Monday, June 23, 2014

Surf and Suds Plum Island Beach Bash

On Tuesday, July 8th, from 5-9 PM, the Plum Island community will be hosting the Surf and Suds PI Beach Bash in order to raise money for The Kerry and Sully Fund. The contributions from the fundraiser will go toward covering the medical expenses of Kerry and Sully, two Plum Island women brutally attacked in the early morning hours of this past Memorial Day weekend.

The evening’s festivities will include food and drink from local restaurants, breweries and wineries, live music, and many entertaining activities. To learn more about the fundraiser, donate to the cause, or to purchase tickets to the event, please click here and here.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Senate Republican Caucus Press Release Regarding ICE Immigration Detainees Policies

Senate Republican Caucus Seeks Answers on Immigration Detainees Policies

Caucus Concerned of Potential Impacts of ICE Policy

Boston- In an effort to seek clarification on recent reports regarding immigration detainees being transported to Massachusetts, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), Assistant Minority Leader Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), Senate Minority Whip Donald Humason (R-Westfield), and Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham), the Ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, have sent a letter to Todd Thurlow, Assistant Field Officer for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  inquiring about the agency’s practice.

Recent media reports have confirmed that at least six commercial, agency-owned charter flights have transported immigration detainees from the United States’ southern border to Hanscom Air Force Base and Logan International Airport.  According to these same reports, Governor Patrick was not notified of this unilateral operation.

“We are deeply concerned about the potential impacts of the policy of ICE transporting immigration detainees to Massachusetts and then transferring them to Department of Homeland Security facilities or elsewhere,” wrote Senate Republicans.

The questions posed in the letter by the caucus aim to discover if there is any validity to these recent media reports, and whether the issue demands further action.  Their questions include:

  • When was the policy of transferring immigration detainees to Massachusetts by ICE instituted and who authorized this policy?

  • To what extent, if any, were members of the Patrick administration briefed on this policy?

  • Where are the immigration detainees currently being held?

  • After being transferred to Department of Homeland Security facilities, are the immigration detainees remanded to the custody of the federal government, or are they released pending further action? If they are released, what conditions or restrictions are put on them?
The Senate Republican Caucus also points out that a May 2014 report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has found that ICE has released 36,000 convicted criminal immigration detainees into the United States in 2013 alone.


* Below is the letter sent by the Senate Republican Caucus to Assistant Field Officer Todd Thurlow.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Gloucester’s Portuguese Crowning Tradition

This past Sunday, June 15th, I joined the Portuguese community in Gloucester in honoring a celebrated Crowning ceremony, a tradition that has been embedded in Portuguese history since the 14th century. The morning started with a parade of both children and adults, departing from the DES Portuguese American Club on Prospect Street. The parade, complete with both banners and music, walked to Our Lady of Good Voyage Church for Mass at 10:00 A.M., where the Crowning ceremony took place.  Following Mass a celebratory feast ensued.

The Portuguese Crowning tradition first started during Queen Isabella of Portugal’s reign, who is credited with the annual practice of naming one of her subjects as king for a day. Portuguese immigrants brought the Crowning ceremony to Gloucester, and other parts of the country, over 100 years ago. The ceremony is one full of prayer, joy, and tradition. Gloucester has been honoring this tradition since 1902. I am grateful to have been apart of this year’s commemoration.

The photo posted above was taken by my friend Manuel Simões.  To see more photos that he took of this past Sunday’s event, please click here.  Posted below are a few photos I was able to capture during the feast.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Supporting a Noble Cause

On Friday, June 13th, I had the honor of participating in Cape Ann’s 14th annual Relay for Life walk. The fundraiser, held at the O’Maley Middle School in Gloucester, brought together hundreds of enthusiastic and dedicated walkers, volunteers, and supporters. The work of this year’s participants raised over $40,000—and counting! The proceeds of Friday’s walk will go toward efforts of finding a cure for cancer and aiding the patients and their families currently fighting the disease. Although Friday’s weather conditions were gloomy, the positive spirit of the community persisted, making for an inspiring event.

To donate, volunteer, or learn more about the Relay for Life Organization and the American Cancer Society please click here. To learn more about the Cape Ann Relay for Life, please click here to visit the community’s page. Posted below are several pictures I captured of last Friday’s event.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Statement on the Passage of a Minimum Wage/UI Bill

Tonight I released the following statement following the passage of S.2195, “An Act restoring the minimum wage and providing unemployment insurance reforms, by a vote of 35-4:

“Today the Massachusetts State Senate passed a major increase to the state’s minimum wage rate, and although a wage increase was warranted, I fear that an increase of this magnitude will prove onerous to the economy and detrimental to small businesses throughout the Commonwealth by stifling job growth.  A survey conducted by the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce found that 85% of businesses have reported that they will be negatively impacted by the increases to the minimum wage, and without careful consideration to assist employers, this bill will have done a great injustice to those who provide the necessary jobs that stabilize our local economies. The plan passed today is an example of taking one step forward, and several steps back in terms of competitiveness and job creation.

