Good Reads You May Have Missed

Introducing a new and occasional feature in Maryland Matters. Maryland has excellent aggregators of state news outlets. But it’s sometimes easy to miss good and relevant stories that appeared in out-of-state publications or websites. So we’ll try to bring those to your attention every now and then. The Boston Globe on Sunday published two front-page articles of interest. One article, headlined “In Maryland, lessons for UMass Boston,” looked at the success of the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, and said the University of Massachusetts at Boston is looking at UMBC as a model for minority student achievement, especially in math and science. UMBC officials, including President Freeman Hrabowski, are in regular contact with their UMass Boston counterparts, the article said. Click here to read more. Alongside the UMBC story was an article with the headline, “Some conservatives are fuming that Baker is too far left.” This article — written by Globe Staff Writer Joshua Miller, a former colleague of Maryland Matters‘ Josh Kurtz at Roll Call on Capitol Hill — is worth reading because Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, like Maryland Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., is a wildly popular moderate Republican who walks a delicate line between his GOP base and Democratic and independent voters. “He has signed a bill boosting the minimum wage to one of the highest in the nation and creating a paid leave program by raising taxes — and still others strengthening gun control, reforming the criminal justice system, enshrining protections for pregnant workers, defending transgender people from discrimination, and ensuring free access to birth control,” the article begins. 

“This week, he’s poised to put a law on the books securing a woman’s right to choose an abortion in case Roe v. Wade gets overturned.

 

“Such a record would be pretty good fodder for a Democrat running for office.

But all these measures were signed by Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican who is facing reelection with a record built in part on the policy priorities championed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature.

 

“The progressive laws starkly illustrate how Baker is increasingly at odds not just with the conservative national GOP, but also the base of his party in Massachusetts, which remains fiercely loyal to President Trump.”

 

The article then makes this salient point: “While some Republican activists fume, Baker’s support of — or acquiescence to — a host of measures from the left side of the political spectrum leaves his Democratic opponents with less to run on. Recent surveys of Massachusetts voters found Baker far ahead of his gubernatorial challengers and his favorability numbers as strong or stronger among Democratic voters than with those from his own party.

 

Baker, of course, premised his successful 2014 campaign on being a socially moderate Republican in the style of his former bosses, governors Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci.

 

“Few dispute he’s governed as a moderate, but many conservatives are left wondering about the ‘Republican’ part.

 

See what’s similar between Baker and Hogan — and what’s different — by clicking here.

 

Last but certainly not least, The New York Times on Sunday ran an editorial calling for redistricting reform — some of the very reforms that Hogan has been pushing, unsuccessfully to date, in Maryland. The editorial, “Do-It-Yourself Legislative Redistricting,” talked about how easy it has become to draw fair congressional and legislative district maps thanks to technology — but how the political will to do so doesn’t exist.

 

Read the Times editorial here.

 

 

 

Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.

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