CEO Corner
Dear Friend,

As we begin to experience the “new normal,” Americans are traveling in record numbers this summer. As we take to the road, we are quickly reminded of the significant repairs and upgrades needed to our highways, bridges, airports, rail, and public transportation systems.

Infrastructure is at the center of conversation in the halls of Congress and the West Wing this summer. President Biden’s ambitious plan includes the goal of transforming America by improving infrastructure, expanding Medicare, funding climate change reforms, and in the process putting Americans back to work. The Biden administration has a thorough understanding-- both conceptually and historically-- that infrastructure projects have the potential to transform communities, economies, and the environment, all while bringing us closer together.  
The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 that created the interstate highway system had a transformative effect on nearly every state, and for our national economy. Following its passage, the effort demanded an almost unimaginable breadth of planning, design and construction to make our national highway network a reality. The Highway Trust Fund, which was conceived that same year, provided the means of paying for that bold goal. Legislation enabled the generational undertaking that linked our states together efficiently for the first time.  
Throughout the United States, there are examples of transformative projects of such scale and effect that many at first were seen as impossible. In Massachusetts, the authorization of Boston’s Central Artery project in 1987 transformed the City of Boston and its region. The $14 billion project, nearly $9 billion of which was federally funded and secured after a robust lobbying effort, was seen as too ambitious, and many doubted it would or should work. The project called for removing a highway viaduct that cut the downtown off from its waterfront and replaced it with a modern underground system with much greater capacity, while replacing the viaduct above ground with a new 27-acre park system we now know as the Rose Kennedy Greenway. While the new highway carries far more cars and trucks than the viaduct it replaced, it improved air quality by reducing so-called congestion hot spots, while providing acres of open space for Boston’s residents and visitors to enjoy.
The Big Dig took the needs of a major city and put them into action by developing and implanting a plan to reimagine traffic flows and greatly contributing to what is today a world class city.
Human Infrastructure
I strongly support President Biden’s American Jobs and American Families compromise and applaud his attempt to work in a bipartisan fashion. Earlier this week, Senate Democrats reached an agreement on a $3.5 trillion budget compromise to bring to fruition the ambitious programs of the President’s plan. 
Key highlights of the President’s “human infrastructure” framework:
  • $3.5 trillion over the next 10 years on initiatives focusing on climate change, education, a Medicare expansion;
  • The resolution would help set the stage for expanding the child tax credit, offering paid medical and family leave, and has the potential of overhauling the country’s immigration system;
  • The bill would also be expected to include changes to the US tax code that would prohibit tax increases on anyone making less than $400,000 a year.

Senator Sanders and Senate Budget Committee Democrats are leading the charge on drafting the budget resolution which instructs the budget reconciliation process for the President’s Human Infrastructure Bill. Senator Schumer is working to negotiate concerns and address questions from his democratic colleagues to have this resolution voted on before August recess to enable the Senate to take up the Budget Resolution when they return in September.
Bipartisan Senate Infrastructure Deal
In addition to the legislative work being done on Biden’s Jobs and Families Plan compromise, a bipartisan coalition of Senators is working on a dual track on an infrastructure plan that addresses surface transportation reauthorization and increased infrastructure funding for a total of $1.2 trillion investment over eight years. Senator Schumer is planning to use the Senate’s $579 billion surface transportation reauthorization that was marked up late spring/early summer by two of the core Senate committees (Senate Environment and Public Works and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation) as the vehicle for the larger bill. This core bill will be amended by the bipartisan group to include new spending that focuses only on traditional infrastructure-- roads, bridges, rail, broadband internet, water and sewer pipes and electric vehicles. This final bill of the reauthorization and new spending will total $1.2 trillion in infrastructure funding.

On July 1st, the House separately passed its surface transportation reauthorization, The INVEST in America Act, a $715 billion surface transportation reauthorization and water infrastructure bill. The Senate and House bills will likely have their differences resolved in conference as early as September if they are able to have agreement on the Senate infrastructure bill and pass it – there is still no draft text. 

