Friday, September 17, 2021

National POW/MIA Recognition Day


Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day, a day to honor our prisoners of war and those who remain missing in action, as well as their families. 

Since World War I, 142,233 of our nation’s service members have been captured and held as prisoners of war, including 17,004 who died while imprisoned. More than 81,600 Americans who have served since World War II are still listed as missing in action.

The debt that we as Americans owe to our veterans for their service and their sacrifices is one that we can never fully repay. Today, the House Republican Caucus joins with Americans everywhere as we pause to honor our nation’s POWs, MIA service members and their families, and to remind them that they are not forgotten.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

September 11, 2001: 20 Years Later, We Still Remember ... And We Will Never Forget


“One of the worst days in America’s history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.”
– President George W. Bush, speaking at the dedication of the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial on September 11, 2008.

On September 11, 2001, the United States found itself under attack when four commercial airplanes were hijacked by members of al-Qaeda and used as weapons of destruction. Two of those planes struck and brought down the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center, while a third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia. A fourth plane – reportedly bound for the nation’s capital – crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after the crew and passengers attempted to regain control of the plane. All told, nearly 3,000 Americans perished on that terrible day, including 206 with direct ties to Massachusetts and more than 400 first responders.

As we mark the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the members of the House Republican Caucus join with Americans everywhere in honoring the memories of those whose lives were cut short by the senseless acts of violence that took place that day. We will never forget the many acts of bravery and heroism that took place on September 11, and we will always remember those who were taken far too soon from their families, friends and loved ones.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Representative Pease Named To Broadband Equity Commission

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has selected State Representative Kelly Pease (R-Westfield) to serve on a special legislative commission that will study equity and access issues related to telecommunications services in Massachusetts.

Created as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 state budget, the Broadband Equity Commission has been tasked with developing recommendations “to address inequity and the digital divide for students and families with limited access to telecommunications services,” with a particular emphasis on assisting low-income communities, rural communities and communities of color. The commission is scheduled to hold its first meeting on September 9.

“The increased use of remote and hybrid learning during the pandemic has underscored the disparities in broadband access that exist throughout the Commonwealth,” said Representative Jones. “I am confident that Kelly will play an active role in helping the commission identify ways to address those disparities and ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth have access to this technology.”

As part of its work, the commission will identify obstacles that hinder efforts by the state and local communities to improve their telecommunications infrastructure and access. The commission will also review available federal funding sources, including grant opportunities, that can be used to improve telecommunications access in Massachusetts.

Joining Pease on the commission are several legislators, as well as representatives from the Executive Office of Education and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The commission also includes representatives from Latinos for Education, Inc.; the Massachusetts Broadband Institute; the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, Inc.; the Massachusetts Municipal Association, Inc.; the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Inc.; the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Inc.; the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, Inc.; the Massachusetts Teachers Association; the New England Cable & Telecommunications Association, Inc.; and the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts. 

First elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in November of 2020, Pease is the Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, and is also a member of the Joint Committees on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets; Education; and Veterans and Federal Affairs.

In addition to the Broadband Equity Commission, Pease also serves as a member of the state’s PFAS Interagency Task Force, which is currently developing response plan strategies, exploring various treatment and disposal options, and assessing how state agencies can reduce or eliminate the risks associated with water and ground contamination caused by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The task force is expected to release its findings and recommendations by December 31.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Representative Howitt To Serve On Auto Body Labor Rates Commission

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) to serve on a special legislative commission investigating auto body labor rates in Massachusetts.

Created as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 state budget, the 14-member commission has been tasked with conducting an analysis of the state’s auto body labor rates to see how they compare to surrounding states and to determine if the rates are reasonable. The commission will also review the impact of labor rates on the auto body labor workforce, and how managed competition in the automobile insurance market has impacted those rates.

“Steve is a long-time car enthusiast and has served as a member of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure since he was first elected to the House of Representatives,” said Representative Jones. “His interests and years of experience in these areas make him the perfect choice to serve on this special commission that will work to ensure that auto body labor rates are fair and reasonable.” 

