MORSE denies allegations of INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR State REOPENING is on PAUSE Senate race gets NEGATIVE – Politico

GOOD MORNING, MASSACHUSETTS. Happy Monday!

MORSE DENIES ALLEGATIONS OF INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse won't drop out of his Democratic primary race against House Ways and Means chair Richard Neal, following allegations from college Democrats that that he misused his power for romantic or sexual gain.

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Morse denied the allegations in a statement released on Sunday night. The mayor also formally released any endorsers who no longer want to support him.

"I have never used my position of power as Mayor and UMass lecturer for romantic or sexual gain, or to take advantage of students," Morse said. "Too often, elections aren't about issues and ideas; they're about personal destruction."

Last week, three groups of college Democrats disinvited Morse from all future events alleging that he showed a pattern of using his platform and taking advantage of his position of power for romantic or sexual gain, specifically toward young students. The letter was first reported by the Massachusetts Daily Collegian on Friday.

In the days that followed, some Morse supporters revoked their support, while others questioned the allegations against him. Two Holyoke City Councilors called on the mayor to resign, while another said he should be put on paid leave. College Democrats at Morse's alma mater, Brown University, said they would stop publicizing events with him.

The University of Massachusetts, where Morse was a lecturer from 2014 to 2019, announced it would launch a full review into the allegations. The university policy states faculty are prohibited from having romantic or sexual relationships with students they supervise.

In his statement, Morse said he and other members of the queer community are outraged by the use of "anti-gay stereotypes" regarding the allegations against him.

"To the many members of the queer community that have reached out to me in recent days, it's clear that many of you feel that these recent events, and the language used in response, aren't just an attack on me, but on all of us. You're genuinely outraged, as I am, by the invocation of age-old anti-gay stereotypes," Morse said. "I want my freedom, and I want you to have yours, too."

The College Democrats of Massachusetts pushed back, saying any suggestion their decision to send the letter had to do with Morse's sexuality was "untrue, disingenuous and harmful."

Justice Democrats, a progressive group backing Morse that is known for supporting other leftwing primary challengers, like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has been silent. The group has not commented on the situation or posted on its otherwise active Twitter account since the story broke Friday, though the group is still airing television ads for Morse. Fight Corporate Monopolies, which is running attack ads against Neal, told POLITICO it would continue its efforts, but emphasized it hasn't endorsed Morse.

Morse and Neal will debate for the first time Aug. 17, a week from today.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: BELAFONTE ENDORSES MARKEY Singer, actor and activist Harry Belafonte is endorsing Sen. Ed Markey for reelection today.

Belafonte is celebrated for bringing Caribbean musical styles to an international audience in the 1950s. Belafonte was an early supporter of the American Civil Rights movement and was close with the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"Like millions of Americans, I'm aware of how desperate these times are for us all politically. That's why I'm supporting Ed Markey," Belafonte says in an endorsement video. "His political courage, his moral strength and his insight is just what we need in our political arena."

Have a tip, story, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for the Playbook? Get in touch: [emailprotected]

TODAY Candidate for congress Jake Auchincloss talks with Boston Globe editorial page editor Bina Venkataraman about the paper's decision to endorse him.

Massachusetts reports 14 new coronavirus deaths, 286 cases on Sunday as US tops 5 million cases, by Benjamin Kail, MassLive.com: Massachusetts health officials announced another 14 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, bringing the statewide tally to 8,514. Officials also reported another 286 new confirmed cases of the virus, totaling at least 112,459 across the commonwealth since the pandemic began.

Baker pauses reopening; cracks down on gatherings, by Sarah Betancourt, CommonWealth Magazine: Gov. Charlie Baker is hitting the pause button on the states reopening efforts and ramping up enforcement of coronavirus prevention measures in an effort to limit community transmissions. At a State House press conference on Friday, Baker said step two of Phase 3 of reopening is indefinitely on hold due to the rise in new coronavirus cases. This means live music venues and bars wont be opening any time soon.

Thats not how you teach kids how to read: What Charlie Baker said about remote-only school, by Dialynn Dwyer, Boston.com: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker expressed his concerns Friday about the impact of remote-only instruction on young students, particularly those learning to read. The comments were made during the governors press conference to provide updates on the coronavirus outbreak and followed his announcement that he would slow measures in the states reopening out of concern over an uptick in cases seen recently.

2 years on, data collection not measuring up to criminal justice reform bill goals, by Danny Jin and Jack Lyons, The Berkshire Eagle: Two years after Massachusetts passed a bill to reform its criminal justice system, it has yet to meet the data-collection goals outlined in that bill. Data collection remains inconsistent across criminal justice agencies, according to a June report.

