Dear Friends,
 
Hard to believe that 2019 has come to an end. I hope that you have had time this holiday season to enjoy being with family and friends and that you enter 2020 refreshed and ready for the new year! 
 
It has been a busy fall and early winter at the State House with many hearings, including one for Public Health in Gardner Auditorium on two bills filed on vaccinations that started at 1pm and concluded at 1:15am, with another hearing beginning just a few hours later at 10am for Ways and Means FY21 consensus revenue.


Team Changes
There are many talented and hard-working staff at the State House and I have been blessed to work with an amazing one for almost 3 years. At the end of October, Westborough native Jessica Beliveau, who served as my Legislative Director, left my office to become Deputy Director of Communications at MassDevelopment.   Jessica was an extremely articulate,  hard-working and empathetic staff member who was thoroughly devoted to the residents of  Shrewsbury a nd Westborough. Jessica was also critical in launching the first in the nation Food System Caucus and my fellow co-chairs of the caucus, Reps. Dan Donahue and Paul Schmid and Senators Jo Comerford, Anne Gobi and Eric Lesser and I acknowledged her with a citation, as did Senator Mike Moore for her team role in working together with the wonderful staff in his office. 


As Jessica transitioned to her exciting new role, I welcomed  Anna Darrow as my new Legislative Aide. Anna was born and raised in Burlington, Vermont and graduated from Trinity College in May 2019. At Trinity, Anna majored in Political Science and was a founding member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, which raised awareness on campus and worked with local women's shelters in Hartford to address domestic violence and aide in its prevention.   As a Political Science major, Anna interned at the Connecticut State House and had recently concluded a summer internship at the Massachusetts State House following her May graduation. As the descendant of a 100-year old family run orchard in Vermont, Anna is personally aware of the problems small farms face and is looking forward to working closely with the Food System Caucus.  Anna's passion for public service and appreciation of the critical role she will play in my office will make her an excellent partner in working to advocate for all residents of the 11thWorcester District. 


Let Your Spirit Protect
The annual community fundraiser we host to kick-off the Spirit of Shrewsbury week-end raised over $12,000 to donate to this year's beneficiary, Shrewsbury Coalition for Addiction Prevention and Education (SCAPE). I am so grateful to all the sponsors, donors and host committee members that helped us raise these critical funds and to Ski Ward for once again hosting our event!


On the Record
I enjoyed two more opportunities to be the Republican analyst on On the Record in October and December. You can find links to the two episodes here and here.


Women in Government Conference
In November I traveled with several of my legislative colleagues to Washington DC for the Women in Government State Directors and Annual Healthcare and Technology Summit.  As the Ranking Minority House member of the Joint Committee on Public Health I find these forums to be very informative on many of the pressing public health policy issues facing the Massachusetts legislature. As a State Director for WIG, I was pleased to facilitate the session on "Sepsis" which highlighted the hugely impactful loss of life and high cost of care sepsis extols, with an update on what states are doing to reduce the prevalence of it.

Awards and Recognition
 
Massachusetts Public Health Association Legislative Leadership Award
I was  very honored to receive the 2019 Massachusetts Public Health Association Legislative Leadership Award, along with my colleague Representative Denise Garlick, in recognition of our work to promote a more effective, efficient and equitable local public health system. 
 
Project 351 Movement Makers 
Project 351 Ambassadors are 8th graders chosen by their principals in each city and town in the Commonwealth for a year of inspiring service. In September Amazing Project 351 celebrated Movement Makers - Women Leading Change. I am proud to have served as the first Project 351 Legislative Service Hero and named a Movement Maker. I got to spend the morning with Madelyn Rich, a senior at Burncoat High School in Worcester, who is among the next generation of remarkable young leaders that Project 351 has unleashed for positive change in the world. We also heard a very special performance of John Lennon's song Imagine sung by Jane Richard, a 2020 8th grade Ambassador and sister of Martin Richard, whose life was tragically lost in the Marathon bombings.


RTA Distinguished Leadership Award
I was very honored to receive the Distinguished Leadership Award at the Massachusetts Regional Transit Authority Fall Conference, along with my colleagues Senator Harriette Chandler and Representative Sarah Peake, for our work on the RTA Task Force  in 2018-2019 . A strong public transportation network is critical for our Commonwealth and RTAs are an integral part .
 
