Promoting New England in the Trump era


WGBH ran a nice story by David S. Bernstein, about Jim Brett, the president of the New England Council, which is mostly a lobbying organization, and his efforts to promote New England in general and its businesses in particular in the Trump era.

Among Mr. Bernstein's observations:

"{Mr. Brett,} former state representative and Boston mayoral candidate, who has led the regional business advocacy group for two decades ... {acknowledges} that Massachusetts, and the other New England states, no longer hold the kind of sway they did in the days when {U.S. House} Speaker {Tip} O’Neill, {Sen.} Ted Kennedy, {Congressman} Joe Moakley, and other giants pulled strings in the halls of the Capitol.''

"Brett points to {Massachusetts Congressman Richard} Neal as an example of regional influence, using long-developed bipartisan relationships to help craft the tax reform bill. Neal has also used his position as longest-serving New England House member to bring the region’s members together, increasing their influence as a group, Brett says. He also singles out Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, and Congressmen Jim Himes of Connecticut, Peter Welch of Vermont, and Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts for their effectiveness across party lines.''

"Brett effuses about Susan Collins, the moderate Republican Senator from Maine, who he says will be a key player in health care reform. Collins spoke at NEC’s reception, where the buzz was about her rumored plans to run for Governor. 'I told her, I hope you stay in the U.S. Senate, because we need you there,' Brett says.''

''For evidence of results, he points to a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the omnibus funding bill passed this month—a huge boon for New England, whose universities and hospitals take a disproportionate share of NIH grants. The Trump administration had wanted to cut the NIH budget.''

“'An awful lot of people in the (New England) delegation had their fingers in that,' Brett says.''

To read/hear the whole piece please hit this link.