September 1, 2011
Boston Housing Funding
Today the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that the City of Boston was among 5 communities nationwide receiving funding under the new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. The new program helps communities revitalize neighborhoods by renovating housing in need of repair and creating programming to support the community. $20.5 million in federal funding is going to the City of Boston and the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation for work at the Woodledge/Morrant Bay Apartments. A series of run-down buildings will be renovated and transformed into affordable housing, which is one component of a vibrant neighborhood. The money will also be used to help provide after-school activities for children and job-training programs for neighbors seeking employment as well as educational and other initiatives to help support the residents once construction is complete. This is great news for the City of Boston. Federal dollars are becoming more and more difficult to obtain and this award will have a big impact on the neighborhood. Not only will it rehabilitate blighted housing, it will also help establish a whole host of services to engage and support the community. I was happy to participate in today’s announcement and I look forward to visiting the site once work is in progress.
Green Line Meeting
I recently met with government leaders to work on a coordinated approach to the announcement that construction of the Green Line extension is being delayed. You may recall that the Commonwealth announced it was delaying the Green Line extension in order to complete the acquisition of parcels necessary to complete the project. I very strongly support this project and I have been working hard to advance it for years. Many people are rightly concerned about the delay and I share that concern. Although I am convinced that the state remains committed to this project, delays of any kind are cause for concern. I have continued my work meeting and talking with local officials to review the status of the project, go over the issues associated with the delay and focus on next steps.
I met with officials from Tech Net, a technology industry association, to talk about the issue of tax repatriation. Revenue earned in foreign countries that is kept offshore is not taxed. Once it is brought on shore it is subject to taxation. Tech Net was interested in the prospects of a House-proposed bill that declares a tax repatriation holiday which would allow corporations to claim this offshore income and bring it back without having to pay taxes. I always try to keep an open mind and I am certainly willing to take a look at this bill. However, I think corporations must make a commitment to put that repatriated money right into American job creation where it will help boost the economy. Otherwise, there is no good reason, in my opinion, to support this bill.
MIT Media Labs
I had the opportunity to visit the MIT Media Lab and meet with some of its scientists and innovators. Now in its 25th year, the MIT Media Lab continues to do great work in so many fields, from technology to health care. There is a tremendous amount of research being conducted at the Media Lab with the general focus being human adaptability. During my visit, I spent time with the Biomechatronics research group. This group of researchers is developing technologies for people who have physical challenges. The goal of their research is to create devices that can be used by amputees and veterans who suffer from physically debilitating war wounds that are not simply replacements for the human body, but extensions. This is imaginative innovation with humanitarian applications. It provides an excellent example of the role that research plays in the 8th Congressional District, and of federal funding being put to good use.
I took part in the RoxVote Coalition’s Picnic with Elected Officials, a well attended community gathering that gave those present the opportunity to talk with their elected officials about the issues facing our neighborhoods and our country. The RoxVote Coalition is a nonpartisan group of Roxbury-based community organizations working to promote greater civic engagement and participation in government. I had the chance to talk with many of my constituents about issues ranging from the state of our economy and job creation to health care and education. I heard varied views and opinions and I thank the RoxVote Coalition for the invitation to attend.
Reach Out and Read
Last week I participated in a Reach Out and Read program at the Upham’s Corner Health Center. It was part of their “Summer of a Million Books” campaign which is an effort to give one million children a new book in time for International Literacy Day on September 8th. The Reach Out and Read program partners with doctors’ offices to encourage children to read. Children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years are given a free book at each checkup. It has made a real difference in the lives of countless children. Reading with children helps them to prepare for school and it’s a wonderful way for families to spend time together. I certainly enjoyed reading to my two sons when they were younger. I am pleased that I had the chance to read “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” at the Upham’s Corner Health Center and at the same time lend my support to such a worthwhile program.
What’s Up Next Week
The House is scheduled to go back into session next week, with votes expected on Wednesday September 7th.