In this newsletter:
I also wanted to update you on what I did this summer:
First, while the State House was in recess this August, I took time to canvass my district. I spent a number of days going door-to-door to introduce myself to constituents I may not have met yet, and discuss their concerns and priorities. The biggest issues I heard were about affordability, especially housing costs, funding schools adequately, and continued support for the Green Line Extension. Mainly, people were appreciative that I was taking the time to reach out and meet them. It was great to chat with and reconnect with so many people around Medford and Somerville.
I also spent this summer redesigning my website to make it easier to see updates, resources, and to help you get involved on different issues you care about. I hope this helps to engage the community and to keep everyone up-to-date with the work we're doing. Please let me know if you find the website helpful or if you have additional suggestions for improvements.
Updates from Beacon Hill
Christine joined with many legislator colleagues in support of the Equal Pay Act, which requires equal pay for comparable work and fairness in hiring practices around wages to ensure that women and people of color are paid fairly.
Children's Vision Screening
This session I filed House Bill 1886,An Act requiring the Department of Public Health to issue a report on vision screening for children, which takes a significant step in improving children’s vision screening in the Commonwealth. The state already requires that all children entering kindergarten receive vision screening. However, the current mandate does not include public reporting, and there are likely major gaps in awareness and screening in different areas of Massachusetts. This bill asks DPH to provide a yearly report of the data already collected from school districts to help us target where the need is greatest.
This summer, I organized a sign-on letter to DPH to ask for detailed data to have a better understanding of where the problems are. Working with children's vision advocates, we were able to get thirty three legislators to co-sign this letter. The report will provide valuable information about gaps in vision screening and care for young children and help identify areas that require resources to support compliance with the Massachusetts vision school entry law. Vision care for children is a solvable problem and this data will provide valuable information about the current gaps.
Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Carol Sanchez recently visited Somerville's Blessing of the Bay Boathouse to promote cleaning up the Mystic River with a mechanical water chestnut harvester. Thanks to the Mystic River Watershed Association for getting this work started. We're making progress!
Community Events, Meetings and News
Medford Arts Council applications:
Have a great idea for a local project involving arts, culture, nature or science? Apply today for a Medford Arts Council's 2016 Grant. More information here. Grant applications are due October 15.
Somerville Community Conversations on Racism:
The City of Somerville is hosting Community Conversations series on race and racism. Residents are encouraged to join these small group discussions to share their experiences and learn from neighbors. More information here.
Join us Sunday Oct 18 at 2PM to dedicate and begin construction on the Peace Garden memorial to the Boston Marathon tragedy. In front of Medford Senior Center, 101 Riverside Ave.
11/3 Election Day
Vote in municipal elections in Medford and Somerville
Medford has a question to adopt theCommunity Preservation Act on the ballot. This has been very successful in Somerville and other areas of the state. Learn more here.
In the news:
Medford Arts Council receives state funding:
Medford State Representatives Christine Barber, Sean Garballey, and Paul Donato and State Senator Patricia Jehlen announced that the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) has awarded $20,800 to the Medford Arts Council.
This funding will support a broad range of cultural activities and jobs in the cultural sector. As part of the MCC's statewide funding program, this grant ensures cultural programs in Medford will continue to thrive and benefit both residents and visitors.
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Christine testifying on her bill, H.1080, to require all communities in Massachusetts to zone districts formultifamily housing. This bill would create tools for communities to build near transit centers and services and create more affordable options for families and seniors.
Green Line Extension Update
In late August, the state's Department of Transportation, MassDOT, announced that the estimated cost of the GLX project had greatly increased.
The collective response of the me and each of the State Reps and Senators along the GLX corridor has been strong support and commitment to seeing this project completed. We understand that costs must come down and minor changes be made to the project for this to happen. However, the project will have important impacts on mobility in Somerville and Medford.
Since the announcement was made, I have attended every meeting of MassDOT and the MBTA to show support, along with my legislative and city colleagues, as we develop solutions to ensure the GLX project, including the Community Path Extension, is completed.
I continue to stand by the benefits the GLX will bring, namely to air quality from taking cars off the road, and in greater regional economic development.
I am committed to including residents' input into this project as we continue to work on options for reducing project costs. Our community is creative and I know we can work together to come up with solutions to see this project through. Please contact me if you have any suggestions or ideas.
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Senior CharlieCard Day
Christine organized an event with the Medford state delegation this September to help seniors at the Medford Council on Aging fill out applications for discounted MBTA CharlieCards. Over sixty seniors came to get their picture taken and fill out an application, which will be sent to the MBTA, and applicants will receive their CharlieCards next month.
Get in Touch!
Upcoming Office Hours
Where: Danish Pastry House
When: Friday, November 6th
Somerville, Ward 7
Where: Angelina's Pizza
When: Saturday, November 14th
Somerville, Ward 4
Where: Mamma Lisa's Pizza
Contact me any time.
Call the office (617) 722-2430
Reach me at home (617) 410-6025
Stop by the State House!
Come by Room 236 to meet my aide, Claire, or email her to make an appointment with me.