Parents turning to pandemic pods and microschools, by Shira Schoenberg, CommonWealth Magazine: When North Andover schools closed in March, Jennifer Quadrozzis family formed a quarantine pod with three other neighborhood families. Quadrozzis seven-year-old daughter now had eight other children, ages two to nine, to play with. The kids would learn at their respective homes in the mornings, then play together in the afternoon.

Brewers await vote on distribution deal, by Christian M. Wade, CNHI News: Craft brewers and beer wholesalers are nudging lawmakers to sign off an a deal to resolve a decade-long dispute over distribution rights, warning that a delay will worsen the microbrew industrys economic situation. Last month, the sides reached an agreement to give small brewers more flexibility and backed a legislative proposal to establish what they say is a fairer process of resolving disputes.

Police say state reform bill hurting officer retention, by Elaine Thompson, Telegram & Gazette: Dozens of local police officers in Massachusetts are checking on their retirement status, looking at possibly getting out of the profession if a police reform bill, which they say will handcuff them, passes. Police Sgt. Richard P. Cipro and Officer David J. Gilbert both of whom head the two unions at the Worcester Police Department said at least 50 of the departments approximately 445 police officers and officials have contacted the citys retirement office to see if they have enough time to retire and what their benefits would be.

Lawmakers hear bill that would suspend MCAS testing for four years, by Marie Szaniszlo, Boston Herald: The states high-stakes MCAS exam would be suspended for four years due to the coronavirus pandemic under a bill before lawmakers for written testimony Monday. The Joint Committee on Education is taking written testimony on the bill, which would institute a four-year moratorium on the use of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System as a graduation requirement.

With remote learning increasingly likely, districts try to reach the most vulnerable students, by Jenna Russell, Naomi Martin and Bianca Vzquez Toness, Boston Globe: With the number of coronavirus cases climbing, and teachers unions rallying around a remote start to the school year, some Massachusetts school districts are holding out hope for a hybrid approach to reopening next month that would allow at least the most academically vulnerable students to return part-time to classrooms.

Eyes on the ground and in the sky: Dozens of police departments in Massachusetts have drones, partnerships with Amazon security company Ring, by Jackson Cote, MassLive.com: Local law enforcement agencies may be able to keep watch over their communities in more ways than one. A slew of surveillance technologies are in the hands of dozens of law enforcement agencies across Massachusetts, a new online map shows.

Many of Massachusettss biggest companies do not have a single Black board member, by Shirley Leung, Boston Globe: Change in Corporate America often begins in the board room, and by that measure, the biggest public companies in Massachusetts have a long way to go when it comes to appointing Black directors. Of the 100 largest public companies in the Commonwealth, close to two-thirds do not have a single Black board member, according to analysis by BoardProspects.

Between Mayor Walsh And Teachers Union, A Growing Gap And A Political Minefield, by Isaiah Thompson, WGBH News: With the official start of the school year just weeks away, and in the midst of a pandemic crisis whose continued magnitude and duration are unknown, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has found himself caught between a rock and a hard place. Walsh is engaged in an increasingly public and at times acrimonious tug of war with one of the citys most influential employee unions the Boston Teachers Union.

Kennedy releases ad attacking Markey on senators home turf of Malden, by Danny McDonald, Boston Globe: More than three weeks before primary day, the Democratic contest between US Senator Edward J. Markey and Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III took a sharp turn Saturday, with the congressman releasing an online-only ad featuring a labor leader blasting Markey for hurting union workers in his hometown of Malden.

'Politics is about connecting,' by Madeline Hughes, Eagle-Tribune: Armed with a mask and hand sanitizer, Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., was fist-bumping with locals and reminding them to vote as he walked through Lawrence Friday night. He was reminding people to request ballots and vote.

State auditor endorses Jesse Mermell in race for Kennedys vacant congressional seat, by Nick Stoico, Boston Globe: Jesse Mermell, a former adviser to Governor Deval Patrick, has picked up the endorsement of State Auditor Suzanne Bump in the Democratic primary to fill US Representative Joe Kennedys congressional seat, Mermells campaign announced Sunday evening. The endorsement could give Mermell a boost in a crowded field of nine candidates for the nomination to succeed Kennedy, who is in the midst of his own primary battle against incumbent US Senator Edward Markey.

Candidates for the 4th Congressional district push toward primary, by George W. Rhodes, Sun Chronicle: Democrat Dave Cavell, whos seeking the 4th Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, hosted online trainings and digital phone banks over the weekend with a focus on assisting voters in filling out a vote by mail request, his campaign said.

Leckey rolls out new TV ad in 4th District race as ballots hit mailboxes, by Ted Nesi, WPRI: In another sign that she has become a serious contender to succeed Congressman Joe Kennedy III, Democrat Ihssane Leckey is rolling out a second TV ad on Monday that seeks to reinforce her pitch to the partys left. Leckey who entered the race more than a year ago, when Kennedy was still expected to seek re-election rather than challenge U.S. Sen. Ed Markey has vaulted into the top tier of the 4th Congressional District primary by pumping $800,000 of her own money into her campaign.

