It’s over. It’s finally over. The 2016 election cycle, which began on roughly November 7, 2012, has officially (unless you live in Louisiana) come to a close. The new Congress will be sworn in January 3, the new Massachusetts legislature takes office January 4, and President-Elect Donald Trump will be inaugurated on January 20.
So what happens between now and then? For government relations professionals, it’s time to assess the results and prepare for the upcoming sessions and new administration.
In Massachusetts, there’s plenty to do before Inauguration Day:
- Assess the results – A Trump White House should have a much smaller impact on Massachusetts politics than a Clinton White House would have. Aside from maybe State Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) who co-chaired Trump’s Massachusetts effort, it’s highly unlikely any #mapoli elected officials will be heading to Washington, and as a result we may not have any major special elections for the first time in nearly a decade.
The Republican Party also maintained control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, leaving our entire Congressional delegation in the minority for the foreseeable future (the electoral picture for Senate Democrats is not encouraging in 2018).
The transition will likely mean major policy shifts on taxes, trade, the environment, immigration, energy – basically everything – so most good GR professionals are scrambling to try and educate themselves on President-elect Trump’s policies and likely cabinet choices.
- Meet the new legislators – On the local front, there were no major shifts in the balance of power, with the Senate maintaining its 34-6 Democrat to Republican ratio and Republicans picking up just one seat in the House of Representatives, adjusting that Chamber’s count to 125 D and 35 R. But here will be some new faces on Beacon Hill:
- The State Senate will have three new members, with Julian Cyr (D-Truro) winning on Cape Cod, Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield) in the Berkshires, and Walter Timilty (D-Milton) south of Boston.
- The House of Reps added a number of new voices, including:
- Juana Matias (D-Lawrence)
- Chynah Tyler (D-Boston)
- Will Crocker (R-Barnstable)
- Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge)
- Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth)
- Jack Lewis (D-Framingham)
- Joan Meschino (D-Hull)
- Solomon Goldstein-Rose (D-Amherst)
- Natalie Higgins (D-Leominster)
- Bud Williams (D-Springfield), and
- Brian Murray (D-Milford)
- The new legislative class adds some diversity in the House, as Matias will be the Chamber’s only Latina woman and Tyler its only African-American woman.
- Goldstein-Rose will be the legislature’s youngest member at 22, and tops a wave of youth into the building. In addition to Goldstein-Rose, Matias, Tyler, Fernandes and Higgins are all 29 or under, while Cyr will be the Senate’s youngest member at 30.
- Free your animals and your minds – Questions 3 and 4 both passed, meaning it will soon be illegal to confine your farm animals in spaces that “prevent the animal from lying down, standing up, extending its limbs, or turning around,” but legal to purchase, possess and use marijuana. The latter kicks off what is sure to be a long and contentious battle over regulation, taxes and public safety.
- Pretend you’re out of checks – The respite from the endless barrage of campaign fundraising emails is sure to be brief, as 2017 will see a number of municipal elections, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s first reelection campaign. January will also mark the beginning of a new federal fundraising cycle, and likely the earliest hints about who might be running for state-wide elective office in 2018, including whether or not any major Democrats will take a shot at the corner office.
Lastly, the State Legislature just updated its website, so if you’re looking for time to kill between now and January 3, it’s as good a time as any to familiarize yourself with this page.