May 20, 2011
This week was a District Work period. I was pleased to have the opportunity Wednesday morning to speak at ROCA's annual breakfast and awards ceremony. ROCA, or Reaching Out to Chelsea Adolescents, was established in Chelsea in 1988 and now serves the Greater Boston area and Springfield. ROCA works with young people who are facing tough challenges such as gang involvement or young parenthood or who have dropped out of school. ROCA staffers help these young men and women develop the skills they need to return to school, achieve academic success, and help prepare them to enter the workforce. The breakfast was very well attended, which speaks to the quality of the organization and the impact it has had on so many young lives. It was an honor to participate in this annual gathering.
This week I celebrated the opening of the first U.S. facility with the capacity to test large wind turbine blades. Located in Charlestown, this Wind Technology Testing Center will help advance the testing and implementation of wind power throughout the country. I was pleased to tour the facility, which created hundreds of jobs during a difficult economy. With the work done at this facility developing the next generation of wind turbines, Massachusetts is leading the way towards clean energy initiatives.
This week I was also a guest speaker at the Hyde Park Main Streets Business Breakfast, a monthly meeting that took place in a newly renovated McDonalds this month. Hyde Park businesses take turns hosting the monthly gatherings. I spoke with approximately 40 attendees about a variety of issues such as healthcare, taxes, Social Security, Medicare and the budget. Meeting participants were particularly interested in the budget deficit as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I very much enjoy exchanges like this and I appreciated the opportunity to meet with Hyde Park Main Streets business members and residents.
On Thursday I joined U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan who was in town to tour the Castle Square Apartments in the South End. Thanks in part to federal stimulus funding, this 500 unit housing development was renovated with a focus on reducing its carbon footprint. Energy usage is expected to be reduced by 72%. That savings is achieved through a Deep Energy Retrofit, which includes new insulation, windows, heating and cooling systems and appliances. The development really is a model for how we can achieve significant energy savings through needed renovation.
U.S. Involvement in Libya
Today marks the 60th day of U.S. involvement in military action in Libya. Under the War Powers Act, if the President has not received authorization to engage U.S. forces in a conflict within 60 days, he must suspend those operations and withdraw any troops. So far, President Obama has not made any effort to seek authorization from Congress, and I will be partnering with colleagues next week to ensure that he adheres to the letter of the law. The Boston Phoenix carried an editorial this week that discusses just what's at stake in this dilemma. You can find that article here: http://thephoenix.com/Boston/news/120932-whats-going-on-whats-at-stake/.
What's Up Next Week
Next week the House is expected to consider H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.