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Talking Politics Podcast

Talking Politics is the spiritual heir to The Scrum and the audio version of a program that’s viewable Fridays at 7 on GBH Channel 2 and online at It’s hosted by Adam Reilly and features the other members of GBH News’ political team, — Saraya Wintersmith and Katie Lannan — and an ever-expanding array of guests. If you’d like to suggest a topic, or to tell us what’s working and what isn’t, please drop us a line! You can email us at or find us at

  • The Democratic primary contest to succeed outgoing Attorney General Maura Healey has become one of the most interesting races in Massachusetts this election cycle. In this episode of the Scrum, labor lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan discusses what she believe sets her apart from rivals Andrea Campbell and Quentin Palfrey. Plus, Politico’s Lisa Kashinsky and Yawu Miller of the Bay State Banner size up the Mass. GOP convention in Springfield and the Second Suffolk State Senate race, in which former Senator Dianne Wilkerson is trying to make an electoral comeback
  • The Federal Transit Administration announced this week that it's taking on an "increased safety oversight role" of MBTA after a series of troubling breakdowns, including the horrific death of Robinson Lalin, who was killed after after his arm got caught in the door of a Red Line train. Jim Aloisi of Transit Matters and Stacy Thompson of LivableStreets joined Adam Reilly to discuss what that could mean for agency's future and what the move says about state leaders' recent stewardship of the system. Plus, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu's endorsement in the Suffolk County district attorney race created some serious tension this week between interim DA Kevin Hayden and his rival, Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo. GBH News' Saraya Wintersmith and State House News Service's Chris Lisinski joined Adam to analyze that, the latest twist in some North End restaurant owners' battle with the Wu Administration over outdoor dining fees, and the imminent passage of state legislation to give unauthorized immigrants access to drivers' licenses.
  • The idea that Massachusetts politics are exceptional dates back at least to John Winthrop's description of the young Massachusetts Bay colony as a "city on a hill." But while things are certainly different here, that doesn't necessarily mean they're better. Erin O'Brian and Jerold Duquette, the editors of "The Politics of Massachusetts Exceptionalism: Reputation Meets Reality," join Adam Reilly to deconstruct our lofty sense of self. Also, Democratic AG candidate Quentin Palfrey discusses his campaign and push to keep outside money out of that race. We'd like your feedback! Email us at while you're at it, subscribe to the GBH Politics newsletter at
  • Massachusetts took a big step towards expending the gambling industry recently when the Senate passed a bill that would legalize sports betting---but there are some huge and potentially irreconcilable differences between the Senate plan and the one the House passed last year. Adam Reilly spoke with Shira Schoenberg, a reporter at Commonwealth magazine, and Father Richard McGowan, S.J., an associate professor of finance at Boston College's Carroll School of Management, about those discrepancies and whether a compromise is likely. Also: campaign finance is taking center stage in two Democratic primaries, as AG candidate Quentin Palfrey calls on his opponents to reject Super PAC spending and Sonia Chang-Díaz urges Maura Healey to return donations from individuals linked to the fossil-fuel industry in the governor's race. The Boston Herald's Sean Phillip Cotter and GBH News's Saraya Wintersmith joined Adam to discuss those calls, former state Senator Dianne Wilkerson readying a run for her old seat, and more.
