Gov. Ely met Jan. 28 with the Democratic steering committee of Senate and House legislators to discuss the governor’s financial policy, particularly a bond issue he proposed to pay for unemployment relief. The committee assured the governor of its support (Boston Globe, Jan. 29, 1931, p. 11).
Rep. Birmingham said after the meeting with Ely:
“I am sure the rank and file of the citizens of the State believe that the recommendation of the Governor for a bond issue is a meritorious one, and I do not believe that most of the members of the Legislature, regardless of their party, will attempt to obstruct legislation which is to be so beneficial to so many people.
“The members of the steering committee, whose views I am now presenting, assured the Governor of their upmost support in bringing about the passage of the legislation. The time for dilly-dallying is past. The time for action designed to improve conditions in our State is at hand, and action should start. The Governor is absolutely right when he says: ‘I am not interested in Constitutional questions when people are crying for bread.’”
The steering committee was formed the previous week to hold weekly conferences with Ely and discuss pending legislation (Boston Globe, Jan. 24, 1931, p. 5). The committee was composed of three state senators -- Senate Minority Leader John P. Buckley of Charlestown, Sen. Joseph Finnegan of Dorchester, and Sen. James E. Warren of Lawrence -- and 16 members of the state House -- House Minority Leader Rep. Leo M. Birmingham of Brighton and Reps. John Ford of Fall River, James E. Hagan of Somerville, William P. Hickey of Boston, William H. Hearn of East Boston, John A. Jones of Peabody, Edward J. Kelley of Worcester, John P. Lyons of Boston, Anthony A. McNulty of Boston, James P. Meehan of Lawrence, Daniel F. Moriarty of Lowell, Francis E. Rafter of Salem, Joseph Roach of North Adams, Roland D. Sawyer of Ware, Lewis R. Sullivan of Boston, and Michael Zack of Lynn.
Birmingham said that the first meeting of the committee would be a closed session on Monday, Jan. 26.