BOSTON (SHNS) – Whether they’re meeting new colleagues, exchanging ideas, or just printing out a document, a trio of first-term representatives were thankful Wednesday to finally sit down in the same office together.
July is a tad late (six months) to open the doors of the so-called bullpen, a temporary shared workspace for new House members who don’t yet have their own offices. But it puts them a step ahead of other rank-and-file reps who are still being told to work from home.
Rep. Steve Owens of Watertown said the bullpen is “really valuable” for new lawmakers, and he’s thankful that Speaker Ron Mariano opened it up rather than making new members wait for office assignments.
“It’s just so much easier to bounce ideas off of people,” Rep. Adam Scanlon of North Attleborough said. “Like Steve’s really passionate about transportation, so with Steve being here, I can be like, ‘Steve, what do you think about this, the trains or whatever, or the MBTA.’ You can get an answer much faster, and really have a better dialogue just between the two of us.”
Or as Rep. Jeff Turco of Winthrop put it: “I’m sorry, you can’t develop personal relationships, really size people up, over Zoom.”
Each representative gets a plastic folding table equipped with a laptop and landline phone, along with access to office supplies and a printer-copier.
The new batch of House members has also fulfilled the tradition of electing class officers.
The three lawmakers in the bullpen Wednesday said that the class has elected Rep. Jake Oliveira of Ludlow as president, Rep. Meg Kilcoyne of Northborough as vice president, Scanlon as treasurer, and Rep. Brandy Fluker Oakley of Mattapan as secretary.
As if on cue, Rep. Sally Kerans of Danvers walked through the door of Room B-1. That’s the fifth class officer, they said.
Kerans, who returned this year to the same House seat she held in the 1990s, is their “class dean.”
While the opening of the bullpen reflects progress toward a fuller State House reopening, representatives during previous sessions would likely already have been assigned by now to their own State House offices. Legislative leaders plan a fuller reopening sometime in the fall.