Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Media Alert: On the Air on WCVB Channel 5 at 11 PM

Tonight I was interviewed by WCVB Channel 5's Mary Saladna about upcoming Senate Hearings on the Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions. Please tune in to the 11 pm newscast to watch our discussion


Merrimack Valley Gas Fires and Explosions To Be Subject of Senate Hearings

My office released the following statement today about announced Senate hearings-

 “The severe and ongoing hardships experienced by residents, local businesses, and the tragic loss of life caused by the gas explosions and fires in Andover, Lawrence and North Andover. These disruptive, disquieting and disturbing circumstances, must be carefully examined, and a pair of Senate oversight hearings in December are intended to do just that.

Gas companies are regulated utilities and we must understand the events and circumstances that caused the situation. The legislature has an important role to play with state regulators to make sure their operations are safe, effective and efficient.

Given the toll these events have taken on the Merrimack Valley, it is imperative that we conduct thorough hearings to examine what went wrong and what legislative or regulatory actions might be employed to prevent any future similar incidents anywhere in the state in the future. While the scale of the Merrimack Valley incident is unprecedented, we must do everything possible to prevent any threats from natural gas to public safety in our Commonwealth.”

Senator Tarr is a member of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy and he represents residents of North Andover, one of the communities impacted by the September 13th gas fires.


Veterans Breakfast

Happy to co-host a Veterans Breakfast at First Church in Ipswich this weekend with Representative Brad Hill. Great attendance, and great work by Chef Ron Elkin and many volunteers for a special event to say thanks to those who have served our nation.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Honoring Americans Who Have Served Our Country In The Armed Forces

Our men and women in uniform swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, a document encompassing the vision of liberty and the rule of law. Each of the men and women we honor today uttered the words of the soldier’s oath. They served under those words; some bled and others died for them. The decision to serve changed their lives forever.

Veterans Day is today, November 11th. Please join me in remembering our military veterans. There are events and ceremonies planned in communities throughout the Commonwealth and the country.

The unyielding and unchanging core principals of our nation - freedom, liberty, and justice expressed in our founding documents would be unobtainable without the actions of our veterans.

We are blessed to have had men and women wear the uniforms of our military organizations to take actions to defend, preserve, and promote those values and principles here and around the world. The family members of our veterans, and of those who wear the uniform as active members today, also deserve our deep appreciation.


Friday, November 9, 2018

Shriners Hospital Holds 50th Anniversary Gala

This week I was delighted to help celebrate Shriners Hospitals for Children - Boston's 50 years of caring for children with acute burns and complex medical needs.

Since 1968, the men and women there have been providing specialty pediatric care to kids from all around the world regardless of their families' ability to pay.


Celebrating The Great Marsh

Glad to speak at a well- attended and engaging Annual Great Marsh Symposium this morning, along with Selectpeople Lisa O'Donnell, and Geoff Walker, Peter Phippen, Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante and more than 170 people with a connection to the Great Marsh.

The Great Marsh is the largest continuous stretch of salt marsh in all of New England ranging from Gloucester to southern New Hampshire. Encompassing more than 20,000 acres of salt marsh, barrier beach, tidal river, estuary, mudflat, and upland islands it is internationally recognized as a bird habitat and extraordinary environmental resource.

  • The symposium was held at Woodman's of Essex, speakers and subjects included - Introduction by Wayne Castonguay, Ipswich River Watershed Native and Lisa O’Donnell, Selectboard Chair, Town of Essex.
  • Mary Ellen Leponica - Americans and the Great Marsh
  • Chris Lehey, Mass Audubon - Birds & Birding in the Great Marsh
  • Geoff Walker, Newbury Selectmen - Traditional uses of Great Marsh
  • Annie Harris, Essex National Heritage Area - Tourism & Recreation in the Great Marsh
  • Mike Trupiano and/or Chrissi Pappas, Ipswich Shellfish Company - Shellfish Industry & the Fried Clam
  • David Rimmer, Essex County Greenbelt Association - Fish and Fisheries of the Great Marsh
  • Sam Cleaves, Metropolitan Area Planning Commission - Creative Great Marsh
  • Liz Duff, Mass Audubon & Peter Phippen, Mass Bays Program -Citizen Science in the Great Marsh


New Mass License and ID Format Change

Starting on Tuesday, November 13th the RMV is transitioning its new license/ID card format, from a nine-digit alphanumeric code consisting of one letter (“S”) and eight numbers, to one consisting of two letters (“SA”) and seven numbers. This change is necessary because we are running out of new “S” combinations in which to issue new Massachusetts licenses and ID cards.