The co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Financial Services, Representative James Murphy (D-Weymouth) and Senator Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn), are co-chairing the special commission, which will also include representatives from the Division of Insurance and the Attorney General’s office, as well as a member representing a vocational-technical school or program who will be appointed by Governor Baker. Additional commission members will be selected by the Automobile Insurers Bureau of Massachusetts; the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts, Inc.; and the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association, Inc.

The commission is scheduled to file a report of its findings, including any legislative or regulatory recommendations, by December 31.

Howitt currently serves as the Ranking Minority Member on both the Joint Committee on Export Development and the Joint Committee on Transportation. He is also a member of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

A member of the House of Representatives since 2011, Howitt represents the Fourth Bristol District communities of Norton (Precincts 1 and 2); Rehoboth; Seekonk; and Swansea (Precincts 4 and 5).

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Representative David Vieira Appointed To Special Commission Commemorating The 250th Anniversary Of The American Revolution

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative David Vieira (R-Falmouth) to serve on a special commission that will develop a comprehensive plan for promoting and celebrating the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution.

The 40-member commission will be led by State Representative Carole A. Fiola (D-Fall River) and State Senator Edward J. Kennedy (D-Lowell), who currently serve as the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development. In addition to identifying opportunities for individuals and municipalities across the state to participate in the anniversary celebrations and recognize the particular history of their geographical areas, the commission will also investigate and promote under-represented voices in the American Revolution, including women, native peoples and persons of color.

“As one of the original 13 colonies, Massachusetts played a pivotal role in our nation’s quest for self-governance, and the upcoming anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence provides a perfect opportunity to highlight that,” said Representative Jones. “I am confident David’s knowledge and expertise will help the commission develop an inclusive plan for marking this historic event that not only recognizes the prominent role certain communities played, but also acknowledges those individuals and groups whose stories may not be as well known to the Commonwealth’s residents.”

The commission will include members representing the communities of Boston, Cambridge, Arlington, Concord, Lexington and Lincoln, as well as organizations such as the Massachusetts Historical Society; the American Antiquarian Society; the Massachusetts Council for Social Studies, Inc.; the Commission on Indian Affairs; the New England Historic Genealogical Society; Preservation Massachusetts; the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities; and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Governor Charlie Baker’s appointees will include representatives of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts; Boston’s Museum of African American History; the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah; the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe; the Freedom Trail Foundation, Inc.; the Executive Office of Travel and Tourism; the Massachusetts Daughters of the American Revolution; and two scholars with expertise in colonial, revolutionary era history or American civics.

The commission will file a report providing an overview of Massachusetts’ role in the American Revolution, and highlighting the notable battles, events and figures of the era.

First elected to the House of Representatives in November of 2010, Vieira is now in his sixth term representing the Third Barnstable District, which is comprised of Precincts 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Bourne; Precincts 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 in Falmouth; and the town of Mashpee.

Earlier this year, Vieira was appointed to the Special Legislative Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission, which is developing recommendations for improving how childcare is funded in Massachusetts. He is also currently serving on a special commission studying the state seal and motto to ensure that they “faithfully reflect and embody the historic and contemporary commitments of the Commonwealth to peace, justice, liberty and equality and to spreading the opportunities and advantages of education.”

Sunday, July 4, 2021

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!


Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.
– President Ronald Reagan

On July 4, 1776 – 245 years ago today – the original 13 colonies declared their independence from British rule and established the United States of America. This watershed event has long served as a beacon of hope for the world. The Massachusetts House Republican Caucus joins with Americans everywhere today to celebrate Independence Day, and to offer our thanks to the many servicemen and women who continue to uphold the essential freedoms our forefathers envisioned for our nation more than two centuries ago.  Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Monday, May 31, 2021

MEMORIAL DAY 2021


On May 27, Massachusetts Military Heroes held its 12th annual Memorial Day Flag Garden ceremony, with families from across the state gathering on the Boston Common to remember their loved ones. Serving as a striking visual backdrop for this event were 37,342 newly-planted flags, each representing a Massachusetts resident who has died in military service to our nation since the Revolutionary War.