Perfect Voting Record
With the end of formal session for 2019 in November, I was proud to have maintained a 100% voting record for the first half of the 2019-2020 legislative session.
 
Beacon Hill Update

Manufacturer of the Year Award
Senator Mike Moore and I had the opportunity to tour Shrewsbury based C-2 Innovations earlier this year and see the amphibious crawlers they construct that collect wet and dry data to support defense applications, environmental studies, surveys and dredging. These crawlers are able to access and perform in conditions that are perilous for divers. This fall I nominated C-2 for an Outstanding Leadership Skills Award and was so pleased to join Arnis Mangolds, President of C-2 Innovations at the State House where he received his award!


Latinx Excellence Award
The Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus host an awards ceremony during National Hispanic Heritage Month and I was proud to nominate Jason Molina for his work to strengthen Shrewsbury! Jason has undertaken many volunteer efforts in our community - managing the Beal ballot committee, serving as a Town Meeting Member, being an environmental activist, a leader in scouting and a myriad of other activities. I greatly enjoyed showing Jason and his wonderful son Daniel around the State House. Congratulations, Jason! 


Visitors to the State House
I love to welcome visitors to the State House. In September, we had Saint John's Pioneers Carson Domey, Josh Mogensen and Bryce Lajoie visit on a day off from classes. We also welcomed two Shrewsbury Girl Scout Troops, 11005 and 11087, to tour the State House and hear about how state government works. Earlier this fall, Jessica along with staff members from Reps. Dykema and Gregoire's offices,  met with Westborough High School students participating in the Global Climate Strike. This passionate and engaged group traveled to the State House via the commuter rail to speak about the importance of addressing climate change and to advocate for a greener, cleaner and healthier environment for their generation and future generations. The students also learned about the General Court's legislative process and discussed the value of personal advocacy efforts. I applaud these student's leadership and civic engagement!


Briefings & Legislative Forums
 
Food System Caucus
The Food System Caucus, of which I am a co-chair, had several events in September, Hunger Action Month. We hosted a briefing on the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), an innovative program critical to helping alleviate food insecurity, which has been extraordinarily successful since its beginning in April 2017. So many people receiving SNAP benefits, particularly seniors, disabled individuals and children, have had access to fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables and our local farmers have benefitted from an expanded customer base allowing for increased sales at a time when there are enormous market pressures making it very difficult for farmers to remain viable. I joined colleagues at the Beaver Brook Farmers Market, the oldest farmers market in Worcester operating for 34 years, to celebrate the Healthy Incentives Program and highlight the over $9 million invested in 2 ½ years since the program began. 


The Food System Caucus also participated in a Hunger Awareness Rally outside the State House to draw attention to the one in nine Massachusetts residents who are food insecure. Senator Jo Comerford and I then testified on legislation we filed, H1475/S869 An Act encouraging the donation of food to persons in need, which would extend civil liability protections to individuals and businesses who donate food and offer tax deductions to farmers to encourage more food donations of excess crops they cannot sell.


In October, I had the opportunity to be part of a panel at a forum on the Massachusetts Food System held at The Sudbury Foundation and on October 16th, World Food Day, the Boston Globe published an opinion piece submitted by my fellow Food System Caucus co-chairs and I about the Healthy Incentives Program, which you can read  here .
 
Realtors Association Briefing
The Realtors Association held their 2019 Legislative Breakfast in Sturbridge for Central Massachusetts legislators. It was a terrific opportunity to discuss realtor's legislative priorities and meet with local realtors, including Kathy McSweeney who invited me to the annual event.
 
I-90 Allston Multimodal Project 
In my role representing the Central MA Caucus on the Allston Multimodal Project Task Force, I drafted a seven-page letter to the Federal Highway Administration and the MA Department of Transportation as part of the  National Environmental Policy Act Scoping Report for the Project.
 
The letter,  which 44 of my colleagues representing MetroWest and Central MA communities signed onto,  formally expresses our serious concerns regarding the Project's decade-long impact on commuters. With the significant existing congestion on the Mass Pike and with a 46% ridership increase between 2012-2018 on the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail Line that is currently constrained by a lack of parking and capacity during peak service, the impact of anticipated lane closures and the potential for reduction to a single track would be detrimental. The letter requests actual mitigation commitments that can and will be acted upon to minimize the negative impacts to commuters, stressing that the effort to mitigate the transportation challenges of commuters must be done with equal commitment to the success of the overall project.  
 
