On the State Senate Campaign Trail

January 28, 2016
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Livingstone HealthyKids bill gets favorable report

Rep. and State Senate candidate Jay Livingstone sponsored the ‘Healthy Kids’ bill that was reported out favorably by joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities

Members of the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with \Disabilities advanced favorably on Monday an omnibus bill promoting programs aimed to improve children’s wellbeing across the State.

The bill, H.429 – An Act relative to the wellbeing of all children in the Commonwealth, was filed by Rep. Jay Livingstone and Senator Montigny last fall and has received the backing of a grassroots coalition called the Healthy Food, Healthy Homes, Healthy Children (HHH) Coalition. The coalition is made up of over 30 diverse organizations including Health Care for All, Boston Children’s Hospital, Greater Boston Food Bank, and Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association.

The legislation takes a three pronged approach to open barriers to alleviate hunger, promote housing, and ensure adequate healthcare. It would specifically: increase access to food benefits such as SNAP, the Child and Adult Food Program, and the School Breakfast Program, make families that are at risk of homelessness immediately eligible for emergency shelter, access the capacity of schools across the State’s ability to screen for medical conditions that prevent students from learning, establish a common application portal for SNAP and Mass Health benefits while reducing access barriers and churning of SNAP coverage, and ensure that children in emergency shelters have the tools they need to get to medical appointments.

“I was happy to learn about the Committee’s decision to report the bill out favorably,” said Livingstone, who represents Back Bay, Beacon Hill, the West End, Cambridgeport, Central Square and part of Kendall Square. “When I think about the barriers presented by programs that should empower working class and impoverished families, I see the overarching problem for what it is: a loss of opportunity. I know that this bill, comprised of small but effective fixes, would begin to break those barriers down. There are brilliant minds that have not been given an adequate chance to flourish as a result of these obstacles and it’s in the best interest of the Commonwealth to continue to move this bill forward.”

Advocates echoed Livingstone’s enthusiasm: “We are thrilled to see House Bill 429 move forward this session, as it represents a critical step toward providing adequate housing, health care, and nutritional supports for vulnerable children, youth, and their families in the Commonwealth. Importantly, the bill, if it becomes law, will help to ensure that families experiencing homelessness are able to access emergency shelter before being forced to stay in places not meant for human habitation. We are especially grateful to the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities and our lead bill sponsors, Representative Livingstone and Senator Montigny for prioritizing the well-being of children and youth,” said Kelly Turley of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

The founding organization of the HHH Coalition, Health Care For All, highlighted the significance of this step: “The Healthy Food, Healthy Homes, Healthy Children (HHH) Coalition and this legislation are the first of their kind to support an integrated approach to the needs of our children. Congratulations to

Representative Livingstone for this important legislative milestone. With his leadership and the support of his House colleagues, the children of Massachusetts are a significant step closer to experiencing more seamless support for their overall wellbeing,” said Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director for Health Care For All.

Rizzo will run for State Senate seat

Saying that he still has the fire to serve the public, former Revere mayor Dan Rizzo has announced that he will be a candidate for the State Senate seat in the First Suffolk and Middlesex District that includes the entire city of Revere.

 Rizzo also pointed to his impressive record of accomplishments during the past four years as mayor in making the announcement that he will seek the position currently held by Sen. Anthony Petruccelli, who is stepping down from the position.

“I believe we have done a lot of great things here in the city that we can look back on and be proud of,” said Rizzo. “And I don’t feel as though I’m through.”

The City’s former chief executive believes that the Senate seat presents “an opportunity for Revere that we haven’t had in decades where we can elect a Revere senator to represent the entire First Suffolk and Middlesex District.”

The last Revere resident to hold the seat was Fran Doris, who served as state senator from 1980 to 1990.

Rizzo said having been mayor and before that a city councillor for 12 years, he “would bring a unique perspective coming from a municipal background because everything that happens at a state level ultimately trickles down to a municipal level.”

