Speaker of the Massachusetts House Ronald Mariano unveiled the first committee slate of his speakership last week, and Senate President Karen Spilka released assignments for her branch as well.
Sen. Nick Collins, who represents large parts of Dorchester and Mattapan in the 1st Suffolk District, will chair the Senate committee on Community Development and Small business. He was also named vice chair of the committee on Bonding and Cannabis Policy.
Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, who also represents parts of both neighborhoods, will chair a joint committee on Cannabis Policy and she will serve on panels focused on redistricting and “reimagining” the state’s post-pandemic resiliency.
Rep. Dan Hunt, of Dorchester’s 13th Suffolk, who will chair the House committee on Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight (formerly Redistricting), will also serve on the following panels: Operations, Facilities and Building Security, and the Special Committee on Redistricting and Reapportionment.
Rep. Liz Miranda, who has represented the 5th Suffolk District since Jan. 2019, was named vice chair of the Committee on Human Resources and Employee Engagement, and will serve on the committees on Public Safety, Veterans and Federal Affairs, Homeland Security, and Community Development and Small Business.
Rep. Russell Holmes will be on the committees on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, Ways and Means, Global Warming and Climate Change, and Veterans and Federal Affairs.
Holmes, a vocal critic of former Speaker Robert DeLeo, told the Reporter on Tuesday that he sees “very little difference” in how the committees have been assigned under Mariano.
“I plan on moving much of my agenda through Ways and Means,” he said in a phone interview. “I’m no longer a vice chair and I still think that not having a Black person in leadership is, to me, just not the appropriate thing. The assignments were delivered by the speaker, which I think is a bad way to do business.”
He added: “One piece of legislation that I’ve been advocating for years is that we should never have special elections. I’m hoping it gets a little more attention with what’s happening this year,” a reference to a home rule petitions to override special mayoral elections in Boston and Lawrence.
Rep. Brandy Fluker-Oakley, who was elected to the 12th Suffolk District seat last year, will serve on the Community Development and Small Business panel, along with Judiciary, Racial Equity, Civil Rights and Inclusion, Transportation, and Community Development and Small Business.
“As a candidate, I campaigned for the State House to create a joint committee to address long-standing racism in Massachusetts and I’m ecstatic to serve on the newly established Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights, and Inclusion,” she told the Reporter this week, adding:
“I am also excited to work with Chair Hunt to ensure that the census results in equitable representation and to provide much needed resources to our communities that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.”
Rep. David Biele, whose 4th Suffolk District includes precincts in South Boston and parts of Dorchester, will serve on the Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and Export Development panels.
Though the joint committees are made up of members from both branches, representatives outnumber senators on the panels, giving the House and the House chair the upper hand in the joint committee structure.
State House News Service reports were incorporated into this article.