Author: Ryan Migeed

Sen. Lesser Testifies in Support of his High-tech Economic Development Bill for Gateway Cities

State Senator Eric P. Lesser delivered testimony to the Joint Committee on Revenue in support of his bill to stimulate high-tech entrepreneurship in Springfield, Chicopee and other Gateway Cities.

The bill, entitled An Act to promote high-tech job growth in gateway cities and filed by Lesser in January, offers a 10 percent tax credit to investors who fund high-tech small businesses located in Gateway Cities. To receive the tax credit, the investor must choose a small company with 75 percent of its employees working in Massachusetts.

“This tax credit will level the playing field for entrepreneurs in Gateway Cities, encouraging investors to look for opportunities in all parts of Massachusetts,” Lesser said. Senator Lesser also submitted written testimony to the committee.

Senator Lesser cited Springfield-based organizations such as Tech Foundry, Bay State Health’s TechSpring, Valley Venture Mentors and River Valley Investors as “leading examples of a startup ecosystem that Senate Bill 1507 will support, nurture and grow.”

Massachusetts’ post-recession economic recovery has long outpaced the national average, but not uniformly across regions. As of April, the unemployment rate in Springfield was 7.6 percent, compared to 3.7 percent in Boston and 4.7 percent statewide.

“It is important to support new opportunities in all corners of our Commonwealth,” Lesser said. “I believe this tax credit is exactly the type of targeted and innovative initiative that will foster the type of broadly shared high-tech growth so essential to a prosperous future.”

An electronic copy of Senator Lesser’s written testimony is below.

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Eight Western Massachusetts Businesses Awarded $570,000 in Workforce Training Funds

Eight businesses in Western Massachusetts received more than $570,000 in Workforce Training Grant funds through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Senator Eric P. Lesser announced today.

“We know the key to economic growth is a highly trained local workforce. These funds will help our local small businesses keep their employees competitive and up-to-speed with the latest technologies,” Lesser said.

“These grants are great news for the entire Commonwealth, and especially right here in Longmeadow and East Longmeadow,” said Representative Brian Ashe (D-Longmeadow). “The workforce training grants will help with job retention, job development as well as job creation.”

Western Massachusetts recipients include Mechanical Drive Components, Inc. and the Polish National Credit Union in Chicopee; Premier Source Credit Union in East Longmeadow; the Willie Ross School for the Deaf in Longmeadow; B & R Machine in Ludlow; and Pioneer Valley Urology, Springfield Super Brush and Springfield Valet Park of America in Springfield.

The Workforce Training Fund provides up to $250,000 to companies of any size in Massachusetts to pay for workforce training over a two-year period. Grant recipients benefit from improved worker productivity and efficiency, helping them save money and fueling job growth.

Grants are matched dollar-for-dollar by the recipients. Interested businesses are encouraged to visit www.commcorp.org/wtfp to learn more about the program.

Sen. Lesser Visits Granby Veterans During Annual Chicken Barbecue

State Senator Eric Lesser spent time thanking local veterans during a visit to the Friends of Granby Veterans’ 2nd Annual Chicken Barbecue held Sunday, June 14 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Pavilion.

“Our veterans gave so much in service to their country, and this event is proof that our communities recognize that sacrifice,” Lesser said. “As state Senator I am committed to ensuring the Commonwealth offers its own support in the form of sound policies and adequate funding for veteran services.”

Senator Eric Lesser is a member of the Joint Committee on Veterans & Federal Affairs, and recently wrote an op-ed on the importance of supporting local veterans and their family members.

The event was organized by Friends of Granby, a group of residents raising funds to build a memorial honoring Granby’s veterans. Senator Lesser was accompanied by Granby Selectman Mark Bail, and met with several veterans and their families.

All proceeds raised from the event will support the construction of the Granby Veterans Memorial Project. For more information, visit: http://granbyveteransmemorial.org/

Honoring our veterans and their families

In MassLive 6/22/15

A few years ago my father called me with unexpected news: at the age of 58, he was joining the Massachusetts Army National Guard.

My dad had been a family doctor in Holyoke for nearly two decades, and after learning about the shortage of doctors in the armed services, he took it upon himself to do something about it; in 2010, he served a tour of duty as a field surgeon at Tallil Air Base in southern Iraq.

