Month: June 2017

Sen. Lesser, Rep. Petrolati Congratulate Ludlow Students Who Competed in National C-SPAN Competition

LUDLOW — Senator Eric P. Lesser and Representative Thomas M. Petrolati congratulated students at Paul R. Baird Middle School on Thursday for earning honorable mention in C-SPAN’s nationwide “StudentCam” documentary filmmaking competition.

Eighth-grade students Liz Goncalves, Braeden Vermette and Kendyl Vermette created a documentary film about the opiate epidemic titled, “The Opioid Drug Epidemic, Our Nation in Crisis.” The students’ research included interviews Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, other local law enforcement leaders and a nurse practitioner who appear in the film.

“It was so inspiring to see these students tackle an issue as serious and complex as our opiate epidemic, and grapple with the questions it raises for the lives at stake. I look forward to sharing their film with my colleagues to see how it can inform our work in the State Senate to conquer this epidemic,” said Sen. Lesser, who serves on the Special Senate Committee on Addiction, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Options.

“I am impressed by our students’ commitment to this important project and their determination to see it through. The opioid epidemic is affecting every community in state and our country, and it’s important for our young people to be aware of and informed about this crisis. It will take all of us to solve it,” said Rep. Tom Petrolati.

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Senator Lesser Lauds $1 Million Grant for Belchertown Day School

SPRINGFIELD —Senator Eric P. Lesser applauded the announcement that Belchertown Day School had been selected for a $1 million grant for the construction of a new building on the campus of the former Belchertown State School.

The building will include a fenced toddler playground, separate fenced preschool playground and a separate play area for the school-age program in the back of the building.

“I am thrilled that our community has been awarded this grant to build brand-new facilities for early education programs. As we know, early education for toddlers and pre-schoolers is the best way to get our children on the path to success. This grant will allow us to do that, and will greatly benefit the children and families of Belchertown,” said Sen. Lesser.

The Department of Early Education and Care awarded the FY2017 grant under the Early Education and Out of School Time (EEOST) Grant program, which supports facility improvements, renovation and development.

The EEOST Grant Program awards grants to large group early education and out of school time programs for major capital building projects that improve the quality of the environment for children. The EEOST Capital Fund Grant Awards support tax-exempt non-profits that operate an early education and care program that enroll children from low-income families who are eligible to receive a public subsidy (at least 25% of the total program enrollment.)

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Lesser: “Gov. Baker Saw the Common Sense” in Step to Provide Leadership on Fighting Climate Change

Current members of U.S. Climate Alliance Are California, Connecticut, New York and Washington

SPRINGFIELD — Less than 24 hours after Senator Eric P. Lesser called on Governor Charlie Baker to join the United State Climate Alliance, a coalition of states seeking to uphold the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, the Governor has agreed to move Massachusetts into the Alliance.

“I am grateful that Governor Baker saw the common sense in this simple, concrete step to keep Massachusetts a leader in the clean energy economy. Leadership on climate is more than our moral obligation; it is also an opportunity for Massachusetts to attract the businesses that are creating jobs at a faster rate than any other sector of our economy. I look forward to the common lessons, best practices and new technologies that we will learn and share with the other members of the Climate Alliance as we work to solve one of the most critical issues of our time,” said Senator Lesser.

Following President Donald Trump’s announcement on Thursday that he will pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the governors of California, New York and Washington formed a new coalition, called the United States Climate Alliance, aimed at meeting the U.S. climate goals set forth in the agreement.

In response, Senator Lesser issued a statement calling on Governor Baker to join the Alliance and began circulating a letter in the legislature to that effect. On Friday, Governor Dannel Malloy announced that Connecticut would join the Alliance, and by the end of the day Governor Baker announced that Massachusetts would be joining.

