Window Into The Statehouse

Chang-Díaz officially jumps in guv’s race   After several months of exploring a bid for governor, Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz officially announced Wednesday morning that she is running for governor, reports Katie Lannan of State House News Service. The fourth-term Democrat and former teacher is the only woman of color in the Senate and has focused on education and criminal justice reform since arriving on Beacon Hill. Meanwhile, from the Boston Globe’s Emma Platoff: “During the COVID-19 vaccine rollout this year, as vaccination rates for people of color lag behind those of white residents, she has been one of Governor Charlie Baker’s harshest critics, saying in February that the state’s distribution system was ‘a textbook case study of structural racism.’”  CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas also has more details on the announcement. Harvard University professor Danielle Allen and former state Sen. Ben Downing have already declared bids for the state’s highest office.   
  Unvaccinated make up new COVID hospitalizations   MassLive’s Tanner Stening takes a deep dive into Department of Public Health data and finds that a majority of new COVID-19 hospitalizations are among unvaccinated patients.  
  Is it the drinking water?   Not likely. A second Republican lawmaker plans to skip out on a MassGOP fundraising event as the party continues to contend with the fallout from a state committee member’s anti-gay remarks and the party’s handling of the situation. Boston Globe’s Emma Platoff reports that U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) canceled her appearance at a June 24 “chairman’s circle” event, citing a busy week in the U.S. Senate a week before they head into recess.  This comes after U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw canceled his appearance at a fund-raiser event last week.  
Riley rundown   Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley had a lot to say during a board meeting Tuesday. SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports Riley’s comments on new regulations requiring vocational-technical schools to develop their own admissions policies “that promote equitable access.”  More from Lannan: “Riley said the new regulations will bring Massachusetts more in line with other states, give state officials authority to intervene in cases of non-compliance and update a process that ‘has not been touched’ for 20 years.” And Boston Globe’s Felicia Gans writes that Riely is “extremely concerned” about resignations on the Boston School Committee. More from Gans: “Riley said his team will be ‘exploring the possibility of maybe temporarily freezing’ the second and third rounds of emergency relief funding for Boston.”  
  Coalition opposes ride-share companies’ campaigns   How should companies classify app-based workers in Massachusetts? That’s the central question of an emerging debate on wages and benefits for drivers working for companies like Lyft, Uber, and DoorDash. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports on the launch of a new coalition that seeks “very basic protections.” From Boston Business Journal’s Lucia Maffei: “The Coalition to Protect Workers’ Rights has some initial funding from the AFL-CIO, as well as different unions and worker organizations, according to its director Mike Firestone, who declined to say how much.”  
  Coalition takes out $500M worth of ads for Boston race   A group of unions and developers are testing the old theory of money talking loud in politics with a new slate of television and radio ads, purchased at a mere cost of $500 million, in an attempt to lobby Boston mayoral candidates, reports Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter.  
  Mayoral mania: Lawrence, Northampton races attract late entrant   Onetime state Senate candidate Doris Rodriguez has formally launched her bid for mayor of Lawrence, making her the fifth candidate in the race, Allison Corneau of the Eagle-Tribune reports. Meanwhile, Northampton’s mayoral contest now has six candidates after the entry of transportation analyst Marc Warner, who says he joined the fray after concluding other candidates are not “taking it as seriously as they need to,” Brian Steele of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.