Helping to craft our state budget is one of the most important parts of my job. Every year, the legislators across Massachusetts hear from their constituents about important priorities for funding within the district. Citizens and advocacy groups are encouraged to call, write, or come visit the State House to make sure their Representative knows the importance of funding specific local and state-wide projects. From there, legislators work closely with each other to build broad support, negotiate, and assign the limited funds of the state. It is not aways an easy process, especially during a year when the revenue for the state is significantly down.
I am proud of the combined efforts and cooperation of the Cambridge and Somerville delegations in the House and Senate to ensure that our cities received funding for so many of the important programs we rely on. Whether it was affordable housing, nutritional assistance, youth programs, homelessness prevention, adult basic education, early childhood education, family planning, adoption services, elder protective services, urban park funding, or local health care, our delegations stood together to give Cambridge and Somerville a powerful voice at the state level.
The following are just a few of the highlights from our finalized state budget that directly affect the residents of the 26th Middlesex district. All budget items listed below I sponsored or co-sponsored in the FY 2009 budget requests and budget amendments. They are either state-wide programs with a local impact, or local programs specific to Cambridge and Somerville.
Adult Basic Education/ESOL
For contracts and grants to provide and strengthen adult basic education services, including reading, ESOL, writing, and mathematics, to a diverse network of organizations which have demonstrated commitment and effectiveness in the provision of such services. The state-wide funding effects many organizations within Cambridge and Somerville.
A youth and community development program that addresses core issues facing low-income communities: housing, education, employment, crime prevention, and leadership development.
Horizons For Homeless Children
For Playspace Programs operated by Horizons for Homeless Children. The Playspace Program provides homeless children in Massachusetts with the nurturing, stimulation and opportunities for early education and play to help them learn and grow in healthy ways.
Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)
MRVP is the state’s rental assistance program, operated by the Department of Housing and Community Development for low-income families and individuals. The MRVP offers tenant-based vouchers that can be used for any approved apartment, and project-based vouchers that are restricted to certain rental units or developments.
For comprehensive family planning services for low income uninsured, underinsured residents of the Commonwealth, including HIV counseling and testing, HPV immunizations, community-based health education, outreach, and follow-up with at-risk populations.
Citizenship for New Americans Program
Gives low-income immigrants the opportunity to learn English and American civics, as well as receive help with the citizenship application process.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
For the continued funding of seventeen alternative dispute resolution centers in Massachusetts, including the Community Dispute Settlement Center, Inc. of 60 Gore St Suite 202, Cambridge and the Somerville Mediation Program of 337 Somerville Ave, Somerville, whose core missions are to offer a community-based forum for dispute resolution through mediation without involving the Commonwealth’s court system.
Computer Centers and the Work Force Program
For the Cambridge Housing Authority Tenant Services to operate 2 Community Computer Centers and the Work Force program. The Work Force program is an award-winning nationally recognized youth development program for adolescents living in the Cambridge Housing Authority’s subsidized housing.
Local Language-Specific Community Assistance
The following programs provide local language-specific assistance, including legal help, adult education, youth programs, and broader advocacy and involvement for immigrant rights.
105 Windsor St, Cambridge
Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS)
92 Union Square, Somerville
1046 Cambridge St., Cambridge
268 Rear Powder House Blvd Apt # 17C, Somerville
17 Inner Belt Road, Somerville
Support Services to the Children and Families Served by DSS After Adoption
For the Center for Family Connections at 350 Cambridge St, Cambridge, to provide therapeutic and rehabilitative mental health services, targeted research on well-being outcomes and permanency planning for older hard-to-place youth and those aging out of the system.
Read more about the 2007-2008 Formal Legislative Session: