I hope that you and your family had a wonderful holiday season and I want to wish you a safe, happy and healthy New Year.
As I reflect on the events of last year, I am reminded of what an honor it was to be sworn into the Massachusetts House of Representatives on January 6th, 2021, to represent the 14th Suffolk District. I believe strongly now more than ever that government is about helping people and making a difference in the lives of others. As we head into 2022, I am more excited than ever to serve you on Beacon Hill and to partner with you to advance many more initiatives important to the neighborhoods that I am proud to represent.
Working with you, your neighbors and friends during these past 12 months, we have accomplished much that we can be proud of. We have received a PARC - Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities - Grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the purpose of open space preservation around Sprague Pond in Readville. The Department of Environmental Protection has designated Sprague Pond as an official "Great Pond" as well. This designation requires further protections of the pond and allows public access to the pond for, at a minimum, fishing, boating, and other activities. I was so proud to support this effort alongside my colleagues in government and with so many community leaders.
We were able to get new trees planted on Truman Parkway. We worked with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and community leaders and community organizations to increase programing at the Martini Hatch Shell this summer. Our community came together, with the help of organizations such as Keep Hyde Park Beautiful and DCR, for a very successful community cleanup of Meadow Road and the Fowl Meadow with over fifty people participating. And we are so excited that Moynihan Playground, Factory Hill Playground and Doyle Park have all begun the process with DCR and the surrounding neighbors to renovate and improve these important natural resources which will have an enormous benefit now and for years to come.
In addition to the work mentioned above, my office was happy to play a role in supporting important events that were held in our community including the Hyde Park Racial Equity and Justice Forums and the first ever Juneteenth Celebration held at the Martini Shell. These events were held in conjunction with the West Fairmount Hill Community Group, elected officials and community leaders from across our neighborhoods. My legislative aide Emily and I serve on the advisory board for the Hyde Park Racial Equity and Justice Forums series, and I am honored to participate in these important conversations. I was proud to moderate a forum in February which examined structural racism and its impact in Hyde Park and Emily moderated a forum in April which focused on youth, young adults and civic engagement.
These are just a few of the many things we have accomplished in our community in 2021 and I am so excited for what the next year holds.
At the State House, we have been equally busy during these past 12 months.
I voted in favor of the groundbreaking “Next Generation Climate Roadmap” bill which overhauls the state’s climate laws, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, advances the clean energy industry, and prioritizes and protects environmental justice communities.
I also voted in favor of legislation that will make improvements to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and provide relief to employers and workers in the Commonwealth during the COVID-19 crisis. This comprehensive bill seeks to support those who have lost their jobs, protect our frontline workers by providing paid leave, and provide equitable relief to the small businesses that have fueled our local economies and given back to our communities during the pandemic.
In addition, I was proud to support our veterans by voting in favor of the construction of a new Soldiers Home in Holyoke.
In an effort to protect community hospitals, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation to promote a more balanced health care market by strengthening the regulatory processes for health care expansions. This legislation creates a more rigorous review system to ensure that when large hospital systems expand, they are not infringing on community hospital markets and raising health care costs for patients. I supported this thoughtful proposal and was glad to vote in favor of it.
This past summer, the House and Senate passed a $48.07 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22). This budget maintains fiscal responsibility, does not cut services, and makes targeted investments to address emerging needs, safeguard the health and wellness of the most vulnerable populations and ensure residents will benefit equitably as the state recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. I was proud to vote for a thoughtful and responsible budget that makes targeted equitable investments for my District, the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The FY22 budget brings much needed resources to Doyle Playground in Hyde Park, the Menino Arts Center, Riverside Theatre Works and funding to protect the Fowl Meadow in Readville, an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).
In addition to the FY22 budget, the Legislature this Fall unanimously passed its spending proposal utilizing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) surplus funds. Funded at $3.82 billion, the bill addresses disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to facilitate recovery through one-time investments in housing, environment and climate mitigation, economic development, workforce, health and human services, and education. This funding also allocated an additional $150,000 for open space preservation in the 14th Suffolk District.
I am grateful to serve on a number of key Committees, the Joint Committee on Housing, the Joint Committee on Revenue, the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, and the new Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management. This work has allowed me to participate in hearings on some of the most pressing issues facing the Commonwealth. I have sponsored several bills and co-sponsored dozens of others. For more information on bills, I am sponsoring or cosponsoring, and to track their progress, please visit here. I am excited to advocate for these important legislative items and look forward to working with my colleagues towards passage of these bills.
In addition to these bills, I am excited to announce I have recently filed NEW legislation, H.4306, an act updating and expanding the renter’s income tax deduction. This commonsense bill will not only help tenants in the City of Boston but those throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This important Legislation will increase a renter's tax deduction allowed under Massachusetts General Law. Amazingly, this deduction has not been increased since 2001, however rental costs have doubled in that same time frame. The legislation also creates a new tax credit to help tenants as well. I look forward to testifying before the Joint Committee on Revenue in favor of this bill and will advocate for the passage of this bill, so we can get some much-needed relief directly into the hands of tenants in my district and across the Commonwealth.
My district office opened at 678 Truman Parkway in Hyde Park. Since the State House is not yet open to the public due to COVID-19, we are working out of this office most days. Please feel free to stop by if you need assistance or just to say “hello!” We are also happy to schedule in-person appointments at this location taking all the appropriate COVID-19 safety protocols.
My Legislative Aide, Emily Carrara, and I continue to work on hundreds of constituent service cases, providing direct assistance to those in need. Please continue to call our office at 617-722-2800, ext: 7311 any time you think we can be of assistance. When calling, you must listen to the whole message as it asks you to press the number 1 to reach an extension. After pressing 1, you can enter our extension and you will get our voice mail. You can also email us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best,