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Where the Nov. 8 elections could quickly usher in change for restaurants

Working Lunch: Restaurateurs in Maryland and Massachusetts may feel a change in their operating environment in short order.

Restaurants throughout the country could ultimately feel the impact of one or both chambers of Congress flipping  to Republican Party control. It’s the operators in two particular states who could see their world changing much more quickly as a result of the Nov. 8 elections, according to this week’s edition of the Working Lunch government-affairs podcast.

“There are two biggies, two that stand apart from the rest of the field, and that’s Maryland and Massachusetts,” said Franklin Coley, who co-hosts the weekly political report with Align Public Strategies partner Joe Kefauver. “They will be very different operating environments.”

In both states, Democrats were poised leading into Election Day to claim what pundits term a Trifecta, a single party’s control of the governor’s office and both chambers of the legislature.

In Maryland, Democrat Wes Moore appears to be leading Republican Dan Cox in the race to succeed current Gov. Larry Hogan, who couldn’t stand for re-election because of a state term-limit law.

The state Congress is firmly in Democratic hands, and likely to remain there.

Coley noted that the same situation could result in Massachusetts. State Attorney General and Democrat Maura Healey looks as if she’ll win the governor’s race easily, and the legislature is firmly in Democratic hands.

The outcomes could make Maryland and Massachusetts the first states to follow California’s lead in adapting the Fast Act, a new model for setting restaurant workers’ wages, though Coley is quick to add, “there’s no guarantee.”

During this week’s podcast, Coley and Kefauver also interview Michael Halen, senior restaurant analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, for a look at the true state of the economy and what it means for the restaurant industry, near- and long-term.

Download the episode from wherever you get your podcasts.

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