Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Celebration and Ceremony in Gloucester

Memorial Day Celebration and Ceremony in #Gloucester this morning at Gloucester High School's auditorium. Honored to share Governor Baker's Memorial Day Proclamation.


Hamilton Legion Memorial Day Breakfast

Hamilton Legion Memorial Day Breakfast yesterday morning began with a breakfast at Patton Hall followed by a Memorial Service at United Methodist Church. With Greg McKenna Commander, A.P. Gard, Representative Brad Hill. An honor to stand with these veterans.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Senate Budget Debate

This morning the State Senate began debating the state budget. The budget proposal before us spends $40.8 billion dollars in state departments, functions, programs, and aid to cities and towns in the Commonwealth. There are more than 1,000 amendments filed by the 40 members. You can follow the process in a couple of ways. First, you can see the text and disposition of the amendments here - and you can watch our session in real time on your computer by clicking


Friday, May 19, 2017

Cheering Up Beacon Hill

The Gloucester High Cheerleaders visited the State House yesterday and I was delighted to introduce them during a session in the Senate Chamber. These young women had a tremendously successful season having taken first place at the Cheerleaders of America Ultimate Nationals in Orlando, Florida last month. I explained that their signature move, a three-quarter switch up, where multiple flyers do a three-quarter turn while being lifted into the stunt finishing with a kick, single dismount would exceeded the height of the chamber's chandelier!

Congratulations to our champions.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Statement on the Proposed Senate Budget

"The Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal released today by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means identifies and responds to some important spending priorities like partial funding of the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission for education and confronting the ongoing opiate epidemic.

This proposal comes in the context of serious issues with our state's revenue collections and an uncertain future for those collections in the current year and the one to follow. That’s why its ambitious spending needs to be carefully considered for sustainability.

In addition, the proposed budget relies on some significant tax changes that warrant careful thought and analysis before approval. We must be attentive to any potential negative impacts or unintended consequences of these changes, and we will carefully examine them.

This budget proposal puts us on a path to an important conversation about navigating through some serious fiscal challenges, and we all need to contribute to that discussion in the days ahead."

You can read the proposed $40.79 billion budget bill at this link -

Senate Ways and Means Fiscal 2018 state budget


Friday, May 12, 2017

The Empty Bowl Dinner

An annual event that I look forward to each year took place last night at Cruiseport Gloucester - The Open Door Empty Bowl Dinner: A North Shore Tradition. The Empty Bowl is all about raising awareness, and funds, to help local hunger relief efforts.

Guests can select a soup bowl, which are handcrafted for the event, to enjoy their meal and take home as a reminder of the ongoing needs of many. Similar events are held nationally but ours is near and dear to us. Last year there were more than 1,000 people who came. Proceeds from this event benefit the Summer Meals and Mobile Market programs.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

More than 2,000 Mass. Residents Died From Opioid Overdoses Last Year

Opioid-related deaths occurred in two-thirds of the cities and towns in Massachusetts - more than double the national average. The legislature and the Governor have worked collaboratively to respond and offer support to families, public health and public safety officials and those who are addicted.

The Chapter 55 report, which stems from legislation adopted in 2014, provides insights and new visual representation of our situation and what we are doing about it. Please visit the Chapter 55 site and become informed.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Stacey Boulevard in Bloom

Celebration as Stacey Boulevard re-opens in Gloucester this weekend with vibrant tulips and great festive clothes! Spectacular re-opening of Gloucester's Stacey Boulevard with tulip plantings by Generous Growers. Thanks to all!


Gloucester Education Foundation Music Room Fundraising Hits Right Notes

Congratulations were in order for the annual Gloucester Education Foundation donor event held at the North Shore Arts Association. The foundation celebrated an outstanding year, having raised $125,000 to renovate the music rooms at the O'Maley Innovation Middle School.

The Gloucester Education Foundation creates student opportunities and invests time, money and other resources to promote learning in #Gloucester Public Schools. Carlos Menezes, Jr. led the school's band and chorus as we celebrated.


Friday, May 5, 2017

State Revenues Run Short of Expectations for April

Revenue collection figures for April that we received from the Department of Revenue indicate receipts that are $241 million below our benchmark for April, and $462 million below the year-to-date benchmark. April is a very important tax collection month, and these results are going to make balancing the budget a substantial challenge.

You can read the DOR report here  


Thursday, May 4, 2017

State Road Money Rolls to Cities and Towns

Today, cities and towns across the Commonwealth received the Governor’s support with the signing of a bill to finance municipal road and bridge improvements. The Senate and House sent a bill to the Governor Baker which provides $200 million in support for construction of road-related local priorities.

We have structured this bill to guarantee access to funding for each community in the state; I was happy to offer my support of this legislation- the Chapter 90 bill, during the Senate debate. Empowering local leaders to have the authority set priorities for their own communities in road projects is achieved in the new law.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In Cod We Trust

Today, the Senate met for the first time in a new temporary space while the Senate Chamber undergoes major renovations expected to finish in more than a year. Tradition holds that we should not meet without the presence of a cod – today we took action and upheld that custom as we began a new session in Gardner Auditorium.

I have been exploring the possibility of moving the brass cod that hangs above the chandelier once the chamber remodeling begins. Until that occurs we were facing a cod deficit until Senator Joan Lovely of Salem offered me a cod worthy of the cause, and I placed it in a suitable [lace above the Senate’s temporary rostrum.

Chief Court Officer Paul Dooley will keep the cod safe under lock and key while the Senate is out of session.

The first significant industry in the early history of Massachusetts was fishing the Atlantic. Gloucester is the oldest fishing port in America and our state continues to have a strong connection with the sea.

The importance of maritime commerce was so significant that the Senate Chamber of the State House, where the House of Representatives met from 1798 to 1895, was always adorned with a five foot long carved wooden codfish – “the sacred cod”. When the House moved to a new chamber, the Senate took up the space and added its own fish often referred to as “the holy mackerel” – though it is in fact a cod.

More than a century before the founding of our nation Massachusetts citizens sent representatives to what was then, and now, called the General Court. Established in 1630 under the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the General Court is now in its 190th two year session. God save the cod.