June 1, 2018
The House was not in session this week and I very much enjoyed spending time with my constituents. In addition to our community meeting in Dorchester Tuesday evening, I met with local business owners, attended the ceremonial ribbon cutting for the re-opening of the Longfellow Bridge, celebrated the end of the school year with Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) Head Start children and met with many others.
Teddie Peanut Butter
I visited Teddie Peanut Butter in Everett and talked with staff - touring the factory and learning more about their production process. The company, which makes all natural peanut butter as well as other products, was founded almost 100 years ago. It was fascinating to observe employees in the factory overseeing the various stages of readying New England’s highest selling all natural peanut butter for store shelves. While at Teddie Peanut Butter, I spoke with employees and management about their experiences with the business. We also talked about how federal policies, from tax legislation and trade policy to health care, have an impact on local businesses. I enjoyed meeting with staff and learning more about how peanut butter is made.
Everett Supply and True Value Hardware
I also visited with management and staff at Everett Supply and True Value Hardware, another locally owned business. We talked about the challenges of competing with large hardware and home improvement chains as well as the personal customer service experience that local family owned businesses can provide. Staffers talked with me about the current business climate as well as their perspective on issues ranging from taxes to transportation. I thank Everett Supply and True Value Hardware for taking time out of their day to meet with me.
Last night I had the pleasure of celebrating the 40th anniversary of Chelsea’s Neighborhood Developers and their Partner of the Year, Neighborworks America — also celebrating 40 years. The Neighborhood Developers build affordable homes in communities where there is a need — and we all recognize the need is great. The organization has also established a Financial Opportunity Center, partnering with other entities to help individuals improve their financial literacy and maximize existing resources to build income stability. Neighborworks America brings together community development organizations from all over the country and provides support as they develop affordable housing. Neighborworks offers grants, technical assistance and training to help certify individuals in a host of housing fields — from asset management to construction. Both of these organizations are doing important work to increase availability of affordable housing in the region and I congratulate both on their 40 year commitment.
Action for Boston Community Development
Today was a great morning to join Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) at their annual celebration on Boston Common for Head Start families. Children and their families gathered to celebrate the end of the school year and welcome the beginning of summer with group activities and Field Day. A resource fair for families was held as part of the event, including providing information on kindergarten. ABCD is a non-profit organization providing a range of services for low-income families including educational assistance, home heating aid, nutritional aid and much more. ABCD has also educated thousands of young people through its Head Start program. Head Start began as part of President Johnson’s War on Poverty. Since 1965, this early childhood program has been giving preschoolers the social and cognitive enrichment they will need to succeed in elementary school and beyond. Studies over decades have shown its effectiveness. Head Start programs also engage with parents to help students and families thrive.
Union Square Main Streets
Our local businesses sustain our communities and help make our neighborhoods more vibrant. I spent time today with staffers from Union Square Main Streets in Somerville then met with owners and staff of the Loyal Supply Company, a retail shop and design space for an array of products for the home and office. Many of the store’s products come together in the workshop space below the retail floor. Ownership supports and nurtures local artisans, with creative space and showcase opportunities for a variety of handmade goods.
I joined state and local officials this afternoon at the ceremonial ribbon cutting for the rehabilitation of the Longfellow Bridge, a vital transportation connection for commuters, bicyclists and pedestrians across the Charles River. The bridge is also a jewel of the Boston skyline. More than a decade ago, I was successful in directing federal funding to the project which was an important step in getting the renovation started. I was pleased to celebrate this milestone in the life of the bridge, where utility and beauty have been restored.
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 May 2018 media reports, China has granted Ivanka Trump seven additional trademarks for her businesses. Products covered include household items and books. The timing is curious. Just last month, Trump was tweeting about a cell phone company partially owned by the Chinese government, demanding that the Commerce Department help bail it out – after China invested in a Trump Organization project (BtC #301). Now Ivanka gets some new trademarks approved? These transactions certainly don’t seem coincidental. Would Ivanka really have gotten the same consideration if her father wasn’t the President?
- According to March 2018 media reports, Jared Kushner has finally been granted full security clearances well over a year after he began working at the White House. Clearance was granted despite an overwhelming web of financial, national security, and ethical conflicts. We should all be concerned how someone with obvious conflicts, many involving soliciting foreign entities to invest in his family business, even qualifies for a security clearance.
- In Behind the Curtain #264 we reported on a single case of a 7 year old Congolese girl being taken away from her mother when the pair appeared at the border requesting asylum. That cruel example has now become a fundamental part of the Trump Administration’s immigration policy. It exists to deter asylum seekers by inflicting unprecedented pain on desperate persons. Over the past week, there have been countless media reports of immigrant children of all ages being ripped away from their families at the border. This is inhumane, unnecessary and inflicts lasting trauma on these innocent minors. This administration doesn’t seem to care about the age of the children. In just one heartbreaking example, an 18 month old was taken away from his mother when she sought asylum. The American Academy of Pediatrics has spoken out about this abuse and I honor their concern for all children. This is not who we are as a country and it should spark outrage from all of us. First daughter Ivanka was criticized last weekend for posting a photo showing a quiet moment with her young son during widespread reports on families being forcibly separated. Is the administration really that oblivious?
What’s Up Next
The next House votes are scheduled for Tuesday June 5th. At this writing, a list of legislation to be considered is not available.