'It starts with an apology': Local officials respond to N.H. gubernatorial candidate's anti-Mass. rhetoric

The welcome sign on the Massachusetts state border with New Hampshire. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)
The welcome sign on the Massachusetts state border with New Hampshire. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

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There’s a heat emergency in effect today and tomorrow in Boston. That means the city’s community centers will be open to help residents cool off, as well as dozens of splash pads. Remember to stay hydrated and avoid these mistakes if you’re going out.

We have more on the weather below, but first some proverbial heat.

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has no interest in getting into a war of words with former U.S. senator and New Hampshire gubernatorial candidate Kelly Ayotte over her anti-Bay State rhetoric. But the same can’t be said for every Massachusetts official. “It’s kind of sad that she would do something like that,” Lowell City Manager Tom Golden told WBUR’s Dave Faneuf, calling Ayotte’s recent comments targeting his community “cheap” and “childish.”

  • Here’s the backstory: Ayotte, a Republican, served in the U.S. Senate from 2011 to 2017 and is one of several candidates who have jumped into the 2024 race to replace outgoing New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu. In the past week, she has warned (repeatedly) the Granite State is “one election away” from becoming Massachusetts (which, according to her, is a bad thing). Ayotte dialed in during a Fox News interview, singling out Lowell and Lawrence as the source of her state’s fentanyl problems. “It’s killing our citizens,” said Ayotte, who subsequently took aim at WBZ’s Jon Keller yesterday for pushing back on her strategy.
  • Golden, a former longtime Democratic state representative, is pushing back, too. He argued that Ayotte’s time in the Senate did not result in any solutions “that actually made a difference” addressing the fentanyl crisis. He added New Hampshire spends less on substance abuse and mental health services than other states and suggested Ayotte focus on changing that if she becomes governor. “But I think it starts with an apology,” Golden said.
  • Meanwhile in Lawrence: City Council President Marc Laplante has extended an invite to Ayotte to witness the city’s drug enforcement efforts and “improve the cooperative relationship between our governments,” according to The Eagle-Tribune.
  • It’s not the first time a Republican has pointed the finger at the two Merrimack Valley cities for the growing fentanyl crisis in New Hampshire. Sununuformer Maine Gov. Paul LePage and former President Donald Trump all did the same thing in 2016 and 2017. (At the time, former Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said illegal drugs take “a lot of different paths” through the country and called for working “together as a community to deal with this.”)

Calling all artists: Lynn is looking for local creatives to help turn bus stop shelters into works of art. LeCrecia Thompson, an arts and culture planner for the city, tells WBUR’s Andrea Perdomo-Hernandez they’re hoping to incorporate more art into commuters’ daily lives and the shelters are “perfect canvases” to engage them. “People are using them. Why not make them more interesting?” Thompson said.

No more "nips" in New Bedford: The South Coast city’s licensing board controversially voted to ban the sale of the miniature alcohol bottles this week — and it’s created a bit of a kerfuffle. WPRI reports the New Bedford City Council is pretty peeved that the board unilaterally made the call without consulting them. However, Mayor Jon Mitchell is standing behind the move, calling the plastic shot bottles “a major source of litter.”

  • What’s next: The ban will take effect only after New Bedford’s liquor stores sell off their current inventory, which the licensing board estimates won’t be until November.

P.S.— If you need a Newport Folk Fest primer (or just don’t want to drive quite as far), come down to the Sound On Music Festival tonight at CitySpace! Concord native Ali McGuirk and friends will be filling the air with soulful, blues-tinged grooves. Grab a ticket (or two) here.


Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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