Thursday, March 31, 2022

Massachusetts Approved to Provide Families Additional Pandemic -EBT for School Year 2021-2022

Program continues critical food security supports for households with K-12 children 

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that Massachusetts received federal approval to provide Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits to school-age children and their families through school year 2021-2022. The P-EBT benefits will support students who were unable to attend school due to COVID-related absences. The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) estimates this will provide $22 million in federal financial assistance for the families of more than 475,000 school-age children to buy healthy, local and culturally appropriate food as Massachusetts continues to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

“The Baker-Polito Administration has pursued all available tools and resources to support individuals and families impacted by the economic fallout from the pandemic. Thanks to close coordination at the state and local level, this P-EBT plan approval for school year 2021-2022 adds another critical tool to the Commonwealth’s effort to leverage federal funds, promote food security, and provide additional food assistance to students and their families,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders.

P-EBT is a federal program, jointly administered by DTA and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and in collaboration with local school districts. The program promotes increased food security for families whose children receive free or reduced-price school meals through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The program covers the cost of school meals for students who miss school days because of COVID-19 and were unable to receive free or reduced-priced school meals.

“P-EBT has proven to be an effective tool during the COVID-19 pandemic to help families and their students directly purchase healthy, culturally appropriate food. The program also brings critical resources into our local communities, supporting food retailers and their employees,” said Department of Transitional Assistance Acting Commissioner Mary Sheehan. “We are thankful for our partnership with DESE and local school districts that enables the state to provide these critical nutrition benefits to hundreds of thousands of students and their families.”

“When students miss school, many of them also miss services such as free or reduced-price meals,” Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said. “We’re pleased to continue our collaboration with DTA to offer P-EBT benefits that help families access healthy food.”

For school year 2021-2022, P-EBT benefit amounts will be determined by the number of eligible COVID-related excused absences a student has in a month. Eligible Massachusetts’ families will receive a retroactive P-EBT payment for September 2021 through April 2022 COVID-related absences on May 25, 2022. The two remaining monthly payments for the school year (May and June) will be made on the 25th of each month.

Eligible families will receive one of three P-EBT amounts per month, per student depending on the number of COVID-19 related eligible excused school absences, as determined by school districts:

  • 1-5 absences: $21 a month per student
  • 6-15 absences: $71 a month per student
  • 16+ absences: $128 a month per student

Families will continue to receive P-EBT on the same card they did in the past. Households who lost their P-EBT card can request a replacement card. Newly eligible students will receive their P-EBT benefits on their EBT card if receiving DTA benefits or will be mailed a P-EBT card if they do not receive DTA benefits.

Massachusetts initially launched its P-EBT program in April 2020 when schools closed due to COVID-19, was one of a limited number of states to receive federal approval for September P-EBT benefits and was the first state in the nation to receive approval to continue P-EBT through school year 2020-2021. In March 2021, the 2020-2021 program was extended to provide P-EBT benefits for children in child care. Information on P-EBT for children in child care for school year 2021-2022 will be shared in the future.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act established the option for states to establish program P-EBT and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 allows states to continue providing P-EBT for families into school year 2021-2022.

P-EBT benefits can be used anywhere Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are accepted, including online from select retailers. More information on P-EBT can be found at and


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Newbury Purple Heart Town Designation Ceremony

The Purple Heart is the U.S. military combat decoration awarded to those wounded or killed during service and it was first created in 1782 by General George Washington. Purple Heart recipients joined Town of Newbury, MA officials for this important ceremony. At the Newbury Elementary School ceremony, I presented official citations from the State Senate in recognition of the designation. 

To be designated as a Purple Heart community the #Newbury Selectboard delivered an official proclamation to the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, USA. The organization was chartered by Congress and serves to foster an environment of goodwill among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism, support needed legislative initiatives, and provide service to all veterans and their families. 

Newbury is now the newest community to be called a "Purple Heart Town" and this is a testament to the commitment as it honors the nation's oldest military medal and those who were awarded it.