Our comments are based in our fundamental belief that the massive and complex I-90 Allston Multimodal Project cannot be successfully planned or constructed unless a strategic review and mitigation plan is adopted and implemented that prioritizes, plans, and funds mitigation efforts that significantly lessen the impact the Project will have for a decade on the thousands of daily commuters from the regions west of Boston. The letter addresses 5 key areas of concern and requests, including:
 

1.     Planning and Communication 

  • A full, detailed mitigation plan that encompasses all efforts should be developed with input from and review by the delegation and key stakeholders as soon as possible. 
  • Develop and implement a two-way communication channel with the Central MA and MetroWest delegation so that legislators are fully aware of project developments that impact their constituents.
  • Accelerate the I-495/I-90 Interchange Project to reduce overlap with the Allston Multimodal Project in order to minimize the amount of time commuters are navigating massive construction projects and associated delays.
  • Ensure that there are not simultaneous reductions in lanes on the Mass Pike and a reduction to a single rail track. 

2.     Reduce Congestion/Travel Time

  • Identify and enhance Park-and-Ride service on the Mass Pike.
  • Provide bus and shuttle service on the Mass Pike.
  • Engage the business community to offer flexible scheduling and work at home options.
  • Incentivize public transportation and invest in real-time information sharing.
  • Engage in scenario planning to determine which main, secondary and side roads in communities off the Mass Pike will be most impacted by drivers using apps such as Waze when traffic is congested.
  • Accelerate programmed work and funding for raised platforms at train stations.

3.     Capacity to increase ridership on the Framingham/Worcester

Line 

  • A minimum of 9-coach, double stack sets on all peak trains. 
  • Investigate feasibility of additional peak service. 
  • Expand parking at commuter rail stations. 

4.     Reliability of Service on Framingham/Worcester Line 

  • Accelerate rolling stock and coach procurements and upgrades.
  • Store a secondary train set to call into service in cases when primary sets malfunction on the line.
  • Schedule for assessing and upgrading all signals and switches.

5.     Frequency

  • Fund and complete new center high platform at Union Station.
  • MBTA must work with municipalities to identify near-term solutions for at-grade crossings.
  • Release the detailed feasibility study of the 3rd track between Framingham and Newton and in MetroWest.
Construction for the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project, which involves replacing the viaduct, straightening of I-90 in Allston, building of West Station and making improvements to multimodal transportation, is anticipated to begin in late 2022.  More information on the Project can be found here.
 
Legislative Update

FY20 State Budget
As I am sure you heard on the news, the House and Senate leadership failed to reach a timely agreement on a supplemental budget to officially close the books on Fiscal Year 2019, which ended on June 30. Although the state Comptroller is required to file a Statutory Basis Financial Report each year by October 31, the Legislature did not finalize this year's closeout budget until well past the deadline, on December 12. Between 1994 and 2005, the Legislature routinely completed closeout budgets in August or September, but from 2006 to 2018, the majority of spending plans were not finalized until October. Prior to this year, the latest date on which the House and Senate had enacted a closeout budget was on November 2, which occurred in both 2015 and 2017.
 
Due to the weeks-long delay in finalizing a budget, the state lost out on more than $1 million in interest while hundreds of millions of dollars in financial obligations went unpaid, including $296 million in MassHealth fee-for-service payments and $6.9 million for snow and ice removal. The delay also held up several critical funding initiatives, including money set aside to help expedite ongoing repairs and infrastructure improvements at the MBTA, as well as $30 million to assist underperforming school districts and $8.4 million for the testing and treatment of water supplies contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). This inability to close out our books in a timely manner is simply unacceptable.
 
Legislation
We are at the midway point of the 2019-2020 legislative session. Since the 191st General Court convened on January 2, the House has passed some significant legislation I have been proud to support. Unfortunately, the Legislature has also voted to advance a "Millionaires Tax" proposal, ostensibly to raise money for education and transportation, without including sufficient safeguards to ensure the new revenues will, in fact, be used to increase funding in these two areas.  Under the proposed Constitutional amendment - which requires a second vote of the Legislature during the 2021-2022 session before it can advance to the November 2022 ballot - the state would assess an additional surtax of 4% on income in excess of $1 million, beginning January 1, 2023. Meeting in a joint Constitutional Convention on June 12, the House and Senate rejected an amendment I supported that would have stipulated that any revenues generated by the surtax must be used "in addition to and not in lieu of funds" that are already being appropriated for education and transportation.
 
