Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown, swept into office by angry suburban independents, paid a visit to a Democratic stronghold today, meeting in Boston with Mayor Thomas M. Menino and then with a group of the city's black clergy.
Brown met Menino for breakfast at the Parkman House in Boston, and emerged declaring that the city is the economic engine of the state and pledging to look after the city's interests.
"He's a Republican and I'm a Democrat, but those days are over," Menino said after the men shared a breakfast of bacon, eggs, turkey sausage, and home fries. Menino added that they needed "to work together to make this a better state and help make the capital city continue to thrive."
In the afternoon, Brown met with a dozen prominent pastors at Roxbury Presbyterian Church, where he again pledged cooperation.
With President Obama poised to give his State of the Union speech Wednesday, Brown told reporters after the breakfast meeting that he would like to see the president unveil an "across-the-board tax cut."
"While I appreciate his efforts for middle-class tax cuts, we need an across-the-board tax cut for everybody to stimulate the entire economy, payroll taxes in particular," Brown said. "You can give all the middle-class tax cuts you want, but if you don't get ... people creating jobs -- the businesses to create jobs -- what good is it going to do?"
Brown also said that when he gets to meet the president and Vice President Joe Biden, he will tell them that Massachusetts -- where he scored a stunning upset a week ago -- is a "microcosm of what's happening nationally – people are very concerned about work." And he said he was glad the president has "shifted gears" and is focusing on the economy.
The meeting with Menino included "a lot of exchanging of cards and thoughts about ... how we can work together because the election is over," Brown said. "I want to be ... the senator for all the people."
Brown, however, did take a jab at another Democrat who was not present -- Governor Deval Patrick, whom Brown said had not done enough to release federal stimulus money.
"Speaking to the mayor, the governor has a lot of this stimulus money and he hasn't released it," Brown said. "And the mayor has done a wonderful job being very transparent in and talking about hard numbers ... and jobs actually created."
"We've got to get these dollars out the door," Brown said. "The mayor and other cities and towns have jobs and new shovel-ready projects that they can get done right away."
Brown said he is meeting with Patrick on Thursday. "I'm not going to push him. I'm just going to respectfully suggest we start getting the money out the door," he said.
Governor's spokesman Kyle Sullivan issued a statement this afternoon, saying, "Governor Patrick has been working to use the recovery funds to create long-term, sustainable jobs now and into the future, and not create 'make-work' jobs.Even with the goal in mind, the Governor and his team have met or exceeded every deadline for using recovery money put forth by the federal government. We look forward to working with Senator-elect Brown on this issue, and the broader goal of creating jobs in Massachusetts."
Menino told reporters after the news conference that Patrick has released more stimulus money in the last few months, specifically mentioning a project on Dorchester
Avenue. "I really believe the money should come directly to cities," Menino said.
Rev. Ray Hammond, chairman of the Ten Point Coalition, said after Brown's meeting with the clergy that it had been an "honest, frank, and wide-ranging conversation. ... And we found the senator to be very open and willing to hear a number of viewpoints and he has expressed his willingness to continue this conversation."
Menino said Brown's election was "a tsunami, that's what it was. He just got rolling."
"He caught the eye of the public. He was out there -- I saw him in Hyde Park, in East Boston -- he was out there pressing the flesh."
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