Gloucester Drawbridge Height Restriction Through April 30

The Gloucester Drawbridge will continue to be closed for vessel traffic through Saturday, April 30, 2022. Vessels able to pass under the bridge in the closed position will be allowed to do so. More information on this closure can be found in the United States Coast Guard Notice to Mariners. 

For all questions related to the closure please contact: Matt Moorehouse, MBTA Resident Engineer, 617-839-8075 Tim Chase, USCG Boston Waterways Management, 617-447-1620 For more information about the project, and to sign up to receive project updates, please visit the website at For questions or comments related to the project, please email 



Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Fourth Grade Students Will Host A Second Bake Sale For Ukraine

I visited the first bake sale in Newburyport March 13th and I was tremendously impressed with the effort that the kids, families, and neighbors put in. This Sunday from 9:30 to 11:30 AM at 45 Bromfield Street you have another chance to support Ukrainian refugees and get your hands on homemade baked goods and an amazing array of wares from local businesses that are also donating treats and supplies. 


Monday, March 28, 2022

Wilmington Minutemen Installation

The Wilmington Minutemen held their annual Installation of Officers ceremony Sunday. I have always felt true camaraderie with this organization, not only are they keeping alive a tradition that began in March 1774 they are welcoming others to become imbued with the great American spirit that secured our independence and liberty. The Wil­mington Minutemen were at the epicenter of our revolution - they marched and fought to Lexington and Concord in April of 1775 and again they fought the Redcoats at the Battle of Bunker Hill. 

Today, you will find that they are a family-oriented group with people of a wide age range involved - young kids to people senior citizens. Faithfully depicting the times that inspired our nations' founding they are living historians. To find out more about the Wilmington Minutemen or how to join, Call Captain Frank West 978-658-1754.



CODA Meets Oscar

#Gloucester is the featured location for the now Academy Award-winning film for best picture. With so much color, character, and history the community and film deserve the bountiful accolades that have been flowing in. Many local folks were included in the production of the movie and we are all delighted that it won in every category that it was named in.



Friday, March 25, 2022

Ipswich Family YMCA Welcomes Secretary of Veterans’ Services And You

The Ipswich Family YMCA will be hosting a breakfast with Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans’ Services Cheryl Lussier Poppe on Saturday, March 26th, from 9 - 11 AM to honor female veterans. All female veterans and their families will have free access to the Ipswich YMCA over the course of the weekend. 



Thursday, March 17, 2022

A wonderful time was had by all today at the Middleton Council On Aging St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon. 



Haverhill/West Newbury Road Closure on East Main/Bridge Street between River Road and Warf Lane

Over height bridge strike on the Rocks Village Bridge 

HAVERHILL/WEST NEWBURY – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is announcing the closure of East Main/Bridge Street between River Road and Warf Lane in Haverhill due to an over height truck striking the Rocks Village Bridge over the Merrimack River. MassDOT is inspecting the bridge and it will remain closed until the inspection concludes and any necessary steps are implemented to stabilize the structure. More details will be announced regarding the traffic impacts of this incident when they are known. MassDOT encourages drivers to avoid the area and seek alternate routes to minimize delays. 

Those traveling through the area should expect delays and should reduce speed and use caution. For more information on traffic conditions travelers are encouraged to: Dial 511 before heading out onto the roadways and select a route to hear real-time conditions. Visit, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, access to traffic cameras, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions. 

Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions.



Happy Saint Patrick's Day



Saturday, March 12, 2022

Spring Ahead and Plan Ahead For Safety

Daylight savings is observed this Sunday, March 13 - we set our clocks ahead one hour. Your local firefighters recommend that you also install new batteries in your smoke alarms. And, if you haven't done it already, make a plan to install a smoke alarm in every bedroom, near bathrooms and stairwells, and on each floor of your home to help keep you safe. Most home fire deaths are related to non-working smoke alarms. 



