July 1, 2016
A Note on Gun Control
This week was a District Work period. I spent the time in Massachusetts, working in my Cambridge office, meeting with constituents and attending events. Everywhere I went, everyone I spoke with offered their support for House Democratsí floor demonstration last week. I fully understand that sensible gun control legislation has broad support in my district, but I think itís worth noting that not a single person felt Congress should do nothing on this issue. Many of you thanked me for my leadership and encouraged Members to continue pushing for a vote on reasonable gun legislation: closing the loopholes in background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists (No Fly=No Buy).
I spent many hours talking with House colleagues around the country about this issue, trying to balance our desire for a vote with our responsibilities on other issues and our respect for the rules of the House. Today and the rest of this holiday weekend, I expect to continue these discussions.
Just last night Speaker Ryan announced he will allow a least one vote on gun control. While this certainly seems like a positive development, we just wonít know until we actually read the legislation he will propose. We will have to wait and see if the Speakerís proposal is a serious one or just a political gesture that in reality does nothing. I hope it is a serious proposal. I am willing to accept the legislative process and the will of the House if the proposal is a legitimate one, even if my position fails to win. I am not willing to allow a symbolic political gesture disguised as a vote to deny America the opportunity to understand exactly where their elected officials stand on this critical issue.
Charles River Conservancy
I met with members of the Charles River Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and responsible use of the Charles River Parklands. The Conservancy helps to enhance recreational and cultural activities at the parklands while at the same time working to protect this precious public resource. Conservancy members wanted to talk with me about the I-90 Interchange Improvement Project, which involves, in part, proposed straightening of a section of the highway. This could yield acres of land. The Conservancy is advocating for additional parklands along the banks of the Charles River as part of the I-90 Interchange Improvement Project. I agree that this would be a great use of some of the reclaimed land. I encouraged the Conservancy members to stay active and engaged with all project stakeholders, particularly because this ambitious transportation plan is still in the early stages.
Friends of the Community Path
I met with on Tuesday with members of the Friends of the Community Path, a dedicated group focused on promoting the growth and vibrancy of Somervilleís Community Path. I began this project while I was Mayor of Somerville and subsequently obtained federal transportation money to improve and expand the Community Path. One of the unfortunate impacts of the Green Line Extensionís (GLX) cost overruns is that the proposed Community Path extension to the North Point development in Cambridge is in jeopardy. While the MBTA has committed to extending the Path to the proposed Washington Street MBTA Station, which I appreciate, there are no plans to extend it further at this time. I have no doubt that the MBTA would prefer to build the Path in its entirety as part of the GLX project, but cost overruns are making that difficult. While I could make no promises, I assured the Friends that I will work to see what is possible.
Town of Randolph
On Wednesday I met with Randolph Town Manager David Murphy and Town Planner Michelle Tyler for a discussion about several capital projects currently underway, including an extensive renovation of the Turner Free Library. A new Police Station, Fire Station and intergenerational Community Center are also being built. Upon completion, the Community Center will offer new spaces that Randolph residents can enjoy. I also spent some time with Town Councilor Paul Fernandes and Randolph small business owner Mary Fernandes. We discussed the four capital projects, of which they are very supportive. Everyone I met with was interested in hearing more about the sit-in that took place last week in the House over inaction on gun control legislation. We talked at length about what might happen next. I also had the opportunity to take a photo in front of the PRIDE flag, on loan to the Town from Councilor Paul Meoni.
I met yesterday with the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Eric Rosengren. We talked about the potential impact of Brexit on the United States economy, including the potential difficulties the Boston real estate market may encounter. Mr. Rosengren believes that the direct impact of Brexit on the United States economy is likely to be minimal over the long term while the indirect impacts are harder to predict. We also talked at length about the stress tests that the Federal Reserve implements to gauge the strength of big banks. We discussed the strength of the Boston real estate market, which is performing much better than other markets. One unintended consequence of this success is that it is increasingly forcing working families and middle class families out of Boston. I appreciated Mr. Rosengrenís time and insight.
Whatís Up Next
The next House votes will take place on Tuesday July 5th. Speaker Ryan has indicated that legislation on guns will be considered although we do not know at this point which specific bill will be brought up or what other items it will be combined with.