Window Into The State House

T’s proposed service cuts: They’re as bad as feared   The MBTA yesterday unveiled its proposed service cuts in reaction to the pandemic-era plunge in ridership and revenues – and they’re as bad as transit advocates feared. We’re talking elimination or reduction of weekend and weeknight commuter rail, bus routes, and peak-time rapid transit and ferry services, not to mention a handful of commuter-rail station closures. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan, SHNS’s Chris Liskinski, the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro, the Telegram’s Cyrus Moulton and the Patriot Ledger’s Joe DiFazio have the full list of proposed service cuts, scheduled to start next year. Which leads to the question: What will Gov. Charlie Baker and lawmakers do to avert the transit carnage? Does this breathe new life into stalled transportation-funding bills on Beacon Hill?  
  Could we soon have two COVID-19 vaccines?   Pfizer Inc. created huge news yesterday by announcing that testing of its coronavirus vaccine shows it’s more than 90 percent effective at protecting people, as the Washington Post reports. But the BBJ’s Allison DeAngelis reports that Cambridge’s Moderna Inc. saw a huge surge in its share prices yesterday as a result of rival Pfizer’s announcement. Why? Because it’s developing a vaccine using a similar experimental approach, prompting Dr. Anthony Fauci to say it “gives you hope we might even have two vaccines.”  
  Biden’s new pandemic task force: The Massachusetts connections   It’s begun. Joe Biden has made his first appointments as president elect, creating a new coronavirus advisory board that has multiple members on it with ties to Massachusetts, including Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, reports Jackson Cote at MassLive. But here’s some discouraging transfer-of-power news, via the Globe’s Liz Goodwin: “Trump delays transition to Biden as COVID-19 pandemic worsens.”  
  Add Kennedy and Kerry to list of local Dems up for Biden jobs. But cross off Warren?   Speaking of local Biden appointments, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld has an updated local list of all those who may end up with jobs in a new Biden-Harris administration. Former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of State John Kerry may be in line for secretary of defense, national security advisor or even his old post at Foggy Bottom, reports Battenfeld, who adds Mayor Marty Walsh is indeed interested in a Biden gig. SHNS’s Katie Lannan and Matt Murphy (pay wall) have compiled their own list of who may be D.C.-bound soon – and they note that Rep. Mindy Domb has filed a state budget amendment that’s clearly aimed at making sure Democrats retain control of Elizabeth Warren’s U.S. Senate seat should Warren get tapped to serve in the Biden administration. But will Warren get tapped? She apparently has a formidable competitor for the treasury secretary post: Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard, who looks like she’s the inside favorite, as the Washington Post reports.  
  Welcome to Beacon Hill: 19 new senators and representatives to join the legislature in 2021   SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports that there will be 19 new senators and representatives on Beacon Hill come January, thanks to last week’s elections, and the freshman class “features numerous local officeholders and legislative aides.” Lisinski has brief profiles on all 19 newbies.  
  Double duty: Newly minted state lawmakers look to keep council seats   Speaking of Beacon Hill newbies, two future legislators are ready to multitask. State Rep.-elect Orlando Ramos and state Sen.-elect Adam Gomez both indicate they’ll look to serve out their terms on the Springfield City Council even after they are sworn in on Beacon Hill, Peter Goonan of MassLive reports. It’s not that they’re super power hungry. Both ran unopposed in the most recent council election, meaning no voter-approved runners-up are ready to move into their city seats.    
  Baker’s middle way: Merely middle way for middle-way’s sake?   The Globe’s Joan Vennochi writes that Gov. Charlie Baker’s moderate, middle-way ways may be popular. But is it about governing or about politics? She thinks it’s the latter, saying Baker’s style increasingly looks “less and less like bold leadership on every front, including the pandemic.”  
  Reviving Tip and Ted’s old-school politics: Is it possible in the age of Trump?   Doug Fraser at the Cape Cod Times takes a trip down memory lane, recalling a time when Thomas ‘Tip’ O’Neill and Ted Kennedy could disagree with Republicans and yet still work with them. Can Joe Biden revive that old magic? Political experts aren’t so sure.  
  Everett city councilor finds she’s not alone in battle with other board members   The Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert reports that allies of Gerly Adrien, the city’s first Black female councilor who recently came under fire from other members for attending meetings via remote hookups, are rallying to her defense, including U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, Boston City Council President Kim Janey and others.