February 19, 2016
The House was not in session this week. I used the extra time in the district to catch up on my meetings in Massachusetts and attend events. I also had a little time to clear my desk of a few piles of paperwork.
Jewish Community Housing
Photo courtesy of Isabel Leon, Mayor’s Office Photography
I joined staff and residents at Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE) in Brighton for a special dedication ceremony on Tuesday. The facility was recently modernized, with upgrades to individual apartments and common areas. Renovations included new kitchens and baths, as well as energy efficient lighting and improved heating. The renovation was possible through a federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mortgage, which ensures the affordability of every apartment for decades. JCHE is available to residents who are considered “extremely low income” by HUD definition. Renovating the units is more cost efficient than rebuilding them. I was pleased to join in with residents and staff to celebrate the improved facilities.
I joined officials at the Charles Stark Draper Labs in Cambridge on Wednesday for a groundbreaking at their Technology Square offices. Work is beginning on a new atrium at their main entrance which will bring in additional light and create a more welcoming facade for the community. The atrium will give employees plenty of communal space to meet and interact more informally with each other. The new space will feature exhibits so the community can learn more about the work Draper employees are doing, as well as the history of the labs. Construction of lab space and improvements to Draper’s biomedical facilities are also part of the project. During my remarks at the groundbreaking, I thanked Draper employees for their work pushing the boundaries of science and exploring new technologies. I appreciate Draper’s commitment and contribution to our local economy.
I visited Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD)’s Roxbury/North Dorchester Neighborhood Opportunity Center yesterday where I talked with staff about the services and programs offered at the centers throughout Boston and beyond. I also toured the Walnut Grove Head Start and spent some time in a classroom of small children. It was a lively and enjoyable session. Head Start gives children an early beginning at a quality education. ABCD does great work and the Head Start program helps so many children get the most out of their education. In the current fiscal year, Head Start has received more than $9 billion in federal funding. ABCD also operates numerous programs for low-income families, including fuel assistance, job training, nutrition assistance, educational programming and more.
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
I enjoyed talking with John Fanton, the new President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and his staff this week. The Academy is located on Beacon Street in Cambridge, on the Somerville line. John Adams, second president of the United States, founded the American Academy in 1780. It is the oldest political and scholarly research organization in the country. Sixty-two citizens, merchants and farmers as well as clergymen, physicians, and scholars signed its Charter, determined that public debate be informed and thoughtful. Sam Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton joined the Massachusetts group later. Today the Academy has 4,600 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members, virtually all academics. It remains committed to investigating and proposing solutions for many critical contemporary problems in higher education, public education, science and technology, and foreign policy. I encouraged Dr. Fanton and his staff to involve elected officials in their work at earlier stages of their many excellent projects.
Massachusetts Airport Management Association
I met this week with members of the Massachusetts Airport Management Association (MAMA). Its members include regional airport managers, FAA associates and other industries servicing the state’s regional airports. MAMA members advocate on behalf of the aviation industry, focusing on how state and federal regulations impact operations. We had a wide ranging conversation about the positive economic impact that smaller community airports have on the surrounding area. We also discussed the proposed FAA reauthorization bill (which I wrote about a couple weeks ago). MAMA members were pleased to finally see some movement on reauthorizing the FAA although, like me, they also have some concerns about the bill.
What’s Up Next
The next House votes are scheduled for Tuesday February 23rd. A legislative schedule is not yet available.