Representative Benson’s Office Update: October 2017

Around the District
Last month, I attended a meeting of the Ayer Board of Selectmen where town officials and constituents were discussing the issue of the odor coming from the Nasoya factory in town. I, along with Ayer’s other state legislators, sent a letter to Nasoya telling them that we expect them to work with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to resolve this issue. I have been keeping in touch with the Town Administrator as well as officials from the DEP to ensure that Nasoya is being held accountable and is working toward a solution.

Later in the month, I met with Lunenburg officials and a representative of the Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to address the safety issue of speeding vehicles on Chase Road. MassDOT was receptive to Lunenburg’s concerns, and there is already a plan in place to make safety improvements.

I also attended the annual meeting of Loaves and Fishes food pantry in Devens. Loaves and Fishes does so much important work for the towns of my district, and helped to feed more than 800 families last year by distributing over 30,000 bags of groceries.

Being recognized by Clean Water Action Massachusetts.

In Acton, I was recognized for my leadership on environmental and renewable energy legislation by Clean Water Action Massachusetts. It was an honor to receive their Legislative Leadership Award along with Representative Mary Keefe.

At the State House

Boxborough Town Planner Adam Duchesneau, and Town Administrator Selina Shaw

At a ceremony at the State House celebrating rural communities, Boxborough was awarded a MassWorks grant for $575,000 to fund sidewalk and roadway improvements in the town center near the Blanchard Memorial School. This is the fourth consecutive year the town has applied for this grant, and the persistence of the Town Planner Adam Duchesneau and Town Administrator Selina Shaw paid off.

On October 24, I presented Shirley’s Bemis Associates, Inc. an award at an event at the State House recognizing Massachusetts’ top manufacturers. In addition to being one of the largest manufacturing employers in the 37th Middlesex District, Bemis has become an integral part of the community since moving to Shirley in 1990. I was happy to nominate them for the award and present it to them.

I also attended an event that featured a discussion about women in the military, where Congresswoman Tsongas was honored. The Congresswoman, who is retiring at the end of her current term, serves on the House Committee on Armed Services.

Committee Update
The Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight held four hearings in October for dozens of bills related to state assets, regulations, and procurement. The Committee will be conducting two more hearings in November on bills related to public records, ethics, and other matters.

Legislative & Budget Update
In October, the House of Representatives voted to override more of the Governor’s budget vetoes, restoring funding to suicide prevention programs, local councils on aging, and the After-School and Out-of-School Time grant program.

Additionally, I voted with my colleagues to pass H.1110, An Act Establishing Regional Commissions on the Status of Women and Girls, H.3952, An Act to Further Define Standards of Employee Safety, and S.2178, An Act Relative to Handicapped Parking.

Looking Ahead
In November, I will be attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany. I will be serving as an official observer at the conference with unrestricted access to all meetings. At the Conference, I will also be discussing my carbon pricing legislation, which would establish a fee-and-rebate system on carbon to encourage the reduced use of these fuels, and fund infrastructure projects designed to reduce emissions.

As always, I can be reached at Jennifer.Benson@MAHouse.gov or (617) 722-2140.

Sincerely,

 

 

Jennifer Benson
State Representative
37th Middlesex District

 

Rep. Benson to Serve as Official Observer at UN Climate Conference

BOSTON – This week, State Representative Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg) will travel to Bonn, Germany to serve as an official observer at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Along with a delegation of 3 other Massachusetts legislators (Representative Jim Cantwell, Representative Josh Cutler, and Senator Michael Barrett), Representative Benson will have unrestricted access to the Conference as world leaders discuss the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement. She will be attending meetings with emissaries of the nearly 200 countries and territories that have signed on to the Agreement to discuss their approaches to reducing climate emissions.

“Since the federal government has abandoned its leadership on climate change by signaling that the United States will leave the Paris Agreement, it is vital that we take up the mantle of leadership on this issue at the state level,” said Rep. Jennifer Benson. “I am proud to be representing my district and my state in Germany, and to tell the international community that Massachusetts is still committed to do our part to combat climate change.”

At the Conference, the Representative will also be discussing her carbon pricing legislation filed in the Massachusetts Legislature, H.1726, An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Create Jobs. The legislation would establish a fee and rebate system on carbon to encourage the reduced use of these fuels, and fund infrastructure projects designed to reduce emissions.

The House of Representatives recently voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill reaffirming the Commonwealth’s commitment to meeting the emissions targets of the Paris Climate Agreement.

