring key skills.
Hickey also warned that if the board forms a task force, it needs to get it right.
“It’s critical that a task force represent a broad constituency and perspectives…The five of us (selectmen) have to get the task force very right,” he said.
If they don’t, Hickey said, it “will be a weak foundation, and throw a shadow of doubt over the whole premise.”
Signs of summer
Bay State residents are increasingly trying to make the best of summer, with Cape Cod leaders reporting spikes in traffic over the bridges, and beaches and hiking trails luring social-distanced sunbathers and outdoor entertainment seekers in record numbers. Gov. Charlie Baker did his part for the tourism industry early in the week by easing up on the state’s travel guidance.
In light of successes in controlling the spread of novel coronavirus within their own borders, Baker said anyone coming from any of the other five New England states or New York or New Jersey would no longer be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“It’s our hope that many folks will still be able to visit their favorite places in our great state,” Baker said.
For U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and his primary challenger, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, the 2020 election is very much on, and the two Democrats vying for a U.S. Senate seat are looking at a runway of eight weeks to the primary.
Markey said he will enter that stretch with $4.8 million to spend, followed closely behind by Kennedy’s $4.7 million in the bank.
Not only were their bank accounts virtually identical in size, but Markey and Kennedy both reported raising $1.9 million in the second quarter, although Kennedy’s campaign was quick to point out it suspended fundraising activities for mote than a month during the height of the coronavirus outbreak.
Kennedy has also already spent $2.4 million on television advertising to reach self-quarantining voters over the past two months, while Markey has yet to go on television.
Eldridge and Dykema shine
Two MetroWest legislators were recently presented with the “Solar Supporter of the Year – State Level” Award by the Solar Energy Business Association of New England.
State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, and state Rep. Carolyn Dykema, D-Holliston, were each honored for their vision and leadership toward the advancement of the solar industry in Massachusetts over the past year.
Eldridge is co-chair of the Green Energy Caucus. He has filed four bills related to solar energy in the past year, including one that sets binding targets for renewable energy growth in all major sectors of the economy, and another that requires all new buildings to be built ready to accommodate solar panels.
Dykema, who was first elected to the House in 2008, is a leading advocate for increasing solar generation in low-income areas. She filed two bills last year related to that subject, including one that targets Gateway Cities.
In a statement, Eldridge said the recognition was among the most prestigious he’s received as a legislator.
“We need to continue pushing and advocating for solar energy as it is a major renewable energy source with the potential to meet many of the challenges facing the world,” he said.
Attorney General Maura Healey was also among those recognized by SEBANE.
Kerry calls in
The ongoing effort to keep up the pressure to pass climate policy legislation into law this session got a high-profile boost Wednesday when former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called into a Senate committee hearing to lend his voice to the cause.
Kerry, 73, who negotiated the emission-reduction goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and signed it on behalf of the United States in 2016, joined an oversight hearing of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change to thank the lawmakers and advocates who are trying to ensure that the Massachusetts Legislature gets a climate change bill to Baker before time runs out.
“We’re not getting the job done. When I say ‘we,’ I mean collectively everybody – parliaments, legislators, presidents, prime ministers,” said Kerry, who also served nearly 30 years in the U.S. Senate. “When we negotiated the Paris Agreement, we knew that we could not get to a mandatory reduction of emissions that would guarantee the Earth’s temperature would stay at two degrees centigrade or aspirationally at 1.5 (degrees), which would be better. But right now we’re blowing past 1.5, we’re blowing past 2.0.”
State Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, who chaired the hearing Wednesday, has been rallying colleagues to commit to passing a climate bill or package by July 31, which is the deadline for significant legislative action.
They said it…
“There’s no spiking the ball, there’s no big celebration at home plate, there’s none of that, OK. This is something that everybody needs to understand, that the virus doesn’t care about today. What it’s focused on is tomorrow and the day after and the day after. It’s looking for possibilities and opportunities to jump from place to place and from person to person. The way you kill it and contain it is by stopping the spread.” — Gov. Charlie Baker.
“This stuff is dangerous. People get hurt, and lose fingers, and permanently disfigure themselves. We don’t want to see that. If you really need to see fireworks, I’m sure there’s a YouTube video.” — Franklin police Sgt. Brian Johnson.
Contributors to the Political Notebook this week include Deputy Director of Multimedia Dan O’Brien, multimedia journalist Henry Schwan and the State House News Service.