In his remarks, Governor Charlie Baker noted that "The one thing I have heard time and time again from Gold Star families, in my conversations with them over the years, is ... 'I hope you never forget and you always take time to honor and remember those who have made possible through their sacrifices all that we hold dear, here in Massachusetts, and across the country.'"

We here at The Capitol View will never forget the many men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. They gave their lives on the field of battle not only so we can be free, but also to ensure that our children, our grandchildren and future generations of Americans can continue to enjoy the same freedoms. The Massachusetts House Republican Caucus salutes our fallen veterans and offers our enduring gratitude to them and to the families they left behind.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Representative David Vieira Appointed To Special Commission Studying MA State Seal And Motto

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has announced his appointment of State Representative David Vieira (R-Falmouth) to serve on a special commission that will investigate and recommend potential changes to Massachusetts’ official state seal and motto.

The 19-member commission will study the features of the seal and motto “that may be unwittingly harmful to or misunderstood by the citizens of the Commonwealth,” and will work “to ensure that they faithfully reflect and embody the historic and contemporary commitments of the Commonwealth to peace, justice, liberty and equality and to spreading the opportunities and advantages of education.”

The state motto is Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem, a Latin phrase that is loosely translated as “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.” According to the Secretary of State’s office, the motto “was written about 1659 and is attributed to the famous English patriot, Algernon Sydney.” 

The current version of the state seal, which incorporates this motto, dates back to June 4, 1885. The seal has come under criticism for its depiction of Native Americans, and for its inclusion of an image of a raised broadsword.

“The state seal and motto has been an ongoing source of controversy among the Native American community,” said Representative Jones. “I am confident David will do an outstanding job helping the commission navigate through these concerns and make responsible recommendations for the future.”

In addition to making recommendations for a new or revised state seal design and state motto, the commission has also been tasked with developing ideas for an educational program on the history and meaning of the seal and motto.

The members of the special commission will include the executive director of the Commission on Indian Affairs, along with five members who are lineal descendants of tribes with a historical presence in the Commonwealth, each of whom will be appointed by the Commission on Indian Affairs. Additional members include State Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) and State Representative Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford), who currently serve as the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight; representatives from Secretary of State William Galvin’s office, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council; and five members appointed by Governor Charlie Baker who have relevant cultural and historical expertise.

The commission is scheduled to file a report with its finding and recommendations by October 1, 2021.

First elected to the House of Representatives in November of 2010, Vieira is now in his sixth term representing the Third Barnstable District, which is comprised of Precincts 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Bourne; Precincts 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 in Falmouth; and the town of Mashpee.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Rep. Mirra Named To Special Commission Studying The Future Of Work In Massachusetts

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Lenny Mirra (R-Georgetown) to serve on a special legislative commission that will study and evaluate the future of work in Massachusetts.

Created as part of a comprehensive economic development and jobs creation bill that was signed into law on January 14, the commission will study how automation, artificial intelligence, global trade, access to new forms of data and the internet of things will impact the workforce, businesses and the economy. The commission’s main objective is “to ensure sustainable jobs, fair benefits and workplace safety standards for workers in all industries, including, but not limited to, access to adequate and affordable health insurance, financial security in retirement, unemployment insurance and disability insurance.”

“Lenny is a small business owner who understands the many challenges facing workers and employers,” said Representative Jones. “His experience and expertise will be a tremendous asset to the commission as it develops its recommendations to help the state’s workforce and businesses adapt to changes in technology and meet the challenges and opportunities of a post-pandemic economy.”

“I'm honored to have been chosen by Minority Leader Jones for this very important commission,” Mirra said. “I very much look forward to working on ways to grow jobs in the commonwealth and help businesses grow here.”

The 17-member commission is being co-chaired by Representative Josh Cutler of Pembroke and Senator Eric Lesser of Longmeadow, and will also include Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta or her designee as a member. Governor Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey both have two appointments to the commission, which will include individuals with expertise in future of work issues, workforce training and education, and fair labor and workers’ rights, as well as representatives from the labor community and the business community.

