Lawyering for the poor

Met to discuss representation of low-income people on matters like evictions, heating shutoffs and hospital bills.  From left to right: Michael Avitzur, Gov. Relations Director for the Boston Bar Association; Jonathan Albano of Weston, President of the BBA; Abbigail Shirk, Staff Attorney at MetroWest Legal Services; Elizabeth Soule of Waltham, Exec. Director of MWLS; me; and Joseph Sherman of MWLS.

Tribute to Retiring State Representative, Jay R. Kaufman

At yesterday’s tribute to the illustrious Jay R. Kaufman, I joined State Rep. Michelle Ciccolo (Jay’s able and excellent successor) and Deborah Johnson Brown (representing terrific State Senator Cindy Friedman) in presenting the honoree with a rather rare document — a Resolution, honoring his achievements, enacted jointly by the Massachusetts State Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The lovely head of hair in the foreground belongs to the distinguished Congresswoman Katherine Clark.

 

Safeguarding and strengthening pro-choice

Having served as chief Senate sponsor of the proposed “Act Safeguarding the Healthcare Decisions of Young Adults” and as co-sponsor of additional bills to protect the healthcare decisions of Massachusetts women and men, I’m pleased to have received an A+ on NARAL’s first-ever Pro-Choice Massachusetts Reproductive Freedom scorecard. In our state, on the healthcare front, the 2017-2018 legislative session has given us reason to hope. We passed the Contraceptive ACCESS Act, An Act to Protect Access to Confidential Healthcare (the PATCH Act), the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Still, this is but a warm-up. In the next several years, as federal protections for women suffer, state government will need to fill the vacuum and preserve personal rights.

Rasmussen Education Center opens at the Concord Museum

I was delighted to attend the recent ribbon-cutting for the the Anna and Neil Rasmussen Education Center at the Concord Museum (Anna and Neil in the middle, with prominent environmental attorney Gregor McGregor).

 
The Rasmussen Center features cultural and educational space for learners of all ages from Massachusetts and beyond. It has three state-of-the-art classrooms, including a colonial cooking space with a working hearth, a History Learning Center for up-close encounters with the Museum’s nationally significant collection, and a Lyceum lecture hall for mock town meetings, colonial dance, and public programs.
 
Adjoining galleries within the facility are closed for renovation, so for now the Center hosts rare objects belonging to the museum, including Paul Revere’s lantern and Henry David Thoreau’s desk.
 

Environmental groups call for action at local and state level

The Sudbury Valley Trustees and OARS safeguard the fortunes of the Assabet, Concord and Sudbury Rivers.  They don’t stop there; they promote statewide action on drought management, pollution programs, and climate change.  Top left, my introductory remarks at a recent meeting.  Top right, with Lisa Vernegaard, SVT’s Exec. Director.  Bottom, the entire crew.

New Thermo Fischer HQ in Waltham

Thermo Fisher Scientific supplies scientists with cutting-edge tools — things like gene sequencers to map DNA. The company will be coming up with the latest breakthrough tech. at its new global headquarters in Waltham. Here, welcoming Thermo Fischer alongside Senior VP Alex Stachtiaris; Mayor Jeannette A. McCarthy; Travis McCready, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and State Rep. Tom Stanley.

Waltham Welcomes Wolverine

Wolverine makes great shoes (my wife and I love our Merrells).  Very happy the company’s New England operations are now in Waltham.  Here I am, cutting the ribbon with the Guv, his wife Lauren, Waltham Mayor McCarthy, and the Wolverine team.

Wolverine

Targeted by hate in Orlando

“The attack in Orlando was on gay people.  The attack was on Latinos.   The attack was on immigrants.  The attack was on Americans.  The attack was on all of us as human beings.  How to repel the attack?  In the U.S.,  the pace of change is painfully slow in the short run — but reaches farther than we ever dreamed in the long run.  That’s OK.  We’ll take it.  For the hard work of making our country a better place, each of us has signed up for the long run.”

— State Sen. Mike Barrett, June 15, 2016, vigil in Lexington, MA after the Orlando massacre.
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Chelmsford rallies to fight opioid addiction

Under a hard rain, 360 runners hit the pavement for a Mother’s Day 5K for opioid addiction awareness.  Proceeds go to Healthy Chelmsford, a local partnership.  Here, with Run founders Nancy and Don Patch and Chelmsford Chief of Police James Spinney.  Learn more about their efforts.

Nancy's Run

Marking the 50th anniversary of a win for gender equality

In 1966 Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb became the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon.  The rules restricted the competition to men, but Bobbi jumped in at the starting line to join the male runners.  She completed the course in an impressive 3 hours and 21 minutes.  To mark the 50th anniversary of her trail-blazing, the State Senate honored her.  Here, with Sen. Jehlen, Sen. Lewis, our honoree, and Sen. Lovely.

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Librarians educate legislators

Each year, Massachusetts residents borrow 6.5 million items that happen to be unavailable at their local libraries.  This, thanks to resource sharing among communities.  I recently chatted about funding for this initiative and others with Sudbury librarians Megan Statza Warren, Esme Green and Marie Royea.

Sudbury Librarians 1

Taking on big money and environmental harm

The League of Women Voters does terrific work, pushing back against global warming and unlimited money in politics.  Local chapters came to the State House recently to advance these causes.  Above, with team Concord-Carlisle; below, with the group from Waltham.LWV - collage

Catching up with the LWV

Many thanks to the Weston League of Women Voters of Massachusetts for hosting its recent legislative talk. State Rep. Alice Peisch, D-Wellesley, and I took questions on solar initiatives and rising health care costs, to name a few. Photo courtesy of Katherine Wolfthal of the League.

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A priority of mine for the upcoming state budget season

Walking the State House halls with Boston Bar Association President and Lincoln resident Lisa Arrowood. We discussed funding for legal aid lawyers, who represent low-income people confronted with non-criminal crises like evictions, heating shutoffs and high hospital bills.

Sen.Barrett and Lisa Arrowood