The "Millionaires Tax" proposal amounts to a graduated income tax that would create a two-tiered tax system in the Commonwealth and the voters of Massachusetts have rejected five previous graduated income tax ballot initiatives between 1962 and 1994, defeating the most recent proposal by a margin of more than 2-1.
 
The following is a brief overview of some of the major legislative initiatives taken up by the House this year:
 

1.    Education Reform (Chapter 132 of the Acts of 2019)On November 20, the House finalized a comprehensive education reform bill to increase Chapter 70 education aid to cities and towns by $1.5 billion over the next seven years. The bill also establishes strong accountability standards by requiring school districts to develop 3-year plans to close student achievement gaps and to file annual progress reports beginning in 2020 with the Commissioner of Education, who will have the power to review these plans and to require amendments if needed.

 
The Student Opportunity Act, which was signed into law on November 26, will help to ensure that all Massachusetts students have access to a quality education, regardless of where they live. The new law represents the first major overhaul of the state's education funding formula since the passage of the landmark 1993 Education Reform Act. The new law incorporates the 2015 recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission by revising the education funding formula to take into account the needs of English language learners, low-income students, special education programming, and the municipal costs associated with providing employee and retiree health care benefits. It also requires the Legislature to convene the Commission at least once every 10 years to review how the foundation budget is calculated and to recommend any changes as needed.
 
Joining me the night the House passed the historic legislation was former State Representative of the 11th Worcester District and MA Teachers Association member Roberta Goldman.

 
2.     Distracted Driving (Chapter 122 of the Acts of 2019)  Beginning in February of 2020, Massachusetts drivers will no longer be able to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle unless it is being used in hands-free mode. The hands-free driving law establishes fines of $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense, and $500 for a third and all subsequent offenses, but allows police to issue a warning instead of a fine for first-time offenses until March 31, 2020. Second and subsequent offenders will be required to complete a distracted driving program approved by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) that encourages changes in driver behavior, while three-time offenders will face an insurance surcharge in addition to the fine.
 
3.     Children's Health and Wellness (Chapter 124 of the Acts of 2019) In July, the House took steps to expand health care access for children and prevent disruptions in coverage by passing House Bill 4210, An Act relative to children's health and wellness. The bill which was signed into law on November 26, will ensure that foster children and children in the custody of the Department of Children and Families will continue to receive uninterrupted MassHealth coverage until they turn 26. The new law also requires insurance carriers to establish electronic health care provider directories and to update them on a monthly basis so consumers can more easily access information on providers and plans. All health insurance carriers must be in compliance by October 1, 2020.
 
A provision included in the new law requires a pilot program of three regional childhood behavioral health centers of excellence. These health centers will provide comprehensive information on behavioral health resources to families, clinicians, early education providers, and school districts. Under the new law, the Health Policy Commission, EOHHS, the Department of Public Health, and the Center for Health Information Analysis will conduct an analysis focusing on children with medically complex health issues that will look at coverage, access to services, medical resources utilized, and costs.

4.    Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products (Chapter 133 of the Acts of 2019)  House Bill 4183, An Act modernizing tobacco control, calls for regulating e-cigarettes and  vaping products in a manner similar to tobacco. It imposes a 75% excise tax on the wholesale price of electronic cigarettes, vaping pens, and other similar devices, effective June 1, 2020. In addition to creating a formal licensing process for the manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of electronic nicotine delivery systems, the bill sets financial penalties for the sale, purchase and possession of these products by or from anyone other than a licensed vendor. House Bill 4183 also restricts the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol, by limiting their use to smoking bars for customers who are 21 or older, beginning June 1, 2020. The bill also requires all private and public health insurance carriers in Massachusetts to cover the cost of tobacco cessation devices or services, without cost sharing, when recommended by a physician. 
 
