Concord awaits new families at Best Western

Concord Bridge

State Sen. Michael Barrett, D-Lexington, has been hearing from constituents in Concord, concerned and curious alike.

“The general feedback I’m getting is cautiously supportive of the effort,” Barrett said. “I’ve been able to reassure them that DHCD is not a faceless bureaucracy that is acting capriciously.”

Barrett pointed out the Best Western near the Route 2 rotary represents a compromise for housing families. There is some access to kitchen facilities, for example. Also, families won’t share bathrooms, as they would in a shelter. There is also access to good schools and some transportation.

“This is not a first choice, and it’s not viewed as a long-term solution, but the state is at the point of needing some fallback options for these families,” he said.


‘Fuel Farm’ Planned for New Hanscom Hangar Complex

Bedford Citizen

Several of the objections to the project were on environmental concerns, led by State Sen. Mike Barrett, whose district includes the four Hanscom towns. Barrett is one of the Legislature’s leading voices on climate issues. 

“I’m just channeling my constituents’ general concerns. There is genuine concern about the use of private jets and corporate jets,” he stated, which are “exceedingly emissions-heavy, on any metric you might choose. 

“It is striking that in the middle of our attempt as a state to deal with an existential crisis, Massport is intent on building its private jet business,” he continued. “This is premium traffic at a huge environmental cost to all of us collectively, and it’s obviously crucial to Massport’s plan for this particular airport.” 

The solar panels and other energy-saving features planned for the buildings “will not negate the extraordinary emissions impact of the jet trips themselves,” he said. The issue is “hyperlocal,” he asserted, because “a Massport facility in our midst will single-handedly undo much of the progress we made” in carbon elimination. 


Lawmakers propose different safety watchdogs for MBTA

Lowell Sun

Barrett is one of two lawmakers who filed legislation that would remove safety oversight of the MBTA from the Department of Public Utilities.

If approved, Barrett’s bill would establish a “commission on transportation safety oversight and regulation,” an independent public entity not subject to the supervision or control of any other executive office of the commonwealth.

“The feds tell us they do not want oversight in the hands of an agency directly responsible to the same governor who directs mass transit itself,” Barrett said. “So we’re trying to create some separation.”


Groundhog Day

Ground Hog
Groundhog Day - Gov. Healy and Sen. Barrett
Groundhog Day - Gov. Healy and Sen. Barrett
Groundhog Day - Gov. Healy and Sen. Barrett

Ms. G, goodwill ambassador for rodents everywhere in her capacity as official Groundhog of the Commonwealth, gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up this morning to Governor Maura Healey on the occasion of Groundhog Day. Kudos to Mass Audubon for hosting. According to Gov. Healey, Ms. G did not see her shadow, so we’re in store for an early spring.

‘There’s a dam breaking:’ Cities and towns start to kick fossil fuels with new building code

Boston Globe

“This effort to get a municipality to opt in is going to invigorate grass-roots politics in 2023 like you’ve never seen before,” said Barrett, coauthor of the 2021 climate bill that required the creation of the new, optional building code. 


Concord Indivisible rallies for democracy

Concord Bridge

Barrett said he was proud to witness the swearing-in of Gov. Maura Healey, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, and Senate President Karen Spilka. “Anyone who saw those three women up there couldn’t help but feel proud,” said Barrett.

He gave a shout-out to Healey for “giving climate change a big upgrade.”


The Arc of History

As I addressed a rally in Concord to mark the January 6th attacks on the Capitol, the spectacle of what unfolded in Washington in the past week was on our minds, too. The arc of history can take longer than we expect to come back our way, but it still bends toward justice. Our task is to do the work, so that the arc meets up with the world a little sooner.

Addressing a rally in Concord