Summer 2021 | UPDATE
Dear Friends,

I hope that this summer has afforded you an opportunity for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. While our family was able to enjoy some wonderful time together this summer, we have now turned the corner towards the reality of a new school year, with Madison and Caitlin moving back to college and Patrick ready for this sophomore year in high school. Let’s hope we get treated to a beautiful fall in the Northeast and a late winter arrival!

7th Annual Hannah Kane Charity Classic: Last week, on an absolutely beautiful day, we held our annual charity golf tournament at the Haven Country Club, with a record 152 golfers and our first tournament hole in one! We raised over $60,000 to donate equally to our three hard working beneficiaries: Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services, St. Anne’s Human Services and Westborough Food Pantry. Thank you to Presenting Sponsor Howard Grossman of Grossman Development Group, Tournament Director Beth Casavant, the entire Host Committee, our donors and golfers, and the Haven for ensuring the tournament could be played and enjoyed.
Commonwealth Heroine: I was so excited to nominate Beth Casavant of Shrewsbury as a 2021 Commonwealth Heroine! I recommended Beth for this recognition because of her significant community contributions in Shrewsbury and she was honored with the other Commonwealth Heroines in a virtual event on June 23. Beth, a truly selfless and humble volunteer, has worked tirelessly to make our community stronger ever since she and her family moved to Shrewsbury in 2008. Beth has successfully led enormous, community-wide efforts to pass Shrewsbury’s first operational override and was instrumental in efforts to build new schools and a police station. Beth is currently serving her second term as a Selectman and is an active member of the Shrewsbury Rotary Club. Dedicated to public education and a former teacher herself, Beth spent years serving as a PTO President at three Shrewsbury schools and as a member of the host committee for the annual “Garden Party” fundraiser.  Beth is also a Trustee for Seven Hills Foundation and for Framingham State University. Congratulations Beth! 
Conversations with Hannah: In late June, I sat down with Beth for an episode of Conversations with Hannah where we discussed her award and an update on my work at the State House. You can watch the episode here. Thank you to Shrewsbury Media Connection for ensuring that important updates and issues can be discussed locally. 

NORD Rare Impact AwardI was honored by the National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD) with a Rare Impact Award in a virtual ceremony on June 28th. With this recognition, I joined patients, caregivers, innovators, advocates, legislators, and other leaders whom NORD has honored every year for more than 30 years for the positive impact each has made to advance the fight against rare diseases. I partnered with my colleague Representative Joseph McKenna (R-Webster) to sponsor and pass legislation into law this past winter that created a Rare Disease Advisory Council (RDAC) in Massachusetts. The RDAC will be a powerful tool in creating a comprehensive rare disease network and bolstering education and attention to the cumulative mass and prevalence of rare diseases. The mission of the RDAC is to advise the Governor, General Court, and Department of Public Health on the incidence and status of rare disease in Massachusetts. I was the first member appointed to the Council which will begin meeting next month. As parent of a daughter with two chronic diseases, I recognize how challenging it can be to navigate getting a diagnosis and accessing care for a non-rare disease – and I have learned from advocates, caregivers, and patients themselves just how much more difficult it is with a rare disease. I am hopeful that with our united effort on the RDAC, no rare disease patient will ever feel alone, or without hope for a bright future.
Beacon Hill Update

The State House remains closed to the public and staff is working remotely. While most legislators are participating in session remotely, I have continued to attend our formal legislative sessions and cover informal session during my assigned weeks. The picture below was taking during the first day of the House budget debate in April and despite appearances, the outfits were not coordinated in advance!
FY22 Budget: I voted in support of the $48.1 billion state budget for FY22. The budget increases local aid, builds up the state’s reserves to historic highs, and invests in both the short-and long-term obligations facing the Commonwealth. It represents a compromise spending plan that reconciles the differences between earlier versions of the budget approved by the House in April and the Senate in May. The House and Senate voted unanimously on July 9 to accept the conference committee report and enact the budget, which was then signed into law by Governor Baker on July 16th.

The budget provides $5.5 billion in Chapter 70 education aid to cities and towns, which is a $219.6 million increase over current funding levels. It also includes nearly $1.2 billion in Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) to help communities fund essential municipal services. The budget provides $20,252,968 in direct education aid and $3,061,573 in unrestricted state aid to Shrewsbury and $11,190,003 in direct education aid and $1,273,608 in unrestricted state aid to Westborough for the new fiscal year that began July 1st. In addition to the Chapter 70 funding increase, which will help fund the first year of the Student Opportunity Act, the budget also establishes a $350 million trust fund to assist with the implementation of this Act, which requires a six-year phased-in increase of $1.5 billion in state education funding. 