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren is sounding the alarm ahead of the midterm elections, calling on her fellow Democrats to focus squarely on Americans’ economic concerns to avoid a blowout in November. But does she have the influence to inspire President Biden and the rest of her party to act? Talking Politics Host Adam Reilly speaks with Robert Kuttner, the co-founder and co-editor of the American Prospect and a professor at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management, about whether Warren’s political Rx would work — and whether another Warren presidential bid might be in the offing. First, though, a new poll shows that Attorney General Maura Healey’s lead in the Democratic Massachusetts governor’s primary is pushing fifty percent. So how much time does Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz still have tos save her candidacy? Boston Globe Columnist Adrian Walker and Jenn Smith, a correspondent for the Dorchester Reporter and co-host of the Horse Race political podcast, sized up the state of the Democratic contest, as well as Republican candidate Chris Doughty's still-evolving description of his own political philosophy. We'd like your comments, criticism, and suggestions! If you've got feedback of any sort, please email us at or find us online at And while you're at it, why not subscribe to the GBH Politics Newsletter? To sign up, visit
  • Public meetings have been more transparent than ever thanks to remote access and participation adopted during the pandemic. But now, as safety protocols are lifted, there are signs the political establishment wants to go back to the way things used to be. Advocates say it’s the wrong move — including Kade Crockford, the director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, and Dianna Hu, the chairwoman of the Boston Center for Independent Living. They join Adam Reilly to make the case for keeping politics accessible and transparent moving forward. Plus, GBH News City Hall Reporter Saraya Wintersmith and State House News Service Reporter Katie Lannan unpack new budgets from Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and the Massachusetts House, as well as Boston’s Pride-parade hiatus and the Massachusetts Senate’s climate bill and its discontents. We'd like your comments, criticism, and suggestions! If you've got feedback of any sort, please email us at or find us online at While you're at it, why not subscribe to the GBH Politics Newsletter? Visit
  • As Massachusetts drivers head back to the roadways, there’s been a troubling uptick in speeding and fatalities—prompting renewed interest in automated traffic cameras in Somerville and at the State House. Stacey Beuttell, the executive director of WalkBoston, and Mary Maguire, the director of public and government affairs for AAA Northeast, joined Adam Reilly to discuss the advantages and possible downsides of that technology. But first: a years-long push to let unauthorized immigrants get drivers’ licenses is on the verge of succeeding at the State House. GBH News Politics Editor Peter Kadzis and Boston Business Journal Digital Editor Steph Solis joined Adam to examine the prospects for that proposal, as well as a push by State House staffers to unionize and a new Boston ad campaign that seeks to rebrand the city by rebranding the Boston accent. We'd like your comments, criticism, and suggestions! If you've got feedback of any sort, please email us at or find us online at And while you're at it, why not subscribe to the GBH Politics Newsletter? If you’re interested, head to
  • Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is taking some heat over the city’s outdoor dining policy for the North End, which includes fees absent in other neighborhoods and a shorter window. The Boston Globe’s Joan Vennochi and Boston Post-Gazette’s Pam Donnaruma join Talking Politics Host Adam Reilly to discuss Wu’s recent attempt for a compromise and how, exactly, the desires of Boston business owners should be balanced against the needs of residents. Also: Massachusetts is one of the least affordable states when it comes to buying or renting a home. So why aren’t some possible solutions getting traction at the State House? Massachusetts State Representative Mike Connolly and Symone Crawford, the executive director of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance.
  • In their first joint media appearance, Republican governor and LG candidates Chris Doughty and Kate Campanale join Adam Reilly to discuss their political identities, their take on outgoing Governor Charlie Baker’s anti-COVID efforts, and their priorities if they win. First, though, Yawu Miller of the Bay State Banner and Mike Deehan of GBH News recap the week in city and state politics, including Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s push to limit residential protests and raise new money for affordable housing.
  • One hundred days isn’t enough time to say whether Mayor Michelle Wu will be able to realize her biggest political goals, like creating a Boston Green New Deal or implementing some form of rent stabilization. But it’s an appropriate point for sizing up Wu’s early victories and setbacks — and asking whether she’s made good, so far, on her pledge to govern differently than her predecessors. Adam Reilly sizes up Wu’s tenure to date with his GBH News colleague Saraya Wintersmith, Abdallah Fayyad of the Boston Globe, and Gintautas Dumcius of the Dorchester Reporter.
  • Governor Charlie Baker’s second and final term is nearing its end, but the governor has a developing plan to shape Massachusetts politics for years to come. The Boston Globe’s Emma Platoff and Politico’s Lisa Kashinsky join Adam Reilly to discuss that topic. Also on the conversational agenda: Danielle Allen’s gubernatorial exit and critique of the #mapoli status quo, the pending reopening of the Massachusetts State House, Mayor Michelle Wu’s potentially problematic inaugural fundraising, and Wu’s determination to continue engaging with her sharpest critics. Plus, GBH News’s new Morning Edition hosts, Paris Alston and Jeremy Siegel, talk with Adam about what they think makes Massachusetts politics different—and how they plan to cover it differently.
  • When BPS superintendent Brenda Cassellius exits this spring after a three-year tenure, she’ll be the latest in a series of short-term leaders for the state’s biggest public-school system. So what will it take for her successor to turn things around? GBH News politics editor and Latyoa Gale — director of advocacy at Neighborhood Villages Action Fund and, like Peter, a BPS parent—join Adam Reilly with their thoughts. But first: as COVID numbers drop, just how quickly should schools, businesses, and society at large get back to normal? As state and local officials plan some big changes, they’re getting pushback from critics who think they’re either moving too fast or not moving not fast enough. GBH News's Saraya Wintersmith and Mike Deehan join Adam to talk about what’s happening in Boston and beyond.