The commission will file a report on its findings and recommendations, including any suggested legislation, by September 1, 2021. The report will include policy recommendations designed to support life-long learning and talent development for workers of all ages; help workers maintain relevant skills or learn new skills; prepare young people to succeed in the careers and workplaces of the future; and incorporate new technologies into workforce training.

Mirra currently serves as the Ranking Minority Member on both the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses and the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, and is also a member of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. He represents the Second Essex District, which is comprised of Georgetown; Groveland; Merrimac; Newbury; West Newbury; Precincts 2 and 3 in Boxford; and Ward 4, Precinct 3 and Ward 7, Precinct 3 in Haverhill.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Representative Kelly Pease To Serve As A Member Of The PFAS Interagency Task Force

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Kelly Pease (R-Westfield) to serve on an interagency task force that will review and investigate water and ground contamination of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Massachusetts.

Created as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 state budget, the 19-member task force will work to develop response plan strategies, explore various treatment and disposal options, and assess how state agencies can most effectively reduce or eliminate the risks associated with PFAS contamination. As part of its investigation, the task force will look at the use of fluorinated aqueous forming foam in firefighting and fire training activities and evaluate effective non-fluorinated alternatives, while also examining ways to limit Massachusetts residents’ exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances through food packaging.

“One of the first bills Kelly filed as a legislator was a proposal to have the Department of Environmental Protection study the effect of PFAS substances in commercial products,” said Representative Jones. “His advocacy efforts in this area will serve the task force well as it works to address the serious public health and environmental issues associated with PFAS exposure.”

The task force is being co-chaired by Representative Kate Hogan of Stow and Senator Julian Cyr of Truro, and will also include among its members a scientist with expertise in per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance-contaminated water, and a physician trained in environmental medicine. Additional members serving on the task force include the attorney general; the secretary of energy and environmental affairs; the secretary of public safety and security; the commissioner of environmental protection; the commissioner of public health; the commissioner of agricultural resources; the director of the Massachusetts emergency management agency; the state fire marshal; the executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, Inc.; the executive director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority; and the executive director of the Massachusetts Water Works Association, Inc.

The task force is scheduled to report back to the Legislature with its findings and recommendations by December 31, 2021.

Pease was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in November of 2020. He is currently serving as the Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, and is also a member of the Joint Committees on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets; Education; and Veterans and Federal Affairs.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Representative Kane Appointed To Commission On Malnutrition Prevention Among Older Adults

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) to serve as his designee on the Commission on Malnutrition Prevention Among Older Adults.

Established in 2016, the 17-member Commission is responsible for studying the effects of malnutrition on older adults and determining the most effective strategies for reducing it. As part of its directive, the Commission works to develop policies promoting proven, effective malnutrition prevention interventions, including community nutrition programs, medical nutrition therapy and oral nutrition supplements.

“Hannah has done a tremendous amount of work over the years to address the many challenges posed by hunger and food insecurity,” said Representative Jones. “Her dedication to finding solutions to these problems will be a real asset to the commission as it works to identify ways to protect older residents from the negative health impacts associated with malnutrition.”

Members of the Commission include representatives from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Transitional Assistance, the Department of Agricultural Resources, the Massachusetts Dietetic Association, and the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, Inc., as well as individuals working within the health care and home care industries. The Commission is required to file an annual report with its findings and recommendations by December 31.

Representative Kane is a Co-Founder and a Co-Chair of the first in the nation Food System Caucus (FSC), which is the second largest caucus in the Massachusetts Legislature. She also serves as the House Minority Leader’s designee on the Massachusetts Food Policy Council and is a member of Governor Baker’s Food Security Task Force, which was created in response to the challenges COVID-19 has created for the state’s food production and distribution system

In 2016, Representative Kane was presented with the Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB) Harvester Award in recognition of her partnership with the WCFB to help feed hungry people today, while working to create hunger-free communities of tomorrow. In March of 2019, Hannah was recognized by the Worcester County Bar Association as a Public Official of the Year for her bi-partisan work on the Healthy Incentives Program, which helps SNAP clients maintain a more nutritious diet with access to fresh fruits and vegetables locally grown. Her annual charity golf tournament, which is now in its seventh year, has raised over $327,000 for non-profit organizations in her district, including St. Anne’s Human Services/Food Pantry and the Westborough Food Pantry.

