Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Jammin' Airmen in Gloucester

The Air Force Airmen of Note, a touring band of 18 talented jazz musicians, performed a stellar free and open to the public concert of music at Gloucester High School last night at the GHS Auditorium. What a pleasure it was to watch and listen to this ensemble of the United States Air Force.

Created in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Major Glenn Miller's Army Air Forces dance band, the Airmen of Note is one of the last touring big bands in the country. Hosted by GHS Music Director Dan Fleury the Notes spent a portion of their day in Gloucester jamming with student members of the GHS Docksiders.


Friday, April 20, 2018

Earth Day News: $3 Million in State Funding for Coastal Communities to Combat Climate Change

Today, I had the pleasure of welcoming to Gloucester Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton for the announcement of Governor Charlie Baker’s commitment to release $3 million in funding for coastal communities to address climate change and water quality issues.

Confronting the challenges of climate resilience requires us to find the resources now to plan and take action. Doing so will make a real difference for the future, and these modest grants will pay large dividends in the years to come. Hopefully local officials will seize upon this great opportunity to partner with state government to chart a course toward sustainable communities and infrastructure.

The $3 million in funding is linked to two grant programs that promote climate change resilience and coastal water quality. Municipalities and eligible non-profit organizations will be able to receive grant awards and help partner with the state to combat and prepare for the future.


What's Brewing?

Quite a lot at the True North Ale Company in #Ipswich. I was invited to visit this state of the art 15,000 square foot facility by owner and Chief Executive Officer Gary Rogers. He gave me a tour of the taproom, bottling room, and brewing operations and talked about their line of products including IPAs, ales, and lagers. True North’s Chief Financial and Administrative Officer Rory Laughna joined us and is in the photo with Gary and me.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Road and Bridge Repair Funds For Cities and Towns

One of the more pressing responsibilities that your home town engages in is keeping roads in good order – springtime potholes are a great reminder that we are now in construction and repair season for roads and bridges.

Recently, the Senate voted to approve $600 million in funding for road projects over the next three years of construction seasons. As part of that Senate action we turned onto several innovative paths to long-term savings and near-term planning gains for the state and municipalities.

Instead of voting year-after-year on the so-called Chapter 90 road funds – which often means cities and towns have to wait to see what the Legislature will release for funding, we voted on a three year plan to add greater certainty. We also voted to set our bond terms from a traditional 30 year commitment to be ten years less – 20 years. This one change will result in savings of about $50 million over the life of the borrowing overall.

The release of these funds will come when the House and Senate finish negotiating a final version of the bill.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Marathon Monday and a Fitting Tribute to George Demeter and Demeter Day

A few days ago in a Senate Session I had some very special guests in the Senate chamber to join me as we recognized the many contributions of an astonishing man - George Demeter.

George Demeter, an immigrant from Greece in the early 1900’s attended Boston Latin School, Harvard College and served in World War II in France. He was best known as the first Greek-American elected to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1932. He also authored Demeter’s Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure, a manual well regarded by those experts in the parliamentary rules as a great source to those who seek to conduct meetings of groups of people in a fair, orderly manner to successfully reach goals while maintaining group harmony.

The rules of Parliamentary Procedure, which in some form date back thousands of years, are at the very heart of our democratic principles: where decisions are made by majority rule, only after the ability to debate…. and the rights of those with minority views are respected. I had the honor of recognizing outstanding individuals who exemplify the very meaning of service-based organizations in celebration of Parliamentary Law Month and George Demeter Day. I felt privileged to welcome representatives of the George Demeter Unit of the National Association of Parliamentarians, the Boston Chapter of the Order of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, which is the largest Greek-American organization in the world, and the Hellenic Bar Association.

Demeter was heavily involved with the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (ORDER of AHEPA, serving as the organization’s 2nd Supreme President and the founder of the Boston chapter, Athens Chapter # 24. George is also recognized as the individual, who in the 1930’s, introduced the ancient Greek tradition of crowning the Boston Marathon winners of the race with an olive wreath from Greece.

Photo of George Demeter crowning Boston Marathon winner Johny Kelley. Between 1934 and 1950, Kelley finished in the top five 15 times. Demeter said, "Kelley is the embodiment of American sportsmanship."

IN ATTENDANCE at the State House event:
* Peter Senopoulos, President George Demeter, Mass Unit of the National Association Parliamentarians,
* Kendra O’toole, President of the New England Association of Parliamentarians,
* Frank Fotis, President of the Boston Chapter of the Order of Ahepa,
* Euripides Dalmanieras, President of the Hellenic Bar Association,
* Connie Prescott, Niece of George Demeter.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Criminal Justice Reforms Made Law Today - Additional Reforms Proposed

Today, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law two pieces of legislation, and filed a third, that reforms many components of our criminal justice system. These bills are a result of years of examination, input, and bipartisan collaboration.

As one of six members of the conference committee which wrote the final bill, An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform, I am grateful for the work of the Baker administration, my colleagues in the House and Senate, and the efforts of so many people across the state. Clearly, more reforms and safeguards are needed and I appreciate that Governor Baker has filed additional legislation today, An Act Building on Criminal Justice Reform, to take further steps towards a justice system that serves our needs.

These bills create a balance of opportunities for treatment and rehabilitation while enhancing public safety by treating those who would threaten it with serious consequences. Many important goals championed by the Republican Caucus are included in the new laws - protecting the public, supporting our law enforcers, strengthening penalties for distributing dangerous drugs such as Fentanyl and Carfentanil, greater accountability and oversight of forensic evidence and its analysis, and supports for those who have been victims of sexual assaults.

The legislation makes modifications to the criminal justice system that will empower police officers to crack down on the opioid crisis by holding drug traffickers more accountable. In addition, there are several adjustments to mandatory minimum sentences, increased potential fines for corporate manslaughter, and changes that shield juvenile arrests from public police logs.

Other components include protections for witnesses and their families, tougher penalties for repeat operating under the influence offenders, mandatory minimums for assault and battery on a police officer and for serious bodily injury as well as linking state drug classifications to emergency federal drug scheduling.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Marathon Wreath Ceremony at the State House Later Today

Looking forward today to hosting W/ Senator Karen Spilka & Representative Carolyn Dykema, the Consulate General of Greece and the Alpha Omega Council as they present handmade olive branch wreaths, made in Marathon Greece, that will crown each of the first place winners of the Boston Marathon on Patriots' Day.