I was successful in securing several important local initiatives for this district in the budget, including $50,000 for Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services to provide Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training, service, and treatment efforts across the Commonwealth and $50,000 for public safety improvements, including the purchase of police-worn body cameras, for the Shrewsbury Police Department. The Westborough House delegation, which includes Representative Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough), Representative Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston), and myself, was successful in advocating for $38,404 for police-worn body cameras. I also worked alongside my colleagues Representative Denise Garlick (D-Needham) and Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton) to secure $15 million in the budget for local and regional public health efforts.

With tax revenues running well ahead of projections made during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the final budget foregoes a planned draw down from the state’s Stabilization Fund, more commonly known as the Rainy-Day Fund. Instead, the state will be depositing additional monies into the fund, partly from anticipated capital gains taxes, which is expected to bring the fund’s balance to approximately $5.8 billion by the end of FY22. The additional revenues will also allow for another $250 million to be dedicated towards the state’s pension fund.  

To help address food insecurity issues exacerbated by the pandemic, the budget boosts emergency food assistance funding to $30.5 million and the Healthy Incentives Program to $13 million, top priorities of the Legislature’s Food System Caucus of which I am a Co-founder and Co-chair. 

Denim day: On Denim Day in April, millions of people across the world wearing denim with a purpose - to support survivors and educate ourselves about all forms of sexual violence. Denim Day began after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim wore tight jeans, she implied consent. Rape does not happen in response to provocative clothing or behavior—so Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Rep. Kim Ferguson and I and other members of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators wear denim annually on Denim Day to stand up and say that there is no excuse and never an invitation to rape or assault.
Charitable tax deduction: The Governor vetoed language in the FY22 budget that called for again delaying the reinstatement of the state’s charitable tax deduction, a veto I voted to sustain. The effort fell short, however, as the Governor’s veto was overridden by the House of Representatives on a vote of 124-35. A two-thirds vote in the Senate would have also been required for the override to be successful.

I believe it is long past time, especially in light of our robust tax revenues and ARPA funding, to heed the will of the state’s voters, who approved the creation of the charitable tax deduction by a more than 2-1 margin on the November 2000 state ballot. The ballot question was passed with over 1.8 million voters in favor and just 714,884 opposed, representing a margin of 67.1%-26.15%. Although the charitable tax deduction was implemented for the tax year beginning on January 1, 2001, Massachusetts taxpayers were only able to claim the deduction for one year before the Legislature voted to suspend it in 2002. The same legislation that suspended the tax deduction also froze the personal income tax rollback at 5.3%, despite voters approving a reduction in the rate from 5.95% to 5% on a separate ballot question in 2000.

Transportation Funding: Signed into law this July was legislation I supported that provides Shrewsbury with $989,636 and Westborough with $795,144 in road and bridge funding for FY22 under the state’s Chapter 90 program. The funds can be used to pay for local transportation infrastructure priorities.

Sports betting: I voted yes in late July on legislation to legalize in-person and mobile sports betting in Massachusetts for individuals who are 21 and older. House Bill 3977, An Act regulating sports wagering, allows for betting on professional and collegiate sports and designates the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as the agency responsible for administering and enforcing the law. The bill was engrossed by the House of Representatives on a vote of 156-3 and is now in the Senate for its consideration.

The House bill creates three categories of sports wagering licenses: Category 1 licenses for in-person wagering at a casino, Category 2 licenses for in-person wagering at a racetrack or simulcast facility, and Category 3 licenses for sports wagering conducted through a mobile application and other digital platforms approved by the commission. House Bill 3977 also includes language and funding to address the problems associated with compulsive gambling and addiction. In addition, the bill directs the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to investigate the economic impact of allowing retail locations to operate sports wagering kiosks, and the effects it would have on public health and problem gaming. 

Transparency debate: I opposed a new House rules package on July 7th on the grounds that it does not go far enough to ensure increased transparency in the way the House of Representatives and its legislative committees operate. House Bill 3930, an Order establishing permanent House rules for the 2021-2022 legislative session, was approved on a vote of 129-29. The Order provides for the continued livestreaming of both informal and formal House sessions, and authorizes House committee chairs to hold hearings allowing for both in-person and virtual testimony from the public on pending legislation, but does not include a series of additional reforms I supported.