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Senator Lesser Calls on Gov. Baker to Join Climate Alliance in Wake of Trump Pulling U.S. Out of Paris Climate Accord

Current members of U.S. Climate Alliance Are California, New York and Washington

SPRINGFIELD — Following President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, the governors of California, New York and Washington formed a new coalition, called the United States Climate Alliance, aimed at meeting the U.S. climate goals set forth in the agreement. In response, State Senator Eric P. Lesser issued the following statement calling on Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to join the Alliance:

“President Trump has abandoned his responsibility to protect our environment and leave a better world for our children. Now that responsibility falls to our states. In partnership with the Legislature, Governor Baker must take a leading role. Leadership on our climate represents an opportunity for Massachusetts to step up and build the clean energy economy of the future, which is already creating jobs at a rate faster than any other sector.

“In the State Senate, we have the opportunity to set a clear goal and make Massachusetts run on 100 percent renewable energy, through bill S. 1849 sponsored by my colleague Sen. Eldridge. I would urge Gov. Baker to follow the Senate’s lead and establish clear goals for meeting our Commonwealth’s and our country’s energy needs, and create tens of thousands of high paying clean energy jobs in the process.

“The benefit of the Climate Alliance formed by California, New York and Washington is that it serves as a way for these states to share best practices and coordinate their pollution-reduction goals. Massachusetts has a rich history of leadership on the environment, including a direct role to force the federal government to address climate change in the Supreme Court case, Massachusetts vs. EPA. There is no reason Massachusetts should not continue its leadership, and share our own expertise, goals and successes with those states that are trying to solve the most critical issue of our time.”

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/ In Press Release / By Ryan Migeed / Comments Off on Senator Lesser Calls on Gov. Baker to Join Climate Alliance in Wake of Trump Pulling U.S. Out of Paris Climate Accord

Lesser Amendment to Study High-Speed Rail Passes Senate Unanimously

BOSTON — On Thursday afternoon, the state Senate voted unanimously to approve a budget amendment sponsored by Senator Eric P. Lesser to study a high-speed rail line between Boston and Springfield.

“More than bringing economic development to communities outside of Boston, high-speed east-west rail would go a long way toward solving Boston’s housing crisis by offering a faster commute to the city from areas with more affordable housing. This is why this proposal continues to receive unanimous support in the Senate and is gaining support from the business community and others across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who see its potential,” said Sen. Lesser.

Days before the vote, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce endorsed the proposal to study high-speed rail from Boston to Springfield.

In January, Sen. Lesser reintroduced his bill in the Massachusetts State Senate to require the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to move forward with a feasibility study of Springfield-Boston high-speed rail. The same bill passed both the House and Senate last year but was vetoed by Gov. Baker.

Since then, the proposal has continued to gain support, including high-profile endorsements from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton.

In the state Senate, there was a rare widespread show of support for the measure. Senate President Stan Rosenberg of Amherst voted to support the amendment when the Senate President, who presides over the chamber, customarily abstains from votes. Sen. Karen Spilka, Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, also spoke in favor of the amendment, a gesture rarely used by the Chair of the committee, which writes the draft of the Senate budget.

Several Senators spoke in favor of the amendment before its passage.

“I support the high speed rail feasibility study from Boston to Springfield and thank my colleague Senator Lesser for his leadership on this initiative,” said Senate Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester).  “The rail would pass through Worcester, connecting not just two, but three major cities in the Commonwealth.  I know that the residents of Central Massachusetts would benefit from a high speed rail line that would provide them with more options to commute across the state.”

Sens. Anne Gobi and Donald Humason, both from Western Massachusetts, also spoke in favor of the amendment.

“Rail service is a necessary link to bring economic growth to our area. In the 1960’s there were numerous daily trips between Springfield and Boston there is no reason, besides the funding and the will to do it, that passenger service can’t flourish once again,” said Sen. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer).

“I’ve heard about the value of this proposal from residents across my district, and with good reason. Limited transportation options can put a damper on our economic development and impact families’ decisions to take advantage of so much that our communities have to offer,” said Sen. Don Humason (R-Westfield). “A comprehensive study will allow us to take the first step of considering important preliminary questions and develop a clearer understanding of the project’s cost to taxpayers and its economic benefits.”

The amendment will be included in the Senate version of the budget, which will be negotiated with House members before a final budget proposal is sent to the governor’s desk.

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