Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff
First in a regular roundup of political news from the State House, City Hall, and beyond.
For the past week or two, Governor Deval Patrick has taken a small puppy with him most places he goes. Some believe it's a blatant attempt to earn public support. The official word from Patrick aides is that the young pup can't be alone and needs someone -- in this case, the state's top politician -- to watch over him.
But could Tobey be getting a little irritable with all the recent attention?
At a town hall meeting in Roxbury Thursday night, the dog sniped at a woman as a group of children were playing with the dog.
"She either got nipped or got a scratch. Tobey is 9 weeks old, he can't do much," said a Patrick aide, who asked to not be identified talking about the doggy dust-up. "She got a band-aid and sought other medical attention. But we're not aware that there's any other issue."
The woman, left with a "pinhole size red mark on her hand," was treated by Boston EMS and taken to Boston Medical Center for evaluation, according to a Boston Police report.
Looks like the jury is still out on whether Tobey will be a political asset or a liability.
-- MATT VISER
With great fanfare this summer, former governor Mitt Romney's gubernatorial portrait was unveiled at the State House. By tradition, it joined six others in the lobby of the governor's office. Also by tradition, it bumped an odd governor out into the hallways, to join the gubernatorial portraits from the past three centuries.
In this case, the man who got bumped was John A. Volpe, who left office in 1969 after three terms. But the first wholly Italian governor of Massachusetts didn't just get bumped. He disappeared.
Where's Volpe? In storage, it turns out.
There's no room for Volpe at the end of the third floor near the State House Library, where he would join other recent governors bumped from the governor's office.
"The portraits are in close chronological order, according to when they served," said Susan Greendyke Lachevre, who for the past 25 years has been in charge of State House artwork and is running into the problem for the first time. "I have completely run out of room at that end of the chronology."
There are several options, she said. One is to rearrange the 87 gubernatorial portraits at the State House, a Herculean task. Another, less desirable option, she said, would be to hang Volpe somewhere else, out of order from his colleagues.
"I just don't want to put him someplace random," Lachevre said. "But he'll get back out there."
-- MATT VISER
Baker launches, and so does scrutiny
Charles D. Baker, fresh off a Western vacation with his family, plans to officially file papers Wednesday to seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Baker, who just stepped down as CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, will hold a media availability and then immediately head over to a Boston law firm to hold his first fund-raiser.
Even though Baker is not yet officially in the race, he is already getting a dose of what his life will be like in the months to come, including dropped dimes about his past actions.
One of them centers on Baker's purchase of his first home, in 1993. Baker -- at the time Governor William F. Weld's secretary of human services -- and his wife, Laura, bought the Swampscott house from a company that had ties with the Weld's economic development secretariat. The Bakers paid $54,000 less than the company, Thermo Fibertek, had paid for it two months earlier. The company had purchased the home from one of its vice presidents, who was being transferred out of state.
The company's parent firm, Thermo Electron, had close ties to the Weld administration. Its president, George Hatsopoulos, served on Weld's Council on Economic Growth and Technology, and was an outspoken proponent of the governor's corporate tax policies. Another executive showed up on a list of businessmen that Weld's economic office compiled for campaign fund-raising purposes. Weld also appointed one of the firm's executive to head the administration's energy division.
Baker said in an interview that when he bought the house, he had no knowledge of the firm's involvement with Weld's administration. He said that he and his wife had been house-hunting for a while and the real estate agent brought the Banks Street home to their attention. He said he believes Thermo Fibertek paid its vice president an above-market price to help in his move. He said he knows who Hatsopoulos is, but never had any contact with him or his company.
-- FRANK PHILLIPS
Next stop Des Moines?
Seeming to take a page from the Romney playbook, the Massachusetts lieutenant governor is elevating his national role and taking a leadership post with the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association. Specifically, he will serve as the group's secretary-treasurer.
Murray held a conference call – joined by Arkansas's Number Two, Bill Halter – on Thursday to announce steps the group is taking to support candidates for lieutenant governors, including policy briefings, strategic advice, and financial support.
At the bottom of the press release announcing the call, the association listed its past success stories, including Senator John Kerry and Governor Howard Dean. Both ran for president in 2004.
Murray has been forced recently to repeatedly deny that he's trying to elevate his profile to run for higher office. He has tamped down suggestions that he would run for Senate, attorney general, or state treasurer.
He hasn't, to date, said anything about running for president, but we all remember how Romney used his leadership positions with the Republican Governors Association to travel the country and collect chits he would later cash in on the presidential campaign trail.
So if the fresh-faced pol from Worcester starts booking flights to Iowa, we'll know what's up.
-- MATT VISER
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more