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.

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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

Checking in with the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen

Packed room at a recent Chelmsford Board of Selectmen meeting.  I joined the town’s House delegation to report on the successful passage of local bills, troubling shortfalls in state “non-tax revenue” once expected from the operation of a new casino in Southeastern Mass. and pending legislation to help homeowners and businesses deal with gas leaks.

Chelms BOS

Chelmsford respite care earns much-deserved praise

Full-time caretakers for the elderly and people with disabilities often don’t have the support they need. That’s where the Chelmsford Companion Respite Care program comes in. Run by the Council on Aging, the service lends a hand by providing temporary supervisory work so that caretakers can take time for themselves. The initiative recently won praise from the Mass. Office on Elder Affairs for its distinguished work. From left to right: Annie Smith, Council on Aging Board Member, Companion Coordinator Betty Chaput, and Colleen Normandy, Supportive Day Program Manager.

Chelmsford Hospice

Volunteers spruce up area rivers

The Concord, Assabet and Sudbury Rivers are regional treasures — hot spots for local recreation and storied settings in the history of Massachusetts. In 1999 the federal government designated parts of all three waterways as “wild and scenic” for their ecological features and cultural importance. As it happens, they’re the closest “wild and scenic” rivers to a major metropolitan area in the entire U.S.

I recently dropped by OARS’ annual cleanup. On that day, 200 people chipped in to help spruce up the Assabet, the Sudbury and the Concord. Pictured here with a local Girl Scout troop, employees of Concord-Littleton Lumber, stalwarts of the Environmental Law Club at BU Law School, and members of the Concord-Carlisle High School Fishing Club. That’s me, over there. I’m the, um, older guy….

OARS cleanup collage

MIT works on safe nuclear fusion

The engineering wizards at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology want to reduce fossil fuel use and lay the groundwork for safe nuclear fusion.  The science of getting this right is tricky but, if anyone can do it, the talent at MIT can.  On the left, I meet with MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center Director Dennis Whyte (center) and inventor and entrepreneur Reiner Beeuwkes of Concord.  On the right, with “Wiyj Alcator C-Mod Project” Head Earl Marmar.  Photos thanks to Paul Rivenberg.

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Financial literacy leaders

By addressing nitty-gritty matters of managing dollars and cents, Budget Buddies extends a hand to hardworking local women who are running households and family finances. Joined by a longtime mentor-student pair who are now fast friends, Budget Buddies’ cofounders met recently with State Treasurer Deb Goldberg to discuss financial literacy for women across Massachusetts.

From left to right: Liz Gustin, Budget Buddies coach; cofounder Kathy Brough; cofounder Anita Saville; Treasurer Goldberg; Jacki Rodriguez, Budget Buddies student; and moi.

Budget Buddies Meet with Treasurer Goldberg

Chelmsford, Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail pay tribute to Carol Cleven

Carol Cleven

My friend Carol Cleven submitted the original legislation to create the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.  Carol passed away recently, and the Chelmsford legislative delegation made a donation in her name to help maintain the rail trail. Read more

Visit to the New England Organ Bank in Waltham

Pleased to mark the lifesaving work of the New England Organ Bank, which serves more than 160 hospitals and 12 transplant centers across the region. From left to right: Kenny Laferriere, a heart recipient; Waltham Mayor Jeanne McCarthy; moi; Congresswoman Katherine Clark; NEOB CEO Alex Glazier; advocate Ann Linehan; Matt Boger, Director of State Relations for NEOB; Rep. John Lawn; Rep. Tom Stanley; Mike Slama, a heart recipient; Jim Pazzanese, a lung recipient.

Congresswoman Clark event

 

100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

Joined Gov. Baker last Friday to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Somber moment, lightened by survivors’ strength embodied in an entire nation. Huge turnout of Armenian Americans, their friends, and their admirers.

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Investing in the Arts Pays Off

Non-profit cultural organizations spur economic growth. One dollar spent on the arts brings in $2.30 for local businesses. On the left, speaking with constituents with MASSCreative. We agreed to make that case during the debate over the budget for the new fiscal year. On the right, with Rob Mitchell of Concord, Carole Charnow of Bedford, Jerry Wedge of Concord, Allene Kussin of Concord and Belinda Jentz of Waltham.

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Meeting with the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless

Met with members of the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless. One of their top priorities is legislation establishing a Homeless Bill of Rights, on which I’m a co-sponsor. You can read more about the bill here.

MA Coalition for the Homeless

United Teen Equality Center in Lowell

As part of the Senate’s statewide listening tour, my colleagues and I visited the United Teen Equality Center in Lowell. UTEC was founded for local teens in response to gang violence. Had a delicious lunch from Cafe UTEC prepared by some young chefs.UTEC collage