The House has been operating under temporary emergency rules since last year, due to health and safety concerns associated with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency rules, which were set to expire on July 15th, have allowed members to participate in formal sessions and cast roll call votes remotely, in order to limit the number of members physically present in the House Chamber. The newly-adopted House rules incorporate the provisions of the emergency rules so they can be implemented in the event of a future state of emergency. However, the new rules also limit the use of emergency rules to no more than 30 days at a time, with a majority vote of the membership required to reauthorize the emergency rules for an additional 30 days.

In a separate vote, the House approved extending the temporary emergency rules until October 1st, giving members the option to continue voting remotely until that time. I opposed the extension, which passed on a vote of 130-30, because I felt it was unfair for legislators to continue operating under a different set of rules now that the rest of the state has already re-opened. The permanent House rules retain the requirement that copies of all bills be made available to members and the public at least 24 hours in advance of House debate. An attempt to expand this requirement to a minimum of 48 hours, which I backed, failed on a vote of 39-119. During floor debate, I supported an amendment filed by the House Republican leadership team requiring that all committee polls be open for a minimum of two hours. This would give legislators time to properly review the bills being polled and to make a more informed decision when casting their votes. The amendment failed on a vote of 35-124. I also supported two similar transparency amendments, one filed by Republicans and one filed by Democrats, to require House committees to post on the Legislature’s website within 48 hours all votes taken at an executive session or on a poll detailing how each individual member voted. Both amendments failed on separate votes of 38-121 and 41-117. 

Graduated income tax debate: I recently opposed a proposed Constitutional amendment that would implement a graduated tax on incomes over $1 million. Meeting in a joint Constitutional Convention on June 9th, the House and Senate approved the so-called Fair Share Amendment, more commonly known as the “Millionaires Tax,” by a vote of 159-41. The proposal – which was initially approved by the House and Senate on a vote of 147-48 at the June 12, 2019 Constitutional Convention – will now go before voters on the November 2022 state election ballot.
While personal income in Massachusetts is currently taxed at a uniform rate of 5%, the proposed amendment would assess an additional 4% surtax on income in excess of $1 million, beginning in 2023, if the measure is approved by Massachusetts’ voters next year. Language contained in the amendment requires the $1 million income level to be adjusted annually to reflect any increases in the cost of living using the same method that applies to federal income tax brackets. I question the need to raise taxes at a time when tax revenues are coming in well over projections ($5.047B more collected in FY21 than predicted) and the state is receiving a significant influx of federal aid, most notably $5.3 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 
Proponents claim the surtax will generate $2 billion annually to provide funding for education and transportation, which will be subject to appropriation by the Legislature. Again, I question the accuracy of that figure and also have concerns about whether the money will actually be used to increase funding in these two key policy areas. Members of the House Republican Caucus previously recognized this problem and offered an amendment during the 2019 Constitutional Convention requiring that any revenues generated by the surtax be used “in addition to and not in lieu of funds” that are already being appropriated for education and transportation, but it failed on a vote of 40-156. 

The process governing proposed changes to the Constitution allows for amendments only at the initial voting stage, and not on the second vote required during a subsequent legislative session to advance the question to the ballot. A report released by the Pioneer Institute on April 1 also warned that, “Despite its purported goal of taxing only the uber-rich, the graduated income tax would fail to protect people of more modest means from over-taxation on one-time windfalls” including those who sell a home or business. 

I also have concerns about the Legislature’s ability to rescind the surtax if it does not work out as planned, since any repeal effort could not appear on the state ballot until November 2026 at the earliest. The amendment calls for the new revenues to be used “for quality public education and affordable public colleges and universities,” but does not define a “quality” or “affordable” education, potentially leaving the state vulnerable to costly future litigation.

A similar “Millionaires Tax” proposal was filed as a citizens’ petition and approved by the Legislature in both the 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 legislative sessions but did not advance to the ballot after the Supreme Judicial Court ruled it violated the Massachusetts Constitution by seeking to combine two unrelated topics on the same ballot question. The latest proposal originated in the Legislature, and is not subject to the same restrictions as a citizens’ petition. Massachusetts voters have previously rejected five graduated income tax ballot proposals, in 1962, 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1994. The 1994 ballot initiative was defeated by a margin of more than 2-1, with 65% opposed and only 28% in favor.

Temporarily Extending COVID-19 Policies: The Legislature in June voted to temporarily extend several policy changes that were implemented during the COVID-19 state of emergency to assist municipalities, businesses, and residents. Signed by the Governor, the law:
  • extends outdoor table service and outdoor alcohol service until April 1, 2022
  • extends the sale of cocktails “to go” in conjunction with food takeout orders until May 1, 2022, and requires the price of the alcohol to be the same whether it is consumed at the restaurant or off-premises
  • allows government bodies to continue to conduct meetings virtually until April 1, 2022, as long as members of the public can easily access the proceedings in real time and participate remotely
  • allows quorum requirements for Town Meetings to be reduced to not less than 10% of the normal quorum requirement, through December 15, 2021
  • requires landlords, until January 1, 2023, to include a form with a notice to quit for non-payment of rent that informs tenants about their rights in an eviction case and rental assistance options
  • extends virtual reverse mortgage counseling until December 15, 2021
  • allows notaries public to continue using electronic videoconferencing to perform acknowledgements, affirmations, and other notarial acts until December 15, 2021
  • allows public corporations, including non-profit corporations, to conduct shareholder meetings solely by means of remote communication until December 15, 2021
 
COVID-19: It is difficult to know at this moment what challenges lie ahead for all of us with the virulent Delta variant of COVID spreading swiftly, and I know it is disheartening, to say the least, to be back in a position of discussing precautions to prevent the spread of COVID. 

Massachusetts still leads the nation, second only to Vermont, in the highest vaccination rates. The graphic below illustrates a recent update on how vaccinations account across various age groups. 
Vaccine statistics: DPH publishes a daily COVID-19 vaccine report, as well as a more detailed weekly report released every Thursday. All reports can be found here
 
In April I joined members of the MetroWest legislative delegation to tour the Westborough Regional Vaccine Clinic at the DoubleTree by Hilton that served 7 surrounding communities. The MetroWest and Central MA Caucuses had advocated for regional vaccine clinics so that people could access the shots closer to where they live and work. As the discussion of boosters takes shape this fall, I will continue to advocate for wide-spread and easily accessible options for people to choose from. 
Youth COVID-19 Vaccines Public Hearing: On July 26th the Joint Committee on Public Health and the Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management held a 7-hour oversight hearing on COVID-19 vaccinations for children at the Museum of Science in Boston. While only the two-dose Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for people younger than 18, and no vaccine has been authorized for children under 12, the necessary safety studies for the younger populations are underway and the state is beginning to prepare for how to distribute and administer the vaccines equitably, if approved. We had 12 panels with more than 30 speakers testify. Thank you to the Museum of Science for hosting. 

Vaccine Public Health Public Hearing: On June 12th I joined my colleagues on the Joint Committee on Public Health in a public hearing to listen to more than 15 hours of testimony by hundreds of people on several bills related to vaccines in general, not COVID specifically. The hearing began on a Monday at 10am and concluded at 1:22am Tuesday. Thank you to all the residents of the 11th Worcester District who patiently waited to testify. 

Speaking Events

MA Public Health Association: On June 4th, I was honored to speak at the MA Public Health Association’s (MPHA) Spring Awards Breakfast in recognition of the thousands of local public health professionals and volunteers who have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to keep our communities safe. The work these individuals performed, often at their own personal risk, saved lives and is the truest definition of public service. Thank you to the MPHA for inviting my colleague Senator Comerford and I to say a few words and present a resolution on behalf of the entire Legislature honoring the local public health workforce.  
Briefings & Forums

Food System Caucus: On May 26th, the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) joined the Food System Caucus (FSC), of which I am a founding member and Co-Chair, to host a legislative briefing on the results of the GBFB’s report (released in early May) on the state of food insecurity in the Commonwealth. From October 2020 to January 2021, the GBFB surveyed over 3,000 MA adults to obtain timely data on food access and the prevalence of food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Boston Globe published an article on the report, highlighting how 1.6 million adults in MA have been struggling to find enough to eat. The FSC and my fellow Co-Chairs are extremely grateful for the work the GBFB put into this report. We will continue to advocate in the Legislature to eradicate hunger. 

We are also currently working as a Caucus to strategize how to best-use funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to support and enhance the Massachusetts food system. Finally, the Co-Chairs met with Secretary Katie Theoharides of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Commissioner John Lebeaux of the Department of Agriculture on July 23rd to discuss the Food Security Infrastructure Grant program – launched during the pandemic to support the food system – and about how we can continue the program to create a more resilient food system in the Commonwealth, even as the worst impacts of the pandemic subside. 

