In 1952, CBS aired a historical reenactment show called “You Are There,” hosted by Walter Cronkite, who would begin the program each week with “What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times… and you were there.” Actors would play key historical figures and recreate scenes from American and world history and there would be a reporter narrating the scene as it unfolded.
This past Tuesday, Treasurer Steve Grossman and I had a meeting regarding a mortgage relief plan for homeowners and we each spoke about the chance to make significant contributions to the Commonwealth through our roles on Beacon Hill. The Treasurer recalled watching Cronkite’s show as a child and expressed the excitement he felt each time the words, “and you were there” were uttered. It was must watch television for him and, as he explained, gave him a unique perspective on history – something he hoped to play a big part of someday.
As my fourth installment for the Beacon Hill Blotter, I hope that I am able to give you a sense of the activity and context of what transpires here at the State House. It’s my goal to enlighten and also document the work being done by myself and my colleagues to move Massachusetts forward.
On Monday, I had an opportunity to meet with the Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means – Rep. Charles Murphy. By the end of the week, he had been promoted to the Assistant House Majority Leader, but at that time, he was able to give me a “lay of the land” for the budget work ahead. There was also a story in the media regarding the “Twitter Ban” on State House computers, which was carried in the Herald and by WATD, plus I was interviewed by WHDH (Ch. 7) for that evening’s broadcast.
Tuesday was the aforementioned meeting with Treasurer Steve Grossman, along with Senator Tom Kennedy, to review the Mortgage Relief bill that I’m working on to help families of the Commonwealth who have been able to make payments but, because of reduced income and/or home value, can’t refinance and may be in danger of foreclosure. It’s a work in progress and I’ll continue to keep you updated.
Wednesday was an in-district day and had a meeting with Whitman’s Town Administrator to review preliminary ideas on a long-term project related to adjoining towns. The Governor’s budget for FY12 was also released and is now being reviewed by the Legislature to determine whether his estimates and allocations are in line with our goals and priorities.
Thursday morning (1 and ½ hours of it) were spent digging out my car to get to the main road, since another 12” of the white stuff had hit overnight. Fortunately, the MassBio briefing on Beacon Hill was delayed, so I was able to make it and get a better perspective on a critical industry in our state that supports so many jobs. In the evening, I was able to make the East Bridgewater School Board meeting and relayed the good news about the Mass. School Building Authority (MSBA) board approval (unanimous) for the construction of the new high school.
Friday featured a House Republican caucus luncheon with former Governor Mitt Romney, who is considering a run for the Presidency in 2012. As we left the Union Club, I had my first experience with a swarm of reporters and cameras (in the video, I’m back near the door).
Saturday (today), I attended the annual “Budget Breakfast” for the Whitman-Hanson Regional School District and was able to speak, along with Rep. Daniel Webster and Sen. Thomas Kennedy, about the challenges the State’s FY12 budget will bring when it comes time to fund Ch. 70 education expenditures. With continued cost increases and decreases in subsidies by the state for the third year in a row, schools are facing some of the hardest choices ever in determining how to deliver the best education possible to our children. It all goes back to making Local Aid a priority in the budget and I’m determined to push that agenda each and every day that I serve in the House.
My friends, that is all for this week. I wish you all a happy and productive February – don’t forget to pick up something for your sweetheart by the 14th! I’ll post again in a week, when I can once again make you feel like “YOU were there!”