On the Ballot ~ Bedford Legislators Sen. Mike Barrett and Rep. Ken Gordon The Bedford Citizen

Senator Barrett described campaigning as “a lot of fun, because typically you’re meeting a lot of people”, but observed that due to the pandemic he’d mostly be campaigning by phone, which is “not as satisfying” because “I love going door to door.”

He’s not having trouble staying busy, though, because he’s leading the Senate side of a conference committee that is trying to harmonize the two very different climate bills that passed in the Massachusetts House and the Senate. “It’s taking all my time.” Working out a compromise when the bills are so different, he said, isn’t the usual split-the-difference process, but “trading apples for oranges”, which he finds far more difficult to negotiate. “I’d have been hard-pressed to do both. If I’d had a serious race, I don’t know how I’d have juggled it.”

If he were running against an opponent, Barrett told us, he would keep the focus on climate change, and try to make the election “a referendum on progressive climate policy”

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‘We should be embarrassed’: In quiet extended session, Legislature’s unfinished work will bleed past Election Day The Boston Globe

Nevertheless, those juggling a competitive race are “essentially out of commission,” said state Senator Michael J. Barrett, a Lexington Democrat who is on the six-person conference committee negotiating climate change legislation.

“There is a habit of deference to those incumbents, whether there are a lot of them or just a few of them who really have to devote September and October to campaigning,” Barrett said. The larger concern, he said, may be the raft of priorities left, all of which can suck up oxygen in an ever-shrinking calendar.

“I’m concerned overall for our productivity,” Barrett said.

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State Delegation Joins Town to Remind Residents About Bridge Repair Bedford Citizen

“Even a short-lived traffic tie-up is frustrating, but a failure to act could end up in something much worse,” said State Senator Mike Barrett. “We’re grateful to the town and the state for coming together on this.”

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Waltham High School project breaks ground: McCarthy: “We are finally here” Waltham Tribune

As the morning ceremony started, a hawk circled overhead at 554 Lexington St.

Many in Waltham might see it as a fitting symbol for the occasion of the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new Waltham High School which will be filled with new generations of students or Waltham ‘Hawks’ by fall of 2024.

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Bedford’s Gold Star Families Speak Out Bedford Citizen

Gordon’s counterpart in the State Senate, Mike Barrett, said Trump’s “words were vile.” He observed that as there is no political constituency that supports the position, Trump was expressing his “personal reflections of contempt for people who have their lives for this nation.”

 

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Desiato and Hart families assail comments by Trump Bedford Wicked Local

State Senator Mike Barrett talks to the folks gathered along the Concord River in Bedford Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. They came to speak out against President Trump’s recent remarks, calling the fallen “losers” and “suckers.”

 

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Lexington delegation announces local aid, education funding boost Lexington Minuteman

Lexington’s legislative delegation of Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, and Rep. Michelle Ciccolo, D-Lexington, announced that the Legislature and Baker administration have committed to providing a baseline amount of unrestricted local aid and Chapter 70 funding for fiscal year 2021.

This commitment will give municipalities and school districts a critical planning tool as they finalize their budgets.

Under the agreement, Lexington will receive $1,627,400 in local aid and $14,438,034 in Chapter 70 education funding. The town is additionally eligible for federal relief funding of $1,787,737.

“This agreement comes at a time when towns are having to overcome new challenges seemingly every week,” said Barrett. “I’m glad we were able to provide a measure of certainty when so much is still up in the air.”

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Gordon, Barrett Announce Agreement to Boost FY21 Local Aid The Bedford Citizen

Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) and Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) announced today that an agreement between the Legislature and the Governor will ensure increases to local aid and Chapter 70 education funding in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. The agreement will allow cities and towns to avoid significant budget cuts despite the uncertain conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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Mass. House Drops Major Climate Bill Into Busy Week WBUR

Sen. Michael Barrett, Golden’s Senate counterpart at the Committee on Telecommunication, Utilities and Energy, said the House’s bill would make it nearly impossible to monitor the state’s progress towards those goals, and said he favors the Senate’s approach of installing interim targets every five years rather than every 10 years.

“Here we have goals widely spaced apart with no accountability back to the public or the Legislature in the House bill,” he said. “There’s a reason the Senate proposed a standalone, independent climate policy commission. That’s because the executive branch charged with realizing the goals cannot also be left to report on whether they’ve achieved them. You’ve got to separate out implementation and monitoring, and I’m deeply disappointed that the early drafts of the House bill leave the two roles together.”

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Mass. lawmakers move toward extending the legislative session Boston Globe

The chambers will also probably have to reconcile different versions of health care legislation. And a climate change proposal surfaced in the House setting a new statewide goal of meeting “net-zero” emissions by 2050 — months after the Senate passed a similar but more expansive set of bills.

“There’s a difference in aggressiveness,” Senator Michael J. Barrett said of the climate change bills. But he said it’s “good news” the Legislature is likely to pass an extension on lawmaking, giving more time to settle differences on the new emissions goals.

“I don’t think we’re going to work next week. But I think we’ll be back relatively soon,” the Lexington Democrat said of returning to session. “I don’t think we’ll wait until election time.”

