Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’

postheadericon Political Forum Audio: Candidates for Whitman Board of Selectmen square off

The first issue the four candidates vying for two seats on the Whitman Board of Selectmen board faced Wednesday in a political forum, was the decision by current selectmen to put a question asking for a $500,000 operational override on next month’s town election ballot. Read the rest of this entry »

postheadericon Beacon Hill Blotter: Recovery

An existing MA Recovery School

The word carries many meanings and, in current times, many implications. Japan is in the process of recovering from a devastating combination of an earthquake and the resulting tsunami, which has been further complicated by the partial melt-down of a coastal nuclear reactor. The US economy is fighting to get on the road to recovery following an economic melt-down, resulting from a combination of a housing bubble burst and a banking crisis with world-wide implications.

To residents on the Massachusetts South Shore, “recovery” also describes a proposed school to help kids dealing with substance abuse which is being proposed by a tremendous group of true grassroots activists, composed of parents, teachers, administrators, substance abuse counselors and civic leaders.

I was fortunate enough to attend a meeting keynoted by Senators Steven Tolman and John Keenan, Assistant Majority Leader and Chair of the Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse, respectively. Presenting testimony to those gathered were Mr. Bill Carpenter , who has a son dealing with dependency, and the mother, Janis McGrory,  and sister, Amy, of Elizabeth “Liz” LeFort, who passed away only three months ago from an accidental overdose. The words spoken were, at once, heart wrenching, maddening and inspiring. To know that just one use of OxyContin will cause an immediate and lifetime craving for the drug is truly frightening. Listening to the pain of having to put on a brave public face when you’ve just had to call to have your child incarcerated to keep them from being on the street, using, is horrifying. And knowing that the chance of relapse is almost 100% when kids try to reintegrate back into their public schools leaves one wondering what we can do to rescue those hundreds of kids who want to be clean and get a good education. Read the rest of this entry »

postheadericon Beacon Hill Blotter: Amazing Grace

 It’s not often you get to see Howard Beale, the character from the movie “Network,” played out in real life. It’s one thing to be on the campaign trail and be told by conspiracy theorists to look at things like the book “The Creature From Jekyll Island” (about the Federal Reserve) or to find out why attorneys are not lawyers. It’s quite another to see someone come to a Ways & Means hearing and speak the truth about the manipulation of social services at the expense of the people they’re purported to serve, as well as taxpayers.

Grace Ross

Grace Ross, previous gubernatorial candidate.

Enter Grace Ross, recent candidate for Governor, who was unable to get enough signatures to primary Deval Patrick. A self-proclaimed “activist for social justice,” I had no idea what to expect in her testimony on Friday, March 4th, in the last hour of the last day of a state-wide tour of budget hearings. Because her time was limited to 3 minutes, she presented a simple chart showing state revenue sources, from highest to lowest. Again, due to time constraints, she wanted to make sure we were aware of the fact that food stamps (now called “S.N.A.P.”) and Unemployment Insurance were the two largest generators of income to Massachusetts – and that’s beating a Lottery that is ranked 1st in the nation, reaping over $4B annually. She even reiterated that  the sales tax increase was a mistake… gasp! Read the rest of this entry »

postheadericon Beacon Hill Blotter: “YOU Are There”

Walter Cronkite

"You Are There" with Walter Cronkite

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. Read the rest of this entry »

postheadericon Beacon Hill Blotter: Good Enough for Government Work

Will & Geoff Diehl

Will & Geoff Diehl, 1972


Growing up, I used to look forward to visiting my grandparents. On my father’s side, I especially relished the chance to ride on Grandpa’s lap when he mowed the lawn. Watching him operate his Lionel train set was awesome and I felt I’d died and gone to heaven when he’d “help” me with a project at his workbench. Without fail, he’s proclaim, “Good enough for government work,” as we (he) would finish making a wooden boat, a model rocket or a pencil holder. My grandfather, Wilmer Diehl, had been a mechanic in the Army, specializing in airplanes, so following his service, he was recruited by American Airlines to become a “flight engineer.” It was, literally, a new seat in the cockpit -the third – and was a role that he and a select few from the military pioneered for commercial aviation. His favorite joke, both in and out of the military and throughout his life, was the quip about his work meeting the minimum for government standards. Everyone who knew Will understood that the joke really was that he never did anything unless it was to meet the highest standards he set for himself – be it work, family, or his faith in God. Read the rest of this entry »

postheadericon Beacon Hill Blotter: Got a Pay Raise?

One of my expectations as an elected official is that I am held accountable by the voters every two years for my actions on their behalf. It is my job to vote on tough, politically uncomfortable issues in a public manner. And when I was first elected, one of those tough votes I expected to take occasionally was on legislative pay raises.

That changed in 1998 due to a state Constitutional amendment; legislators now get near-automatic pay hikes. And, when questioned by angry voters, they are able to simply absolve themselves of responsibility by pointing to this sham of a Constitutional requirement. Read the rest of this entry »

postheadericon WATD News: New state rep. celebrates inauguration with supporters in Abington

State Rep Geoff Diehl talks with a constituentRepublican State Rep Geoff Diehl, less than 24 hours after being officially sworn in as a member of the 187th general court, is making it clear he’s ready to get to work. Diehl took time away from an inaugural celebration at the Abington Ale House for his supporters to tell WATD what’s on his mind.

Diehl of Whitman is part of a wave of incoming Republicans to the Massachusetts House. He said the overriding issues, going into his first term as a state rep, include the state’s economy, the state budget deficit, health care costs, benefits to illegal immigrants–which he is against–and ethics.

Diehl said there still needs to be work done on lowing healthcare costs, which he believes contributes to budget problems. Diehl also said he plans to file legislation to make local aid a fully-funded mandate, and not discretionary spending as it is now.

Read the rest of this entry »

postheadericon Interview: Green-Rainbow Gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein speaks with The South Shore’s Morning News

The South Shore’s Morning News with Rob Hakala & Lisa Azizian is live weekdays from 5:00 a.m. – 9:00 am. Simply put, it’s everything you need to get going in the morning!  It’s a daily dose of News, Weather, Traffic, Business and Sports. This political season, the show is giving candidates the opportunity to answer questions posed to them by the award winning South Shore’s News Station. Today we talk with Green-Rainbow Gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein.

postheadericon Interview: 3rd Plymouth District Candidate Tim Finnerty on the South Shore’s Morning News

The South Shore’s Morning News with Rob Hakala & Lisa Azizian, is live on the radio  weekdays from 5-9am. Simply put, it’s everything you need to get going in the morning!  It’s a daily dose of News, Weather,  Traffic, Business and Sports. This political season, the show is giving candidates the opportunity to answer questions posed to them by the award winning South Shore’s News Station. In this particular piece, candidate Tim Finnerty stopped in for a short interview.

postheadericon AP News: Mass. Governor hopefuls quickly spending campaign cash

The top candidates for Massachusetts governor are draining their campaign accounts in the final drive to Election Day, even as the Republican Governor’s Association dumps another $1.5 million into the race. Read the rest of this entry »

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