Massachusetts Communities Worry About State-Sponsored Kidnapping of Migrants

It happened on Martha’s Vineyard and other Massachusetts communities are openly questioning whether they’ll receive the same lack of courtesy notice of future arrivals. Community and political leaders on Martha’s Vineyard scrambled Wednesday night to secure accommodations for about 50 people who arrived on the island by plane, apparently sent as part of a Republican governor’s immigrant “relocation program.” Gov. Charlie Baker’s office said it is supporting local efforts to provide short-term shelter for the immigrants who arrived on the Vineyard. Politico reported that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office confirmed that the planes of roughly 50 people were sent to Massachusetts on behalf of what the governor’ office called Florida’s “relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.”

“Currently immigrants are being dropped off on Martha’s Vineyard by chartered flights from Texas. Many don’t know where they are. They say they were told they would be given housing and jobs,” Rep. Dylan Fernandes, who represents the island, said on Twitter.

Payano Appears Poised to Become Senator in New Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen District

Democrat Pavel Payano appears to be heading to the State House next January as the first senator elected to the new majority minority district serving Lawrence, Methuen and parts of Haverhill. Payano, who was challenged by fellow Democrats Doris V. Rodriguez of Lawrence and Eunice D. Zeigler of Methuen, faces no Republican opponent in November. The reconstituted 1st Essex District added Lawrence, but lopped off most of Haverhill and all downriver communities. Payano appeared to perform best with voters in his home city of Lawrence, securing 3,896 votes to Zeigler’s 648 and Rodriguez’ 456 votes. During a recent WHAV interview, Payano cited his background as a teacher for driving his interest in such programs as Early College, allowing high school students to earn one to two years of college credits while still in high school.

Updated: DiZoglio Triumphs Over Democratic Establishment, Winning Party Primary Against Dempsey

State Sen. Diana DiZoglio beat back establishment Democrats Tuesday, winning the primary for state auditor against former Assistant Transportation Secretary Chris Dempsey. At the time of this report, with about 75% of the state’s precincts reporting, DiZoglio was winning by about 40,000 votes statewide. “Our campaign began way back in June of last year, built on a foundation of opening up state government to everyone—no matter our background, bank balance or zip code—and it’s been the guiding light of this journey. I’m so incredibly grateful to all the people we met with, learned from and worked alongside,” DiZoglio said. DiZoglio, who will face off against Republican Anthony Amore in November, went on to victory despite losing the party’s endorsement at its spring convention and being dissed by her boss, Senate President Karen E. Spilka; immediate predecessor in the Senate, Kathleen O’Connor-Ives; and the woman she hopes to succeed, state Auditor Suzanne M. Bump.

Latest Poll Shows DiZoglio Slightly Ahead of Dempsey in Race for State Auditor; Election Underway Today

An end of August poll shows Sen. Diana DiZoglio now running neck and neck with her opponent in the race to become the state’s next auditor. The poll by DAPA Research for the National Association of Government Employees, Service Employees International Union, found DiZoglio leading 25% to former Assistant Transportation Secretary Chris Dempsey’s 24% with 51% undecided when the poll was conducted between Aug. 24 and 26. DiZoglio of Methuen, chose not to seek re-election to the senate, representing the Merrimack Valley. The senate district has since been reconfigured.

Area Mayors Back Sen. DiZoglio’s Call for the Legislature to Go Back to Work, Approve Aid and Tax Relief

State Sen. Diana DiZoglio won the backing Tuesday of Merrimack Valley mayors and other officials who want the legislature to go back to work and approve bills that would send millions of dollars to area communities and give residents tax relief. DiZoglio is not seeking reelection and, instead, is running for state auditor. She was joined at Lawrence City Hall by Lawrence Mayor Brian A. De Peña, Lowell Mayor Sokhary Chau, Methuen Mayor Neil Perry, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove, Newburyport Mayor Sean Reardon, state Rep. Marcos A. Devers and Lawrence Director of Health and Human Services Martha Velez. “Working families can’t afford to wait for economic relief,” said DiZoglio. “Today I was joined by mayors from across the Merrimack Valley and North Shore as we stood in solidarity to call on the legislature to come back into session and provide struggling families with the relief they need and deserve.”

Last month, DiZoglio secured amendments to a proposed economic development bill that would provide $5 million for a Methuen Youth and Community Center; Methuen downtown revitalization; downtown facades, an MBTA station feasibility study and community planning and outreach for the Royal Crest property for North Andover; and other projects in Merrimac, Amesbury, Newburyport and Salisbury.

Analysis: For and Against, High-Profile Women Take Sides in Sen. DiZoglio’s Bid for State Auditor

There’s no evidence women will be voting as a bloc for state auditor during the Democratic primary in three weeks. The race hasn’t caught much public attention and this WHAV analysis attempts to shed light on a particular dynamic. Sen. Diana DiZoglio over the past decade has campaigned as a firebrand for state representative, senator and, now, state auditor—and her demeanor has both worked for and against her among current and former elected women. Slights from former Sen. Kathleen O’Connor-Ives, existing state Auditor Suzanne M. Bump and, as of this month, Sen. President Karen E. Spilka who have endorsed Gov. Deval Patrick’s former Assistant Transportation Secretary Chris Dempsey. They have been largely balanced though by DiZoglio’s similar backing from high-profile women and women’s groups.

Baker Signs Cannabis Reform, Limiting Fees Cities Charge; Law a Victory for Stem that Sued Haverhill

A court battle between Haverhill and a downtown cannabis shop may be moot now that Gov. Charlie Baker has signed legislation that requires communities to renegotiate “impact fees” in host agreements. Besides forcing renegotiation of host community agreements, the bill creates a Social Equity Trust Fund which would pay for loans and grants aimed at supporting people of color and others “disproportionately harmed by the War on Drugs” and move closer to social pot consumption sites. The bill was previously approved by both houses of the state legislature. It was supported by such local legislators as Sen. Diana DiZoglio and Reps. Linda Dean Campbell, Lenny Mirra, Andy X. Vargas and Christina A. Minicucci.

Senate Signs Off on Haverhill Petition to Elect Council and School Committee Mostly by Ward

The Massachusetts Senate Thursday approved Haverhill’s home rule petition, requiring candidates for City Council and School Committee a year from now to run mostly by neighborhood. The bill, sponsored in the state Senate by Sen. Diana DiZoglio, was previously passed by the House after being presented by Rep. Andy X. Vargas in that branch of the legislature. Legislation calls for the City Council to expand to 11 members with seven city councilors elected by ward with four others elected at-large. The school Committee will have seven ward members, three citywide representatives and the mayor as tiebreaker. It also reduces School Committee terms from four to two years.