May 4, 2018
Telephone Community Meetings
We’ve scheduled telephone community meetings during the month of May. I hope you are available to participate in one of them. If interested, just call 877-229-8493 and use PIN 116139 at the scheduled time. If you’d like to ask me a question, press *3 after joining the meeting. The telephone meetings will take place on the following evenings:
- Tuesday May 8th from 7:20 – 8:20 PM
- Wednesday May 16th from 7:05 – 8:05 PM
- Thursday May 17th from 7:00 – 8:00 PM
- Wednesday May 23rd from 7:00 – 8:00 PM
East Cambridge Business Association
On Tuesday I attended one of the East Cambridge Business Association’s (ECBA) regular meetings for members. The ECBA is a vibrant local business organization with membership ranging from family businesses that have thrived in the neighborhood for years to more recently established facilities and larger corporations. My main district office is also located in East Cambridge so we have a firsthand understanding of the local business community. We had a thoughtful discussion about how the number of developments in various stages of completion will impact the East Cambridge area. Attendees were concerned about the current climate in Washington and troubled by President Trump’s approach to pretty much everything, from international relations to tax reform. I appreciated the invitation to spend some time with my business neighbors, receiving updates on their activities.
Boston Architectural College
I met this week with a professor and five students from the Boston Architectural College (BAC). The students were both graduates and undergraduates, specializing in landscape architecture who are interested in advocacy and public policy. They requested my support for pending legislation to protect eroding sea coast, better manage water resources and, more broadly, to advance environmental justice. One of the students was writing her master’s thesis about the City of Chelsea and had much to say that was relevant to all of the Congressional district I represent.
It was encouraging to meet with such innovative, imaginative, and concerned young people. They spoke of the difference between “hard” and “soft” engineering solutions to erosion and made a convincing case that properly chosen trees, which set down strong roots, might protect a coastline better than an artificial barrier. They described many projects to capture rain water and put it to use rather than diverting it into the sewer system. BAC itself has a roof garden, for which I secured funding, that does just that. There are many other ways to design city streets and transit systems to achieve this purpose. We also talked about ways to capture wind and tidal energy and found much common ground.
Last night I served as an Honorary Chair for EMPath’s Economic Independence Day. EMPath – Economic Mobility Pathways, is formerly the Crittenton Women’s Union. Its mission is to create economic opportunity and independence for low-income women and their families. EMPath focuses on all aspects of life – from health and career to home and family. The goal is to help women succeed by giving them the tools for success both personally and professionally.
The evolution of this group illustrates the movement from philanthropy to empowerment that tells much about women’s history in the United States. The original Crittenton was founded in Boston in 1836 to provide safe and respectable shelter for young women, coming from rural areas to find work in the city and also for new immigrants. It also provided compassionate care for what were then called “unmarried mothers.” The other forerunner organization, the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union, was founded a generation later in 1877 by one of America’s first female physicians. It assumed that many women would work outside the home and sought to prepare them to succeed. The two organizations merged and continued to support and mentor women. I was deeply honored to be asked to represent EMPath, an organization that does important work helping low income families achieve economic independence and stability.
Behind the Curtain — More House and Trump Administration Actions You Don’t Want to Miss
Here are this week’s additions. If you need to catch up or share with friends, you can find the full list here.
- According to an April 2018 New York Times report, the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education implemented new procedures that give investigators more authority over the cases they pursue. Under the terms of the updated department manual, investigators can decline to consider a case if it is deemed too difficult for the office to manage or seems to be part of a pattern of similar filings. 500 disability complaints were recently dismissed under the updated manual. This new approach is deeply troubling because it gives investigators sweeping authority to disregard potentially serious complaints relating to civil rights.
- According to April 2018 media reports, the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to seek changes that undermine scientific research. EPA Administrator Pruitt recently announced plans to prohibit the EPA from considering any studies that don’t make all of their research data publicly available. This will greatly diminish the scope of information that officials have available to them when making environmental policy. Plenty of environmental regulations are developed based on health impacts. Under Pruitt’s proposal, unless the personal health data of every individual considered for the study is public, that study will be set aside. It’s clear to see how this weakens the EPA, which is not surprising coming from Pruitt.
What’s Up Next
The next votes will take place on Monday May 7th. At this writing, a legislative schedule is not available.