March 21, 2014
National EMS Memorial Foundation
I met with members of the National Emergency Medical Services Memorial Foundation this week in my Cambridge office. Based in Boston, the foundation is working to establish a memorial for EMTs and Paramedics who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The Foundation is hoping to locate this memorial in the Washington, D.C. area on privately owned or federal land. Foundation members updated me on their efforts to make this memorial a reality, including possible locations and support for the initiative. Foundation members have been in touch with the National Capital Planning Commission regarding the requirements for locating the memorial on federal land. One of those requirements is included in the Commemorative Works Act, a joint resolution of Congress designating the National EMS Memorial Foundation as the official sponsor of the memorial. I offered my assistance and asked that they keep me informed of their progress.
Environment Massachusetts and MASSPIRG
I had the pleasure Tuesday of meeting with staff and volunteers from two nonprofit organizations, Environment Massachusetts and MASSPIRG. We had a great discussion about the environmental challenges facing our communities and our planet, and the attitude in Washington, D.C. towards addressing those challenges. Those of you who read this e-update regularly know little is being done in the House to strengthen environmental oversight. In fact, the opposite is true, although the Senate is not likely to take up any of the House-passed environmental bills seeking to restrict regulatory authority. We talked about the impact of federal budget cuts on environmental programming, the National Park Service (NPS) and oversight agencies. Those cuts impact the protection of natural resources as well as the ability of agencies like the NPS to maintain its programming and facilities. Those in attendance were concerned about threats to the Clean Water Act that could have a negative impact on many of our own local resources. I thanked the groups for their activism and encouraged them to keep up their hard work, despite the lack of progress in Washington.
Caribbean American Carnival Association of Boston
This week I attended the Caribbean American Carnival Association of Boston’s breakfast as part of the planning and festivities leading up to the 41st Caribbean American Carnival, which will take place this summer in Boston. I thanked attendees for their service to the community and for their success in bringing people together every year to celebrate. It is always a very well attended parade and celebration, and the Association is hard at work preparing for it. I thank the Association for the invitation to join them Thursday morning.
I met with a Political Science class at Curry College in Milton this week to talk about the current state of politics in Washington, D.C. We had an interesting discussion about the lack of bipartisanship and how it frustrates the legislative agenda. The students shared their perceptions of the political process and I enjoyed talking with them. I urged them to remain informed and engaged citizens.
On Thursday I spent some time with the owners and staff of Randolph Engineering, a family owned eyeglass frame design and manufacturing company. Randolph Engineering was founded by first generation Polish immigrants and is the only metal frame maker in the United States. The company manufactures eyeglass frames for commercial clients. It also makes sunglasses for military personnel, including pilots. The company has doubled in size over the last three years and has built its own frame manufacturing machines. I took a tour of the facility and was impressed with both Randolph Engineering’s history and its craftsmanship.
Somerville High School
Yesterday I spent time with a U.S. History class at Somerville High School. As part of a class assignment, the students had written me letters about raising the minimum wage. They advanced many thoughtful arguments for raising it and also showed themselves to be aware of opposing arguments, that this could have the unintended consequence of hurting low-wage workers. They shared revealing personal stories about the effect of the minimum wage on themselves and their families. After reading their letters I wanted to meet them and the teacher who has inspired and taught them so well. It was an afternoon that made me proud of Somerville. Almost all students described themselves as children of working class families, many were children of immigrants. A blackboard in the classroom recorded their college acceptances, many with full scholarships. I told them that my father, my wife, my two sons, and I myself are all graduates of Somerville High, and we talked about the importance of making the most of your education and the opportunities that an education gives you. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the students.
What’s Up Next Week
Next votes are scheduled for Tuesday April 1st. At this writing, a legislative schedule is not available.