Senate Candidates Face Off And Casinos Court Mass. Towns

By Sarah Birnbaum

Dec. 5, 2011

LISTEN: Sarah Birnbaum talks about the hot State House topics of the week with "Morning Edition" host Bob Seay.

BOSTON — This week in Massachusetts politics, Gov. Deval Patrick continues his nine-day trade mission to South America; the Democratic candidates in the primary race for Scott Brown's U.S. Senate seat meet for a debate; and the scramble for the state’s three available casino licenses is well under way.
Patrick is spending this week in Brazil, with stops in Brasilia, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. On Monday, Patrick and representatives from the University of Massachusetts and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation plan to announce a collaboration between Massachusetts’ and Brazil’s education and agricultural sectors.
On Tuesday, the five Democrats hoping to unseat Republican Senator Scott Brown will face off in a debate at Stonehill College in Easton. The candidates are:

·  Harvard professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren
·  State Rep. Tom Conroy of Wayland
·  Marisa DeFranco, an immigration attorney from Middleton
·  Jim King, an attorney from Boston
·  Software engineer Herb Robinson of Newton
The debate comes as an internet poll released the week of Nov. 28 shows Warren and Brown in a statistical dead heat.
The competition is heating up for Massachusetts’ coveted casino licenses. Patriots owner Bob Kraft and casino operator Steve Wynn want to team together to build a $1 billion gambling resort near Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. But first they have to convince the locals: The law requires them to get approval from the town in order to be eligible for a license. Over the weekend, hundreds of Foxborough residents rallied in the town common against the planned complex.
Meanwhile, Mohegan Sun executives are trying to win over the people of Western Mass. They’re holding a getting-to-know-you breakfast and panel discussion for local business leaders on Thursday. The Connecticut company is seeking to build a casino in Palmer; its competitors are eyeing Springfield and Holyoke as potential sites.

Keep following WGBH on the radio, on TV and online this week as we bring you developments on these stories.

Sarah Birnbaum is WGBH Radio's State House reporter. Email her with tips.

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