Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Chanukah

This week we began our State House celebration of Chanukah on Wednesday, the solstice - the longest night of the year, with a menorah lighting at the Grand Staircase. Led by Rabbi Rachmiel Liberman of Congregation Lubavitch Synagogue, the attendant candle of an 18-foot menorah was lit.

Tonight, the eight-day celebration of Chanukah begins.

To all of my Jewish friends and constituents, I wish you a happy Chanukah celebration, and may you enjoy eight days of peace, happiness, and joy with your loved ones.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Middleton Police Chief DiGianvittorio Newest Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association President

This afternoon, I had the pleasure and honor of serving as master of ceremonies for the swearing in of Chief James A. DiGianvittorio as President of Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and of the installation of new officers and executive board members.

Chief DiGianvittorio of the Middleton Police Department is the past President of the Essex County Chiefs of Police Association, a co-director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run program for Special Olympics, which has raised more than $650,000 for special needs athletes, and in addition to his many other commitments he has been a member of the MCOPA executive board for more than five years.

We were joined today by many police chiefs from across the Commonwealth, the Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett, District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, Sherriff Frank Cousins, local officials and Attorney General Maura Healey. AG Healey administered the oath of office to the executive board and Chief DiGianvittorio.

Since 1887 the Chiefs of Police Association has worked state-wide to advance professional police services, promote advances in operational police practices, foster cooperation and the exchange of information and experience among police leaders. Law enforcement professionals, prosecutors and lawmakers have worked with the chiefs over many years to advance enhancements to public safety, professional standards, and community service.

I wish Chief DiGianvittorio and the executive board success for 2017.


Wreaths Across America

I was pleased to take part this week in an important gathering at Coolidge Hall at the Topsfield Fair Grounds.

The Wreaths Across America organization is traveling in a caravan of vehicles on a journey to deliver wreathes to Arlington National and at locations along the way. Each December, volunteers place wreaths on individual veterans' graves in over 1,100 locations throughout the U.S. Leaders of the organization presented the traditional red bowed evergreen wreaths to local elected officials from participating communities across the North Shore. Each of these wreaths will be placed in cemeteries and other distinguished public places.

The Coolidge Hall was full and energetic. We were joined by Department of Veterans' Services Fransisco Urnea, Senator Joan Lovely, Representative Brad Hill, local elected and public safety officials, veteran service officers, leaders of volunteer veteran’s affiliated organizations, Gold Star families and private citizens.

Wreaths Across America started as a grass-roots effort to remember those willing to serve and sacrifice. Last year their network of volunteers laid more than 700,000 memorial wreaths. Our legislative delegation was presented with one of those wreaths which was brought to State House in order that it is displayed proudly in view of the public and those who wish to honor the service and sacrifice of those who wore our nation’s uniform.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Today is Candle Safety Day

The holiday season should be festive and fun yet it can be a dangerous time of the year due to the misuse of lit candles.

State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced that today, December 12, 2016 will be Candle Safety Day and advised consumers to use candles safely throughout the year. By state law we have set the second Monday in December as Candle Safety Day to promote the safety in our state.

It is important to know - more candle fires happen during Winter holidays, so: • Burn candles within a one-foot circle, free of anything that can burn, • Never leave candles burning unattended, • Always extinguish candles after use, • Use a non-combustible saucer or candleholder to snuff flames, • Keep candles out of reach of children and pets, • Consider switching to battery-operated flameless candles, • 35% of candle fires in homes occurred in the bedroom.

State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “Starting with Halloween, we use candles to celebrate many of the winter holidays. Sadly, the increased candle use at this time of year causes an increase in candle fires.” More candle fires happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve than any other time. “Candles should be blown out whenever you leave the room or go to sleep; and children should always be supervised, around burning candles,” he added.

