Reading Public Schools awarded $200,000 state literacy grant

BOSTONState Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) joined with Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey Riley to announce the Reading Public Schools have been awarded a $200,000 Accelerating Literacy Learning with High Quality Instructional Materials Grant.

Awarded on a competitive basis through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the grant funding is designed to provide school districts with high-quality core instructional materials to accelerate literacy learning. The funding can also be used to provide initial professional development for educators to implement the core instructional materials.

“I offer my sincere congratulations to the Reading Public Schools on this grant award,” said Representative Haggerty. “Making sure our students and teachers have up to date, top quality instructional materials has never been more important. These funds will also help the district continue its commitment to making sure literacy is at the forefront of the educational process and will help make sure teachers are able to receive the continuing education they deserve.”

According to DESE, the grant funding targets those school districts that:

• Demonstrate a pre-existing priority on literacy, which the new curricular materials directly supports, and evidence that implementation of the new resources will be sustainable;
• Have conducted or plan to conduct an intentional and inclusive process to select new curricular materials that meet local needs and priorities;
• Articulate a plan to provide robust, ongoing and embedded support for educators who are expected to use new curricular materials; and
• Will advance culturally responsive practice as part of implementing new curricular materials

Reading’s $200,000 grant represents the maximum amount awarded under the program.

MA HOUSE PASSES VETERANS’ PROTECTION BILL TO INCREASE ACCOUNTABILITY FOR MANAGEMENT OF VETERANS’ HOMES

BOSTON – In an effort to ensure greater accountability on behalf of our veterans and
their families, State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) and his
colleagues in Massachusetts House of Representatives recently passed legislation that
makes key reforms to the governance structure of the veterans’ homes, ensures that both
homes are federally licensed as health care facilities, mandates increased state
management, and provides independent oversight and accountability of veterans’ homes
management.

“This oversight legislation goes a long way in better protecting our veterans who are
served by the Soldiers Homes,” said Representative Haggerty. “The inexcusable loss of
life at these veteran’s homes during the COVID pandemic shone a bright light on the
failings of the leadership structure at these institutions. This legislation, accompanied
with the bond authorization to rebuild these antiquated facilities, will help our
Commonwealth provide the best possible care for the men and women who have served
our nation honorably.”

  • “An Act relative to the governance, structure and care of veterans at the Commonwealth
    veterans’ homes” (H.4441):
    Requires home superintendents to be licensed as nursing home administrators and
    either be a veteran or someone with experience managing veterans in a nursing
    home or long term-care facility.
  • Establishes a 17-member statewide Veterans’ Homes Council to manage and
    control the veterans’ homes, promulgate regulations to the local boards, and
    confirm and remove superintendents.
  • Preserves local, 5-member boards of trustees for the veterans’ homes in Chelsea
    and Holyoke with the authority to nominate candidates for superintendents of their
    respective veterans’ homes.
  • Establishes the Office of the Veteran Advocate, an independent office that will be
    led by a Veteran Advocate appointed by the Governor, Attorney General and State
    Auditor.
  •  Requires the Veteran Advocate to submit an annual report, which will be made
    public, to the Governor and the Legislature with an analysis of the delivery of
    services to veterans and recommendations for changes in agency procedures.
  • Establishes the position of ombudsperson for each veterans’ home to advocate on
    behalf of the residents and staff at the home.
  • Requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to conduct and report on
    inspections of veterans’ homes twice a year, or as often as they see fit, and
    establishes a maximum time of 30 days for a veterans’ home to correct any
    violation that DPH identifies.
  • Requires that all state-operated veterans’ homes adhere to the guidelines for
    trauma-informed care as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and
    Prevention, and be certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  • Requires the Office of Veterans’ Homes and Housing to submit an annual report
    including findings but not limited to the quality of care provided at the homes and
    an analysis of activities of the Office and of the Veterans’ Homes Council.
    Following the tragedy at the Holyoke Veterans’ Home in 2020, which resulted in the
    COVID-19 related deaths of 77 veterans, the Legislature established the Special Joint
    Oversight Committee on the veterans’ Home in Holyoke COVID-19 Outbreak to
    investigate and make legislative recommendations.