“A driver in much of my work in food policy and public health policy is a strong belief that good nutrition is one of the best forms of preventative healthcare we can promote. Malnutrition is a serious issue affecting many older adults in our state,” remarked Representative Kane. “I am grateful to the Minority Leader for appointing me to this Commission so I can use the knowledge I have acquired in my work thus far to continue to advance a healthier Commonwealth for all.”

Representative Kane is currently the Ranking Minority Member of both the Joint Committee on Public Health and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. She also serves as a member of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, as well as the newly-formed Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights and Inclusion.

Representative Kane represents the Eleventh Worcester District, which is comprised of the town of Shrewsbury and precincts 4 and 5 in Westborough. She was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2015.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Representative Xiarhos Serving On Special Commission Studying Qualified Immunity

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has announced the appointment of State Representative Steven Xiarhos (R-West Barnstable) to serve on a special legislative commission that will investigate and study the impact to the administration of justice of the qualified immunity doctrine in the Commonwealth.

Created as part of the new policing reform law signed on December 31, the commission will look at the origins of qualified immunity and how it is currently interpreted by the state’s courts. The commission will also analyze the legal and policy rationale for the qualified immunity doctrine, as well as its legal and policy impact.

The qualified immunity doctrine, which dates back to a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case, protects police officers and other government officials from being subject to civil suits for actions taken when discharging their official duties, unless it can be shown that their actions violated “clearly established” statutory or constitutional rights. It is designed to protect public officials from frivolous lawsuits when acting in good faith.

“Steve has an extensive background in law enforcement and is very familiar with the qualified immunity doctrine,” said Representative Jones. “I am confident he will help the commission conduct a complete and thorough examination of how qualified immunity is applied and what changes may be needed to ensure that it provides protections for both government officials and the general public.”

Xiarhos is one of 8 legislators serving on the 15-member commission, which will be led by the House and Senate chairs of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, Representative Michael Day (D-Stoneham) and Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). The commission will also include a member of a police officers’ union, a member of a firefighters’ union, and a retired justice of the appeals court, who will all be appointed by Governor Charlie Baker; as well as the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Inc.; the president of the Massachusetts Bar Association; the executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, Inc.; and the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People New England Area Conference.

The commission will file a report on its findings and recommendations, including any suggested legislation, by September 30, 2021.

A Gold Star Father and 40-year veteran of the Yarmouth Police Department, Xiarhos retired as the department’s Deputy Chief of Police on December 8, 2019. He was elected to the House of Representatives in November of 2020, and represents the Fifth Barnstable District, which is comprised of Precincts 11 and 12 in Barnstable; Precincts 1, 2 and 7 in Bourne; the town of Sandwich; and Precinct 9 in Plymouth.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Rep. Whelan On Special Commission Studying Civil Service Law, State Police Hiring Practices

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has announced the appointment of State Representative Timothy Whelan (R-Brewster) to a special legislative commission that will review the state’s civil service law and the hiring practices of the Massachusetts State Police.

Created as part of the new policing reform law signed on December 31, the commission will explore ways to improve diversity, transparency and community representation in the recruitment, hiring and training of civil service employees, as well as within the State Police and in communities that are not subject to the civil service law.

“Tim has an extensive public safety background, having previously served as a correctional officer and a State Police sergeant for many years,” said Representative Jones. “His knowledge and expertise will help to guide the commission as it looks for ways to ensure a diverse pool of qualified candidates for hiring and promotion within the ranks of the State Police and municipal departments.”

