WMassP&I spoke with Mayor Warren at the conclusion of his tour about a range of subjects affecting both the Springfield area and the commonwealth at large. On a local level, Warren was asked about the Environmental Protection Agency and how it relates to the controversial biomass plant proposed for Page Boulevard in Springfield. Specifically, the question related to Sen. Scott Brown's vote to gut the EPA's rule-making ability, just as the agency began a 3 year evaluation on the impact of biomass plants and Springfield was locked in a high-stakes fight with a developer over the same issue.
The Newton mayor said he was "deeply concerned" about Brown's positions on the environment, particularly his vote on the EPA and the senator's questioning of the science of global climate change. Warren encouraged a movement toward renewable energy, but remained cautious about biomass. Energy produced by burning dead plant matter needs "deeper study," he said. Fundamentally for Warren, the concern is that the health and environmental effects of these plants were unknown. When asked, Warren did say he had met many residents of Western Massachusetts who also expressed concerns about the unknowns of biomass plants' health and ecological impact.
WMassP&I mentioned that Senator Brown was in Springfield recently. At Brown's appearance, this blog posed a question to Brown as to whether he was telling his colleagues, namely the anti-government ones, about the good work being done in Springfield by government. Brown deflected and did not answer. So a similar question was posed to Warren. As Senator, would Warren go to Washington and inform his colleagues there about the good work public service and servants are doing in Massachusetts in order to counter the anti-government sentiment prevailing there? Warren spoke more broadly. Yes, he would bring those positive observations back to Washington, but he would also be telling his colleagues about what his constituents are most concerned about. Having held 24 town hall meetings across his own city of Newton, Warren says that his constituents are more interested in jobs and how budget cuts will affect them, not vapid demagoguery about government.
Sitting in Picard's office, Warren made numerous references to Futureworks. Specifically, he noted that the organization received money for job training, money that Scott Brown voted to cut in the Senate. Brown also voted against renewing a decades old program, Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, which has been in times past secured wide bipartisan support. "I visited with folks looking for work," Warren said. This was where the focus should be right now, Warren continued.
|Newton City Hall (Wikipedia)|
It was clear that throughout the interview, that Setti Warren is putting his focus on jobs and on meeting with constituents to bring better representation to Washington. There was clearly a pattern here between noting Brown's support for a filibuster of a traditionally bipartisan bill and the senator's notable lack of constituent access. While these messages are not necessarily unique to Warren among Democrats, the Brown camp and the Massachusetts GOP seem to be taking the Newton mayor seriously. Ethics complaints against Warren have been tied to Brown supporters. Earlier in the year Brown let slip that he was going over to Afghanistan to "do some missions." This unorthodox way for Brown to meet his two week training National Guard obligations was revealed, somewhat haphazardly, when it became clear Warren would be a candidate for Senate. By comparison, Setti Warren served a more traditional tour in Iraq with Naval Intelligence as a member of the Navy Reserve.