In May 2021, the House approved a $600 million bond authorization — with $400
million for the construction of an updated Holyoke Veterans’ Home facility and $200
million to increase geographic equity and accessibility for veterans not primarily served
by the veterans’ Home in Chelsea or Holyoke.

“An Act relative to the governance, structure and care of veterans at the Commonwealth
veterans’ homes” passed the House of Representatives with a 156-1 vote. It now goes to
the Senate.

Reading awarded $8,230 in state fire safety grants

BOSTON – State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) joined with the Baker-Polito Administration this week to announce the Reading Fire Department has been awarded $8,230 in state grants to provide fire safety outreach to local students and older residents.

Reading will receive $5,175 as part of the Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) program, which the fire department will use to provide fire safety tips to all students in grades Pre-K through 5, using a fire safety house. Another $3,055 has been allocated to the department under the Senior SAFE program, which will be used to provide fire safety presentations to local seniors and to assist with smoke and carbon monoxide alarm installations and battery replacements.

“These funds are critical to ensuring we properly fund our public safety officials so they can continue to protect and keep our communities informed,” said Representative Haggerty. “This over $8,000 in grant money will ensure the Reading Fire Department has the financial resources it requires to continue keeping the town and its residents safe through fire safety education and prevention.”

Since 1996, the S.A.F.E. program has provided state funding to municipal fire departments on an annual basis to promote fire safety education in schools. Eight years ago, Massachusetts launched the Senior SAFE program to support fire safety training for seniors, who are considered among the most at-risk groups for dying in a fire. Both programs are administered by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services within the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

According to the Department of Fire Services, the average number of children dying in fires annually has dropped by 78% since the S.A.F.E. program began. This represents a decline that is almost 30% greater than the decline in fire deaths overall.

A total of $1.8 million in grants is being distributed to 234 municipal fire departments across Massachusetts in the latest round of funding.

Woburn Delegation Calls for Reopening of Mishawum Commuter Rail Station

WOBURNRepresentative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn), Representative Michelle
L. Ciccolo (D-Lexington), and Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) are making efforts
to reinstate Commuter Rail Service at Mishawum Station. Service to the commuter frequented
station provides access to the Lowell Line and has remained closed since December 14, 2020.

In a recent letter to MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, the Delegation stressed the
importance of Mishawum station as “the most accessible way for residents and visitors
commuting from Woburn Center, surrounding neighborhoods, and those staying at the various
hotels found along the Lowell line to access the commuter rail and region at large.” Another
area of concern was the increased traffic resulting from a return rush hour travel patterns, with
the three legislators requesting the MBTA to reinstate the 2019 pre-pandemic summer schedule
for the station. This schedule consisted of the commuter rail stopping at Mishawum Station
three times during the rush hour each weekday.

The letter came after hearing concerns from constituents on the station’s continued closure and
lack of public transportation option to access Boston. Reliable, accessible, and affordable
public transportation remains a top legislative priority for the delegation.

Haggerty Announces February Community Office Hours

BOSTON– State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) has announced upcoming in-person
community office hours to be held for February.

The event will be held at Dunkin’ Donuts, 880 Main Street in Woburn on Friday, February 18th from 11:00am to noon. This forum will allow members of the community to speak with the Representative directly, where they can voice any questions or concerns they may have.

If you are interested in attending and have any questions please reach out to Anthony Langone, legislative aide to Representative Haggerty, through email at Anthony.Langone@mahouse.gov or by calling (617) 722-2090.

Rep. Haggerty Announces January Virtual Office Hours

BOSTON– State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) has announced upcoming virtual
community office hours to be held for January.

The virtual event will be held via the Zoom video conferencing app on Friday, January 21st from 11:30am to 12:30pm. This forum will allow members of the community to speak with the Representative directly, where they can voice any questions or concerns they may have.

If you are interested in attending and have any questions please reach out to Anthony Langone, legislative aide to Representative Haggerty, through email at Anthony.Langone@mahouse.gov or by calling (617) 722-2090.

Reading Fire Department awarded state Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant

BOSTONState Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) and Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester) recently joined with the Baker-Polito Administration to announce the Reading Fire Department has been awarded a Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant totaling $18,001.82 from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.