Through his experience, I learned the sacrifice involved in putting on the uniform. That sacrifice is shared by the family of those serving, as well. My mother, for example, faced the dual burden of worrying for her husband’s well-being while managing her own profession and caring for their family in his absence.

Since our nation’s founding, the sons and daughters of Massachusetts have been answering the call to serve.

To show their service and sacrifice, I’ve been focused on improving services for veterans as they transition back into the civilian life and seek opportunities for personal growth.

As a member of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, I review and recommend legislation aiming to improve the lives of veterans and their families in Massachusetts, which has a well-earned reputation for being among the best states in the nation for veterans’ services.

For example, the VALOR Acts enable veterans along with the spouses of deceased or disabled veterans to volunteer their time in exchange for reduced property tax bills.

These laws also encourage private sector employers to hire veterans and spouses of disabled veterans for their businesses; provide seed money for the start-up and expansion of veteran-owned businesses; and permit veterans to receive academic credit for prior military training, coursework, and experience.

In May I co-sponsored a successful Senate budget amendment that helps fund BRAVE For Veterans, an organization that aids veterans transitioning into the workforce. I will be a strong advocate for this funding to be included in the final state budget when it is signed by Governor Baker.

I have also had the chance to visit the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke several times, where I’ve met with area veterans and their dedicated caretakers. Supporting the work of the Soldiers’ Home is a top priority for me in the Senate.

This past Memorial Day I had the honor of attending ceremonies in many communities around western Massachusetts.

At one ceremony in Chicopee, the names of those who died during the Vietnam War were read aloud and a candle was lit in their honor as the families and friends of the fallen paid their respects. It was a poignant reminder of how long the scars of war remain, years and even many decades later.

After all our veterans and their families have done for us, we must do everything we can for them.This is a solemn obligation I will always take with me to the State House.

State Senator Eric Lesser represents the First Hampden & Hampshire District and is a member of the Joint Committee on Veterans & Federal Affairs.

Sen. Eric Lesser Honors Chris Collins, Retiring After 7 Years as Williams Middle School Principal

LONGMEADOW–Sen. Eric Lesser presented an official Massachusetts Senate citation to Chris Collins, Principal of Williams Middle School, who is retiring after seven years as principal of that school.

“As a Williams alum myself, I could not be more proud to honor Principal Collins for his years of leadership,” Lesser said. “Williams Middle School has a record of achievement which is in no small part thanks to Chris’s leadership. Chris has been a remarkable principal for the Williams Middle School Community and I know I echo the thoughts of many people in saying he will be missed.”

A former health and physical education teacher at Amherst Middle School, Collins previously served as principal of Greenfield Middle School in Greenfield and in the Athol-Royalston Regional School District. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physical education and health and a Master’s of education from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Williams Middle School enrolls nearly 400 students in grades 6 through 8.

Gov. Baker’s Opioid Working Group Recommends Measures Filed by Senator Eric Lesser

BOSTON–A report and recommendations released this week by Gov. Charlie Baker’s Opioid Addiction Working Group includes two policies Senator Eric P. Lesser filed as legislation at the beginning of the 2015-2016 legislative session.

“Opioid addiction is hurting families in every corner of Massachusetts and continues to be a public health emergency. This report includes several important strategies for combating it,” Lesser said. “I am glad these recommendations include two key measures I filed at the start of my term. I look forward to working with Governor Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey to implement these policies.”

Among the report’s key intervention initiatives is a measure that would shorten the Prescription Monitoring Program seven-day reporting period to 24 hours, helping prevent the practice of pharmacy shopping. This measure was filed by Senator Lesser in January and unanimously passed by the Senate in May.

Governor Baker’s report also recommends establishing a system for bulk-purchasing of the anti-overdose drug Narcan, to better equip first responders and others with this life-saving medicine. Senator Lesser filed a Narcan bulk-purchasing bill in January, and both the House and Senate passed bulk-purchasing plans this spring.

A few weeks ago, Senator Lesser wrote to Governor Baker’s working group requesting the inclusion of both Narcan bulk purchasing and the 24-hour reporting requirement in the Governor’s recommendations.

In addition to these two programs, the working group also recommended several other measures that are similar to legislation Senator Lesser is co-sponsoring, including: a statewide drug take-back program to encourage the safe disposal of excess medication, the option for patients to choose to fill prescriptions for addictive pain killers in lower quantities, and finally the implementation of electronic prescribing for opioids.