A Statement from Representative Benson on the Passage of the ACCESS Bill

“Today, the House of Representatives voted to guarantee the women of Massachusetts access to copay-free birth control. Birth control allows women to plan when and if they want to start a family, and is used to treat a number of health conditions that affect women. Nearly 99% of women have used birth control at some point in their lives.

I was an early cosponsor of the ACCESS bill when it was filed in January, but I regret that I was unable to cast my vote for the bill due to my attendance at the Women in Government State Directors and Health Care Summit. I applaud the House’s actions today, and the leadership of Representatives Haddad and Scibak. I plan to formally record my support for the bill with the House Clerk’s office.

Due to the Affordable Care Act, since 2010, 1.4 million women in Massachusetts have gained access to birth control with no out-of-pocket costs. With the Trump Administration’s decision last month to undermine the women’s health provisions of the Act, it is vital that this bill is quickly passed into law to ensure that Massachusetts women continue to have access to affordable and safe birth control.”

Shirley Company Recognized at State House for “Manufacturing Month”

BOSTON – Bemis Associates, Inc. of Shirley received a Manufacturer of the Year award at a State House ceremony last Tuesday, October 24. The company was nominated by State Representative Jennifer Benson, who represents Shirley in the House of Representatives.

The Massachusetts Legislative Manufacturing Caucus hosted its Second annual Manufacturing award ceremony to recognize 53 manufacturers that showcase the Commonwealth’s innovative manufacturing industry.

Bemis’s award was presented by Representative Benson, along with a citation honoring the company for their commitment to the community, including their philanthropic work with the Ayer-Shirley Regional School District, Mount Wachusett Community College, and the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Devens.

“In addition to being one of the largest manufacturing employers in the district, Bemis has done a lot of great work in the community since moving to Shirley in 1990,” said Representative Benson. “I was happy to nominate them for this well-deserved award and recognize them for their philanthropy.”

Formed in August 2014, the Manufacturing Caucus includes more than 60 legislators from around the Commonwealth, including Representative Benson. The Caucus aims to increase Massachusetts’ competitiveness in manufacturing by providing legislative support.

As the sixth largest employment sector in Massachusetts, manufacturing output in the state is at its highest level in history and accounts for more than 11 percent of the state’s economy. Roughly 250,000 employees work in the manufacturing sector in Massachusetts, comprising 7.8% of the total workforce in the state.

Boxborough Awarded $575k Grant for Sidewalk Improvements

Boston – State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) and State Representative Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg) announced that the Town of Boxborough was recently awarded a MassWorks infrastructure grant from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Economic Development.

The $574,683 grant will fund sidewalk and roadway improvements that will increase safety and walkability in the Boxborough town center in the area near the Blanchard Memorial School, Sargent Memorial Library, and the police and fire stations.

“I applaud Town Planner Adam Duchesneau and Town Administrator Selina Shaw for their dedication to making the streets of Boxborough more walkable and pedestrian friendly, “ Senator Eldridge said. “This investment will improve the quality of life in our communities, and I want to thank the Baker-Polito administration for promoting safe and accessible roadways.”

“I’m very happy Boxborough has been awarded this grant,” said Representative Benson. “This is the fourth year the town has applied for this project, and the persistence of Town Planner Adam Duchesneau and Town Administrator Selina Shaw has paid off. The grant will fund much-needed safety improvements to a busy section of road near the elementary school and library, creating a safer environment.”

Boxborough Town Planner Adam Duchesneau, and Town Administrator Selina Shaw

“The Town of Boxborough is delighted to have been selected as a recipient of a 2017 Mass Works Small Town Rural Assistance Grant,” said Town Administrator Selina Shaw. “The award of $574,683 for the Route 111 Pedestrian Improvement Project will enable the Town to complete significant and much needed pedestrian and roadway enhancements to provide safe passage for bicyclists and pedestrians along a busy section of Mass Ave east of the library. Thank you to Senator Eldridge and Representative Benson for supporting our efforts over the years, and to the Baker-Polito Administration for recognizing the importance of partnering with municipalities and with making this opportunity available.”

Since 2002, Boxborough has been working on the development of a dedicated pedestrian and bicycle trail along Route 111. The first section of the trail was completed in 2004. Sargent Memorial Library was constructed the following year. Due to close proximity of the library to an elementary school, the police station, the fire station, and a housing development, both pedestrian and automobile traffic on this section of Route 111 has increased dramatically in recent years, creating a safety issue along the busy road. This MassWorks grant will fund the construction of sidewalks to give pedestrians and bicyclists a dedicated path distinct from the roadway.

MassWorks grant awardees were revealed at an event at the State House on October 10 celebrating rural communities. At the event, grants totaling $8.5 million were announced for 10 rural communities, including Boxborough.