Monday, January 21, 2019

In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy embodies the essence of freedom and equality for all, and on this day I hope we all take a few moments to reflect on the accomplishments of this extraordinary man. His message of peace through nonviolent protests to ignite a cultural change within American society is a message that still reverberates today.

Sermon after sermon, speech after speech, Dr. King delivered a message of peace, hope, and faith. Because of his actions, and his ability to deliver such messages, this country made major strides towards eliminating racial injustice. During a time of severe strife, Dr. King taught people tolerance and brotherhood. During a time of segregation and hate, Dr. King taught love and friendship.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Commuter Rail Preparing for Weekend Winter Storm

More than 350 personnel will be deployed to shovel, sand and salt stairs and platforms

Keolis Commuter Services and the MBTA are preparing for the storm that is expected to arrive this weekend with heavy wet snow and cold temperatures from Saturday to Sunday. While forecasts vary, certain areas on commuter rail could see more than a foot of snow.

“We’re closely monitoring the forecast, particularly the rain-snow line, to properly deploy our resources for our passengers,” said David Scorey, Keolis CEO and General Manager. “Our goal is to minimize the storm’s impact on service to ensure passengers who need to travel can use commuter rail as an alternative to driving in these conditions. Passengers who do have to travel this weekend should leave extra time to get to stations, use caution on platforms and when boarding trains, and stay connected for service updates at”

More than 350 personnel will be deployed across commuter rail to shovel, sand and salt passenger areas, as well as to respond to incidents that occur during the storm, such as downed trees. MBTA and Keolis crews will be pre-positioned at key facilities and infrastructure (switches, signals, etc.) to help ensure normal operations. Switch heaters will be activated in key areas to ensure a normal flow of train traffic.

Since the winter of 2015, the MBTA has upgraded track and signal infrastructure, invested in snow-fighting equipment, and stocked up on replacement parts, making more than $101 million in investments in winter resiliency.

Last winter, the Boston area saw seventy inches of snow that included a challenging Nor’easter in January 2018 and four Nor’easters in March 2018 (three of which took place within less than two weeks) with the MBTA’s Storm Desk activated six times. There were no shutdowns or closures in MBTA service with snow-fighting equipment pre-deployed and staffing levels of the Storm Desk increased as needed. Additionally, following recent MBTA and Keolis investments a new Emergency Operations Center is now fully functional at the MBTA Somerville facility. This state-of-the-art command center centralizes incident response and passenger communications, and utilizes custom-built event management technology and real-time tracking of trains, maintenance and infrastructure, such as switch heaters.

In preparation of this winter season, system-wide tree trimming took place along commuter rail and subway right-of-way areas with an expansion of system weather stations and real-time monitoring at critical Commuter Rail interlockings.

Passengers can stay connected with commuter rail by calling customer service at 617-222-3200, following @MBTA_CR on Twitter or signing up for T-Alerts at


A Winter Wallop

The National Weather Service is predicting our first significant winter storm of 2019. The storm will impact our region with snow, sleet, freezing rain, strong winds, minor to moderate coastal flooding, and bitter cold starting Saturday night and continuing into Sunday evening.

Snow will be heavy and wet and may fall at a rate of 2 inches per hour or more for several hours. 35-50 MPH wind gusts are possible along the coast on Sunday.

Minor to moderate coastal flooding is possible on east-facing shorelines around the time of the Sunday morning high tide - approximately 10 AM.
  • Some important things to remember:
  • Stay away from downed utility wires - they may be live.
  • Stay off streets and roads until they are clear of snow.
  • Use caution and take frequent breaks when shoveling.
  • Clear exhaust vents to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Clear snow from around vehicle exhaust pipes.
  • Dig out fire hydrants and storm drains.
  • Be a good neighbor, check on family, friends, & neighbors.
  • Keep your pets safe.


North Shore Superintendents Roundtable

Another excellent gathering of the North Shore Superintendents Roundtable Legislators event at Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School. Robust discussions W/educators on a host of subjects including Chapter 70 school funding, transportation, special education and more.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Our Call For Heating Assistance For Low Income Families As Federal Funds Flag

More than 70 House and Senate members joined Senator Michael Rodrigues and I in requesting a $30 million appropriation meant to shore up shortages in heating fuel access for low-income households. Most of the nearly 48,000 supported oil heat households have exhausted their fuel assistance benefit and all will have exhausted it by the end of January, leaving them in a perilous position for the rest of the winter.

Keeping warm in the winter is an essential part of life in New England, and it’s important to the health and safety of many residents who would be vulnerable without this type of assistance. Seniors, veterans, families with children and others are counting on our Commonwealth to provide the home heating support they need, particularly in light of the federal reductions.

We have been working with MASSCAP, AARP MA, Action Inc. and the leaders of dozens of non-profit human service and advocacy organizations across the state to respond to the growing need.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sharing The Energy To Lead

Massachusetts cities and towns have been taking important steps toward climate change resiliency and the state government is providing tools to help. The Mass Sierra Club asked me and Representative Tram Nguyen to host a summit for municipal leaders on renewable energy.

From solar, hydro, wind and others clean energy sources to expanding our state's portfolio of renewable energy power we are connecting people with important information so they can be better informed for the future.

Yesterday's event at Merrimack College in North Andover had more than 35 municipal officials and private citizens talking about clean energy solutions.


Friday, January 11, 2019

Keeping food fresh, local and fantastic tasting

Lobster is an important component of our state's seafood industry. The bill that I proposed will help consumers and business alike. Our lobsters should not have to be processed out of state. Keep food fresh, local and fantastic tasting.

 Gloucester Daily times:

Looking to process lobster at home

Tarr pushing bill to expand industry in Bay State