In a May 14 speech to the Railroad Agents’ Association of New England, Rep. Birmingham attacked the state Senate for being the “death House” because it defeats so many bills passed by the House of Representatives that are in the “best interests of the Commonwealth,” the Boston Globe reported (May 15, 1932, p. A19).
The Senate is “too far away from the interests of the people,” he said during an address to the association’s 45th annual ladies’ night held at the Hotel Statler ballroom. Birmingham was representing Gov. Joseph B. Ely, who was a conservative Democratic politician who served as governor from 1931 to 1935.
The House minority leader noted that when Gov. Ely unveiled a proposal to the legislature earlier in the year to tax sales of cigarettes, movie tickets, and beverages, the hall was crowded with lobbyist seeking to defeat the measure.
Birmingham said that the people of Massachusetts needed to be more involved in public affairs to counteract the influence of lobbyists for particular interests. “It is the responsibility of all people to be interested in public affairs,” he said.
In addition, Birmingham called for relief to financial troubled communities in the state. Without the relief, “they will be as defunct as any corporation unable to protect itself….when the Governor says that all should take an interest in the matter, there is small attention paid to it.”