Please, be safe, be bright and put out that light.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Endicott College Visit

Happy to have visited with my friend Professor Arthur Burt and his students at Endicott College in Beverly today. He invited me to talk with his politics class about the recent election, civics and what's happening in the next legislative session at the State House. Thank you to the Endicott College Observer for the photo.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

State House Christmas Tree Lightings

Holiday festivities abounded at two tree lighting events at the State House yesterday. Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito helped lift the spirits of friends and families of fallen military members at the annual Gold Star Families tree lighting in Memorial Hall. The tree was decorated with ornaments and images of those who perished in service to our country.

This event is a partnership between the Military Friends Foundation, Gold Star Wives of Greater Boston, Gold Star Mothers of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and the Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services. Veterans Services Secretary Francisco Urena and Massachusetts National Guard Adjutant General Major Gen. Gary Keefe attended along with dozens of children and Santa Clause.

Later in the day, the State House Christmas tree overlooking the front lawn was illuminated. The revelers moved inside to the Grand Staircase for an open house which included eggnog, cookies, and other treats from Massachusetts growers and farms, carols sung by the Boston Children's Chorus, and season’s greetings from Lieutenant Governor Polito and Governor Baker.

The State House is open to the public Monday through Friday and I welcome you and your family to visit.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Traditions Light the Night

More than 22 years ago my brother Ringo first had the idea that our home city of Gloucester should have a Christmas tree at Kent Circle for all to enjoy, and thus began a wonderful tradition. Three years later, the people of our sister city, Shelburne, Nova Scotia joined and strengthened that tradition with the annual gift of a 30 to 50 foot tree for the people of Gloucester.

For two decades my family, along with friends and helpers, has planned and organized a festive gathering of music, food and drinks, and the lighting of an evergreen tree. We also make very special arrangements each year to contact Mr. and Mrs. Clause so that they can visit with our area children.

Following its journey from Shelburne, Nova Scotia we strung more than 3,500 lights and decorations on the tree - it looked grand overlooking our stage where live entertainment rang out for the huge crowd who came out to join us following the Gloucester Christmas Parade. We were honored again this year to have Dave Alward, Consul General of Canada to New England on hand for the evening.

Joining us by phone was Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall , who officially presented the tree to Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, who accepted it on behalf of the people of Gloucester. The international spirit of cooperation and friendship between our two cities is amplified by mutual respect and a tradition of genuine comradery. The long heritage between these communities is deeply-rooted in our maritime traditions and is extended through the contributions of tree saplings from the Topsfield Fair to Shelburne.

This year’s lighting was dedicated to Rudy Macchi and Peter Todd. The Tarr family hopes that you and the people in your home, and hometown, enjoy this special time of year by sharing the joy in your life with others.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

For the full text and the history behind President Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation please visit this link:


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Visit With Veterans

I visited the Golden Living Nursing Center in Gloucester yesterday to present Senate citation to several veterans. Devon Cormier, Executive Director and her staff were very hospitable and welcoming.

Thank you all for your service.

In these photos - Devon Cormier Executive Director, Earnest Michael Rose, John Jedrey, David Parsons, Ronald Madison, Devon Cormier, & Amanda Kesterson, Daniel Teel, and Salvatore Amato.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Massachusetts Senior Care Association Honors Senator Bruce Tarr Presents Better Life Award Leadership Award

My office released this press release:

Following remarks by Governor Charlie Baker, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr was recently presented with the Better Life Award at the Massachusetts Senior Care Association’s annual meeting at the DCU Center in Worcester.

The Massachusetts Senior Care Association, comprised of more than 500 nursing and rehabilitation facilities, assisted living and retirement communities, presented the award to Tarr in recognition of his ‘leadership in promoting quality long-term care services for the elderly and disabled’.

“It is vital to have outstanding care for those who can’t fully care for themselves and these providers support thousands of people hired to provide the service,” said Senator Tarr.

“Senator Tarr has long been a leader and advocate for nursing home residents and our dedicated staff. This year he helped push through a wage increase in the Governor’s budget that will put our workers on a path to earning a living wage,” said Ned Morse, President of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association whose organizations employ more than 50,000 professionals.

