Kathi-Anne Reinstein, one of Speaker Robert DeLeo’s top deputies and a backer of a Revere casino, plans to take a post with Boston Beer Company.
One of Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s top deputies plans to resign this month, according to people familiar with the decision, a move that would also remove from House leadership a chief advocate for a casino in Revere.
Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein, first elected to the House in 1998, plans to step down to accept a post as government affairs manager for the Boston Beer Company, said people with knowledge of her decision.
The company, which brews Sam Adams beer, has been shopping for a government affairs executive for months, eliciting interest from several prominent figures in local politics.
Reinstein’s decision comes at a pivotal time in the ongoing debate about where to site a Massachusetts casino. The Revere Democrat has been a vocal proponent for Suffolk Downs and a Mohegan Sun facility in Revere, after East Boston residents last year voted down such a venue in their neighborhood.
Her departure also takes out a top ally of DeLeo. Reinstein has been a staunch DeLeo backer since early in his campaign to become speaker, and serves as an assistant majority leader in the House.
I don't know if any of you have ever tired to get your elected
representatives to actually listen to you, but I have.
Once, as I stood
with my NO CASINO sign on the sidewalk, my State rep pulled up in his boat of a
car, bellowed something mostly unintelligible out the window, then sped off into
the distance waving his cigar as I called and motioned - to no avail - for him
to return and have a conversation.
When I went to see him at his office
at the State House, his contemptuous slimeball of aide left me in
I have repeatedly, and with little success, requested that a
selectman from my town attend meetings of the 17 Town Regional Task Force on
Last year, my ardently pro-slots state senator made a
brazen attempt to stop a public meeting of this same task force in
This task force, which represents a quarter-million people in
Southeast Mass., has yet to have been granted an audience with the Governor -
though he frequently meets with the 1,500 member Cape Cod Indian tribe which
wants to build the world's biggest casino there.
Back in 2007, after
writing to my congressmen (members of the same governing body which made
suburban tribal mega casinos a reality) about my concerns regarding the
Middleboro casino project, I received a brief, and utterly clueless, letter from
Ted Kennedy's office thanking me for my interest in immigration
And I'm still waiting to hear from John Kerry.
is, I've actually voted for these guys. Many times over the years.
it's not just the big guys. I've also been gaveled to silence in my own town
hall, and witnessed similar gaveling in Middleboro whenever concerns were raised
about having the world's biggest casino as a neighbor.
A ballot vote by
residents there opposing the casino project was unanimously deemed "irrelevant"
by local selectmen and as a result not forwarded to the Secretary of the
And, thanks to a labyrinth of regulations seemingly modeled
after the game of Battleship, the fact
that my community is not a host community, even though it would
potentially abut a newly created
sovereign nation and the world's largest casino, the Federal government denies
my town so much as a say-so in the matter.
But what does any of it
matter anyway since I'm frequently reminded by the media that my representatives
and I are completely powerless - because the only one who does matter in Massachusetts is whoever is
currently filling the shoes of the Speaker of the House.
So I shouldn't
even bother trying.
But I do try.
I've held my sign, done lots of research, collected signatures, given testimony,
written letters, blogged, made videos, built web sites, given interviews,
attended myriads of meetings, participated in events across the state, arranged
educational forums, written fact sheets, sent out mailings, maintained
databases, and have put up with pro-casino abuse ranging from having F-bomb's
hurled at my children to receiving a threat on my life.
And I'm just one
member of the team.
Thankfully, in the second half of last year, we
started seeing our efforts start to make a difference. We managed to get the
facts out to the Mass. Democratic Party convention - which then adopted a
resolution opposing slots.
The Attorney General's top staff, the
Governor's top staff, and even the Governor himself let us make our case about
the real costs of slots and casinos -
after which both the Governor and Attorney General endorsed having the
Commonwealth perform a fresh, independent cost-benefit analysis of expanded
But despite the compelling facts and recent inroads, it still
amazes me how little understanding there is about our message among legislators
and the general public.
Pigeon-holed as 'moralists', or painted as an
axe-wielding, fun-stealing cadre of Carrie Nations whose mission is to deprive
individuals of their private liberties and the State of much needed jobs and
revenue - a characterization aided and abetted by the media and assorted
anonymous comment section hoopla - our message is lost.
And so, in an
attempt to more clearly define that message, to frame it in easy-to-understand,
graphical, economic terms, we managed, last Thursday, to pack a room at the
Statehouse with reps and their aides to present "A
Mathbook for Beacon Hill".
More than a dozen people volunteered their
time, expertise and resources to the project for over two months. Many of us
took the day off from work and drove in from across the state to be available to
answer questions at the presentation - which countered the inflated figures for
jobs and revenue we keep hearing about, along with the invariably non-existent
costs that accompany them.