This change only pertains to newly issued credentials. The RMV is keeping "S" numbers on all current licenses, IDs, and permits, and they will not change upon renewal.

Please contact RMVATLASSupport@dot.state.ma.us with any questions.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Governor Bakers Signs Civics Education Bill

The Civics Education bill signed into law today by Governor Charlie Baker reflects bipartisanship and collaboration in form and substance, and it will have a transformational effect on this aspect of public education in Massachusetts.

Working together, in an effort led largely by Senator Harriette Chandler, a team of legislators from both parties and across the state wove elements together to form the comprehensive bill that became law today. I am honored to have been part of that team, and look forward to continuing to work on the implementation of the new law.

Rejuvenating and energizing civics education through direct student involvement in projects will build a solid foundation of engagement, respect for the democratic process and civility that will benefit our democracy and our society for today, and generations to come.


Monday, November 5, 2018

Welcoming The Food Policy Council To The State House

I was asked to offer opening remarks and begin the most recent meeting of the state’s Food Policy Council which was held at the State House in Boston.

The Council was created legislatively with several important purposes to - increase farming and sales of Massachusetts grown foods, develop and support programs to bring healthy foods to everyone in the state, protect land and water, increase state purchasing of local products for school and summer meals and other child and adult care programs, and to train farmers and workers in the food system.

There meetings are open to the public. The next Council Meeting is January 25, 2019, 9:30 AM -12:30 PM at the Richard Cronin Building of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough.


Election Day Tuesday

From 7 AM to 8 PM all registered voters who have not yet voted may cast a ballot tomorrow. This year, there is an election of our state's constitutional officers including - Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor, and Secretary of the Commonwealth each are elected for a four-year term.

In addition, all seats in the state House of Representative and Senate - representing two hundred districts, are elected to two year terms as are members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Also on the ballot, in addition to offices such as U.S Senate - six year term, Governor's Council, District Attorney, Clerk of Courts and Register of Deeds will be three state-wide citizen initiative petitions.

Want to know where your polling location is? Visit www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com


Bowling For Dollars With Gloucester Education Foundation

Fun bowling last night with Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, Gloucester Education Foundation President Joe Calomo and family, and many others to raise funds for the Gloucester Education Foundation! The first annual GEF Education Bowl was loads of fun with lots of teams hitting the pins at Cape Ann Lanes on Gloucester Avenue with proceeds supporting programs in the Gloucester Public Schools.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Rock and Roll Work on MBTA Rockport Line This Weekend

MassDOT and the MBTA would like to advise you of upcoming rock-drill work, as part of federally mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) infrastructure installation on the MBTA Rockport Line. Due to the equipment necessary to perform this work, high noise levels can be expected.

This coming weekend, November 3-4, 2018, rock-drilling activities are scheduled as needed during daytime work hours between approximately 7AM – 7PM at locations along the MBTA Right-Of-Way in Manchester-by-the Sea and Gloucester.

This work is also expected to continue on the weekend of November 10-11, as needed.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Public Interest in Halibut Point State Park Grows

Fantastic turnout and participation at our Halibut Point State Park public input session with Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy at Rockport Public Library. Halibut Point, on the tip of Cape Ann in Rockport, is a world renowned coastal park with beautiful landscapes, trails, history, and wonder.

Following up on state funding that I helped secure for the operations of the park I wanted the Commissioner to have an opportunity discuss the needs and future plans for the park including trail work, rehabilitation to the visitor’s center and museum, park information displays, and other opportunities to highlight the historic and unique attributes found only there.

The property, co-managed by the Trustees of Reservation, is one of the state’s most popular parks. A bird watching hot spot visitors can see the Babson Farm Quarry, which supplied granite for thousands of projects across New England, and a coastline that artists dream of.

The reservation is open year round.



Happy to participate in the ribbon cutting today for the new North Shore Registry of Motor Vehicles location in Danvers. This new larger facility, with hundreds of parking spaces and 10 counter workstations, provides lots of space for customers and staff. Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack and Registrar of Motor Vehicles Erin Deveney provided state and local officials and citizens a description of the services offered.