A co-sponsor and strong supporter of this bill, I spoke on the House floor and was on hand with my daughter Caitlin when Governor Baker signed this generational impact legislation into law on November 27th.  For far too long the tobacco industry and for the last 5 years the vaping/e-cigarette industry, which are now largely one and the same, have targeted our youth to create life-long users without regard for the detrimental addictive and life-ending impacts of these products. There are 6 youth for every 1 adult e-cigarette user and the 8,000 flavors offered directly target youth. I am grateful to Rep. Danielle Gregoire, my colleague and the House sponsor, for her work to champion this bill. I wore the same dress to the bill signing that I wore to my father-in-law's funeral one year earlier - a life-long smoker who succumbed to one of the cancers most highly associated with smoking.
 

5.    College Closures (Chapter 113 of the Acts of 2019)Following a series of high-profile college closures and mergers, the House took steps to protect students attending financially struggling colleges. Signed into law on November 14, An Act to support improved financial stability in higher education gives the Board of Higher Education a greater oversight role in monitoring the financial well-being of the state's colleges and universities. It also requires schools at risk of imminent closure to prepare contingency plans to notify students and pending applicants of their options. These changes will ensure that students have advance notification if the school they are attending or applying to is facing potential closure so they can make informed decisions to complete their degree.

 

6.    Climate Change On July 24, I voted to support legislation that would provide over $1.3 billion in state grants for cities and towns to invest in climate change adaptation and infrastructure improvements. An Act relative to GreenWorks establishes a GreenWorks Infrastructure Program in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, while authorizing $1 billion in bond funding to assist communities with climate change resiliency issues. Beginning in 2020, grants will be made available to cities and towns for projects located on public lands or a public right-of-way that improve climate adaption and resiliency, mitigate climate change impacts, reduce carbon emissions, and promote energy efficiency. The GreenWorks bill is currently under review by the Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets.

 

7.    Veterans' Health Issues The House has proposed a continuing education program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School to help train higher education counselors to address deployment-related health conditions among Massachusetts veterans, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Engrossed by the House on November 6, House Bill 4177 would require clinical and non-clinical counselors at Massachusetts' public colleges and universities to complete the continuing education program, including staff and faculty in admissions offices, counseling centers, health services and academic advising centers. In addition to receiving training to help recognize the symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts, substance use disorders, PTSD and other deployment-related health conditions, counselors will also receive information on the resources available for veterans and service members and how to provide referrals for treatment.

 
8.     Women's Rights History Trail  On September 18, the House unanimously passed legislation that I co-filed with my two Westborough colleagues Representatives Carolyn Dykema and Danielle Gregoire to establish a Women's Rights History Trail to promote education and awareness of the struggle for women's rights in Massachusetts.  The legislation, written about  here  by Commonwealth Magazine, would promote the important role that many women have played in shaping our Commonwealth and nation's history and the struggle for women's suffrage and women's rights. This legislation was filed last session by our late colleague Rep. GailAnne Cariddi and we are excited to help move this legislation forward and fulfill her vision, shared by so many. The legislation is currently pending in Senate Ways and Means and you can read more here.


9.    Deborah Sampson Memorial CommissionOn November 6, the House approved the creation of a special commission to recommend a suitable memorial at the State House to honor Deborah Sampson, a Plympton resident who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Sampson enlisted in the 4th Massachusetts Regiment in 1782 under the name of "Robert Shurtleff," and holds the distinction of being the only woman to earn a full military pension for participation in the Continental Army. A childhood role model of mine, establishing a permanent memorial for Sampson will help to highlight the important role women have played in our nation's founding and their contributions throughout our country's history. The bill is currently pending in the Senate.
 

10.    Breakfast After the BellThis legislation expands access to school breakfast in low-income communities to help ensure students are prepared to learn in school. House Bill 4218, An Act regarding breakfast after the bell, would require public schools to offer all students a school breakfast after the beginning of the instructional day if at least 60% of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the federal National School Lunch Program. Engrossed by the House of Representatives on November 20, the Breakfast After the Bell bill allows schools to determine the breakfast service model that best suits its students' needs, and to consult with non-profit organizations with experience addressing hunger and food security issues and identifying best practices for improving student access to school breakfast. H. 4218 is currently pending before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

 

11.    Campaign Finance Reform (Chapter 123 of the Acts of 2019)This major campaign finance reform bill requires legislative and mayoral candidates to file more frequent reports on their fundraising and spending activities, using third-party verification to ensure accuracy and transparency. Signed by Governor Baker on November 26, the new law requires House, Senate and mayoral candidates in communities with a population of less than 65,000 to utilize a depository bank reporting system and the bank will be required to file monthly disclosure reports. Candidates for statewide and county offices, as well as mayors and city council candidates in cities with a population of 65,000 or more, already use a depository system. The new law also establishes a special commission to study the feasibility of allowing campaign funds to be used for family and child-care services, which could encourage more young mothers to run for elected office. The commission is due to submit its findings and recommendations by June 1, 2020.