Next Steps
A key point of disagreement both within each party and across the aisle is how our government should pay for this ambitious plan. Through the exploration of new funding methods for our infrastructure investments, opportunities for business and organizations to partake in the transformation will become more evident. Congress has known for 20 years now that continued transfers into the Highway Trust Fund will only go so far. We must continue to be imaginative about how we fund transformative investments. 
The bipartisan infrastructure bill’s framework will take a leap forward toward addressing the modern needs of Americans. We must act now to implement a plan that addresses our country’s needs while steering ourselves away from an infrastructure investment strategy that relies solely upon repairs to the status quo. Americans deserve world-class transportation infrastructure that can be the envy of other developed nations and allow our economy to thrive in the years ahead. Let’s continue to think big and accomplish these goals.  
Tom O’Neill
Podcast Update
Check out the latest episode of OA on Healthcare with Joe Alviani.
“You never throw up your hands. You have to lean in harder during a pandemic, honestly. And I think that was the mantra that we had in the Command Center and with the Governor – which was, ‘We will figure this out. We will bring together the best minds in Massachusetts.’” 
Senior Advisor Joe Alviani, Esq, sat down with Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services, Marylou Sudders, to discuss the pandemic, check out the full interview here.
Stay up to date with the latest OA on Air Podcast episodes here.
NAR Bill
When a group of prominent business, civic, government, and academic leaders from across New England came together to reimagine public rail transportation throughout the Northeast with the North Atlantic Rail network, they enrolled the help of O’Neill and Associates to lead the authorization of their transformative project in Congress. After months of stakeholder engagement, meetings with congressional offices from all 7 states and working with committee staff on drafting legislation, NAR scored a huge legislative victory when the House of Representatives voted to authorize the NAR Interstate Compact with the passage of the INVEST in America Act.  

NAR was authorized through an amendment offered by Representative Suozzi (D-NY) and received bipartisan support from cosponsors Representatives Kuster (NH), Cicilline (RI), Ritchie Torres (NY), Langevin (RI), Kathleen Rice (NY), Zeldin (NY), and Lynch (MA). O’Neill was instrumental in building support for NAR’s amendment and previously helped facilitate a 23-member Dear Colleague letter in the House in support of this project.

The journey of NAR’s authorization now continues in the Senate as the chamber prepares to vote on surface transportation reauthorization and infrastructure. The NAR proposed high-speed rail network would deliver thousands of jobs across the 7-state New England and New York region and would enable reliable 100-minute travel between Boston and New York City.  We are proud to have been instrumental in helping to drive this train!
Massachusetts State House Update
OA Online – Government Relations Update Week of July 12th 
By Vice Chairman Matt Irish and Vice President Lindsay Toghill
State House Update: 
The Legislature continues to operate in a hybrid fashion with the State House still closed to the public. Governor Baker has spoken with legislative leaders about how to safely reopen the State House, but says the capitol building brings unique challenges that can't easily be overcome while concerns about the COVID-19 virus still exist. The State House remains one of the last buildings in Massachusetts fully closed to the public. House and Senate leaders, who largely control access to the building, have not outlined any plans to reopen. The inability of the public to access the building on Beacon Hill means that public hearings on legislation continue to be held virtually, limiting much of the give-and-take between the public and their elected officials. Governor Baker said he thinks the future of public hearings will be a combination of in-person and virtual access, and cited the cramped conditions many have experienced over the years in legislative hearings rooms. The legislature will continue to meet through July before a scheduled August recess. 
Massachusetts lawmakers gave final approval to a new state budget on Friday, July 9th after House and Senate negotiators reached a deal on a $48.1 billion spending plan. Earlier, the Legislature had passed an interim budget designed to keep state programs and services running while negotiators worked out the details of a final budget.  
The FY22 budget reflects the state’s increased financial position while it also makes permanent the state's film tax credit program, postpones implementation of a charitable giving tax deduction, bulks up the state's "rainy day" fund, and sets aside money for future costs of a 2019 education funding reform law.  
The budget landed on Governor Baker's desk more than a week into the fiscal year it covers, making Massachusetts one of the last states in the country with fiscal years beginning July 1 to enact an annual budget. The last time budget conferees completed their work before July 1 was in 2016, and it has been a full 11 years since the Governor signed a budget into law before a new fiscal year began. Governor Baker has 10 days to review the budget before signing it and sending back any amendments and vetoes. Democrats have large enough majorities in both chambers to override those vetoes if they want during Formal sessions in the fall. 
American Rescue Plan Act 
After the Legislature rejected his original proposal to spend $2.8 billion of the state's American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, Governor Baker signed legislation transferring most of the money into a separate account and renewed his push to spend more than half of the pot on a range of short-term priorities. About $4.89 billion of the roughly $5.3 billion state government received will be swept into a fund controlled by the Legislature and Democrats who control both branches have said they will decide how to distribute the unprecedented tranche of money after a public hearing process that will begin later this month.  
Governor Baker also announced that the administration will file new legislation seeking to spend $2.9 billion of the ARPA funds on areas such as housing and homeownership supports, economic development, job training, addiction treatment, and water and sewer infrastructure. The new bill will include $100 million for marine port development, but otherwise mirrors Baker's original $2.8 billion suggestion that the Legislature earlier rejected. His plan would leave about $2 billion in the Federal COVID-19 Response Fund that lawmakers created. Governor Baker has upped the stakes recently by warning that "communities of color, the hardest hit areas of the Commonwealth, should not have to wait to have their tax dollars be put to work."
More than two months after the state received its $5.3 billion American Rescue Plan Act award from the federal government, the Legislature next Tuesday plans to begin the series of hearings that will inform its spending decisions. The Joint Ways and Means Committee will convene the first ARPA hearing virtually on Tuesday, July 20 and will initially focus on Governor Baker's proposal to quickly put about $2.9 billion of the money to work "and on hearing from outside experts on national trends, best practices and recommendations on spending ARPA funds." A second hearing to discuss how ARPA money could be used to address housing, labor and workforce development issues, is planned for July 27. The hearings will be held in collaboration with other Committee Chairs and legislators. House and Senate Ways & Means Committee Chairmen Rep. Aaron Michlewitz and Sen. Michael Rodrigues said more hearings are being planned in the coming months, suggesting the Legislature will not take up rescue plan spending bills until the fall at the earliest. President Biden signed the law March 11th and Massachusetts got its allocation May 19th.
Massachusetts is one of 21 states that will get its ARPA allocation as a lump sum -- other states will get 50 percent now and the remainder after one year. Between roughly $5.3 billion in state fiscal relief, another nearly $3.4 billion for local governments and other funding, ARPA is poised to funnel more than $13 billion to the Bay State. Generally speaking, the funds must be committed by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026. 
Finally, the Legislature is planning to take their annual August recess at the end of July, and they are expected to return after Labor Day to continue the hearing and session process.  
Family Pantry of Cape Cod
On June 11th, Tom and Shelly O’Neill co-chaired the 10th annual gala to benefit the Family Pantry of Cape Cod. Despite being a virtual gala, over 160 sponsors, ticket holders and donors came together to raise over $300,000 to benefit the Family Pantry. The Family Pantry is the largest food pantry on Cape Cod and serves every community across the entire Cape and Islands providing over 2 million meals to 4,173 families.

