As the long-time State House bureau chief for the Patriot Ledger, I had the privilege of reporting from the Massachusetts State House (the hub of the solar system, as Oliver Wendell Holmes called it) on a wide range of issues and people, including the historic legalization of gay marriage, the governorship and presidential aspirations of Mitt Romney, the election of Deval Patrick as the state’s first African-American governor, political titans including Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, and a fun exchange with folk icon Arlo Guthrie (of “Alice’s Restaurant” fame) over the woes of being a litterbug. The Ledger is a highly distinguished and highly awarded paper that was founded on Jan. 7, 1837, and was the hometown paper of President John Quincy Adams, a frequent writer of letters to the editor.
• Here are bylined stories and un-bylined editorials in the Patriot Ledger’s long-running series on the state’s relatively weak drunken driving laws, for which we won multiple awards and were credited with helping to pass the anti-drunken driving Melanie’s Law: Driving to Endanger. This story serves as just one example of how hard it was to get real reform on repeat drunken driving through a circumspect Massachusetts Legislature, Melanie’s Bill backers fuming: Deride watered-down version as ‘backroom deal’
• These pieces went viral and prompted lots of online debate after U.S. Sen. John Kerry issued a challenge to his critics in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (a group that dogged Kerry in the 2004 presidential race) and publicized a spat between Kerry and Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens’ over a $1 million challenge to anyone who could disprove even a single charge of the Swift Boat Veterans.
Kerry says he’d be ready if political foes attacked again: He thinks political foes would repeat use of Swift Boat tactics if he ran for president again
And the next-day follow,
Kerry critics still aren’t convinced: Swift Boat members, others insist senator isn’t telling the truth
• Where the money goes: After a year of infighting, squabbling and compromise, the state's most important – and controversial – policy document finally emerges.
A five-part series I wrote on the slow and frequently twisted state budget process.
• All 5 square off for first time. I covered Mitt Romney’s time in Massachusetts, from his announcement that he would run for governor, to his departure from office after one term. This is one of many stories on Gov. Romney. Divided support in Romney's adopted home state looks at the mixed feelings among Massachusetts residents over Mitt Romney’s one-term stint as governor.
• Casino regulation can be a haven for patronage and corruption. As Massachusetts considered legalizing casino gambling, I spoke with experts who worried aloud about the downsides.
• Massachusetts officials ignore their own law.
Like a herd of snails: Legislature inches way toward summer recess .
Keeping them honest, as Anderson Cooper likes to say.
• When Massachusetts put up new signs on state highways that threatened litterers with fines up to $10,000, I spoke with the state’s most famous litterbug, Arlo Guthrie, the famed folk singer and Massachusetts resident who turned his littering sins into an anti-war anthem called “Alice’s Restaurant.” I wrote two stories, “Of litter consequence: Threat of $10,000 fine has little bite in Mass.,” and a sidebar, “Litterbug spins sin into song.” ArloGuthrie
• Last, on a musical note, I seem to become the in-house Beatles expert wherever I work. Go ahead and ask me a trivia question, I love to be challenged. Among many Beatles-related things I’ve written, here is an editorial I wrote in 2006 marking the anniversary of John Lennon’s death, about his relevance to current and ongoing issues, JohnLennonEditorial