Sunday, May 3, 2015

Senator Ross: April 2015 State House Update

Senator Richard J. Ross, State House Update, April 2015
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State Senator Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham) proudly serving the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District.

State House
Room 419
Boston, MA 02133

Ph: 617-722-1555
Fax: 617-722-1054
Dear Friends,

Warmer weather has finally graced the Commonwealth and Beacon Hill has certainly been busy as FY16 budget talks have made their way to the Senate.

This month I will need your help and input as we work hard to ensure next year's budget is smart, efficient, and works well for you, my constituents.

Please read my monthly newsletter for information on what has been going on in the district and the State House.

As always, let me know what you would like me to focus on. It is my honor and privilege to serve you in the State Senate.



Recently, I joined Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito at the Charles River Center in Needham to discuss the great work they do for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Founded in 1956, the mission of the CRC is "to empower and support people with developmental disabilities by offering high-quality, individualized opportunities that foster independence and community inclusion."

I am grateful that such an organization helps so many individuals and families not only in my district, but all across the Commonwealth as well. Thank you to the Lieutenant Governor for coming to Needham. For more information on the Charles River Center, please visit their website here.

I was pleased to welcome Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg to Natick for the first stop of her statewide economic empowerment tour. The tour began with a roundtable discussion and tour of the MathWorks facility and continued at robotics classrooms at Natick High School to discuss the impact of STEM education on our children and the Commonwealth as a whole.

Treasurer Goldberg is conducting a statewide economic empowerment tour to highlight the work of her new Office of Economic Empowerment which is focused on closing the skills gap in Massachusetts to help stimulate economic growth.

STEM education and the programs they offer are essential to our students, their future, and the Commonwealth's future. Treasurer Goldberg witnessed the great work being done by our hardworking students and teachers.

The Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) recently awarded the co-owners of 2 Friends Farm in Attleboro, Ashley Driscoll and John Irving, the Commonwealth Quality Innovator Award.

2 Friends Farm opened in 2013 and began as an idea to grow and offer healthy food options locally. The Commonwealth Quality Program (CQP), sponsored by the DAR, was created to identify food products grown, harvested, and produced locally while also providing local growers with the tools they need to compete in a thriving marketplace.

This great program has offered them, and other local growers, the tools they need to succeed. Currently, there are 100 CQP participants across Massachusetts. I look forward to witnessing 2 Friends Farm's continued expansion and development in our community.
April was Autism Awareness Month, and on Beacon Hill and across the Commonwealth we demonstrated our continued dedication to those on the autism spectrum and their families.

Currently, I am serving on the senate special commission on autism, created to make recommendations and monitor the implementation of policies impacting individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

The commission is tasked with investigating the range of services and supports necessary for such individuals, so that they may have ready access and availability to these services across their lifespan. The commission was established in the autism assistance bill, signed into law this past August.

I have always been a strong advocate for autism awareness and research, and I'm proud to be a part of this commission. I look forward to continuing the fight for those living with autism spectrum disorders and their families, something that must be a priority all year long.

In April, Governor Charlie Baker filed legislation to deliver a reliable transportation system for the people of the Commonwealth.

The bill would establish a Fiscal Management and Control Board (FMCB) and Chief Administrator to oversee operations and finances through 2018, create capital plans, introduce reporting and audit requirements and lift procurement restrictions for the MBTA. The FMCB and Chief Administrator would be charged with establishing a safe, reliable, financially sound and sustainable customer-oriented public transit system.

The harshness of this past winter brought to light what has been evident for a very long time--the MBTA suffers from clear mismanagement at all levels. Reforming and addressing the many concerns of our public transportation system is a priority for me as our taxpayers and commuters deserve better. This legislation takes the necessary steps to fix a broken system and save the Commonwealth money. For more information, please click here.
Congratulations to the 160 D.A.R.E. Program Graduates from the Delaney School in Wrentham (left). MA Association of School Committees Day on the Hill with members of the Plainville School Committee and the King Philip School Committee (right).
Wonderful to have the National Honor Society members from the Brennan Middle School and Coelho Middle School in Attleboro at the State House (left). Happy to read to some great kindergarten students at the John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Franklin (right).
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