The need for the Family Pantry has never been tested like it has since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Community support is critical as residents who never faced food insecurity find themselves needing the pantry.  Congratulations to this year’s winners: Cape Cod Healthcare received the President’s Award; Allen Harbor Yacht Club received the Founder’s Award; and Eversource Energy received the Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill Award. We are proud to acknowledge this year’s recipients and their many contributions and long-standing support of the Family Pantry.  
Born to Run
The Born To Run Foundation’s Noelle Lambert
 is Heading to the Tokyo 2021 Paralympics
Congratulations to our long-time client, Noelle Lambert, founder of The Born to Run Foundation for being chosen to represent Team U.S.A. in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2021. Lambert will compete in the 100 Meter in Track & Field on September 4 in the T63 Division (above-the-knee amputee).

Lambert, 24, of Manchester, NH, established the foundation after losing her left leg in a moped accident on Martha’s Vineyard in 2016. At the time, she was a Division 1 college athlete who played women’s lacrosse at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Lowell. She was determined to continue competing and after rehabilitation and training, she returned to the team and scored a goal in her first game after her accident. 

During Noelle’s physical therapy, she received support from several foundations that help people with limb differences. Inspired to also give back to the amputee community, she established The Born to Run Foundation to help young amputees obtain specialized athletic prosthetic devices so that they can live fulfilling lives.

After graduating from college in 2019, Noelle made the decision to train for the Paralympics in Track & Field with the encouragement of other Paralympic athletes, including Femita Ayanbeku of Attleboro, MA who has also been named to the Tokyo US Paralympic team and will compete in the 100-meter in the T64 Division (below the knee amputee). Ayanbeku is also a board member of The Born to Run Foundation.
FanExpo Boston
FAN EXPO Boston is returning to the Seaport with a spectacular three-day show at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) on September 3 - 5, 2021. An exciting lineup of celebrity guests is sure to attract local fans to the major pop culture event in Boston this year. Celebrities include Brendan Fraser, star of The Mummy and Doom Patrol, the cast of the hit television series The Office, Chandler Riggs of The Walking Dead, Ryan Hurst and Mark Boone Jr. of Sons of Anarchy, Star Trek legend Walter Koenig, Ron Perlman of Hellboy, John Barrowman of Arrow and James Marsters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Patrick Warburton of The Tick and more.