House Asian Caucus: History of Anti-Asian Racism: The House Asian Caucus hosted a panel discussion on May 19thon the history of anti-Asian racism. The virtual discussion featured Tufts Senior Lecturer Jean Wu, UMass Lowell Professor Phitsamay Uy, UMass Boston Professor Paul Watanabe, and was moderated by Asian-American Commissioner Megha Prasad. The discussion provided context on the rise of anti-Asian hate we have seen recently and its impact on members of the AAPI community. Thank you to the Asian Caucus for hosting this critically important event. 
 
911 Regionalization Conference: On June 30th Westborough hosted a 911 Regionalization Conference with Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of Public Safety Tom Turco. It was great to be together with colleagues in state and local government and our Fire and Police Chiefs from the central MA area to discuss the future of 911 Emergency Response in Massachusetts
Local Funding
 
Climate Resiliency: The Town of Westborough recently received $57,500 from the Baker-Polito Administration, as part of the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration program, to conduct field data collection and analysis for multiple culverts at the Upton Road and Morse Street Intersection on Jackstraw Brook. This waterway is identified as a Coldwater Fish Resource, Outstanding Resource Water, and one of the major streams that flow to the Cedar Swamp Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Upgrading these culverts will improve ecological conditions by reconnecting fish and wildlife passage and will benefit the community by reducing flood risk and improving climate resiliency. 
 
I-290 Bridge Restoration: The Town of Shrewsbury has been determined eligible for funding through MassDOT’s Highway Division, specifically to cover the costs of a bridge restoration project for a piece of road on I-290 over North Quinsigamond Avenue and West Main Street. The total cost of this project, $3,169,837, has been approved. This eligibility determination is not yet a commitment of state or federal funds, but an important step in the advancement of this project. 

MassTrails: The Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission received a $33,186 grant through MassTrails to create an Inclusion and Accessibility Trail Guide. This guide will serve as a toolkit to improve knowledge, accessibility, and utilization of trails across Southern Worcester County. The development and implementation of this trails assessment toolkit will cover seven communities, including Shrewsbury and Westborough, focusing on youth engagement, healthy aging, and an increase in outdoor recreational opportunities for all. 
 
Shared Streets & Spaces: The Baker-Polito Administration awarded $48,926 to Shrewsbury and $46,965 to Westborough through the Shared Winter Streets and Spaces grant program. The funding for Shrewsbury will be used to install wayfinding to support the Shrewsbury Town Center and the funding for Westborough will be used to make safety improvements at two intersections on West Main Street/Route 30. 

Local Cultural Councils Funding: The Mass Cultural Council awarded $13,900 to the Shrewsbury Cultural Council and $6,800 to the Westborough Cultural Council. Funding is intended to support community-based projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences, including everything from mural to lectures, festivals, and performances. Thanks to the Mass Cultural Council for providing this important funding to Shrewsbury and Westborough. 

Public Health Grant: The Central MA Regional Public Health Alliance, of which Shrewsbury is a member and Worcester is the lead agency, received a $245K Public Health Excellence grant from the MA Department of Public Health in May. The funding will be used to evaluate how to strengthen the Alliance business model in accordance with the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health Commission’s recommendations, which will focus on regional public health models, enhanced data collection, and analysis and workforce credentialing. Shrewsbury Town Manager Kevin Mizikar and I both served on the Special Commission. 

COVID-19 Small Business Grants: In late April, four Shrewsbury businesses received a cumulative $285,000 in grant funding and one Westborough business received $75,000 in grant funding in COVID-19 relief grants administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. 

Workforce Training Grant: Westborough’s Patriot Financial Group was awarded $53,200 from the state’s Workforce Training Fund Program to train six workers. Patriot is expected to add three new jobs in 2023 and these grants are aimed at improving productivity and business competitiveness.

Technical Education Grants: Assabet Valley Regional Vocational School District received a $10,000 Career Technical Initiative grant from the Office of Labor and Workforce Development to address high demand in the construction/trades and manufacturing sectors. The grant will allow Assabet to deliver training in the Welder and CNC Machine Operators targeted occupations. Assabet also received a competitive $160,000 in grants from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to improve equity and access for students seeking a career vocational education.