RMV Service Center, 8 Newbury Street, Danvers Crossing Plaza, Danvers


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Everyone Loves a Victory Parade. The MBTA has information for Wednesday’s Red Sox Parade

T to run rush-hour subway service; provide additional capacity on certain Commuter Rail lines.

Parade attendees strongly encouraged to purchase round-trip fares in advance. Visit MBTA.com/RedSox for service information

BOSTON – To accommodate attendees of the parade celebrating the 2018 Boston Red Sox World Series victory, the MBTA will operate enhanced service on Wednesday, October 31, 2018.

The MBTA will operate subway service at rush-hour levels from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. Additional Commuter Rail capacity will be added to lines that are expected to experience higher-than-normal ridership. On the Green Line, the nightly shutdown of trolley service on the D Branch has been cancelled, meaning regularly scheduled D Branch service will continue until the end of service on Wednesday night.

“Because the parade coincides with Halloween, we fully expect Wednesday to be a busy day in Boston and around the region,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez. “So as a reminder, we’re asking people to please stay informed of service information. We want everyone to have an enjoyable day, so please be safe, be respectful, and enjoy the special day on Wednesday.”

“As we prepare for the victory parade and Halloween, MBTA Transit Police will have an enhanced presence throughout the day,” said MBTA Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green. “For this year’s parade, we’re asking our customers for their assistance: if you see something, please say something. Working together, we can ensure everyone has a safe, enjoyable day.”

Customers can find more information on MBTA service and schedule information for Wednesday, October 31 at MBTA.com/RedSox.

For customers using the Commuter Rail:

Commuter Rail schedules are posted online and can be found on the MBTA Commuter Rail app.

Because of the expected crowds, approximately 200 Keolis and Commuter Rail personnel will be at key stations to assist with wayfinding, boarding, and schedule information. Bikes will not be allowed on any Commuter Rail trains on Wednesday.

Parking facility locations and rates can be found online.

Parade attendees are strongly encouraged to purchase round-trip fares either Tuesday during the day or Wednesday morning to avoid long waits at fare vending machines after the parade.

In addition to purchasing fares in advance, Commuter Rail customers should consider using the mTicket app.

Some Commuter Rail parking facilities historically have additional capacity. Stations with high parking capacity include:

· Newburyport/Rockport Line: Beverly, Salem, and Lynn
· Haverhill Line: Bradford and Lawrence
· Lowell Line: Lowell, Billerica, and Anderson/Woburn
· Fitchburg Line: Fitchburg and North Leominster
· Greenbush Line: Greenbush, Nantasket, and Weymouth Landing
· Plymouth/Kingston Line: Kingston
· Middleborough Line: Campello, Montello, and Bridgewater
· Fairmount Line: Readville
· Providence Line: Route 128
· Franklin Line: Forge Park/495, Walpole, Dedham Corp.
· Needham Line: Needham
· Worcester Line: Worcester, Ashland

For customers using MBTA buses:

All MBTA bus routes will operate regular weekday schedules on Wednesday with the exception of a number of bus routes that will be detoured because of the parade. Those routes include:
· Route 1
· Route 9
· Route 10
· Route 39
· Route 43
· Silver Line (SL5)
· Route 92
· Route 93
· Route 504

For customers using the subway:

Beginning at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, the T will operate subway service at rush-hour levels.

As with all other modes, customers are strongly encourage to purchase roundtrip fares either on Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

Beginning Wednesday at 7 a.m. at Riverside Station, the CharlieCard Van will have available thousands of CharlieCards pre-loaded with $5 of value on each card so that customers can quickly purchase round-trip fares.

Customer can access the parade route from a number of MBTA stations, according to the following:
· From the Orange Line: any station between North Station and Back Bay
· From the Green Line: any station between North Station and Kenmore
· From the Blue Line: any station from Bowdoin and State Street
· From the Red Line: Park Street and Downtown Crossing

The following MBTA stations are all located directly along the parade route:
· Hynes Convention Center
· Copley
· Arlington
· Boylston
· Park Street
· Downtown Crossing
· Government Center

Fare Information:

Fans are strongly encouraged to purchase round-trip fares either Tuesday during the day or Wednesday morning to avoid long waits at fare vending machines after the parade.

In addition to purchasing fares in advance, Commuter Rail customers should consider using the mTicket app.

Additional Parking Information:

As with prior large-scale events, the T will be working in coordination with MassDOT to position variable message boards along state highways informing customers about parking availability at key MBTA facilities.