Rizzo feels reenergized and committed to begin his senatorial campaign.

“I’m excited about the race – I still have the fire in me to serve,” said Rizzo. “There’s no better feeling that I get than when I am able to do something that positively impacts people’s lives on a daily basis. I think the Senate Senate and the Legislature are a vehicle for me to continue that service.”

Rizzo said he was disappointed that he didn’t win a second term as mayor in November. Councillor-at-Large Brian Arrigo won in a hotly contested election.

“I felt strongly that we would have been rewarded a second term but the voters had their say and we live with that decision,” said Rizzo. “I think there were some things that I underestimated.”

Rizzo will highlight his record as mayor in the campaign. During his term, he said the City’s bond rating was upgraded, allowing the city to borrow at a lower interest rate. He doubled the amount of money in the rainy day fund. The Revere school system, a national model for urban school districts, continued its performance at a high level.

Citing his administration’s commitment to public safety, Rizzo noted that crime in the City was down 15 percent.

Rizzo also led the way for the construction of the new Harry Della Russo Stadium, the adjoining tennis and basketball courts and a regulation track. The new Hill Elementary School located next to the stadium represents a prodigious combination of academics and athletics and a dual accomplishment for Rizzo, standing side by side majestically on Park Avenue.

“These are strategies, policies and values that I can bring to the State Legislature,” said Rizzo. “New stadiums, new schools, new parks – they all play in to quality of life for people. And when you’re looking to keep families in our community, we need to give people a reason to stay. I think you do that by giving them amenities that they would maybe only get in other more affluent communities.”

Rizzo said he wishes the new mayoral administration well.

“I live here. I have a business [Rizzo Insurance Agency] here. I’d love to have a unified city.”

 Rizzo previously ran for State Senate in 2007, receiving 80 percent of the vote in Revere in a special election that was won by Petruccelli, East Boston’s state representative at that time.

Former mayor Dan Rizzo will be a candidate for the state senate seat currently held by Anthony Petruccelli.

Morabito announces candidacy for State Senate

After more than 15 years of serving our Commonwealth, Senator Anthony Petruccelli has elected to resign his seat as State Senator. As someone who is a life-long resident of the First Suffolk & Middlesex District, I’d like to thank him for representing us with such dedication and distinction. He is a true public servant and his successor will have some large shoes to fill.

 I have the privilege of serving the citizens of Revere as their City Councilor-at-Large and I am grateful that my colleagues recently elected me Vice President of that body. In the time I›ve been on the council, I have learned how integral the Commonwealth is in helping municipalities function and in addressing the problems that face us.  Some issues like potholes and broken street lamps are easily resolved, while others are unique to an individual area such as sea walls which may become necessary if global warming eventually threatens our shorelines.

Other issues are more regional like the performance issues we’re seeing within MBTA or Massport’s efforts to improve the quality of life for those who live near Logan Airport. However, there are other problems that are more systemic and permeate across nearly all cities and towns regardless of geographic location or demographic make-up. These are many of the issues that people are talking to me about. They are concerned with the opioid epidemic that has touched nearly all of us, especially in my hometown of Revere.  While it is a national problem, the threat of terrorism has people extremely frightened and it is the concern I hear about the most.  We must never forget the Boston Marathon bombing. A final concern that I often hear from people is the increase in gun violence in the communities within the district and it is taking place in every area including places such as Beacon Hill.

As is the norm in a Presidential election year, we hear a lot of rhetoric being thrown around between candidates. Unfortunately in this election, certain viewpoints are particularly harsh in tone and social impact. As someone who is the child of immigrants, I saw how hard my grandparents and my mother worked to create a good life in America.  I see that same spirit in the many hard-working citizens of the senate district that may have been born elsewhere but now call America home. So, when I hear people demonize our fellow citizens simply because of where they were born, it offends me personally. The hard working people of this country need someone who understands what it’s like to work for a living.

