As candidates start to shift into campaign mode for 2022, House Speaker Ronald Mariano said that he intends to stick around for another term in one of the most powerful posts in state government.
“I have every intention of doing that, yeah,” Mariano told the News Service, regarding his plans to campaign for another term in the House next November, then another term as speaker in January 2023.
“Took me 30 years to get here. So why would I want to sit here and not do it? It’s been fun, it’s been a challenge. And lookit, I know how lucky I am to be here. And my biggest problem is spending money,” the 30-year representative from Quincy said Monday.
That’s a reference to the billions in surplus state tax revenues and federal aid money that lawmakers are overseeing and meting out.
Mariano gestured to his office walls, adorned with dozens of portraits of House speakers from generations past.
“Take a look around,” he said. “None of these guys spent that much money. Maybe if you add up, take these walls over here and add up all the money they ever spent as speakers, they never spent as much as the Senate president and I have spent in this ARPA budget. So it is something to think about, it’s a pretty interesting little dynamic.”
The so-called ARPA bill, which would appropriate much of the fiscal 2021 surplus and the state’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation, formally entered conference committee talks Monday.
Mariano tempered expectations of a final deal reaching Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk by the end of Wednesday, the last day of formal sessions until January, though said it remains the goal.
“We hope to get some paper on ARPA to the governor’s desk on Wednesday, but it’s going to be a long and involved process of negotiations between the House and the Senate,” he said, adding that more protracted negotiations are “possible.”
“But the hope is to get it done Wednesday,” Mariano said. “That’s the goal... The goal is, you’ve got our chairman of Ways and Means and the Senate chairman of Ways and Means and their staff, who are working since -- all weekend, since even during Veterans Day.”