Reading was among 306 Massachusetts fire departments to be approved for funding under the program, which is designed to assist communities with the purchase of personal protective and safety equipment that meets the safety standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Under the grant program, 118 different types of equipment are eligible for funding, including personal protective clothing, thermal imaging cameras, hazardous gas detectors, and extrication equipment. Some of the most popular items funded through the program include helmets, hoods, gloves, coats and boots.

“Making sure our fire department professionals have the tools they need to keep our community safe is always a top priority,” said Representative Haggerty. “We all rely on our public safety officials to help us in our times of need – this grant will help them accomplish that goal.”

The Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant Program was established under Chapter 151 of the Acts of 2020, An Act financing the general governmental infrastructure of the Commonwealth, which set aside $25 million in funding. A total of $5 million in grants were approved statewide in the latest funding round, which marks the second year in which grants have been awarded.

Woburn/Reading Fire Departments awarded Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant

BOSTON – State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) recently joined with his colleagues and the Baker-Polito Administration to announce the Woburn and Reading Fire Departments have been awarded a Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant totaling over $37,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.

Woburn and Reading were among 306 Massachusetts fire departments to be approved for funding under the program, which is designed to assist communities with the purchase of personal protective and safety equipment that meets the safety standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Under the grant program, 118 different types of equipment are eligible for funding, including personal protective clothing, thermal imaging cameras, hazardous gas detectors, and extrication equipment. Some of the most popular items funded through the program include helmets, hoods, gloves, coats and boots.

“Making sure our fire department professionals have the tools they need to keep our community safe is always a top priority,” said Representative Haggerty. “We all rely on our public safety officials to help us in our times of need – this grant will help them accomplish that goal.”

The Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant Program was established under Chapter 151 of the Acts of 2020, An Act financing the general governmental infrastructure of the Commonwealth, which set aside $25 million in funding. A total of $5 million in grants were approved statewide in the latest funding round, which marks the second year in which grants have been awarded. Woburn Fire was awarded $19,000 with Reading Fire being awarded $18,001.82.

Haggerty End of Year Legislative Update

I hope this legislative update finds you all well and that you are all enjoying the holidays so far! I wanted to provide you all with a recap of my actions these last few months of 2021.

 

ARPA Funding

I was very proud to support a bill allocating funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and FY21 surplus. Funded at $4 billion, the bill addresses disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to facilitate recovery through one-time investments in housing, environment and climate mitigation, economic development, the workforce, health and human services, and education.

City of Woburn and Town of Reading Direct Funding:

  • $125,000 for the installation of accessible and inclusive equipment at public playgrounds in the City of Woburn.
  • $125,000 to implement the recommendations of the City of Woburn’s report from the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative Local Rapid Recovery Program to improve the economic and physical conditions of the downtown.

These investments are aimed at helping our communities and the Commonwealth recover from the economic and social challenges of the past two years. I was pleased to partner with the Woburn delegation to be able to direct some of these resources to support the small business community by helping the City of Woburn implement plans to improve the economic and physical atmosphere of downtown. I was also pleased to file an amendment to allocate monies that will help make some of our playgrounds fully accessible for all children.

The Reading Delegation was able to direct some of these resources to support the town’s effort to conserve Open Space and provide additional access to the Town Forest:

  • $150,000 appropriation will assist the town with the acquisition and development of a parcel of land in the Meadow Brook Country Club area. Town Meeting and the Reading Select Board recently approved the purchase of this land to preserve it as open space and to secure an easement that will provide public access to the Town Forest.

The major state-wide investments in the bill are for health care $964 million, housing $624 million, $500 million for premium pay awards and $500 million for the unemployment insurance system to help small business UI rates. The bill also allocates $414 million for infrastructure, $389 million for education, $267 million for economic development, and $124 million for human services.

The construction of this bill was an inclusive and open process that included six public hearings after receiving more than a thousand pieces of testimony. The bill also allocates $5 million for the Inspector General’s office to create a public database and website to track total spending.

A full recap of ARPA funding can be found under the “News” tab at www.RichHaggerty.com.