 
Speaking Opportunities
 
11th Orphan and Rare Disease Global Congress
I was grateful for the opportunity to speak at the 11th Orphan and Rare Disease Global Congress about legislation that Representative Joe McKenna and I filed, H.1934 An Act to create a Massachusetts Rare Disease Advisory Council.  I was pleased to see one of our local employers Charles River Labs attending and committing to help advocate for passage of this legislation. 

Representative McKenna and I also had the opportunity to talk about our legislation and why it is so important to the challenge of finding new treatments and cures for the over 7,000 rare diseases during a show with Rare New England, a strong supporter of our efforts. You can watch it here.
 
Network of Enlightened Women at Boston College 
The Boston College chapter of NeW invited me to speak to the membership about my experience as a State Representative and as a member of the MA Caucus of Women Legislators and the national Women in Government Foundation. It was wonderful to spend time with these engaged and knowledgeable young women!
 
3rd Annual MA Food System Forum 
The MA Food System Collaborative held their 3rd annual MA Food System Forum at Holy Cross with a packed crowd of nearly 300 attendees. I spoke during lunch about the work of the first in the nation legislative Food System Caucus we formed last January. Winton Pitcoff, Director of the Collaborative, had urged myself and my fellow co-chairs Representatives Daniel Donahue and Paul A. Schmid and Senators Jo Comerford, Anne Gobi and Eric Lesser to start the caucus last December, and Rep. Donahue and I presented Winton with a citation on behalf of the co-chairs acknowledging Winton's incredible advocacy work and role in the caucus formation!
 

Nationwide Vigil to End Gun Violence
On December 13th I attended the Vigil organized by Moms Demand Action held at UMass Medical School to remember the 20 beautiful young souls and their brave educators whose lives were ended by gun violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School 7 years ago, as well as all victims of gun violence, including the many who die from self-inflicted gun shots. I was honored to speak and offer my hope that we can continue to find ways to reduce gun violence while also protecting constitutional rights.
 
Local Grants/Awards

Shrewsbury Receives $12,500 Clean-Energy Grant
The state Department of Energy Resources' Municipal Energy Technical Assistance grants are awarded to Green Communities, and Shrewsbury will use the grant to develop procurement documents for energy-efficiency measures at Parker Road Preschool.
 
Shrewsbury and Westborough Fire Departments Receive Grants
The Baker-Polito Administration awarded Westborough $2,484 and Shrewsbury $2,500 for protective gear, and Shrewsbury also received another $5,000 for Washer-Extractor Equipment to clean structural gear after exposure to smoke and other toxic chemicals.
 
Westborough Successful in $137K Fuel-Conversion Request
The town of Westborough will receive a $137,451 grant to purchase two diesel dump trucks that are awarded by the Baker-Polito Administration and funded as part of the Volkswagen Settlement Open Solicitation Initiative. 
 
Community Events, Town Celebrations & Recognitions

Community Celebration of the SHS Athletic Complex
Despite the heavy rain, the dedication ceremony of the new turf field and renovations to the athletic complex were joyous! Congratulations to all the folks who worked so hard to raise the funds under the leadership of Jim and Paula Buonomo, Debra Mooney, Michelle Biscotti and Kathleen Keohane!  The generous donations of Central One Federal Credit Union, David J. Adam's Family, Al's Oil Service/the Flynn family and Shrewsbury Youth Soccer were supported by so many others who shared the same commitment to  significantly improving our towns athletic and recreational facilities.
 
Spirit of Shrewsbury
The month of September is always fun in Shrewsbury as the Spirit of celebrating our community commences with many events. I always enjoy attending the Lake Quinsigamond Day and judging the decorated boat contest. This year's Grand Marshal of the Spirit of Shrewsbury was Michael Perna, Jr., a life-long resident and retired MA Air National Guard member who serves the Commonwealth as Chief of Military Records and Shrewsbury as Town Historian. Michael was honored at the Grand Marshal dinner where I presented him a citation honoring his service. Capping off the activities is the Expo at Oak Middle School and the parade - it is always fun to see so many friends and neighbors celebrating the spirit of what makes our community such a special place to live!