Massport slashing spending as it looks to make up $300M revenue loss under coronavirus, by Sean Philip Cotter, Boston Herald: Three hundred million dollars short. Thats how far the Massachusetts Port Authority says it would be in the red in this new fiscal year if it didnt take drastic measures cutting hundreds of millions in spending after massive revenue drops at Logan International Airport.

Pandemic shows a stark reality: For many, MBTA buses are a lifeline, by Adam Vaccaro, Boston Globe: For months, the bus system has been the MBTAs workhorse, shuttling essential workers around the region while many commuter rail and subway trains rumble nearly empty down the tracks. But within the bus network, the primary transit option in many neighborhoods, different lines tell very different stories.

Neighbor sues to block Pine Street Inn project in Jamaica Plain, by Tim Logan, Boston Globe: The Pine Street Inns biggest-ever development would provide long-term housing in Jamaica Plain for the formerly homeless. But one of the neighbors of the Washington Street site is suing to stop it, saying the project is too big, and wouldnt have enough parking.

As decision day nears, VP hopefuls rake in big money for Biden, by Elena Schneider, POLITICO: Of Bidens prospective running mates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has brought in the most money for him, totaling more than $7.7 million combined from a high-dollar event which she vocally swore off during her own campaign and a grass-roots event that drew 50,000 participants. Shes also sent multiple emails to her own small-dollar list, as well as his. On Tuesday, Warren will host another event for Biden, alongside Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), with tickets ranging from $250 to $25,000, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO.

Warren and other top Democrats ask USPS watchdog to investigate practices, by Jessica Dean, Jeremy Herb and Ellie Kaufman, CNN: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other top Democrats on Friday sent a letter to the United States Postal Service inspector general asking her to investigate recent operational changes within the agency. The Democrats write that they are concerned about modifications to USPS staffing and policies recently put in place by new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

Rondon gas safety bill passes U.S. Senate, by Christian M. Wade, Gloucester Daily Times: A proposal to require monitors to supervise work on natural gas systems has passed the U.S. Senate as part of a pipeline safety bill. The measure named after Leonel Rondon, the Lawrence teenager killed Sept. 13, 2018, in Merrimack Valley gas disaster, calls for other safety measures such as the instillation of pressure monitoring devices so that utility employees can quickly shut off gas flow in an emergency, among other provisions.

Herald: HURRICANE SEASON," "LET ME OUT, Globe: When a sofa cushion becomes a time clock," "Districts aim to aid at-risk students," "White House defends unilateral pandemic relief.

Candidates tout experience in three-way Dem primary in 5th Hampden District, by Dusty Christensen, Daily Hampshire Gazette: Socially distanced street corner campaigning. Masked door knocking. Zoom meetings instead of house parties and neighborhood gatherings. The COVID-19 pandemic may have made traditional political campaigning more difficult, but the three candidates for the state House seat in the 5th Hampden District have been pushing ahead as the Democratic primary approaches on Sept. 1.

Face mask order in Everett begins Monday; People can be fined up to $300 for violating order, by Scott J. Croteau, MassLive.com: Beginning Monday, anyone in Everett over the age of 2 must wear a clean face mask or face covering at any indoor or outdoor space open to the public. Anyone violating the order put in place during the coronavirus pandemic can be fined up to $300, the citys mayor, Carlo DeMaria, announced Saturday.

60 enslaved people once toiled for a rich landowner in Medford. Kyera Singleton wants you to know who they were, by Hayley Kaufman, Boston Globe: On a small piece of land a few blocks off I-93 stand two buildings, both made of clapboard and brick. One is an 18th-century mansion known as the Royall House, once home to the largest holder of enslaved people in Colonial Massachusetts. The other, a modest structure a few yards away, is believed to be the only remaining slave quarters in the Northern United States.

Globe union members rally for a new contract, by John Hilliard, Boston Globe: Members of the union representing Boston Globe employees, who have worked for more than 19 months without a new contract, rallied Sunday afternoon outside Fenway Park to demand a new agreement with the newspaper ownership. The Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents about 300 newsroom, advertising, and production employees at the Globe, has criticized the pace of contract talks with management.

Blackbaud Data Breach Affects WBUR And Other Nonprofits, WBUR: Boston University and WBUR notified donors on Saturday that some of their personal information may have been compromised. Blackbaud, a company that provides fundraising technology, says its client data was stolen.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to state Rep. Tackey Chan, state Rep. Steven Ultrino, Matthew MacWilliams and Ryan O. Ferguson.

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MORSE denies allegations of INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR State REOPENING is on PAUSE Senate race gets NEGATIVE - Politico

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