A tremendous pleasure to have students from Manchester Essex Regional Middle School come to the State House today. Governor Maura Healey and I greeted the group at the Grand Staircase and then the Governor invited everyone to her office. She answered questions, talked about her office and the work that she does and she invited me to share the story of how we have been working together to make Salisbury Beach accessible to the public. I then brought the students onto the State House balcony that connects the Governor's office with the Senate Chamber. I welcomed each student to the Rostrum so that they could look out over the Senate Chamber while holding the gavel.
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Tuesday, May 30, 2023
I was truly honored to be able to participate in Memorial Day Services that were held in the district I represent. Sunday's Veterans Memorial Breakfast hosted by Hamilton, Massachusetts’ American Legion: Post 194 was well attended at Patton Hall with veterans, their families, friends, and local officials.
Monday, May 29, 2023
From Cape Ann to Cape Cod, from the Berkshires to Boston, we thank our veterans for their service and we honor those who have passed. I hope that you have a chance to attend a parade or ceremony in honor of the memories of those who lost their lives fighting for liberty and freedom for each of our nation's citizens.
Friday, May 26, 2023
I talked today with Ted Wayman from WCVB -TV Channel 5 about the re-opening of important access points to Salisbury Beach. Chairing the Merrimack River Beach Alliance means working hard to get good results and today is a very good day - thanks to the amazing partnerships with Governor Maura Healey, the Massachusetts DCR, State Representative Dawne Shand, the Town of Salisbury, and great community leaders and residents.
DCR released this statement to officially announce the restoration of two access points:
“Salisbury Beach is an economic driver for the North Shore region, and we are thrilled to be restoring access to this beautiful beach for beachgoers today at access points 9 and 10 – right in time for the Memorial Day Weekend. This is the result of the hard work of our incredible DCR crews and a true partnership between us, the Town, community members – including the Merrimack River Beach Alliance, Senator Tarr, and Rep Shand, who were all committed to making this happen as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible. DCR is committed to continuing this partnership with local leaders as we work to support the thousands of visitors who come to the reservation each year.” - DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Temporary Navigable Channel Impacts at Gillis Drawbridge Drawbridge closed for use by some large vessels from Tuesday, May 30 to Friday, June 2
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing repair operations to the Gillis Bridge Drawbridge in Newburyport and Salisbury, which will require a closure of the drawbridge to some marine traffic from Tuesday, May 30 to Friday, June 2. The navigable channel will remain open only to marine vessels that can safely pass under the bridge while the bridge is in the closed position. The drawbridge will remain open to roadway, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic during this time, but short-term lane closures may be necessary between May 30 and June 2. All scheduled work is weather dependent and subject to change without notice.
This work is part of an ongoing $2.6 million district-wide drawbridge operations and repair contract. For more information on traffic conditions, travelers are encouraged to:
• Download the Mass511 mobile app or visit www.mass511.com to view live cameras, travel times, real-time traffic conditions, and project information before setting out on the road. Users can subscribe to receive text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
• Dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions.
• Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions.
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Today, I took a stand for increased transparency and accountability in government in advocating for my budget amendment, 116, Quasi-public Agencies. This budget amendment would require quasi-public agencies to publicly disclose their payroll data, a practice that many state agencies already provide. My amendment would eliminate an "area of secrecy" and bring much-needed transparency to government operations.
The proposal aimed to mandate quasi-public agencies submit their payrolls for public posting on the state comptroller's CTHRU website, enhancing access to vital spending data. This has been an ongoing concern. Back in 2010, a report by the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) highlighted the need for greater openness in the spending data of 42 quasi-public agencies. Currently, 19 of these agencies voluntarily participate in the state's "open checkbook" website, CTHRU, although some have not provided updated data in years. Unfortunately, the Senate rejected the amendment through a voice vote, missing an opportunity to advance transparency in government operations.
Monday, May 22, 2023
I think back to inauguration day in the Senate chamber when so many aspirational things were put forward I remember how I called to the Senate's attention that we are living in a unique time when we see relative signs of prosperity, we see state revenue for the most part has been increasing, we see a time when economic indicators for the most part have been positive. I continue to raise the vital need for structural and permanent tax cuts and reforms.
And yet, we all feel the uncertainty of the moment. Issues with employers who can't find enough employees, the continuing burden of inflation, and yet we look at the situation that this really gives us the sense we may be in for a turn of events that is not as favorable as the ones I just cited. We need to engage in a balancing of the aspirational goals we share for so many things, with a need to be prepared and acknowledge the difficulties that hopefully we will not face, but that we may face.
The Senate's Committee on Ways and Means has proposed a budget bill, the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2024, of $55.8 billion. Senate members have offered 1,049 amendments to that proposal and debate on those amendments will begin tomorrow. You can read the bill and the amendments here: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/193/S3 Watch the debate in real-time by clicking here: https://malegislature.gov/Events/Sessions/Detail/4411
Sunday, May 21, 2023
Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening event at 123 Main Street in the newly redecorated Visitor’s Center with the Gloucester, Massachusettsr 400+ team and Mayor Greg Verga. Cape Ann Savings Bank donated the office space for the Gloucester 400+ events and Visitors Center.