Andrew Moyes, Vice President of FAN EXPO said they are excited to be coming back to Boston. “We are thrilled to be coming together at FAN EXPO Boston to celebrate all things pop culture. We plan to thrill fans with an array of celebrity guests, iconic comic creators, cosplay events, fan meetups and more. The show, on Labor Day Weekend, will be an exciting place to be for thousands of college students and other pop culture fans returning to Boston." For more information visit 
Ann Murphy: "Top Women in PR" Awardee
Congratulations to Seven Letter ONA Partner Ann Murphy, who was announced as a “Top Women in PR” awardee by PRNEWS on Friday for her skill at mentoring public relations professionals throughout her long career.

A legendary veteran of Boston’s public relations and political scene, Ann is known throughout New England as a consummate professional, creative practitioner, and excellent mentor to colleagues and clients alike. 

Over the past 30 years, she has mentored more than 100 people in her professional capacity alone, and many more through associations with the Massachusetts Women Political Caucus (MWPC), as its former president, and the University of Massachusetts Women Into Leadership (UWIL) program.
We are proud to call Ann our colleague and friend.
Staff Updates
Jennifer Krowchun Promoted to Vice President
O’Neill and Associates is pleased to announce the promotion of Jennifer Krowchun to Vice President. With more than 15 years of service to O’Neill and Associates, Jenn’s focus on federal matters helps guide clients in the areas of transportation, healthcare, education, homeland security, trade associations and municipalities. In her new role, Jenn will continue to manage client accounts and play a greater role in expanding O’Neill and Associates’ federal relations practice.
Please join us on congratulating Jenn on her promotion.

Welcome Benjamin Craig and Madison Kelleher
O’Neill and Associates welcomed two new talented account coordinators, Benjamin Craig and Madison Kelleher, to our government and federal relations practice in June. 
Prior to joining O’Neill and Associates, Ben held various roles in digital marketing and communications strategies across the corporate and public sectors, most recently as campaign consultant to RI Senator Jack Reed’s campaign for reelection. A former intern of O’Neill and Associates, Ben joins our government relations team to assist a range of clients in matters related to the federal government. He is a graduate of Emmanuel College where he studied English and political science. 
As an alumna of the O’Neill and Associates Internship Program, Madison joins our government relations division and will provide client support by conducting research and monitoring hearings and legislative actions for clients. A recent graduate of Boston College where she earned her degree in political science and Irish studies, Madison played an active role on campus as head coordinator of the Student Admissions Program and served as tour guide and speaker for various first-year student events.
We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Ben and Madison aboard!
For more information about O’Neill and Associates’ government relations services, click here.
Valentina Méndez Joins Seven Letter ONA
This May, Valentina Méndez joined the Seven Letter ONA team as a content specialist. In this role, Valentina supports various client accounts in all aspects of communications including content creation for social media and digital campaigns. She is a former intern of the Department of Global Communications at the United Nations and a graduate of Salem State University where she earned her degree in media and communications.
We are thrilled to have Valentina on our team!
Congratulations Allison Samuels
Each year O’Neill and Associates welcomes four students from Cristo Rey Boston High School as part of their Corporate Work Study Program. This June, we were thrilled to congratulate our graduating senior, Allison Samuels. Allison began working with the O’Neill team during her sophomore year and has remained a part of our family ever since. She, like 100% of her classmates, was accepted to multiple four-year colleges and universities and we are so proud to wish her well as she heads off to UMass Amherst this September!
Welcome Summer Interns!
Challenge accepted! The inaugural (and hopefully last!) fully-virtual summer internship program is well under way at O’Neill and Associates and Seven Letter ONA. This summer we are excited to work with undergraduate interns from the following schools: Miami University, Southern Methodist University, Suffolk University, Quinnipiac University, University of Richmond, University of Virginia and Wake Forest University.
O'Neill and Associates offers internships in the fall, spring and summer. For more information or to apply, please visit

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Communications | Government Relations | Federal Affairs

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