McCormack Speaks

November 19, 2018
by saadiaahmad001
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Bob Turner, McCormack Research Fellow, Shares His Perspectives as One of Key Debate Organizers

 

Over the last three years, the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies has returned to its role as a sponsor of political debates. Since this past summer, McCormack has collaborated with The Boston Globe and WBUR to provide a platform for political candidates running for office to have discussions with each other and the public. The team organizing these debates is led by Dean Cash, Research Fellow Bob Turner and Rashelle Brown, McCormack’s events planner. McCormack Speaks sat down with Bob Turner to learn more about the behind-the-scenes work.

 

SA: What kind of reactions have you received regarding these debates from the public, candidates, UMass Boston, and the city of Boston?

BT: It is very satisfying, in particular, that all of the candidates I talked with spoke positively about the professional way the debates were run. All said they were the most substantive of their campaigns. Our last debate, between the candidates for governor on November 1, was the last of that campaign but still produced lively dialogue and fresh information. It had a large audience, as it was telecast live by Channel 5. There has been much comment from within UMass Boston about the public service that the debates gave, and the positive message this sent about our school as a substantive and productive member of the community.

SA: What has been surprising about sponsoring these debates?

BT: The partnership among MGS, The Boston Globe, and WBUR has developed over three years into a very strong and mutually supportive group. We look forward to more years of this collaboration. Also, all of the 10 debates we co-sponsored were broadcast live. The degree of technical skill and experience needed to bring this off – on radio and television – was really impressive. Equally impressive, always, is the so-calm and so-effective preparation of our own events planner, Rashelle Brown.

SA: What have been the challenges and the rewards of sponsoring these debates?

BT: A major reward: the MGS participation. In several of the debates, questions from McCormack students or faculty that had been prepared beforehand were posed to the candidates, either by the MGS questioner in person, or by a panelist. Helping prepare the questions, and then witnessing their inclusion in the debates, was very gratifying. It was terrific positive publicity for the school. A challenge will be to make sure this kind of questioning by MGS people will be included in all future debates.

SA: How do you see sponsorship of these debates as connecting to the values and mission of the McCormack Graduate School?

BT: The Supreme Court seems to think corporations are citizens that can make political contributions. This is questionable. Not questionable is the fact that the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, while prohibited from making cash contributions to candidates, is without question a citizen of our city, state, and nation. Anything we can do to further the health of our democracy is at the core of our very being.

SA: Are there plans for future debates? How do you envision McCormack continuing and expanding these forums?

BT: We look forward to more action next year, and are talking with our partners about what that might look like. One thought: we just had the mid-term elections, but the New Hampshire presidential primary is only 14 or 15 months away, and swarms of presidential candidates usually start arriving in these parts with the first snowflakes.

February 28, 2017
by McCormack Speaks
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Do legislative staffers deserve a raise, too?

by Christa Kelleher, Research and Policy Director
Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy

MA State House domeNow that Massachusetts legislators have secured increased compensation for themselves, they should take a hard look at the pay levels of those who work for them. Fair and livable wages should be the norm for all workers whether they are employed by private, nonprofit, or public entities. Those who step up into a public service role as a legislative aide, budget analyst, chief of staff, or any of the other positions essential to our representational democracy deserve to be compensated fairly and adequately.

Yet it’s unclear whether this is the case here in Massachusetts. While earnings data are available through Massachusetts Open Checkbook, no titles are provided for employees listed and it’s not possible to systematically examine salaries by position, by legislative office, or by the race, ethnicity, or sex/gender identity of staff members.

There may never be an ideal moment to address the topic of pay for those who work in the Legislature.

Read the full story.

This blog is posted with permission from Mass-INC, publisher of Commonwealth Magazine.

Christa Kelleher, PhD      Research Director, Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy, McCormack Graduate SchoolChrista Kelleher oversees research on women’s public leadership and a range of public policy issues that affect women, with a particular focus on women’s reproductive and maternal health. She specializes in identifying, analyzing, and promoting public policies that improve the conditions of women’s lives; advancing women’s public leadership; state and local policy development

February 14, 2017
by McCormack Speaks
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A Cavalcade of Controversies: Trump’s Domestic and Foreign Policy Agendas

Policy roundtableA recent Boston Globe columnist, reporting on President Donald Trump’s first few weeks in the White House, described recent events as “a cavalcade of controversies.” What an astute (and alliterative) observation.

As part of encouraging broader discussions of this new policy landscape, the McCormack Graduate School recently partnered with the College of Liberal Arts at UMass Boston to host two policy roundtables to discuss President Trump’s domestic and foreign policy agendas.

We invite you to read about our analyses, watch the videos, and engage in the national chatter by sharing your comments on this blog.

The Trump Administration: Domestic Policy Roundtable

Read the news story

Watch the video

The Trump Administration: Foreign Policy Roundtable

Read the news story

Watch the video

February 1, 2017
by McCormack Speaks
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Equality is a Zero Sum Game

By Edward Henry
An International Relations student at the McCormack Graduate School

human rights

When I was asked to write a piece on my experiences attending the Women’s March, I wanted to write about the festive atmosphere that permeated the march. I wanted to write about arriving downtown early to feel the excitement of the marchers already streaming towards the Common. When I sat down to write, I intended to report the positivity in addition to addressing the critiques of the march. But, the videos and images from the Inauguration Day protests in DC, the police presence in the Boston companion march that night, and the police presence at the Boston Protest against the Muslim Ban led to a change in direction.

The Women’s March was successful in pulling millions worldwide into the streets to stand in support of women’s equality in addition to a host of equality issues. But reporting only that would be repeating the mistakes of previous equality movements. Continue Reading →

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