Opiates now kill more people in Massachusetts than car accidents and guns combined. More than 1,000 people died from opioid overdoses last year, a 33 percent increase over 2012.

From 2000 to 2012 the number of unintentional fatal opioid overdoses in Massachusetts increased by 90 percent.

Sen. Eric Lesser Visits Willie Ross School for the Deaf in Longmeadow

State Sen. Eric P. Lesser visited the Willie Ross School for the Deaf in Longmeadow to learn more about its curriculum and to discuss the role state government can play in improving and developing deaf education in Massachusetts.

“We are fortunate to have such an innovative institution for deaf and hard-of-hearing students right in our backyard,” Lesser said. “Meeting the unique learning styles and needs of these children is paramount to our educational success here in Western Massachusetts and the entire Commonwealth.”

During his visit, Lesser met with President and CEO Robert “Bert” Carter before being led on a tour of the building, including a stops to several classrooms, where students and teachers shared current projects and discussed their ongoing work-study activities in the community.

Founded in 1967 by a group of dedicated parents who sought to establish an innovative program for their children, the school employs a unique dual-campus model, consisting of an immersion approach, in which deaf and hard-of-hearing students learn together, and an inclusion approach, in which deaf students learn alongside hearing students in the East Longmeadow school system. The school serves students from cities and towns across Western Massachusetts

Local boy recognized as a Children’s Miracle Network Champion

Watch the video: bit.ly/1GIsLJA

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) –

Joe Coles, 11, was a patient at Baystate Medical Center and has recently been appointed the Massachusetts representative for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Joe is a pretty remarkable kid. He was treated at Baystate for several health complications, but he’s not letting that stop him from accomplishing what he wants in life.

Friday was actually Joe’s birthday and in his short life, he has had a lot happen that many go a lifetime not experiencing at all.

Born with Down Syndrome, Joe has also been diagnosed with appendicitis, a collapsed lung, thyroid complications, a life-threatening heart condition, and leukemia.

Now, thanks to treatment from the staff at Baystate Children’s Hospital, his cancer is now in remission.

It has all been made possible by donations and help from the Children’s Miracle Network, an international nonprofit organization that raises funds for children’s hospitals and medical research.

Because of his willpower and strength of character, Joe has been named a Children’s Miracle Network champion and now represents Massachusetts for the organization.

Friday, he received a proclamation from state Senator Eric Lesser for his work representing the state.

“It’s been quite the honor to represent the state of Massachusetts for Children’s Miracle Network. We’ve met a lot great families, who’ve gone through different diagnoses, but similar situation,” said Kristin Coles, Joe’s mother.

“Joe is a young guy who made a grown-up decision to take his own illness and the pain he’s experienced and to help others who face the same type of hardships,” Lesser added.

For the next year, Joe and his family will represent the Commonwealth at events across the country.

Most recently, they took a congressional visit to Washington D.C., where they met with members of congress.

Joe’s family said that they hope to use this experience to shed light on the importance of children’s health care here in the United States.

The economy might be right to launch your own business

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The economy is improving, and consumers are starting to spend, the time might be right to start a small business.

Before you launch a business, you need experience, money, and an original plan. Topics the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network explored at a legislative roundtable discussion Friday morning. State Senators Eric Lesser and Stanley Rosenberg spoke at the event.

The MSBDC provides free business training to local residents. They focus on a variety of areas from business growth and strategies, to financing, loan assistance, and marketing analysis. Their funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, and run through the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Isenberg School of Management.

Dianne Fuller Doherty, the regional director of MSBDC told 22News she thinks the economy is just right to launch a business. “I think it’s a great time to start a business because the economy has gotten better, more and more people are understanding the importance and the value of small business,” she said.

Sean Ouimette is a former MSBDC financial consultant intern. He told 22News he hopes to someday start a business, but realized that requires a lot of experience first. “I think everybody needs a level of experience because if you’re going to open a business, you have to know the ins and outs of that business so you’re prepared to deal with any challenges you might face,” she said.

Earlier this week, Dun & Bradstreet, said businesses with fewer than 20 employees only have a 9% chance of surviving ten years.

UMass Amherst Isenberg School student Emma Tupp said she’s still optimistic the best ideas will make it. “It seems like a very good market now-a-days. People want to do something, they want to put themselves out there and do something that could turn out really great,” she said.

For more information on MSBDC and their services, click here.