CommonWealth’s Winter 2017 issue is out!

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Read the Winter 2017 today!

In CommonWealth’s Winter 2017 issue, we introduce you to Steve Kadish, the governor’s chief of staff. Kadish isn’t the hard-charging political strategist usually associated with that position. He’s an operations guy, the head of an internal SWAT team whose last name has become a verb inside the administration. As Jay Ash, the secretary of housing and economic development, says: “When an operation in government has failed, Steve comes in and you’re Kadished.”

Our cover story focuses on a state program designed to help consumers deal with home improvement contractors. The program, which is giving homeowners a false sense of protection, is in need of repair itself.

In Lawrence, mom-and-pop entrepreneurs who typically don’t have access to banking services are getting loans from a fund tapping into the entrepreneurial energy of immigrants.

The trolleys that run between Ashmont and Mattapan Square are rolling museum pieces beloved by local pols, but is there room for such nostalgia at the cash-strapped T?

No one is quite sure what to make of Steward Health Care’s decision to sell off its hospitals and lease them back. The state’s fifth-largest employer says its strategy is a pathway to national growth, but skeptics abound.

Also in this issue:

POLITICS

What can the Massachusetts congressional delegation do with the GOP in control in Washington? The short answer is not much…. Edward M. Murphy pans the proposed millionaire tax, saying the assessment doesn’t accomplish the goals it’s meant to achieve.

EDUCATION

Massachusetts rural school systems are in a death spiral…. Fernando Reimers and Paul Toner report on lessons they have learned from Singapore.

ENERGY 

Gordon van Welie says the region’s power grid (which he oversees) is operating well, but he’s worried that unless constraints on natural gas supplies are eased his agency may be forced to take steps to prevent non-gas power plants from retiring….For proof that green energy isn’t cheap, check out the prices companies are charging for 100 percent renewable energy.

BUSINESS

Got robots? Dairy farmers are turning to technology to eke out a living on the farm.

PEOPLE

Tanisha Sullivan, the incoming head of the Boston NAACP, thinks the city of Boston can “get it right” when it comes to dealing with race issues.

SERIOUS FUN II

Find out why political humor is fun – and healthy. And learn what word Attorney General Maura Healey can’t say in public.

Thanks,

Bruce Mohl, Editor

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