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Keller @ Large: St. Patrick's Day breakfast in South Boston could expose political feuds

Keller: South Boston St. Patrick's Day Breakfast could expose secret feuds
Keller: South Boston St. Patrick's Day Breakfast could expose secret feuds 02:48

BOSTON - They'll be singing up a storm on Sunday at the annual South Boston St. Patrick's Day Breakfast down the Ironworkers Hall. But behind the harmonizing and joking there's always a serious subtext or two if you know what to look for.

For instance, legislative leaders might not join in when State Auditor Diana DiZoglio breaks out her annual song. She is suing the House speaker and Senate president for blocking access to information about the Legislature's inner workings.

"We do have a toxic culture of inequity occurring on Beacon Hill where there's a lot of inequity, a lack of transparency and accountability regarding the use of taxpayer dollars," said DiZoglio.

No laughs there.

And the breakfast's host, State Senator Nick Collins (D-South Boston) acknowledges there could be an edge to some of the "friendly" needling. "I think we will see how willing they are to test each other's patience," he says.

Last year, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey cracked some jokes about her prolonged search for an MBTA general manager. But she found one since then, so look for them to mine other topics, including pop culture, for their standup routines.

"I've been seeing a lot of Ken & Barbie themes around these parts recently," said DiZoglio. But with former U.S. Senator Scott Brown gone to New Hampshire, casting the role of Ken will be tough. And with powerful women running Beacon Hill everywhere you turn, it's hard to predict who'll step up to play Barbie.

One thing you may not see at this year's breakfast is any sign of Republicans at the head table. Senator Collins says they've been invited, but the options are limited.

Then again, even though the venue is always crowded, they should be able to accommodate the entire GOP State House contingent.

After all, there are so few of them.  

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