Sept 9, 2011: September Newsletter: Jobs for Massachusetts

Last night, President Obama addressed Congress about the need to focus on jobs. I agree that supporting job growth and jumpstarting the economy must remain our top priorities.

We need to get our unemployed workers back on the job. We can do that in several ways, including installing solar panels, building wind turbines and making our schools energy efficient. Investments in clean energy are investments in the basic infrastructure that keeps our national economy moving. I also support President Obama’s call to rebuild our roads and bridges and schools. Of the 5,113 bridges in Massachusetts, 50 percent are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. This fall, I intend to emphasize these priorities as we negotiate our federal budget.

FEDERAL BUDGET
On August 2nd, President Obama signed into law much-anticipated legislation that allowed the nation to fulfill its financial obligations. The bill’s signing concluded a dramatic process to ensure that our country avoided default.

We all agree that we must reduce our national deficit, but we cannot do this through spending cuts alone. We need a balanced and fair approach to reducing the deficit that includes new revenues.

Unfortunately, as a precondition to avoiding default, Republicans insisted on drastic cuts and refused to consider raising revenue to help the country address its budget deficit. I was concerned that the massive cuts included in the final proposal could undermine many industries that matter most to Massachusetts, including the health care, life sciences and high technology sectors. Massachusetts alone could lose $400 million next year and $800 million the following year in federal funding. For this reason, I voted against the final agreement. As the economy continues to recover, these investments are vital for our state and our country.

Luckily, I was able to spend the rest of the month talking to you, across industries and communities, about the potential impact of these cuts for our families, schools, and hospitals. It was, and will always be, essential for me to understand your priorities moving forward.

HEALTH CARE FORUMS
In August, I hosted two roundtable discussions at the John and Christina Markey Senior Center in Malden and Harvard Medical School in Boston with representatives from health care and senior citizens’ advocacy organizations, to discuss the recent debt deal that could lead to billions in health care cuts.

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The debt deal created a bipartisan “Super Committee” tasked with proposing at least $1.2 billion in cuts to federal programs by the end of this year. Healthcare programs, including Medicare payments to hospitals and providers, Medicaid funding for states, and funding for National Institutes for Health research could be significantly cut under the committee’s proposal.

I want to hear from you about the situation you are facing every day, especially in light of the hardship many Americans are already battling this year. It is important that Congress understands how important these healthcare programs are to protecting our seniors and families.

Write to me and share your thoughts. Click HERE to send me an email. 

I will take your messages, along with the comments I received during the roundtable discussions, back to Washington and continue fighting to protect the health and well being of Massachusetts families, doctors, and hospitals.

PEACE CORPS
On August 18th, I had the pleasure of talking to several neighbors and past Peace Corps volunteers at the home of former State Senator David Magnani in Framingham regarding potential cuts to Peace Corps and other international aid programs.

Some lawmakers have proposed gutting the Peace Corps’ budget by nearly half a billion dollars. However, over the last fifty years, it is clear that through the Peace Corps program we have helped millions abroad at a relatively low cost while simultaneously enhancing our national security.

The Peace Corps’ funding is an example of the kind of values-based decisions that Congress will have to make this fall. Since the Peace Corps will be included in the larger defense and security budget, we will need to decide between more weaponry and more aid.

As The MetroWest Daily News reported: “[The Peace Corps’] entire mission in poverty-stricken Sierra Leone… costs the same as sending one soldier to Afghanistan.”

Read the complete article about our meeting in Framingham HERE.

 

IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, Tour of Malden
I also had the opportunity this August to show off my hometown of Malden to FOX 25’s Zip Trip. We visited the Malden Public Library and the Immigrant Learning Center.  We also stopped by Triangle, a non-profit organization that works to empower people with disabilities.  We shot hoops at the YMCA and stopped by All Season’s Table for a bite to eat.

Watch the video HERE:

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BLAST FROM THE PAST
Did you know that before being elected to represent the 7th District, I spent my summers driving an ice cream truck? It was that summer job, which allowed me to pay my way through Boston College and Boston College Law School. This summer, the Lexington Colonial Times Magazine featured some old pictures of my summer job.

Click HERE to read the article.

We have our work cut out for us this fall as Congress heads into more budget negotiations and finds ways get our economy back on track. I hope you will continue to write and call me to share your ideas or concerns.

I also want to take a moment to acknowledge tomorrow’s commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  When those two planes took off from Logan Airport, they carried many of our friends, neighbors and loved ones.  We honor their memories.  They will always be in our hearts.

And as always, if you do need any assistance, please do not hesitate to call my Medford (781-396-2900) or Framingham (508-875-2900) district offices.