Category: Press Release

Sen. Lesser Appointed to New Opioid Committee

BOSTON — Sen. Eric P. Lesser was appointed Monday to a newly formed Special Senate Committee on Opioid Addiction Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Options.

“Opioid addiction has grown at an alarming rate across Massachusetts, affecting every family,” Sen. Lesser said. “This committee has the important job of determining the best ways to combat this public health crisis.”

According to a letter released by Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, the 10-member committee will “review existing state statutes and funding, as well as the implementation and enforcement of recently enacted substance abuse legislation, and make recommendations to further strengthen opioid abuse prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery options and access to such programs for all residents of the Commonwealth.”

The committee will be chaired by Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster), who also co-chairs the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse and the Joint Committee on Children and Families. Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy) will serve as Vice-Chair. Senator Lesser will be the only member from Western Massachusetts.

“The creation of this special committee couldn’t come at a better time,” Sen. Lesser said. “The legislature did important work on addiction issues last session, and I’m honored to be part of the team that will look for further improvements this term.”

In January, Sen. Lesser introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at curbing opiate abuse. The first was a bill to close the pharmacy shopping loophole by requiring pharmacies to report their distribution of commonly abused prescription drugs within 24 hours, rather than the current 7 days, as part of the Massachusetts Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). Sen. Lesser also sponsored a bill to examine the bulk purchasing and distribution of naloxone (sold under the name Narcan), an anti-overdose medication used by police, firefighters, EMTs and other first responders in heroin overdose situations.

Eric Lesser Hosts Senate Tour in Springfield, Chicopee

Springfield, MA- Kicking off the first in a series of statewide tours, Senators Eric Lesser (D- Longmeadow), Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield), James Welch (D-West Springfield), and Donald Humason (R-Westfield) visited local businesses, colleges, and human service agencies across Western Massachusetts, learning first-hand about issues ranging from economic development to substance abuse and open government.

The group was joined on the tour by Senate President Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst), Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), and Senators Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), John Keenan (D-Quincy), and William Brownsberger (D-Belmont). Together, the delegation comprised more than one-fifth of the state Senate body.

“This tour comes at an opportune time for Western Mass,” said Senator Eric Lesser. “The Springfield area is undergoing many significant changes, and residents need and deserve a state Senate that is open, transparent, and above all, committed to listening. Today’s discussions mark a strong first step in making sure the State Senate is responsive to the needs of Western Massachusetts.”

The tour started with a stop at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center in Great Barrington for a town hall-style public forum, highlighting key programs and community leaders in Berkshire County. From there, the Senators visited the Western Massachusetts Correctional Alcohol Center in Springfield and received a briefing from Hampden County Sheriff Michael J. Ashe on efforts to combat substance abuse, among other issues. The Senators then traveled to Chicopee for a tour of Hoppe Technologies, a high-tech manufacturing company. The day culminated with a town hall meeting at Holyoke Community College, where residents of Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden Counties shared ideas and asked the Senators questions.

“I would like to thank all of the Senators who attended today’s events and the members of the public who took time out of their day to participate,” said Senate President Stanley Rosenberg.

“This was a fantastic exercise in direct democracy and listening to the concerns of our constituents. These conversations help us craft our agenda and engage the public in the good work that we hope to accomplish this legislative session.”

The Commonwealth Conversations Tour is a series of visits by the State Senate to communities in every region of the state. The goal is for the Senate to better understand the unique needs of each region of the Commonwealth, and to ensure those concerns are reflected in the Senate’s upcoming legislative term.

Each member of the Senate has committed to attending at least two of these sessions outside of their own region, in addition to hosting events in their own community. The tour dates run from February 4 through March 11. All members of the public are encouraged to participate. More information is available at as well as on Twitter at @Ma_Senate.

Sen. Eric Lesser Given Numerous Leadership Positions, Committee Roles

BOSTON–Senator Eric P. Lesser was appointed by Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg to two leadership positions on two joint committees and given several key committee assignments in his first term as state Senator.

Sen. Lesser was named Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, following the first formal session of the 189th General Court.

“This appointment presents a great opportunity for Western Massachusetts,” Sen. Lesser said. “Our region is blessed with a wealth of great tourist destinations and cultural institutions, whether it’s the Quadrangle, Quabbin Reservoir, the Lupa Zoo, or historic Forest Park. I look forward to further enhancing our tourism economy.” The committee Vice-Chair will be Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield), creating additional opportunities for highlighting the Western Massachusetts region.

In addition, Sen. Lesser will serve as the Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Financial Services, which considers matters concerning banks, financial institutions, credit unions, insurance companies, and small loans.

Sen. Lesser will also serve as a member of the Joint Committee on Transportation, where he will continue his ongoing efforts to establish high-speed rail service between Springfield and Boston.

Sen. Lesser was appointed to several other influential committees, including the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, where he will work to grow the high- tech manufacturing sector; the Joint Committee on Public Health, where he will focus on combating the opiate epidemic; the Committee on Revenue, where he will help with matters related to federal financial assistance and other matters related to the Commonwealth’s tax-

generated revenue; the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs; and the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, where he will help support senior centers and nursing facilities.

Sen. Eric Lesser Tours Ludlow Elementary Schools

LUDLOW – Sen. Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow) visited three Ludlow elementary schools late last week to learn about their needs, vision, and long-term goals.

“I was inspired by all the students I met today—each school has its own unique energy that speaks highly of Ludlow and Western Mass as a whole,” Sen. Lesser said. “I learned a lot on my tour – and will bring those lessons back to Beacon Hill.”

The tour took place last Friday, and included stops at Chapin Street Elementary, Veterans Park Elementary, and East Street Elementary. Accompanying the Senator were Ludlow Superintendent Todd Gazda, Ludlow Education Association President Brian Bylicki, School Committee Member Jake Oliveira, and IT Specialist Anne Marie Corrieri.

Later in the day, Sen. Lesser filed four bills aimed at improving quality of living and stimulating economic growth in western Massachusetts.

State Sen. Eric Lesser Sworn In to MA Senate

BOSTON–State Senator Eric Lesser, representing the First Hampden and Hampshire District, was sworn into the Massachusetts Senate on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 11:00 AM in the Senate chamber.

Lesser, who was elected to the state Senate in November, will be joined by his family. At 29, he will be the youngest member of the Senate.

“I’m looking forward to beginning my term, and am honored by the trust placed in me to work on our district’s behalf,” Lesser said. “From Day 1, I will focus on creating a more vibrant economy in Western Massachusetts, by improving transportation, boosting high-tech manufacturing, and linking our students with the most in-demand jobs in this district. I’m excited to begin working with the rest of the Western Massachusetts delegation to move our region forward.”

The ceremony took place in the Senate Chamber of the Massachusetts State House. Afterward, the Senate elected Stanley C. Rosenberg (D-Amherst) as its new President and conducted its first formal session of the term.