Thursday, March 10, 2022

Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute Nets $500,000 State Grant

Congratulations to the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute for being awarded a Workforce Success Grant of $500,000. funded through the state's Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund. If you have followed me here you know that GMGI is quickly becoming a leader in life sciences, pioneering the next generation of advances in workforce training, and expanding our understanding of molecular genomics.



Thursday, March 3, 2022

Supporting Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom

I directed my office today to distribute this press release outlining my bill in support of Ukraine. 

Senator Tarr and Colleagues Initiate Bill To 

Take Financial Action Against Russia 

Invasion of Ukraine Prompts Legislative Push For Economic Sanctions 

Boston- In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), members of the Republican Caucus, and other lawmakers have introduced a bill with bipartisan support that mandates divestment from all Russian investments from public pension funds managed by the state and cuts off access to cash and securities controlled by the Russian Federation or by companies headquartered in Russia within banks subject to oversight by the Commonwealth. In addition, the bill SD 3025, “An Act to Combat Unjust Acts of War by Russia”, authorizes the Governor to end state contracts that would benefit the Russian government or Russian companies. 

“Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attacks have brought nations together and Massachusetts should vigorously pursue options to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the global coalition supporting Ukraine, defending democracy, and bringing an end to Putin’s ability to cause fear, death, and destruction,” said Senator Tarr. “The people of Massachusetts deserve a way to show support for Ukraine’s fight for freedom. This bill sends a clear signal that we will do our part for democracy in the world.”

The legislation provides State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg with the statutory authority that she says is necessary for the state’s public employee retirement funds to sever financial ties with Russia. The Pension Reserves Investment Management (PRIM) manages a portfolio of investments worth $86.9 billion in assets last year.

“Russia’s aggressive and unwarranted military action against the citizens of Ukraine has drawn international condemnation, and cannot go unchallenged,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “By removing all Russian investments from our state pension fund and taking additional steps to ensure that Russia cannot benefit from state contracts or gain access to banking assets in Massachusetts, this bill sends a clear message that the Commonwealth stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and their fight to remain part of a free and sovereign nation.”

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg told a group of 58 lawmakers who requested her action that absent a change in law her ability to act is limited “I do not have the legal authority to act unilaterally to divest PRIT Fund holdings. Divestment requires an act of the Legislature,” she wrote in a letter to lawmakers in response to a request originated by House Minority Leader Brad Jones. “Massachusetts must do our part to stand against the tyranny of Russia and inflict financial consequences for their invasion of Ukraine. I’m sponsoring this legislation to achieve this result, and by doing so, standing in solidarity with the Ukrainian people to ensure that freedom prevails.” said Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton.

“Our Commonwealth should use the tools at our disposal to take action and show the Ukrainian people that we stand with them,” said State Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth). “My expectation is that we set the example and more states will join us in this effort to show Russia that senseless acts will not go unpunished.”

Senator Walter F. Timilty, a cosponsor of the bill has also filed legislation to cut off pension investments. "We look forward to a swift public hearing on my bill, SD 3013, and others like it, and will solicit information from the PRIM board on the extent of Commonwealth's current holdings in companies conducting business operations in Russia. In addition to identifying our current investments, and calling for immediate divestment, I believe it is crucial that we send a message to the global community that this Commonwealth stands against Russia's actions in the Ukraine. We have the opportunity in Massachusetts to lead and to codify in statute, that our investments, will be consistent with our values," said Senator Timilty (D-Milton).

Major components of the bill include those which:

  •  Divest pension funds from investments in Russia and Russian companies, 
  • Terminate state contracts that benefit Russia, 
  • Prevent access by Russia and Russian companies to assets in Massachusetts financial institutions.

The Governor, Secretary of State and the Division of Banks, in addition to the Treasurer, would be authorized to take action to cut off cash and securities owned or controlled by Russian assets under the bill. Legislative sponsors of the new bill urge swift action to help bring an end to the international crisis.