After last week’s ceremonial first days, some new lawmakers, including Marblehead’s Rep. Jenny Armini, got down to work Monday, Jan. 9 in the House “bullpen,” a shared workspace for members of the newest class before office assignments get handed out.
With 20 representatives sworn in for the first time last week, the House has repurposed Hearing Rooms B-1 and B-2 to accommodate their desks and staff until they are assigned permanent office space.
Armini and Aaron Saunders of Belchertown were typing away at their keyboards in Room B-2 on Monday afternoon, and Armini said the bullpen had a “nice energy to it.”
The bullpen is a place where the new class can float ideas and get feedback from their peers. As the pair of Democrats talked about their initial legislative priorities, Armini tossed a couple of her top ideas out there and looped Saunders into the conversation.
“I’m with you so far,” Saunders said, agreeing with Armini’s prioritization of solar panel siting.
“See, this is how fun the bullpen is. I can just, like, yell over and I don’t have to text him or call him,” Armini said.
Saunders said one of the top issues on his list is regional equity, because “hailing from the golden West, it’s always at the top of the list,” along with renewable energy and some local issues.
Armini recalled her work as an aide in Congress, where the Congressional Budget Office and Congressional Research Service aided lawmakers, staff, and the public with objective data, and said she believes “we need something like that here.”
She called over to Saunders, “Aaron, what do you think about that?”
The Belchertown representative replied he was “really interested to see what the speaker thinks.”
A list of names on the door to B-2, titled “WELCOME STATE REPRESENTATIVES,” includes the names Margaret Scarsdale and Kristin Kassner, though neither have been seated in the House while a special committee continues to review the results of their extremely tight election margins.
In the meantime, Rep. Lenny Mirra continues to hold the seat Kassner would otherwise fill.