Community Events & Recognitions 

Shrewsbury Eagle Scouts: Congratulations to Shrewsbury Troop 4’s newest Eagle Scouts Alexander Pellizzari, Christopher Nerkowski, Benjamin Collins, Berin Bukow and Aaron Lowy! I was so happy to present these five young men with citations in June, to honor this great achievement, the highest award in scouting. I was also excited to be on hand for Thomas Ryan’s Court of Honor in August with Troop 114 at the First Congregational Church. Congratulations Thomas!

Westborough Eagle Scouts: Representative Gregoire and I attend Westborough Troop 100’s outdoor Eagle Scouts Court of Honor on a beautiful day in June with much to celebrate. Congratulations to Justin Cappuccio, Daniel Hastings, Alexander Honan, Nirran Lachmann and Michael O’Keefe! 
Tour of India Society of Worcester: I was excited to tour the newly renovated and expanded India Society of Worcester (ISW) earlier this spring. Congratulations to all who worked so hard to make the beautiful expansion possible. I am a proud member and supporter of the ISW.  
Rotary Club of Shrewsbury: On June 21 I attended the first in-person Rotary Club of Shrewsbury meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020 and had the opportunity to thank Owen Russell for his “pandemic term” as President. The new officers were installed and will continue the Club’s “Service above Self” mission in our community this coming year. 

Project 351: Congratulations to Caeley Gale, this year’s Project 351 Ambassador for Shrewsbury! I visited with Caeley’s 8th grade team at Oak to present her with a citation for being chosen for a year of youth-led service, joining with 8thgraders from every city and town in the state. Chosen by Oak educators and leadership, Caeley is a leader who exemplifies the Project 351 values of kindness, compassion, humility, and gratitude. 
Shrewsbury Public Library: Senator Mike Moore and I presented citations to the Shrewsbury Public Library staff in recognition of the library renovation and expansion receiving the Robert H. Kuehn, Jr. Award from Presentation Massachusetts. The recognition is awarded to projects that meld collaborative partnerships with creative and cutting-edge ideas for rehabilitation and active reuse of historic buildings. SPL is a beautiful building and well-deserving of this recognition!
Al-Hamra Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast: Delicious food and an opportunity to enjoy interacting in person with friends of the Al-Hamra community – what a wonderful and yummy way to start a beautiful spring day!

Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services: On June 18th, I spent a wonderful evening celebrating Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services (SYFS) major donors as well as retiring board member Michael Gregory, who has contributed significantly to SYFS for over more than 30 years. 

Shrewsbury Firefighter Awards: I joined members of the Department and the Shrewsbury Selectmen in honoring the 2020 and 2021 winners of the Outstanding Firefighters Award and the Firefighter Achievement Awards. Thank you to all our public safety professionals for your selfless service! 
Concierge Physical Therapy: We welcomed to Shrewsbury the newest office of Concierge Physical Therapy in early June, excited so see this local expansion!

Letters About Literature: In early May I was able to meet with and celebrate two terrific young Shrewsbury writers from Al-Hamra Academy who participated in the MA Center for the Book’s annual Letter About Literature competition. Congratulations to Adam Ahmad and Nazeefah Mowla and thank you to Al-Hamra for allowing me to present citations to honor this great achievement. 
Shrewsbury Garden Club: Wonderful way to celebrate spring by buying some plants at the annual Garden Club Plant Sale – this year I got the last iris they had!

Passport Update
 
Congressman McGovern’s recently shared the following information regarding passport application processing delays: Routine service can take up to 18 weeks and expedited service can take up to 12 weeks due to a backlog at the State Department and a spike in demand due to increased travel, meaning if you need a renewed passport, you should apply ASAP. There are steps you can take on your own to move things along, which can be found here. However, if you are in an emergency situation, please contact Congressman McGovern’s office and they may be able to help. The Worcester office can be reached at 508-831-7356.  
 

Contacting My Office
 
As a reminder, the State House is closed to the public and my Legislative Aide Anna Darrow and I are working remotely. We are fully accessible via email and we are constantly checking our office voicemail. You can reach our office number at 617-722-2810. My cell number is 617-448-7304, and email is Hannah.Kane@mahouse.gov. Anna’s email is Anna.Darrow@mahouse.gov and her cell number is 802-373-2294. 
 
While this email is not exhaustive of all my work, nor all that the Commonwealth is undertaking to battle COVID-19, I hope the information is relevant and helpful. My prior update emails can be found on my website, www.rephannahkane.com in the “Updates from Hannah” section and I will continue to post regular updates each day on my State Representative Facebook page. 
 
Please do not hesitate to reach out if I can be of assistance.

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