Lawmakers continue to demand answers from Baker on Holyoke Soldiers’ Home outbreak

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – The blame game continues over the COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. 

Beacon Hill seems to be divided over the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home investigation, with multiple reports now out, lawmakers are calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to tell the truth about his knowledge of the situation leading up to the outbreak. 

When COVID-19 hit the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, Governor Baker hired former U.S. Attorney Mark Pearlstine to investigate the deadly outbreak. Pearlstine found that the Homes former superintendent Bennett Walsh was unqualified for the job. 

Governor Baker said several times that never met Walsh but a report released by the legislature found that the two had a meeting before Walsh was hired. 

 A meeting that Gov. Baker has since admitted that he forgot he even had. 

“I forgot,” Baker said. “The board at Holyoke which had the legal authority to do so chose him and he and I had a brief interview before I swore him in.” 

Legislative leaders like Senate President Karen Spilka are now putting pressure on Gov. Baker to answer questions about management at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. 

Spilka released a statement on the matter in part, “The Commonwealth-and especially the families of the veterans who died in the COVID-19 outbreak-deserve answers to those questions. With several active investigations currently ongoing, we expect Governor Baker and his administration to be forthcoming on the legitimate questions that are being asked.” 

At this point, Gov. Baker has not agreed to take their questions publicly, but he did say that he hopes to work with lawmakers to implement permanent changes at the facility. 

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