In Winthrop, a DeLeo rebuke of sorts
Massachusetts House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo did not have an opponent this year, but voters in his North Shore district still gave him a rebuke of sorts at the ballot box on Tuesday.
According to results posted on the town’s website Tuesday night, the majority of voters in his hometown of Winthrop and the portion of Revere he represents voted in favor of a pair of nonbinding questions intended to specifically needle DeLeo, who has represented the seaside communities as a state representative since 1991.
One question called for pushing the state representative from the district to support repealing a $45,000 increase in annual compensation for the speaker, prohibiting “elected officials and their senior staff from engaging in any lobbying activity for five years once they leave office,” and “a rule that no member shall hold, for more than eight consecutive years, the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives.”
That measure implicitly took aim at DeLeo for successfully pressing to erase the term limits for his speakership in 2015 and hike his own total yearly pay by about 50 percent in 2017; and for presiding over a Legislature where lawmakers and their aides routinely become lobbyists.
In Winthrop on Tuesday, more than 55 percent of the town’s 7,702 voters voted in favor of that measure. Thirty percent voted against it, while 14 percent left their ballots blank.
The other ballot question intended to tweak DeLeo asked voters whether the district’s state representative should take action on global warming. Specifically, it asks whether the legislator should “be instructed to vote in favor of the global warming solutions implementation act which would require the state to create a clean energy roadmap for meeting 2050 emissions limits” set by a 2008 piece of state legislation.
The majority of Winthrop voters cast their ballots in favor of that nonbinding measure, with 61 percent voting yes, just under 25 percent voting no, and 13 percent leaving the question blank.
The majority of voters in the parts of Revere that DeLeo represents also voted in favor of the two measures, according to the city’s Election Commission, with 65 percent of the 5,462 voters voting in favor of the climate change initiative and 57 percent of voters voting in favor of the other measure.
DeLeo spokeswoman Catherine Williams declined to comment early Wednesday on whether the speaker had plans to move to enact the proposals put forth in the nonbinding initiatives.
She said DeLeo was “grateful to the voters of the 19th Suffolk District for helping him earn the most votes of any of the candidates in Winthrop and for helping him receive the highest percentage of votes of any candidate in the city of Revere.”
She hailed DeLeo’s work “fighting for school, athletic facilities, parks, and beach beautification” projects in the district. “He looks forward to continuing to serve the people of his district in the upcoming session,” she said.
Two recent MIT graduates who have never lived in the district but were concerned about what they see as DeLeo’s thwarting of major climate change legislation, gathered signatures from hundreds of DeLeo’s constituents to place the pointed measures before residents of Winthrop and the part of Revere he represents.
Attempts to reach those two graduates were unsuccessful Tuesday night.