Weekly Political Report – Week Ending August 12, 2011

Indications of a Possible Senate Run for Elizabeth Warren

Speculation grew this week around Elizabeth Warren’s potential candidacy for Senator Scott Brown’s U.S. Senate seat. Warren, a longtime consumer advocate, was named Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury to assist in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. On Thursday evening, Warren posted an article on the liberal blog Blue Mass Group in which she discussed her family history, her work in Washington D.C. to tackle the problem of “big banks that drained billions of dollars out of families’ pockets,” and her intention to come back home to Massachusetts and start talking to people “about the challenges we face and how we get our economy growing again.” The Boston Globe reported on Friday that Warren had hired Governor Patrick’s former campaign manager as a consultant.

Congressmen Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch have both indicated that they are still considering a run for the Senate seat and that they intend do make a final decision in the coming months.


Legislature on August Recess

With the Legislature on August recess, activity at the State House remained slow this week. Several members of the Massachusetts House and Senate, including Senate President Therese Murray, Sen. Richard Moore, who was recently named NCSL president, and Reps. Jay Kaufman and Michael Moran, traveled to San Antonio to attend the National Conference of State Legislatures Annual Legislative Summit.


Senator John Kerry Appointed to Debt Reduction Super Committee

This week US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appointed Senator John Kerry to the 12-member special panel created as part of the debt ceiling agreement. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is tasked with creating a plan to cut an additional $1.2 from the federal deficit over the next 10 years. The committee was given a deadline of Nov. 23, 2011 to produce its recommendations, which will be voted on immediately by both chambers of Congress, with no filibusters or amendments allowed.


Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Mortgage Lender Option One

On Monday Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a settlement with Sand Canyon, formerly known as Option One. Under the agreement, thousands of Massachusetts home loan recipients will receive roughly $115 million in relief.  The settlement resolves claims of unfair and discriminatory lending practices and directs American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc., which serves about 5,500 Option One loans in Massachusetts, to make loan modifications that will provide relief to mortgage holders. Coakley said 2,361 home loan recipients are eligible, based on their delinquency status, to have their mortgages restructured under the settlement. The settlement also requires the mortgage originator to pay $9.8 million to the state.


Business Confidence Levels Hold Steady in July

According to a report released by Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) on Tuesday, business confidence levels among Massachusetts employers held at neutral levels in July.  The index measures business confidence in the state through a survey it sends out to its members. A score of 50 is considered neutral and any rating below 50 signifies generally negative sentiments about business confidence in the state.

The business confidence reading in July was 50.5 on a scale of 0 to 100 and was up about ten points from two years ago. The index does not reflect the recent instability of the stock market, the decision by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the nation’s credit rating, and last week’s debt ceiling agreement in Washington. AIM senior vice president Andre Mayer said the economic turmoil this month will be reflected in the August index.



John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

MA Chapter of American Institute of Architects
The Architects Building
52 Broad Street, Boston MA 02109-4301

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