As soon as I was old enough to work, I did.  I worked many years in retail at Johnnie’s Foodmaster Supermarkets as a Manager, a job that I loved because I got to interact with people and help them in any way that I could. It was that experience that made me want to become a city councilor.  It was while working at Johnnie’s Foodmaster Supermarkets that I pursued a college education at Salem State University receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management.  Also, it was while working at Johnnie’s that I found I really enjoyed helping people. I have continued to help people in my community through my work on the City Council and I was very humbled to see that work rewarded when the people of Revere re-elected me this past fall.

I am currently a Realtor for Century 21 Northshore.  This position has helped me to gain understanding of the housing market and its implications for folks seeking to buy homes.  Like at Johnnie’s Foodmaster Supermarkets, I feel that this job also allows me to help people in reaching one of the most important decisions they make in a lifetime:  Buying a house.

Many of the issues that my constituents are talking to me about, some of which I’ve mentioned, cannot be solved through my work on the city council alone. However, I still want to help solve these problems not only for my friends and supporters in Revere but for the good people of the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Cambridge, Chinatown, East Boston, the North End, and Winthrop and everywhere in between.

I have been a tireless advocate for the people of Revere and I want to bring my energy and vigor to Beacon Hill to tackle not only the small problems that are easily fixed, but the larger ones that aren’t easily fixed. I said that whoever succeeds Senator Petruccelli has some large shoes to fill. I believe that I am that person.  I pledge to build on what Senator Petruccelli has accomplished.

I am therefore announcing my candidacy for State Senator for the First Suffolk & Middlesex district of Massachusetts.  I will campaign in every neighborhood in the district.  I look forward to personally meeting the voters of the district to learn about their concerns and suggestions.

Sen. Dorcena Forry endorses Diana Hwang

Boston State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry today endorsed Democrat Diana Hwang for State Senate.  Hwang, a local non-profit founder and former State House staffer, is a candidate to replace Anthony Petruccelli in the Democratic primary special election for Massachusetts’ First Suffolk and Middlesex State Senate District.

“We need leaders in the State Senate who will work to ensure that everyone has a voice in government and has access to critical services that can help them and their families get ahead; Diana Hwang is one of those leaders,” said Senator Forry.  “For 10 years she has worked the halls of power — from the State House, to City Hall, to major boards and commissions — to change government to include those who are often left behind. I couldn’t be more proud to endorse Diana Hwang for State Senate.”

“Like me, Diana is the child of immigrants who came to this country to build a better life and ensure that their children had opportunities that they didn’t have growing up,” Forry continued.  They struggled as many immigrants do – and that experience shaped Diana’s core values, her passion, her commitment and connects her to the struggles so many in our communities face. Diana has been and will be a fearless advocate for women, immigrants and working families.  She is exactly the kind of leader that can bridge the communities of the First Suffolk and Middlesex district and will hit the ground running.”

Forry, the State Senator from the neighboring First Suffolk District, has served in the state legislature since 2005 and has been a trail-blazer in Massachusetts, breaking political barriers and building bridges across many of Boston’s diverse communities.

“I couldn’t be more honored to be endorsed by Senator Linda Dorcena Forry,” Hwang declared.  “Senator Forry has been a great mentor to me and so many other women in our state and her passion for serving on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth is unmatched.  Her leadership on issues like immigrants’ rights, neighborhood development and vitality as well as constituent services are all critical to this district.  Her ability to build relationships and work collaboratively has been an inspiration to me.”

The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Diana Hwang is the founder of the Asian-American Women’s Political Initiative – the country’s first political leadership organization for young Asian-American women.  She previously served as a legislative aide in the State House and a Chief of Staff in the Boston City Council.  Diana serves as Board member of the UMass Center for Women in Politics, served as co-chair of the Boston Women’s Fund and is a founding member of Mayor Walsh’s Women’s Commission.  Diana currently lives in East Boston and previously lived in Revere.

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