But what do the efforts of a bunch of
concerned taxpaying volunteers matter when a solitary, paid legislator and big-time slot cheerleader
like State Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein (D - Suffolk Downs) can mosey down from her
office, sit through the meeting like a fidgety 5th grader who'd sold her last
Ritalin for a snickers bar, then proceed to hijack the Q & A as her own
personal pro-slots soapbox?
After purposely having framed our
presentation to specifically address economic impacts - partly in response to
accusations by Kathi and others like her who've repeatedly tried to characterize
the opposition's message as one of moral imperative over financial reality -
Kathi proceeded to use our meeting to
bend the message back to addiction and social costs.
And before long,
Kathi-Anne the pro-slots cheerleader becomes Kathi the slot-wielding human
bullhorn, dripping with sarcasm, reeking of indignation, dismissive, bombastic
Attempts to reign her in, requests that she phrase her comments
in the form of an actual question were utterly ignored. This was "a public
meeting!" after all, she insisted! She had the
right to be heard.
That's right, because just like those of us who worked hard to set
up this meeting sans a staff, who don't get to vote on expanded gambling
legislation, who've been repeatedly ignored by many of our own elected leaders
in favor of track owners, lobbyists and others, who are outspent by gambling
interests $2 million to one and are invariably regulated to the last quote on
the second page of virtually every news article on the subject, Kathi-Anne
appears to actually be afraidthat someone won't hear her.
Which, from what I've seen of
Kathi-Anne Reinstein, is downright impossible.
After pontificating for a
good fifteen minutes (and at least a quarter of our allotted time) on just about
everything from license plates to cigarettes to adopting thoroughbred horses,
Kathi-Anne finally asks that all too familiar and predictable question:
"If not gambling, what other ideas do yoooooooooou have for coming up with new jobs
Okay, look. I've heard this same question from
everyone from small town selectmen to Sen. Marc Pacheco, to that slimeball in
Dave Flynn's office.
And really, I don't hold it against Kathi that
between her horse-based life experiences and limited intellectual abilities, she
can't wrap her head around better, creative solutions that won't end up helping
the gambling industry more than citizens of Massachusetts.
Or that she,
who at an October 2009 hearing referred to her constituents as "not exactly
rocket scientists" with an existing array of gambling problems, is in favor of
creating future generations of addicts in her district in order to save them all
a bus ride to Connecticut.
Or that the woman who once championed making
the fluffernutter the official sandwich of Massachusetts isn't perhaps incapable
of comprehending the serious ramifications that legalizing slots could have for
other communities and taxpayers outside the confines of her
Heck, after three years of observing a certain percentage of
the people who make up the Massachusetts legislature, including Kathi-Anne, you
won't catch me holding my breath waiting
for them to come up with a better
solution than expanded gambling.
No, the thing that really gets me is that State Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein had
the unmitigated, sanctimonious gaul to face a group of unpaid citizen
volunteers, including health educators and web designers and demand that they -
they - provide her with alternative revenue
Because heck, isn't that her job. Isn't that's what she's paid to do. Paid by us?
We all have jobs to do. So, are we
free to call Kathi up and ask her how to do them?
Should medical doctors
stop to confer with Kathi-Anne when stumped for a cure for their
Perhaps demolitions experts should keep Kathi on speed dial in
case they have to ask "should I cut the blue or the red wire."
not. But this isn't the real world, it's the Commonwealth of Kathi-Anne - where
she gets paid to try to make you look bad for not being able to do her job.
Which begs the question, aside
from ignoring constituents, failing to perform due diligence, pretending not to
fawn over special interests, supporting bad ideas, promoting unhealthy
sandwiches to school children, talking too much, listening too little,
collecting pensions for life and expecting other people to do their job, what is
it, exactly, that today's legislators
I can tell you this - most of them haven't even taken the time to
look at this website.
Why do you
suppose that is? Perhaps we should add "being busy already knowing
everything there is to know about slots" to that impressive legislative job
Because the more people know about this industry, the more
they're likely to oppose it. Or, at least, more likely to demand a DEEPER LOOK.
Which is why people like me wait patiently for the Q & A
session at the end of another long meeting, if they allow one at all, and then
carefully phrase our comments in the form of a question. We wait for a year to
give 5 minutes testimony to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and two and a half
years to testify for 3 minutes at the State House. We wait our turn, for 13
hours, folded up like a human lawn chair in an over-crowded auditorium, to speak
for less than a minute.
We work, unpaid, and play - if you can call it
that- by the rules.
And that's the real problem, isn't it. It's why
lobbyists spread around big money behind the scenes, and why legislators make
quiet deals with the devil behind closed doors. Why unions pay their members to
pack halls in distant towns, and why policy analysis turned industry shills
label us, without grasping a shred of irony, the 'chattering
Kathi wasn't afraid that her peers at the State House wouldn't hear her - she was terrified that, for once, they
might actually hear us.