The commission itself will include a broad range of members, including representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People New England Area Conference; the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus; the Massachusetts House Asian Caucus; and the Massachusetts Municipal Association. Other organizations represented on the 29-member commission include the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association Incorporated; the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, Inc.; the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts, Inc.; the Mass. Veterans’ Service Agents Association, Inc.; and the Disabled American Veterans, Department of Massachusetts, Inc. 

The commission will study the employment, promotion, performance evaluation and disciplinary procedures used for civil service employees, municipal employees in communities not subject to the civil service law, and the State Police, and will seek to identify any barriers that exist in hiring, recruiting or promoting. The commission will also consider potential revisions to the current civil service law, including changes to civil service exams, merit preference status, eligible lists and appointment from eligible lists by hiring authorities.

As part of its undertaking, the commission will evaluate the feasibility of creating a statewide diversity office within the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to establish and oversee the implementation of affirmative action plans and guidelines for municipalities, and to monitor communities for noncompliance. The commission will also examine the feasibility and cost of hiring or appointing a diversity officer for every city or town with a municipal police or fire department.

The commission will file a report containing its findings and recommendations by September 30, 2021.

First elected to the House of Representatives in November of 2014, Whelan is currently in his fourth term representing the First Barnstable District, which is comprised of Precinct 1 in Barnstable; Precincts 1 and 2 in Brewster; the town of Dennis; and Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 in Yarmouth.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Rep. Vieira Named To Special Legislative Early Education & Care Economic Review Commission

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) is pleased to announce the appointment of State Representative David Vieira (R-Falmouth) to serve as his designee on the Special Legislative Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission.

Created as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 state budget, the special commission will conduct a review of how childcare programming is currently funded in the state and will make recommendations for potential legislative reforms and policy changes.

“Early education and care programs provide critical support systems for working families,” said Representative Jones. “I am confident that David will take a leading role on the commission by working to ensure that Massachusetts families have access to affordable, quality programs and services.”

As part of its mission, the special commission will review the funding streams supporting early education and care in Massachusetts, as well as models for accessing childcare, including providing employee benefits that include childcare. The commission will also focus on the many challenges the 2019 novel coronavirus has created in providing continued access to high quality early education and care, particularly for the state’s most vulnerable children and families. In addition to exploring ways to support and stabilize the early education and care workforce, the commission will also investigate the economic impact COVID-19 has had on childcare providers and the economy, including the impact on parent-pay programs not supported through a state subsidy.

The special commission is required to hold a minimum of five public meetings to solicit feedback from relevant stakeholders, including those working in the early education and care sector, families, and employers.

First elected to the House of Representatives in November of 2010, Vieira is now in his sixth term representing the Third Barnstable District, which is comprised of Precincts 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Bourne; Precincts 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 in Falmouth; and the town of Mashpee.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Rep. Muratore Named To Permanent Commission On The Status Of Persons With Disabilities

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has announced the appointment of State Representative Mathew Muratore (R-Plymouth) to serve as his designee on the Massachusetts Permanent Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Created as part of the new policing reform law signed on December 31, the Commission will serve as an independent state agency that will work to advance the cause of all persons with disabilities living in the Commonwealth.

“Matt’s advocacy on behalf of individuals with disabilities has been recognized by a number of organizations, including the Arc of Greater Plymouth, which named him its Legislator of the Year in 2017,” said Jones. “As a member of the Commission, Matt will continue to play a key role in helping to effectuate positive changes to support all Massachusetts residents with disabilities.”

The Permanent Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities will review and recommend corrective action to address any disparities that exist within the range of state disability services options available to individuals with disabilities, including transportation, access to employment, and public assistance programs pertaining to food, housing, child care and other benefits. In addition to promoting employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in both the public and private sector workforce, the Commission will also establish school-to-work activities for transition aged youth with disabilities that establish a bridge to self-sufficiency and engage school supports, family members and employers. 

As part of its mission, the Commission will assess the programs and practices of all state agencies as they affect persons with disabilities, and will advise both the executive and legislative branches of government regarding the potential impact of proposed legislation. It will also work to promote and facilitate collaboration among local disability commissions, disability rights advocacy organizations and disability employment service providers.