“His commitment to residents and nursing home staff is steadfast and appreciated. We look forward to working together with him in the future to ensure our facilities continue to deliver the highest quality of care for the state's aging population,” said Morse.

The association provides advocacy on legislative, regulatory and financing issues affecting care providers, residents, and consumers as well as education for the public and policymakers about issues relating to the care of older adults and individuals with disabilities.

“I am proud to have presented my State Senator, whom I have known for more than two decades, with this award,” said Frank Romano, President of Essex Group Management Corporation and association member. “I’ve seen first-hand his dedicated work ethic which resulted in his receiving the Better Life Award.”


Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veterans' Day

Join me today in remembering, and showing respect for, our nation’s veterans.

I salute the brave men and women who serve today, and those who have ever worn our nation’s uniform, their combined efforts have protected our freedoms and preserved our democracy.

Massachusetts families have, since the Revolutionary War to today’s conflicts in Iraq and in Afghanistan, offered the country strong, thoughtful, and brave men and women who have defended and secured our freedoms and protected those around the world from tyranny. To protect the American way of life our Army soldiers, Navy sailors, Air Force airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard guardians accepted challenges and missions that required extraordinary actions.

Thank you for your service.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Voting is Paramount to Our Democracy

I encourage you to vote.  For the first time, Massachusetts citizens can obtain a ballot and vote early; this special opportunity ends tomorrow November 4th.  Simply visit this Website to find the early voting locations available to you in your home community.  If you don’t believe that you will be able to go directly to your polling location on election day, because of a religious belief, physical disability, or absence from your city or town, you may also request an absentee ballot using the same process that has been in effect for years.

Click here to learn where you can vote.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Hero Is Here

In my role as the Minority Leader of the Senate I travel the state and encounter many people; on special occasions I have been in the presence of a hero. Thursday was truly an exceptional day when Curtis Dagley, Gloucesterman and World War Two veteran, was decorated for his extraordinary accomplishments to save a precious 15th altarpiece of Krakow Poland’s Saint Mary’s Church.

At a Gloucester City Hall ceremony Katarzyna Padlo, Consul General of the Republic of Poland presented Mr. Dagley with the Bene Merito Medal for helping recover the centuries old artwork from the Nazis. The object has more than 200 figures depicting the story of May in helping her son Jesus.

Mr. Dagley’s service in Poland was tumultuous and included being imprisoned by communist authorities there. It was an honor to present him with a State Senate citation recognizing his wartime actions. Once his military career ended Mr. Dagley worked as a fisherman for more than four decades.

We need heroes; we are blessed to have Curtis Dagley with us and he so richly deserved the special honors bestowed to him in the presence of his community and his family.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Department of Transitional Assistance Honors Senator Bruce Tarr

Boston - State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) was recognized by the state’s Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) at a State House ceremony recently in recognition of his long-standing work to support efforts to help clients acquire skills and training to retain or obtain employment.

“With nearly two and a half million households in our state, it’s important to recognize that at any given moment there are hundreds of thousands of families with a member out of work unable to support children, an elder relative, and themselves,” said Senator Tarr. “Learning occupational skills can lead to a life-long path to meaningful employment and financial security.”

DTA Commissioner Jeff McCue, flanked by the department’s top staff, presented Tarr with the Champions of Self-Sufficiency award as part of a ceremony which also honored the achievements of several clients who gained self-sufficiency, municipal governments, businesses, and non-profit charities in supporting individuals and families in need.

Currently, DTA serves one out of every nine people in the state in an effort to assist low-income people to meet their basic needs and build life skills to increase earning potential to expand economic self-sufficiency.

“Self-sufficiency is an important goal, and our support systems must always keep it in focus,” said Tarr. “Doing that means judiciously engaging in supports for things like nutrition and child care, that can easily become obstacles for someone trying to get a job or return to the workforce.”