New India Center Groundbreaking Ceremony
I joined many fellow members and guests of the India Society of Worcester for the "Bhoomi Puja" groundbreaking for the significant expansion at the India Center which will become one of the most distinctive Indian Community Centers in the country. It was a beautiful ceremony and an exciting day for ISW!


Rededication of the Shrewsbury Civil War Monument
On the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War Monument, the Shrewsbury Historic District Commission hosted a moving ceremony to remember the twenty-nine residents who gave their lives to keep our Union intact, and whose names are inscribed on the monument. The equivalent measure based on our town's population today would be an unfathomable 700 men and women lost. I was honored to speak at the rededication and to be a part of reflecting on the lives lost from our community. 


Westborough Arts in Common
It was a gorgeous fall day for the festival and Representative Carolyn Dykema and I enjoyed shopping all the amazing arts and crafts, listening to the wonderful performances and visiting with Westborough friends including the Historical Society!

 

Firefighter of the Year Awards

Amidst the grief of the loss of Worcester Firefighter Jason Menard, the incredibly moving statewide 30th Annual Firefighter of the Year Awards were held at the end of November.  Westborough Fire Department Captain Daniel Hehir was awarded an Excellence in Leadership Award for his work in providing Critical Incident Stress Management Services to public safety personnel across the state, and Firefighters Barry Sullivan and Carl Roche were given a Citation for Meritorious Conduct for their brave rescue on Mill Pond. Shrewsbury resident and Worcester Firefighter Christopher Roy was awarded, posthumously, a Medal of Honor, accepted by his daughter Ava and family members. All firefighters knowingly put themselves in harm's way in order to protect and save all others, and our Shrewsbury and Westborough Fire Departments are second to none. 

 


Local Events and Initiatives

Spending time in Shrewsbury and Westborough supporting local initiatives, attending events and speaking on issues important to our community are the most rewarding aspects of being State Representative. Here is a sampling of initiatives and events from the last few months.
  • Enjoyed a beautiful afternoon at the Saint Mary's Family Festival - always a wonderful event thanks to the hard work of so many volunteers!
  • Senator Moore and I attended the Corridor 9/495 Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony for Mass Effect Fitness and Training in Shrewsbury. Congratulations to the co-owners Shawn Sweeney and Colin Houghton!

  • On 9/11, I joined the Shrewsbury Fire Department for their Remembrance Service in memory of all the brave firefighters who were lost in duty rescuing victims of the heinous attack on America. 
  • Saint John's High School Principal Alex Zequeira invited me to join him and members of the SJ community at the annual Central MA Community Out of Darkness Walk where 1,000 people walked to support efforts to end suicide through advocacy and mental health education and awareness. 
  • Jim and I had a great time attending the Blues Barn Bash that benefitted the Westborough Police Foundation!
  • The UMass Medical School and the VA of Central/Western Massachusetts Healthcare System held an event announcing the construction of a new outpatient clinic to be located on the UMass Medical School Campus in Worcester - exciting news that will offer veterans new health care access closer to home in central MA. 

  • Briefed the Shrewsbury School Committee on education legislation and funding pending in the legislature and the advocacy work I have undertaken relative to education and unfunded mandates at the State House.
  • In September I went to the opening celebration of the Hospital for Behavioral Medicine in Worcester, a 120-bed psychiatric facility with inpatient, day and outpatient services.
  • Celebrated the retirements of Shrewsbury's Deputy Fire Chief Bruce "Chuck" Card, an amazing service record of 47 years, and Firefighter David Hodgerney as he retired after 32 years selflessly serving our community.  

  • Started my workday at Coffee with A Cop at Dunkin Donuts on Maple Avenue in Shrewsbury to support the Pink Patch Project benefitting the 15-40 Connection. Thank you to Shrewsbury Police Department Patrol Officer's Union for your charitable work!

