Political Circuit

Murray leading a junket to explore greater Bay State trade with Finland

Therese Murray, the Senate president, will visit Finland with other state officials and business executives. Therese Murray, the Senate president, will visit Finland with other state officials and business executives. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/File 2011)
April 10, 2011

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Think Finland and you might think of reindeer, smoked fish, and saunas. But Therese Murray, the Senate president, sees a land of opportunity for Massachusetts businesses.

Beginning April 16, Murray will lead a five-day trade mission to the Nordic country, holding a series of meetings with government officials and business executives, with the goal of drumming up investment in Massachusetts’ medical device, research and development, and life sciences industries.

She will be joined by several corporate executives and at least one lobbyist with significant financial stakes in her efforts to overhaul the health care payment system later this year.

They include John Heffernan, the lobbyist for the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council; Joseph Ternullo, director of international corporate relations for Partners HealthCare System Inc.; and executives from Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., Boston Scientific Corp., and Shire Pharmaceuticals.

Murray will also be joined by fellow senators Robert L. Hedlund, a Weymouth Republican, and Karen Spilka, an Ashland Democrat, as well as officials from several independent state agencies who accompanied Governor Deval Patrick on his trade mission to Israel to last month.

Murray said the group will visit a science park, a Finnish funding agency for science and technology and a research center, and meet with executives from Nokia Oyj, the cellphone firm. No state money will be used, she said; all expenses will be paid with personal and campaign money.

— Michael Levenson

Democrats celebrate health law — with special thanks to RomneyMassachusetts Democrats plan to mark Tuesday’s fifth anniversary of the state’s universal health care law with balloons, speeches, and a sheet cake . . . for former governor Mitt Romney.

The tweak is aimed at embarrassing the expected Republican presidential contender as he continues to criticize the Obama administration’s federal health care overhaul that is based on the Massachusetts law.

Democrats in New Hampshire, the lead-off presidential primary state, also plan to hold a news conference in Concord to symbolically give Romney a birthday card. They’ll be serving cake.

Romney says states should be free to devise their own health care programs as he did with the Massachusetts measure he signed into law on April 12, 2006, and not have one imposed upon them by the federal government.

“Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh and others will put aside partisan differences on Tuesday, April 12th, to acknowledge Mitt Romney’s role in passing the state’s health reform law,’’ the party said in an e-mail.

The ceremony will take place at the party’s new headquarters on Summer Street.

— Glen Johnson

Patrick begins his book tour on ‘Today’ showGovernor Deval Patrick embarks on his book tour tomorrow, with a pretty good first stop: A time slot in the 7 a.m. hour on NBC’s “Today’’ show.

It’s still unclear who will interview him, but the governor is expected to talk about his memoir, “A Reason to Believe.’’

As a friend and political ally of President Obama, he could also expect questions about the averted government shutdown, Tuesday’s fifth anniversary of the Massachusetts health care law, and his dust-up with Senator Scott Brown at Friday’s groundbreaking for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

The governor is coming back to Massachusetts after the show, then heads to New York again on Tuesday for a second series of stops, including “The Daily Show’’ with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central.

— Glen Johnson

Tweet of the week Fears of a federal government shutdown may now be behind us, but on Friday afternoon, as threat of a shutdown loomed large, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll (@MayorDriscoll) found a little, ahem, bathroom humor in the situation:

“Govt shutdown means closure of the Nat Park Service Visitor Ctr + their public restrooms. Yikes-How long should we tell tourists to hold it?’’