The 23-member Commission will include representation from the Attorney General’s office, the State Treasurer’s office, the Secretary of State’s office, and seven members who will be appointed by Governor Charlie Baker. The Commission will also include the executive director of the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, along with representatives from the University of Massachusetts Medical School Work Without Limits program; the Massachusetts Disability Policy Consortium; the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers, Inc.; and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council.

The Commission will be responsible for filing an annual report on or before October 31.

Representative Muratore was recently appointed to the House Ways and Means Committee, which reviews all legislation impacting state finances. He is also currently serving as the Assistant Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing; the Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government; and the Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development.

First elected to the House of Representatives in November of 2014, Muratore is currently in his fourth term representing the First Plymouth District.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Representative Hannah Kane Appointed To Newly-Created Rare Disease Advisory Council

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) to serve as his designee on the newly-established Rare Disease Advisory Council.

During the 2019-2020 legislative session, Representative Kane was the lead co-sponsor, along with Representative Joseph McKenna (R-Webster), of legislation calling for the creation of the Council, which will advise the Governor, the Legislature and the Department of Public Health on the incidence of rare disease in Massachusetts. She also sponsored an amendment based on the legislation she filed that was adopted as part of an omnibus health care reform bill that was signed into law on January 1.

“Hannah has been at the forefront of this issue and has spearheaded the effort to create a permanent state entity devoted to addressing the needs of the rare disease community in Massachusetts,” said Representative Jones. “I am confident she will help make the Council an effective voice for improving access to research, diagnosis and treatment for those individuals who are living with a rare disease.”

The new law defines rare diseases as any condition that “affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States, has status as an orphan disease for research purposes, or is known to be substantially under diagnosed and unrecognized as a result of lack of adequate diagnostic and research information.”

The 29-member Council will be chaired by Dr. Monica Bharel, the state’s Commissioner of Public Health. It will be responsible for developing and maintaining a comprehensive rare disease plan for the Commonwealth, and will be required to file an annual report by December 31.

Later this month, Representative Kane is scheduled to speak virtually about the creation of the state’s Rare Disease Advisory Council as part of Biogen’s Lunch N’Learn program and at the NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders) Rare Action Network of MA virtual lunchtime event.

“The Massachusetts Rare Disease Advisory Council will ensure that a framework for tackling rare disease is in place in the Commonwealth, it will bolster education around rare disease and it will ensure that the rare disease community is being championed here,” said Representative Kane. “I am honored to be a member of the initial Council and grateful to the Minority Leader for appointing me as his designee. Massachusetts life science companies are at the forefront of discovery in treatments for rare diseases and our health care institutions lead the world in break-through treatments. Massachusetts can and will lead a coordinated effort to confront rare diseases head-on and provide life-saving treatments to residents suffering from these diseases.”

In addition to the Rare Disease Advisory Council, Representative Kane is also serving as the House Minority Leader’s designee on the Massachusetts Food Policy Council and the Massachusetts Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth. From 2016-2018, she served on the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health, and on the Regional Transit Authority Task Force from 2018-2019.

Representative Kane is the Founder and Co-chair of the first in the nation Food System Caucus, which is the second largest caucus in the Massachusetts Legislature. She currently serves as a member of Governor Charlie Baker’s Food Security Task Force, which was created in response to the challenges to the food production and distribution system created by COVID-19 that has led to increased food insecurity. Governor Baker also appointed her in February of 2020 to serve on the Special Commission on Family Care and Child Care Services. 

First elected to the Legislature in 2015, Representative Kane is now the Ranking Minority Member of both the Joint Committee on Public Health and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. She is also serving as a member of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, as well as the newly-formed Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights and Inclusion.

Representative Kane represents the Eleventh Worcester District, which is comprised of the town of Shrewsbury and precincts 4 and 5 in Westborough.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Representative Jones’ Statement on Governor Baker’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Proposal

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today regarding Governor Charlie Baker’s release of his $45.6 billion Fiscal Year 2022 state budget proposal:

“Governor Baker’s proposed Fiscal Year 2022 state budget charts a fiscally responsible course for the Commonwealth as we continue to navigate the many public health and economic challenges posed by COVID-19. 

