October 14, 2016
I met yesterday with the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Massachusetts Division Director Jeff McEwen. An engineer by training, Mr. McEwen recently began working as Division Director. Given the importance of transportation to the region and my work on the Transportation Committee, I wanted the opportunity to meet with Mr. McEwen. We had a general discussion about active highway projects in the state and specifically in the 7th Congressional District, such as the Longfellow Bridge. We talked at length about the overall state of Massachusetts’ roads and bridges and Mr. McEwen’s long term vision for managing our infrastructure challenges. I appreciated his time.
Turner Free Library
Last week I was happy to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Turner Free Library in Randolph at a ribbon cutting ceremony. Much more than simply a building to borrow a favorite novel or do some research, the library is a place for the community to gather for lectures, readings and so much more. The library offers online courses on a wealth of subjects, technology for community use and of course, books on any subject you can imagine. Our libraries have evolved to accommodate the increasing role that technology plays in our lives and this grand reopening showcased how much this local gem has to offer the residents of Randolph. I appreciated the invitation and was happy to attend.
Codman Square Health Center
The Codman Square Health Center recently held their 19th annual “Men of Boston Cook for Women’s Health”. This annual event raises money for women’s health services such as mammograms and annual physicals. This event always draws hundreds of people who support the great work that the health center is doing in Dorchester. I had a great time preparing and serving refreshments and talking with people about the health center’s importance to the community. CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, who is from Dorchester, returned to town to support the Codman Square Health Center.
Association for Commuter Transportation
Earlier this week I was the keynote speaker at the Association for Commuter Transportation’s (ACT) Transit Demand Management forum. ACT is a national association that advocates for commuter transportation and transit demand management. The organization promotes commuting through public transit, biking, walking and telecommuting as ways to lessen congestion and improve air quality. If you frequent the Kendall Square area in Cambridge, you may be familiar with or even use the EZ Ride, which is an example of the type of transportation that ACT promotes. I addressed the difficulty in advancing legislation in Washington’s current political climate. We also had a lively question and answer session about transportation funding, national transportation policy and other infrastructure related topics.
Armenian National Committee
I met this week with constituents from the Armenian National Committee of America. They expressed their concerns about continuing hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan and they asked Congressional support for some measures that might decrease those tensions. They are hoping for the deployment of additional observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) along line of contact with better monitoring of hostilities and advanced gunfire locating systems. They spoke too, with justifiable pride, of Armenia’s willingness to welcome Syrian refugees. They told me that, to date, nearly 20,000 individuals, have found shelter in Armenia, one of the poorest states accepting those fleeing Syria. Moreover, Armenia has not confined them to refugee camps but sought to integrate them into national life. Many are ethnic Armenians who have already been granted full citizenship. In a time when much of the news is bad and too often tragic, I was encouraged by this story of compassion.