Liz has found her long lost tribe.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s bill to clear the way for a $1 billion tribal gaming resort is meeting with resistance not only from locals who don’t want a casino, but also from a struggling Massachusetts city that does.
Brockton Mayor William Carpenter said the Warren legislation on behalf of the Masphee Wampanoag tribe would destroy his community’s plans for a casino, a project designed to bring badly needed jobs and economic development to the blue-collar burg.
“Year after year we’re running multimillion-dollar deficits in our budget. We’ve laid off school teachers for three years in a row,” Mr. Carpenter said. “We desperately need the revenue.”
He spent six hours Tuesday on Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to defeat the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act, which would override a federal judge’s decision last year blocking the tribe’s plans for a luxury casino and resort in East Taunton.
Only three casino licenses are slated to be awarded by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, each in different regions of the state. Brockton and East Taunton are located less than 20 miles apart in the southeastern sector.
Losing out to the Mashpee Wampanoag based on the merits would be one thing, but what annoys Mr. Carpenter is the specter of federal lawmakers like Ms. Warren dooming Brockton’s chances with a bill that he said gives “special treatment” to the tribe.
“The whole thing just seems unfair to me,” Mr. Carpenter said. “I don’t know if Brockton will ultimately be granted the license or not from the state gaming commission, but I know our opportunities should not be taken away by a piece of special-interest legislation.”
Ms. Warren and fellow Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey introduced the Senate bill in March, moving to aid the Mashpee after U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young overturned the Interior Department’s decision to take land into trust on the tribe’s behalf, a prerequisite for Indian gaming.
Ms. Warren’s advocacy on behalf of the Mashpee casino came despite her previous opposition to legalized gambling in Massachusetts, and after her vow earlier this year to champion Native American issues in response to President Trump’s dubbing her “Pocahontas,” a reference to her unproven claim of Cherokee ancestry.