October 7, 2016
This morning I attended a press conference at Logan Airport where Massport and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) they have established. The MOU codifies an agreement between the two agencies that they will work together on a joint study to test and analyze ways to lessen the impact of air traffic on residents living underneath flight paths.
You may recall that earlier this year I added three provisions to the proposed FAA Reauthorization bill regarding noise measurement, navigation and environmental reviews. Today’s announcement is a small but significant step forward for those of us who are enduring increased air traffic over our homes. This MOU would not have been possible without elected officials and residents of impacted communities working toward a common goal. Every corner of our district is impacted by airplane noise and I recognize that this is a persistent problem. Many of you have reached out to me about this and I want to thank you for your diligence and commitment to exploring solutions.
I do not know what the study will show, but I am hopeful it will point to concrete ways that air traffic related noise can be addressed and mitigated so that all impacted communities are treated equitably. I look forward to the results of the studies and will certainly keep you informed as we work to lessen the burden of airplane noise on our neighborhoods.
Meeting with Students
I had the pleasure this week of meeting with students from the Healey School in Somerville. I enjoy talking with students of all ages and am always impressed by the questions that they have. After sharing details about my work in Washington and at home, the students asked me a range of questions. We talked about how the federal government can help improve schools and communities and the importance of staying involved in our neighborhoods. Students were interested in hearing about a typical day in Washington and here in the 7th district. I appreciate the hospitality and enjoyed our exchanges.
I attended a ceremony in Somerville marking the completion of the Gilman Street Bridge replacement. This important structure carries McGrath Highway over Gilman Street and has been in dire need of repair. McGrath Highway is such an important regional highway with enormous vehicle demand during peak hours. Fixing the Gilman Street Bridge was essential to improving flow through this busy corridor. I appreciate and thank those who played a role in this major project.
I met yesterday with the organization No Labels, a group focused on finding bipartisan solutions to national challenges. Group members wanted to give me more information about their agenda for 2017. They’ve established 4 broad goals: job creation, stabilizing Social Security and Medicare, balancing the federal budget and achieving energy security. I certainly agree with these broad goals and am always hopeful that people who seek to serve the public can find common ground. Republicans and Democrats won’t, and don’t have to, agree on every issue. However, it is important that all of us look for ways to work with each other to achieve progress for the American people. Compromise is something we all do in daily life. It should be possible in politics.
High School Innovation
The City of Somerville was recently awarded a $10 million grant as part of the national Super School Project. Almost 700 applicants from all over the country submitted ideas on how to invigorate the high school educational experience. The Somerville School Department partnered with Sprout and Co. on one of ten winning proposal, the creation of a new year round high school, Somerville Powderhouse Studios. Designed without grade levels or a set curriculum, the new facility will give students the opportunity to participate in internships and other projects that should add new dimensions to their education. I was intrigued by this proposal and wanted to learn more about it. I met with representatives from Sprout Inc. for a briefing. I look forward to receiving updates as building renovation and curriculum planning advance.
Congressional App Challenge
Just a reminder that my office is participating in the 2016 Congressional App Challenge. All high school students, living or attending school in the 7th Congressional District, are eligible to participate. If you know someone who is eligible and may be interested in participating, please spread the word.
This competition was established to encourage students’ creativity and participation in STEM fields. Students compete with their peers in each participating Congressional district by creating and exhibiting their software application, or “app”, for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice.
Students may enter as individuals or in teams of up to four, as long as two of the teammates are eligible to participate in the 7th Congressional District. The deadline for submissions, an explanation of the app and an account of what the students have learned, is 12:00 PM on November 2, 2016 EST. For additional details, you may visit congressionalappchallenge.us.