Today marks my 100th day in office as the Representative for Massachusetts’ South Shore, Cape and Islands.
In these short three and a half months, there have been many changes in our country and around the world. Despite the tumultuous uprisings and threats of a government shutdown, my priorities remain the same as they were on day one: putting the residents of Massachusetts’ 10th district back to work and rebuilding our local economy.
We achieve these goals by easing the burdens felt by our small business owners, providing tax incentives to hire now, improving education opportunities for our children and increasing our investment in clean energy technologies.
I’ve often said that green technology will create new jobs at home. For the past couple of months, I’ve been working to bring a manufacturing company to our district that will produce parts for the Cape Wind Turbines. I have every reason to believe that this effort is progressing well. A new manufacturing plant in our district would translate into both new jobs and critical revenue.
To increase jobs and improve our economy, we cannot rely solely on new businesses and initiatives, however, which is why I am also focusing on new opportunities for local industries and small business owners.
Last month, I introduced my first piece of original legislation, which is aimed at aiding our local fishermen and their historic industry. The Strengthen Fisheries Management in New England Act, requires that penalties collected from New England fishermen be used to improve the management of New England fisheries. For the past few years, our local fishermen’s businesses have suffered due to inadequate and incorrect data assessing stock and dictating catch quantities. We need to implement fair and effective fisheries management policies to improve that industry and allow our fishermen to flourish again.
I am currently in the process of drafting my second bill, which would provide tax credits to small businesses who hire unemployed veterans. The legislation would also provide an additional tax credit if small businesses owners then train the veterans they have hired with skills necessary to perform clean energy technology jobs. We need to stop giving tax breaks to giant corporations like Big Oil and start giving them to the real backbone of our economy – small business owners.
Another critical benefit for small business owners was the repeal of the 1099 requirement established by last year’s Affordable Care Act. According to that legislation, starting in 2012 small businesses would be required to file a 1099 form every time they spent $600. So many small business owners throughout the South Shore, Cape and Islands all echoed the same sentiment – that the 1099 provision would be extremely cumbersome and almost debilitating to the efficient operation of their businesses. After hearing these very legitimate concerns, I came back to Washington and began working with some colleagues across the aisle to remove the provision from the law. I was an original cosponsor of the legislation designed to remove the 1099 requirement, which has now passed both the House and Senate, and is solely awaiting the President’s signature to become law.
In these tough economic times, it’s also important to remember that necessary cuts to our budget should be targeted and pragmatic. We should not be balancing the budget on the backs of our most vulnerable populations.
Under the recently introduced fiscal year 2012 budget proposal, the House majority proposed risky changes to our current Social Security and Medicare systems that would jeopardize vital supports for our senior population. The proposals include turning Medicare into a private voucher program that would shift more costs to seniors and their families, reducing the amount Social Security recipients receive in their checks, and essentially ending Medicaid. These changes would deny seniors their long-term care and Social Security benefits that they’ve earned. This is unconscionable; the House majority wants to cut benefits to our seniors but refuses to cut subsidies to Big Oil and other giant corporations. I will continue to fight day and night in Congress to make sure this injustice does not happen.
My work in Washington also affords me the opportunity to advocate for issues that are important on a national level – in particular, the perimeter security of our airports. I was recently named Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management, and in that position, I have been championing better security for our airports, an issue about which I am very passionate. Since coming to Congress, I have questioned Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on the death of Delvonte Tisdale, a teenage boy from North Carolina who was able to breach the perimeter security of North Carolina’s Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and stow away on a flight to Boston’s Logan Airport. Our country has heightened screening procedures for passengers of planes in the wake of 9/11. Protecting our perimeters remains equally critical to providing effective airport security. This issue must be a priority for our national security as a breach in one airport makes every airport receiving planes from there unsafe. For the past two months, I have been working with the Transportation Security Administration to remedy these problems and keep Americans safe when they travel.
There is much more work to do – locally and nationally – but I am committed to fighting for the residents of Massachusetts’ 10th district each and every day. Together, we will get our local economy back on track and have the district and its residents flourishing.