  • Westborough Connects hosted an impactful panel presentation on vaping and e-cigarettes titled "Smoke & Mirrors" at the Mill Pond School.
  • The Boroughs Loop Trail had a "vine-cutting" ceremony to officially open the 33-mile trail that links existing trail systems in Marlborough, Northborough, Westborough and Southborough!
  • Former Selectmen Lydia Goldblatt presented a citation to the Knights of Columbus on behalf of the Westborough delegation, acknowledging their 125th Anniversary and also celebrating the 100th birthday of their eldest and longest serving member Fred Brown!
  • The Westborough rotary gained another local small business with Shear Transformation, owned by Pauline Robertson opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony organized by the Corridor 9/495 Regional Chamber of Commerce.

  • Served on the host committee for the Net of Compassion fundraiser to support the non-profit who serves the homeless and indigent in Worcester with love and compassion.
  • Honored our veterans on Veterans Day in Shrewsbury and Westborough- proud to represent two communities who gratefully acknowledge the selfless service of our military members.
  • Rep. Dykema and I heard a presentation from the Westborough First LEGO League "Beastly Building Boys" team of Sahil, Soham, Eshaan, Sushant and Aryan on the research project they plan to present at competition to help people who are homeless in a community. It was wonderful to meet with such civic minded, smart and respectful young men!

  • Long-time Shrewsbury Council on Aging Director Sharon Yager retired in November and many attended her party where we wished her well in her new chapter of life!
  • Senator Moore and I enjoyed hosting with our municipal colleagues and staff members our annual Thanksgiving Luncheon and Holiday Luncheon, both held at the Shrewsbury Senior Center. Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School once again cooked a delicious holiday lunch and the Assabet Honors Chorus entertained all with their beautiful voices!

  • On National Adoption Day 48 children were legally adopted into 35 families at the Worcester Courthouse, a moving day filled with love and excitement for so many! 
  • Grateful to see so many friends and neighbors at the Shrewsbury Turkey Trot and loved to watch my own turkey Patrick cross the finish line, as well as the supreme turkey Jim Heald! I am proud to be a sponsor of both the Shrewsbury and Westborough Turkey Trots!

  • Stopped by to drop off toys to help the Shrewsbury Police Department fill the wagon and it was great to see the Sherwood Middle School Community Outreach Committee helping out Santa as well!
  • The Westborough Women's Club Holiday House Tour was a wonderful way to celebrate the season - I loved touring the beautifully decorated homes and seeing so many friends at the same time!
  • I toured the New England Center for Children in Southborough with legislative colleagues to learn more about their comprehensive services for individuals with autism, a truly amazing place.  

  • The Shrewsbury Town Center Association hosted their first Yuletide Market and it was an amazing success! Wonderful evening on the Common with many community members young and old enjoying the inaugural event!
  • Jim and I attended the menorah lighting hosted by Rabbi Green at the Shrewsbury Town Common on the beautiful first night of Hanukkah. 
  • The Shrewsbury Town Hall Annual Holiday Brunch was a great way to start Christmas Eve day!
Events Coming Up!
  • Dr. Ruth Potee - on Thursday, March 5th at 6:30pm at the Shrewsbury High School auditorium Dr. Ruth Potee will present on adolescent brain development and its impact on teen risk taking, including alcohol, vaping and substance abuse. All are welcome to this free event, and parents and high school and middle school students are encouraged to attend.  This is the second time in two years that I am sponsoring and Shrewsbury Coalition for Addiction Prevention and Education (SCAPE) is hosting Dr. Potee in Shrewsbury - she is an impactful and knowledgeable presenter you will not want to miss. 
  • 5th Anniversary Reception & Campaign Kickoff - Please save the date of Tuesday, March 31st at 6:30pm at Maironis Banquet Facility in Shrewsbury to join my family and me in celebrating my 5th anniversary of being elected State Representative as we kick-off my re-election campaign for my 4th term! More details to follow soon!
Monthly Office Hours
I hold office hours in the district for residents to stop in and discuss an issue or problem. The upcoming times and locations can be found on my home page on RepHannahKane.com. I hope you can join me!
 
Thank you for all of your support. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or Anna. We are located in Room 167 and our office phone number is 617-722-2810. Stop in and see us if you are visiting the State House! I always welcome your thoughts, perspectives and questions and please know that it an amazing honor to serve as your State Representative.


With sincere gratitude,
Hannah Kane
State Representative
11th Worcester District

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