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House climate change bill calls for roadmap Commonwealth Magazine

Sen. Michael Barrett of Lexington, the co-chair of the Telecommunication, Utilities, and Energy Committee and the sponsor of the Senate climate change bill, said he was disappointed in reading the House bill because of its lack of aggressiveness in pursuing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s going to be a challenging conference when we don’t yet agree on the central task at hand, which is driving down emissions,” he said.

 

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Massachusetts Senate passes police reform bill Lexington Wicked Local

One major component in the bill — sponsored by Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Lexington — provides new transparency and oversight to the purchase of military weapons by local, county and state law enforcement.

After Ferguson, Barrett said, Americans learned that local law enforcement agencies routinely take advantage of massive federal sales and donations of equipment and gear that would otherwise be too expensive for municipal budgets. Deployment of this material occurs disproportionately in communities of color.

“For Massachusetts, the issue is not academic,” Barrett said. “Many cities, towns and regional organizations are heavy users of these federal programs.”

Barrett’s measure is designed to increase state and local accountability for the acquisition of “military-grade controlled property,” like assault rifles and mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles.

 

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Massachusetts forwards legislature to renovate Alewife Station Waltham Wicked Local

Barrett says that a portion of the money will be used for multi-modal access to Alewife station, an “important change in the fight against global warming.”

“The transportation sector is responsible for roughly 40% of carbon emissions in Massachusetts,” said Barrett.

Lexington senator’s amendment would renovate Alewife Station Lexington Wicked Local

Each year, the Alewife Station serves as an access point for hundreds of thousands of commuters as they travel around Greater Boston. Unfortunately, after years of wear and tear, Alewife’s car garage is in need of repairs and upgrades.

The station opened to the public in 1985. But, Barrett points out, the garage originally provided for 2,733 parking spots. Nowadays at any given moment, 250 may be unusable due to falling concrete and roof leakage.

“I hear from constituents on a regular basis about the poor condition of the garage,” Barrett said. “It’s insecure and, to be honest, a little creepy at night. At times the garage has had the highest reported crime rate of any station on the entire MBTA.”

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Spurred by Lexingtonians, Senate unanimously passes resolution recognizing Massachusetts Emancipation Day Lexington Minuteman

“The story of Quock Walker marks an historic moment for Massachusetts and our country,” Barrett said. “It’s a story that needs to be told. I’m grateful to the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington for sharing it with the people of Massachusetts.”

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Fossil Fuel Lobby Is Targeting the State Senate’s Climate Bill Waltham Patch

In January of this year, the Massachusetts State Senate passed An Act Setting Next-Generation Climate Policy, now pending before the House of Representatives. The Senate’s approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is radical not in its ideology but in its seriousness; we’re determined to get emissions down across the Massachusetts economy, transportation and buildings included.

We should add that the senators who wrote the legislation sat down with a good many commercial interests, listened to what they had to say, and made changes. At the time of the bill’s final passage — with the votes of both Democrats and Republicans, and with only two dissents in the 40-member Senate — its seriousness of purpose seemed to impress the business community without unsettling it.

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OpEd: Massachusetts Senate Approves Vote-by-Mail Options The Bedford Citizen

“It was disturbing to see in-person voting produce chaos in Wisconsin,” said local State Senator Mike Barrett.  “People had to risk getting sick to cast a ballot.  For us, in Massachusetts, revamping elections almost overnight has not been without its problems.  But we’ve adapted and gotten the job done.”

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Some Things Worth Doing Now The Concord Journal

 

Your country, your state, maybe the neighborhood in which you live, are engulfed by three crises at once: climate change, a pandemic, and social unrest triggered by murder and racial injustice. Your mind reels. Your heart breaks.

What to do? What you cannot do is give up. At a demonstration to protest the death of George Floyd, someone held a sign: “We didn’t come this far to only come this far.”

Just so. You get yourself together. You take a deep breath. You look around for things worth doing now.

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Next steps for Waltham’s 240 Beaver St.: Council approval ‘is a huge victory’ Waltham Tribune

“A year ago, the survival of the Field Station was in doubt,” said state Sen. Mike Barrett in a statement. “The nonprofit tenants, all involved with heathy eating, sustainable local agriculture, and what you might call food justice, faced eviction. But the Greater Waltham community rallied. Residents demanded that the farm be preserved and the tenants be protected.

“Thanks to the Mayor, the City Council, and the tenants for working together, we took a giant stride forward,” he added.

Rep. John Lawn, Barrett, and Rep. Thomas Stanley will be guides for the legislation to move through the state House and Senate.

“What remains, importantly, is passage of some enabling legislation,” Barrett said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Rep. Lawn to get that final piece done.”

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May events canceled, drive-through testing in Lexington as town hits 250 coronavirus cases Lexington Minuteman

Lexington officials continue to prepare for a virtual version of the Annual Town Meeting, which was supposed to take place in late March. Malloy now anticipates the virtual session to take place in early June. Presentations will be posted online for viewing by Town Meeting members beforehand, in an effort to make the process as efficient as possible. The town has been working with Senator Mike Barrett and Representative Michelle Ciccolo to push a bill forward in the House of Representatives that would authorize remote participation at town meetings.

The Select Board approved a Special Town Meeting to take place on June 1. The meeting would only have one warrant item, which would provide the authority for the Select Board to confirm the validity of any action that would take place at the subsequent Annual Town Meeting. This would only be necessary if the bill spearheaded by Rep. Ciccolo does not pass in time.

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