Rather than relying solely on a highest-in-the-nation minimum wage increase, which can’t effectively lift families out of poverty, Senate Republicans have consistently advanced a carefully crafted plan.  The Minority Party offered, quite simply, a better plan.  A plan that did not focus on Massachusetts having the highest minimum wage in the nation, but a plan that would have eased the burden of higher business expenses with a balanced and fair approach to encourage job growth and generate economic competitiveness that would have assisted the 750,000 residents currently living in households below the federal poverty threshold; sadly, the Senate chose a different path.  Highlights of the Senate Republican plan include:

·         Doubling the anti-poverty and work incentive program called the Earned Income Tax Credit from 15% to 30%;

·         Providing incentives to employers who provide low wage earners with health insurance;

·         Increasing the minimum wage from $8 to as much as $9.50 in two years; and

·         Requiring the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development to recommend appropriate minimum wage rates following a review of their effectiveness in helping low wage workers and impact on job creation and economic competitiveness.

Although, the legislature has missed a prime opportunity for a balanced and comprehensive approach to help low-wage earners without jeopardizing the jobs they need, the Senate Republican Caucus will continue to fight for measures that will benefit all of the state’s citizenry rather than pitting some against others, and will continue to fight for productive measures to help those who work every day and continue to struggle with poverty.”



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Honoring Gloucester’s Fallen Heroes

On Sunday, June 8th I was honored to attend the Gloucester Fire Department’s annual memorial ceremony dedicated to the city’s fallen firefighters.  Commencing at 8:30am, current and retired firefighters, elected officials, and others gathered at Gloucester’s Public Works yard on Poplar St., and then lead a procession to the Firefighter’s Memorial located at the Cherry Hill Cemetery.

During Sunday’s ceremony, flags were placed on grave sites of the city’s fallen firefighters, including the eight who died in the line of duty.  The ceremony also featured heartfelt speeches, and a moment of silence.  The ceremony provided me with an important opportunity to personally thank the members of our fire department for their dedicated and selfless service to the community each and every day.

Firefighters in Rockport and Essex also participated in similar memorial ceremonies on Sunday, while Manchester will host a ceremony later this month.  Posted below are several photos I captured during the event.  Also below is the Firefighter's Prayer, which is recited at these ceremonies.

Firefighter's Prayer
 When I am called to duty, God,
wherever flames may rage,
give me strength to save a life,
whatever be its age.

Help me embrace a little child
before it is too late,
or save an older person from
the horror of that fate.

Enable me to be alert,
and hear the weakest shout,
quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.

I want to fill my calling,
to give the best in me,
to guard my friend and neighbor,
and protect his property.

  And if according to Your will
I must answer death's call,
bless with your protecting hand,
my family one and all.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Marking 376 Years of Dedicated Service

On Monday, June 2nd, I had the honor to attend the 376th anniversary dinner for the founding of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, MA.  In 1638, after petitioning then Governor Winthrop to form a company to offer instructions in discipline and military tactics to provide better protection procedures, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company became the first chartered military company in the Western Hemisphere.

90% of the company’s members were loyal to the colonies during the Revolutionary War in 1775, and were present during many prominent battles, such as Bunker Hill, Bennington, Valley Forge, and Yorktown.  The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company has had many prominent members over the years, including Presidents James Monroe, Chester Alan Arthur, Calvin Coolidge, and John F. Kennedy.

Currently, the company’s armory is located at the upper floor of Faneuil Hall, and is open to the public daily.  Featured there is a military museum and library, where relics of every war that the United States has engaged in are maintained and preserved.

To learn more about the history of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, please click here to visit the organization’s website.  Posted below are several photos I was able to capture during Monday night’s anniversary dinner.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Media Alert: On the Air with Fox 25

Tonight at 5:00pm I will once again be a guest on the Fox 25 Evening News where I’ll be discussing with Maria Stephanos Thursday’s parole board hearing and decision to grant parole to Frederick Christian. In 1994, Christian, while still a juvenile, was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole because of his role in a robbery that resulted in the death of two individuals, and seriously wounding a third.

However, in light of a U.S. Supreme Court decision and a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision, juveniles can no longer be sentenced to life in prison without the option of parole citing the 8th Amendment’s cruel and unusual punishment clause. The retroactive rulings now require juveniles convicted of first degree murder to serve at least 15 years after their conviction for parole eligibility, which is the same for an individual convicted of second degree murder.

In response to those rulings, I sponsored a bill setting parole for juveniles convicted of first degree murder at 35 years. The bicameral and bipartisan bill, which has 32 co-sponsors, has the support of the District Attorneys Association. To read more about the bill, please click here to read a previous blog post.

Tune in at 5:00pm to watch tonight’s Fox 25 segment.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Walking for a Cure

On Friday, May 30th, I had the honor to join the crowd of walkers, supporters, and volunteers at this year’s annual North Reading Relay for Life walk, which was held at the North Reading High School. Friday’s fundraiser raised a total of $20,000, bringing the year’s total to over $100,000, where proceeds will go towards efforts in finding a cure for cancer and assisting patients and their families afflicted with the disease.  This event brings out the true spirit of community and camaraderie, and I am very thankful to have been able to participate in this wonderful event.

On Friday, June 13th, I will also be joining the Cape Ann Relay for Life walk beginning at 6:00pm at the O’Maley Middle School in Gloucester.  The Cape Ann event, which will be commemorating its 14th annual walk, brings hundreds of people from all over the region.  The dedication and enthusiasm of the supporters of these events is nothing short of amazing.

To donate, volunteer, or learn more about the Relay for Life Organization and the American Cancer Society please click here. To learn more about the North Reading Relay for life or the Cape Ann Relay for Life, please click here and here to visit the communities’ respective pages.  Posted below are some pictures of last Friday’s event.