Friday, February 28, 2020

Ipswich is the Newest Green Community

Ipswich town officials and residents embraced the concept of becoming a Green Community and they have taken many steps to reduce carbon emissions and be more resourceful. That leadership provides great examples of local initiatives that make a difference for our region and our state, and it attracted the attention of the Baker-Polito Administration.

I am pleased to share that the town was just awarded a well-deserved state grant of $149,200. All Green Communities commit to reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent. Congratulations.


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Gloucester's Blue Economy Gets State Boost

Gloucester Harbor is a unique and precious resource that is important today, and has tremendous potential for the future. Capturing that potential and strengthening current uses of the harbor undoubtedly requires careful planning and an inclusive conversation with the community.

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced more than $2.9 million in Seaport Economic Council Grants to support nine coastal communities projects including an award of $240,000 for Gloucester's maritime economic planning. #Gloucester is looking to capitalize on new opportunities in marine research and product development and will begin a planning process to update the Gloucester Harbor / DPA Master Plan, to reinforce its seafood industry base while taking into consideration the challenges of climate change and opportunities in the marine research and development sector and life sciences cluster.

This grant provides us with the needed funding to do those things, in a comprehensive and professional way and is the result of excellent collaboration at the state and local levels.


Monday, February 24, 2020

Dredging the Annisquam

Dredging the Annisquam River is critical for our economy, public safety, our quality of life, and the preservation of this incomparable natural resource. Steadily increasing accretion continued to reduce the navigability of the channel. The Annisquam River-Gloucester Harbor Dredging Project address dangerous conditions that have reduced available depths in the River to as little as negative one foot at Mean Lower Low Water.

Marshaling the resources to getting the river and Gloucester Harbor dredged required collaboration, focus and persistence. Our partnerships at the state, federal and local levels has driven our progress to finally getting this project on the move. Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito last year awarded $2.4 million for the project which supports a federal maintenance dredging project that leverages $5.7 million in federal funding.

Dredging it is critical for our economy, public safety, our quality of life, and the preservation of this incomparable natural resource.



Friday, February 21, 2020

Ipswich Rotary Empty Bowl Dinner

Last night was dedicated to supporting the Ipswich Rotary Club event to benefit the Open Door Food Pantry. These are two wonderful community service organizations dedicated to helping others. Empty Bowl dinners are held nationally to generate awareness of hunger and to raise money for local hunger-relief programs like The Open Door.

The Ipswich Rotary Club, which helped renovate the new "Open Door" food pantry in Ipswich, hosted this fundraising event at the The Hellenic Center in Ipswich The Rotary has donated funds, support and truckloads of supplies to the Open Door Food Panty. The Open Door Food Pantry in Ipswich serves Ipswich, Rowley, Topsfield, Boxford, Hamilton and Wenham.

With Representative Brad Hill and Director of Advocacy and Development of Open Door, Sarah Grow


Better Together!

I was glad to attend an event organized and hosted by the Rockport Art Association & Museum which invited input from Rockport community members in the business, cultural, and governmental sectors to focus on ways to promote the strengths of the Rockport community and identify issues that need to be addressed.

Noted community and business leader Karen Ristuben of the Essex County Cultural Foundation facilitated the meeting.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Iwo Jima Day 75 Years On

Memorial Hall in the heart of the State House was an appropriate setting to honor our veterans, their families, and other members of the military to observe the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The ceremony today honored all of the more than 100,000 American GIs who battled on an island in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. Four of those men were there today, one is my friend, and Manchester-by-the-Sea resident, Larry Kirby. There were 230 Marines in his unit when he landed but after 36 days there were only seven who remained..

Although he said "I just showed up, did my job, and got lucky," what he and others did there was monumentally important and thoroughly courageous. He will celebrate his 96th birthday in June but I think it is up to all of us to keep the legacy of Iwo Jima veterans and all of our veterans in our hearts everyday.


Friday, February 14, 2020

SeniorCare Valentine’s Day Breakfast Fundraiser For Meals on Wheels

A wonderful reception today in support of SeniorCare’s Meals on Wheels program at The Gloucester House in downtown Gloucester. This event helps support the Meals On Wheels program that supports home-bound seniors so they can receive nutritious food and a thoughtful visit five days a week.

SeniorCare Inc. is a non-profit organization that coordinates services for elders and others, enabling them to live independently at home or in a setting of their choice while remaining part of their community. They serve nine communities North of Boston including: Beverly, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Rockport, Topsfield, and Wenham.


Thursday, February 13, 2020


Today my office issued the following press release:


Establishes Blue Ribbon Task Force to Improve Availability, Access And Cost-Effective Care

Boston- As part of the State Senate’s adoption of wide-ranging legislation to overhaul the mental health and behavioral health care system today, Senators adopted a measure authored by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr which responds to the increasingly fragmented and dysfunctional pediatric mental health system.

Senator Tarr, in remarks from the Senate Chamber during debate, told colleagues that children in need of care face a mental health care system that fails them.

“Even with insurance coverage, there are thousands of children across our state each and every year who are boarded in hospital rooms instead of being given access to appropriate care,” said Senator Tarr (R- Gloucester). “I proposed the creation of a pediatric mental health task force because there are too many children with a treatable mental health disorder who lack access to treatment, face a decline in available credential professionals, wait the longest for an available bed in a facility, and they suffer the most when the system fails them.”

Tarr’s amendment directs a task force composed of the Secretary of Health And Human Services, the Assistant Secretary for MassHealth; the Commissioner Of Public Health; representative of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, providers of pediatric mental health, representatives of academic medical institutions and parents or family members of consumers of pediatric mental health services.

The task force is charged with producing a comprehensive analysis of the delivery of pediatric mental health services and making recommendations to improve the availability, cost-effectiveness and access of those services by an August 1st deadline

. The bill Senate 2519, an Act Addressing Barriers To Care For Mental Health, was adopted by unanimous vote of the Senate following bipartisan input into its development. Tarr, noting the long gap since the adoption of the state’s mental health parity law of 2000, called the passage “an extremely momentous point in time for the Massachusetts Senate.”

One major area of concern for children in crisis has come to be known as ‘boarding’, keeping mental health patients in hospital emergency wards, without treatment, for more than 12 hours because there is are no available placement in appropriate care settings.

“A day doesn’t go by where we don’t hear of a child in the Commonwealth who is in a crisis situation because we have not developed and implemented capacity to deal with these issues in every part of the state,” Tarr said.

According to Massachusetts Health Policy Commission data, one in five teenage children who sought emergency care for a behavioral health issue waited at least half a day for treatment. 13 percent waited more than a week for care. In contrast, the same review found that 9 percent of adults waited 12 hours.

Tarr said that in addition to the severe shortage of mental health professionals there are particularly great gaps in the availability of licensed mental health clinicians for children with some families waiting many months for an initial psychiatric appointment. Psychiatrists were the second most-recruited specialty nationwide according to a recent study by health care consulting firm Merritt Hawkins in their Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives.

The Senate bill now moves to the House where it is eligible for further action.


Advancing Mental Health Care

The Senate will vote today on the #MentalHealthABC bill. We will take important steps to respond to systemic problems that are preventing people from being able to get the mental health care they need, when they need it.

We began the day with a State House gathering to detail the components of the bill, Act Addressing Barriers To Care For Mental Health, and to thank those who provide input to making this bipartisan bill more responsive to our residents

Reform of our mental and behavioral health systems have been too long in the making which makes today an extremely momentous point in time for the Massachusetts Senate and for all of us. You can read the bill, and any of the amendments offered here -