For infrequent MBTA customers, parking locations and rates can be found at MBTA.com/Parking.

The T also provides live parking capacity updates at the MBTA’s eight largest garages at @MBTA_Parking.

Customer Information:

Customers can call the MBTA call center at 617-222-3200. To report an emergency, dial 911 or call the MBTA Transit Police Department at 617-222-1212. As always, customers should connect with the T on Twitter at @MBTA and @MBTA_CR for the latest service information.


Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute Launches New Research Facility

Today, Governor Charlie Baker came to Gloucester for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the expansion of Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute, Inc. and their new the 6,000 square-foot world-class genomics research facility located on Gloucester’s inner harbor. Officials from GMGI, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thekena, Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante and I welcomed the Governor, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President & CEO Travis McCready and others for this historic event.

The construction of the research building was made possible in part by a $2.7 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and other funds that I helped secure in legislation including funds to secure state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and workforce training opportunities to train new generations of biotechnology technicians, $150,000 in the new state budget for a new marine program to be run by the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute in coordination with the University of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries, and $1.3 million in the  economic development bill for a GMGI and Ocean Genome Legacy/Northeastern Marine Science Center joint proposal to mine the rich genetic diversity of marine organisms through new sequencing technologies.

The research performed at GMGI is not only important for what it will teach us about our precious marine resources, it will also be critical to informing sound strategic decisions about managing the fish stocks that support our commercial fishing industry, our economy, and our way of life.

Governor Baker said, “Our Administration is committed to investing in the innovation economy, supporting game-changing technological research, and creating jobs in every region of the Commonwealth. It is our collective hope that this new facility will position GMGI as a leader in marine biotechnology by applying the most innovative tools for new discoveries that impact human health, biotechnology, and fisheries.”

The two-story facility will feature research laboratories, outfitted with the specialized equipment needed to bring genomics science to the study of marine life, including a tank room housing 18 unique aquaria and a molecular genomics lab where all of the bench work for molecular biology and genomic applications will take place utilizing a liquid handling robot and multiple platforms for high-throughput genomics and genotyping.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Senate Adjourns In Memory Of Victims

Today, Senate President Karen Spilka and I moved that the Senate adjourn today in memory of the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as well as the victims of the shooting in Kentucky.

Last week, we witnessed one of the worst weeks of hate in our country’s recent history. Pipe bombs sent to prominent Americans. Two people shot in Kentucky, apparently due to the color of their skin.

Eleven lives cut short in a place of worship in Pittsburgh. Today, we remember those of all ages whose lives were ended too soon, and those whose voices were silenced. Among the 13 we remember today were a dentist; a grandfather buying poster board for his grandson; a physician at the forefront of HIV treatment; a couple who had been married in the same synagogue 60 years earlier; a research specialist; and a pair of inseparable brothers.

We remember the good they did in the world; the good that was left to do, and all that they represented to their loved ones and communities. The Jewish Talmud teaches us, Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now.

You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

Today, in the names of those who perished by hate while committing an act of faith; in the names of those who were murdered for the color of their skin, we promise to not be daunted by grief, and to continue to do justly.

We asked for a moment of silence in memory of: Rose Mallinger, 97 Jerry Rabinowitz, 66 Cecil Rosenthal, 59 David Rosenthal, 54 Bernice Simon, 84 Sylvan Simon, 86 Daniel Stein, 71 Melvin Wax, 88 Irving Younger, 69 Joyce Fienberg, 75 Richard Gottfried, 65 Maurice Stallard, 69 And Vickie Jones, 67

May their memories be a blessing.


Columbia Gas Information Session

I went to the community meeting at the North Andover Senior Center this weekend, Columbia Gas gave residents affected by the September utility shutdown new information about restoration timelines.

The company has pushed back restoration dates to as late as December 16th.

Steve Bryant, Columbia Gas President Chief Recovery Officer Joe Albanese, and Chief Restoration Officer Pablo Vegas attended similar meetings in Lawrence and Andover.

There are three critical steps in the restoration process: Becoming “Gas-Ready”, becoming “House-Ready”, and finally, “Re-light”. Gas-Ready and House-Ready can occur in any order, but both must occur in a residence or business before Re-Light can take place.

Almost 2,000 families remain living in alternative housing.

For additional information visit https://www.columbiagas.com/massachusetts/restoration/