 

Legislation Passed

Woburn Public Library Board of Trustees Legislation (H3820)

This home rule petition does away with the practice of life-time trustees and allows the Mayor, with the confirmation of the City Council, to fill vacancies on the Board of Trustees of the Woburn Library Corporation.

Changing City Council members from Alderman to City Councilor (H3947)

The bill updates the official title of members of the Woburn City Council from “Alderman to “City Councilor”. Thank you to my colleagues Senator Friedman, Representative Ciccolo, Mayor Galvin, and the members of the City Council for helping to draft and codify these petitions into law.

Genocide Education Bill

This landmark education bill defines genocide and requires middle and high schools in the Commonwealth to learn about genocide in their curricula. The legislation also creates a trust fund for use in developing a genocide related curricula and for teachers’ professional development. This law is critical in order to teach the next generation about these dark moments in our history, in the hope they will be remembered and never repeated.

Updating Cage-free Standards

In October I was proud to join the House in passing H.4194, An Act upgrading hen welfare and establishing uniform cage-free standards, which updates a 2016 passed ballot initiative regarding the prevention of cruelty to farm animals.

The bill updates floor space requirements for certain cage-free housing systems, expands covered products to include egg products, authorizes the Department of Agricultural Resources to promulgate rules and regulations and participate in enforcement, and extends the implementation date of the ban on the sale of covered pork products by one year. Making sure we do not have an egg shortage, which could drive up costs for consumers, is a paramount concern. House and Senate Conference Committee members are working out the differences between the two bills now.

 

Committee Work

As Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business I have hosted a series of listening sessions for members of the legislature to hear directly from the small business community; including the Mass. Auto Dealers Association and Franchising 101. We are now in the planning stages to meet with local chambers of commerce and local community development corporations.

As a member of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utility, and Energy I had the opportunity to get an up-close view of Orsted’s Block Island Wind Farm recently. The Commonwealth continues to be a national leader in clean energy and this educational exercise to tour the turbines harnessing wind power in Rhode Island was exceptional. Together Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind in Massachusetts will be able to power 1.2 million homes – and we’re just getting started! Together we can utilize clean-energy and create a clean-energy job sector right here in the Commonwealth.

 

Legislative Letters

Delegation Support Letter for Killiam School in Reading

I was happy to join with the Reading State House Delegation to support the Killiam Elementary School’s application to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) program to make critical updates to the school to provide a more safe, accessible learning environment for both students and staff.

Green Infrastructure Efforts Letter

Citing President Biden’s ambitious and necessary goal of having a 100% carbon-free energy grid by 2035, I wrote a letter to Senators Markey and Warren encouraging them to help get Massachusetts up to speed on renewable energy development and green infrastructure construction

 

Legislative Caucuses

I have recently joined the newly established Massachusetts Legislative Caucus on Cancer Awareness, which provides a forum to discuss and promote research and development of innovative therapies, and the delivery of efficient, high value cancer care to mitigate some of the economic and public health burdens on State agencies and those impacted by cancer.

Seeing our economy increasingly digitalize, I accepted an invitation to join the Massachusetts House of Representatives Blockchain Technology Caucus, which provides a forum for members to study the emerging role of blockchain technology, and other forms of distributed ledger technologies, in shaping public policy in the Commonwealth.

 

Community Events

1st annual Woburn Community Housing Workshop

In November, my office partnered with Mayor Galvin, Councilor Jeff Dillon, SCI Woburn, Metro Housing|Boston, and the Woburn Senior Center to host the first ever Woburn Community Housing Workshop at the Woburn Public Library.

The in-person event provided dozens of families critical resources to help them avoid eviction, address any rent payment concerns, along with assisting those in need of resources like food and heating assistance. The caseworkers on scene helped residents complete Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications and had translation services available for the Portuguese and Spanish speakers that attended.

A special thank you to Councilor Dillon and Anthony Langone in my office for helping organize and make this event a huge success for the residents of our city.

Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway

Another event I was happy to help sponsor for a second year in a row at the Hillview Country Club was the Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway to seniors in the Reading Community. Together with Rep. Brad Jones’ office and other members of our community we put together and gave away hundreds of baskets, ensuring many senior and vulnerable members of our community had food on their tables this Thanksgiving.

Woburn Common Menorah Lighting Ceremony

This month I was happy to take part in the 2nd annual Menorah Lighting Ceremony on Woburn Common. It was great to support our Jewish community in our City and thank you to all the residents and city officials who attended.

Vaxess Technologies Ribbon Cutting

I had the pleasure joining local and state officials at the ribbon cutting ceremony in October for Vaxess Technologies in Woburn. At its new location in Cummings Park, the company plans to manufacture tens of thousands of doses of breakthrough vaccine patches per year. Their manufacturing line will also support clinical trials for Vaxess’ seasonal flu vaccine, with a COVID-19 vaccine program also in pre-development stages.

Woburn increasing has been a hub for the life science industry in the Commonwealth and our country. I will continue my efforts to support the growth of the industry in our City, which provides high paying jobs and numerous other benefits to our residents.

9/11 20th Anniversary

On the somber 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Woburn Lions and their youth organizations did a wonderful job honoring this important day and unveiling a fitting Bob Shure designed memorial to all those lost on that fateful day. I was proud to share a few remarks at this moving event, and thank you to Mayor Galvin, our elected officials, first responders, students, and the public for participating in such a moving ceremony. I was also pleased to join the Reading community on the Common to honor this special day by listening to student speakers read their essays on “Light in the Darkness”, hearing from the Reading Community Singers, and local bands.

 

Final Thoughts

We are living through challenging times, both economically and health wise. My office stands ready to help in any way we can, and as many of you have learned over these last few years my Legislative Aide Anthony Langone is always there to assist and walk you through anything that may be troubling you.

We also continue to host office hours sessions with the community, and we hope you can join us for one of our upcoming sessions

  • Thursday, January 21st at 11:30am
    • Virtual Via Zoom; sign-up required
  • Friday, February 18th at 11:00am
    • Dunkin’; 880 Main Street, Woburn, MA 01801
  • Thursday, March 24th at 11:30am
    • Virtual; Via Zoom; sign-up required

These sessions are a great opportunity for us to speak directly on the issues concerning you most, and I stand ready to listen and help in any way I can.

Our office is also currently searching for motivated, civic-minded individuals interested in a Winter legislative internship opportunity. Interns will have the rewarding opportunity to experience policymaking, politics and government through participating in the day-to-day functioning of a State Representative’s office from working constituent cases, scheduling, legislative research, database management, to communications and social media assignments, along with attending various meetings and hearings.

If you ever have any questions or are looking to sign-up for one of our upcoming office hours or looking for info for an internship opportunity, please reach out to Anthony at Anthony.Langone@mahouse.gov or call (617) 722-2090.

Representative Haggerty Accepting Applications for Winter Legislative Internships

BOSTON – State Representative Richard Haggerty is searching for motivated, civic-minded individuals interested in a Winter legislative internship. Haggerty proudly represents the people of the 30th Middlesex District of Massachusetts, which includes the City of Woburn and Town of Reading.

Interns will have the rewarding opportunity to experience policymaking, politics and government through participating in the day-to-day functioning of a State Representative’s office. Interns will report mainly to Anthony Langone, Legislative Aide to Rep. Haggerty, and will be responsible for assisting with a variety of tasks ranging from constituent correspondence, scheduling, legislative research, database management, to communications and social media assignments. They will also have the opportunity to attend various virtual events such as hearings, meetings, and listening to guest speakers, while gaining the satisfaction of serving the Commonwealth along with adding beneficial experience to their resume.

Due to COVID-19, those interested should be prepared to report and work remotely. Interested applicants should have the following:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • A high level of attention to detail
  • Able to conduct themselves and dress professionally
  • Respect for confidentiality
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office and Zoom applications.

Those with a particular interest in communications, public relations, graphic design, video production or social media should indicate so in their application. Applicants should send a resume with a brief cover letter of interest, and a 1-2 page writing sample to Anthony.Langone@mahouse.gov. References should be available upon request and if potential applicants have any questions, please call (617) 722-2090.