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).