This budget sends a strong message that the Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to prioritizing local aid and maintaining strong state-municipal partnerships. The budget offers nearly $5.5 billion in Chapter 70 education aid and close to $1.2 billion in Unrestricted General Government Aid to support the delivery of essential municipal services to all residents. I am particularly pleased by the Governor’s decision to fully fund the first phase of the 2019 Student Opportunity Act. It is critically important that we begin to close the achievement gaps that exist between school districts to ensure that every student in Massachusetts has access to a quality education, regardless of where they live.

Governor Baker’s budget comes at a critical time during the pandemic, when many families and small businesses are still struggling financially. While I agree with the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth remarks that ‘better days are coming,’ we must be mindful of the many challenges that still lie ahead, and do everything we can to deliver the programs and services that our residents and employers need to weather this unprecedented public health crisis.

The Governor’s proposed budget offers a strong starting point for the House and Senate to begin their budget deliberations. I look forward to working with my colleagues and with the Administration in the weeks ahead to develop a spending plan that will help position the Commonwealth for a robust post-pandemic economic recovery.”

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Boston Globe Names Rep. Kelly Pease One of "Five New Lawmakers to Watch on Beacon Hill"

One of the House Republican Caucus' newest members, State Representative Kelly Pease (R-Westfield), was featured in today's Boston Globe, which named him one of "five new lawmakers to watch on Beacon Hill." The Globe article highlights Pease's diverse resume, which includes experience working as a child actor, volunteer firefighter, Chester selectman, 20-year Army veteran, and legislative aide to former Senator Donald Humason. You can read the full story by clicking here

Monday, January 18, 2021

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.” – the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Today, the House Republican Caucus honors the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who dedicated himself to advocating for equal rights and justice for all Americans through non-violent means. We must continue to work together to fulfill his dream so that all people can “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Monday, January 11, 2021

Representative Brad Jones Re-Elected as House Minority Leader for 2021-2022 Session


Representative Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has been unanimously re-elected by his Republican colleagues to serve as Minority Leader of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

The vote to select Jones as Minority Leader took place on January 6, the first day of the 2021-2022 legislative session. He will lead a 30-member House caucus comprised of 28 returning members and two freshman legislators who were elected in November of 2020: Kelly Pease of Westfield, who claimed the seat vacated by Democrat John Velis when he ran for state Senate, and Steven Xiarhos of West Barnstable, who won the seat formerly held by Republican Randy Hunt of Sandwich, who decided not to run for re-election.

“Having the support of both the new and returning House Republican Caucus members means a lot to me,” said Jones. “I appreciate my colleagues’ vote of confidence and I thank them for giving me the opportunity to continue to lead the caucus over the next two years.”

In his inaugural remarks, Jones cited the many challenges created by the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, which necessitated swearing in most legislators remotely this year, rather than in-person in the House Chamber. He expressed a desire to work with new House Speaker Ronald Mariano (D-Quincy) to “find common ground in the year ahead to ensure that the critical needs of the residents of the Commonwealth are addressed.”

“I commend and applaud my colleagues for their leadership and strength shown during these unprecedented times,” he said. “The citizens of our districts have needed us more now than ever before to help them navigate these challenges. We have been forced to spend far less time on Beacon Hill and have had the opportunity to be available locally to lend support, encouragement and even sympathy. Sadly, we have all lost valued members of our districts and the sadness each community has had to endure is unimaginable.”

Jones struck an optimistic note in his remarks, predicting that “the House of Representatives is up to the many challenges that we face,” while adding that he is “confident that we as a Commonwealth will find the strength to continue moving forward and that a brighter future is ahead.”

A lifelong North Reading resident, Jones was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1994. Jones continues to maintain a perfect voting record. He has never missed a roll call and has now cast 7,549 consecutive votes as a member of the House.