Incorruptible Massachusetts

Uncovering the slimy underbelly of the State House: Listen first

September 19, 2019 Anna Callahan Season 1 Episode 1
Incorruptible Massachusetts
Uncovering the slimy underbelly of the State House: Listen first
Chapters
Incorruptible Massachusetts
Uncovering the slimy underbelly of the State House: Listen first
Sep 19, 2019 Season 1 Episode 1
Anna Callahan

Massachusetts -- aren't we one of the most progressive states?  Not by a long shot. 

In this episode we give an overview of just how broken the Massachusetts state legislature really is.  With quotes from Mass Alliance, Act On Mass, and state representatives, this episode is an intro into this first season of Incorruptible Massachusetts, where we'll talk with the most progressive State Reps, organizations that work to make Massachusetts more progressive, and unions and other groups that push for specific policies at the state level.

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(You can read the full transcript here.)

Hi, this is Anna Callahan and you’re listening to Incorruptible Massachusetts.  Our goal is to help people understand state politics: investigating why it’s so broken, imagining what we could have here in MA if we fixed it, and reporting on how you can get involved.  

This series will mostly be interviews with people deeply involved in state politics — we’ve got seven of the most progressive state reps as well as three organizations dedicated to fixing politics at the state level, and some of the progressive unions and grassroots organizations that work to affect specific policy changes here in MA.  Today I’ll give an overview, and talk about why we’re even doing this podcast in the first place.   

I’ll cover questions like, Why state politics?  does it even matter compared to local or national politics? 

How is our state doing?   The director of Mass Alliance can give you a hint:  

“Our elected officials have failed the people of MA.”  Wow. Apparently our state is terrible — who knew?

What is really wrong with our state government?  
And how can we change it?

As I’ve learned more and more about state politics here in Massachusetts, I’ve come to learn that things are very, very broken.  How broken is it?  Let’s hear what two progressive groups very involved in state level politics have to say about it — these folks are from Mass Alliance and Act On Mass: 

  • Jordan: It does nothing, it solves nothing, it tells us how good the tune is as the Titanic is going down. 
  • Erika: We have, I believe, 19 other states, who've already passed election day registration. Why are we following them? 
  • Erika: Another piece of it too is that those speaker does have an inordinate amount of power. And that's shown by the fact that the last three three speakers have gotten in trouble with the law in some form of another. They have felonies, they've gone to prison. 

You’ll hear all those quotes in context in the following episodes.  Here’s how one of the state reps describes the problem, and remember that he’s talking specifically about the Massachusetts State House:  

"We have a particularly big challenge I think because over the last 30, 40 years, what we've experienced out in society as a whole in terms of concentration of power has been paralleled by a process of concentration of power within that institution. And that's a very dangerous kind of unholy potential alliance between a concentration of economic power and concentration of political power." 

If you’re like me, this comes as a shock.  I thought Massachusetts was progressive!  So I have gone on a bit of a journey to uncover exactly what is going on in the State House and what we can do about it.   

So, first a bit about who I am and how I got here.  I was a software developer until 2016, when I quit my job to volunteer full-time for the Bernie campaign.  After that, I couldn’t go back.  Both my husband and I realized we’re in an all hands on deck moment — on climate change, on medicare for all

Show Notes

Massachusetts -- aren't we one of the most progressive states?  Not by a long shot. 

In this episode we give an overview of just how broken the Massachusetts state legislature really is.  With quotes from Mass Alliance, Act On Mass, and state representatives, this episode is an intro into this first season of Incorruptible Massachusetts, where we'll talk with the most progressive State Reps, organizations that work to make Massachusetts more progressive, and unions and other groups that push for specific policies at the state level.

---
(You can read the full transcript here.)

Hi, this is Anna Callahan and you’re listening to Incorruptible Massachusetts.  Our goal is to help people understand state politics: investigating why it’s so broken, imagining what we could have here in MA if we fixed it, and reporting on how you can get involved.  

This series will mostly be interviews with people deeply involved in state politics — we’ve got seven of the most progressive state reps as well as three organizations dedicated to fixing politics at the state level, and some of the progressive unions and grassroots organizations that work to affect specific policy changes here in MA.  Today I’ll give an overview, and talk about why we’re even doing this podcast in the first place.   

I’ll cover questions like, Why state politics?  does it even matter compared to local or national politics? 

How is our state doing?   The director of Mass Alliance can give you a hint:  

“Our elected officials have failed the people of MA.”  Wow. Apparently our state is terrible — who knew?

What is really wrong with our state government?  
And how can we change it?

As I’ve learned more and more about state politics here in Massachusetts, I’ve come to learn that things are very, very broken.  How broken is it?  Let’s hear what two progressive groups very involved in state level politics have to say about it — these folks are from Mass Alliance and Act On Mass: 

  • Jordan: It does nothing, it solves nothing, it tells us how good the tune is as the Titanic is going down. 
  • Erika: We have, I believe, 19 other states, who've already passed election day registration. Why are we following them? 
  • Erika: Another piece of it too is that those speaker does have an inordinate amount of power. And that's shown by the fact that the last three three speakers have gotten in trouble with the law in some form of another. They have felonies, they've gone to prison. 

You’ll hear all those quotes in context in the following episodes.  Here’s how one of the state reps describes the problem, and remember that he’s talking specifically about the Massachusetts State House:  

"We have a particularly big challenge I think because over the last 30, 40 years, what we've experienced out in society as a whole in terms of concentration of power has been paralleled by a process of concentration of power within that institution. And that's a very dangerous kind of unholy potential alliance between a concentration of economic power and concentration of political power." 

If you’re like me, this comes as a shock.  I thought Massachusetts was progressive!  So I have gone on a bit of a journey to uncover exactly what is going on in the State House and what we can do about it.   

So, first a bit about who I am and how I got here.  I was a software developer until 2016, when I quit my job to volunteer full-time for the Bernie campaign.&

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