Diana Endorsed by Fire Fighters Across 14th Essex District

PFFM

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) has been endorsed by all four fire fighter associations in the 14th Essex District, including North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill, as well as the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM), an organization representing fire fighters and their families across the Commonwealth.

Earlier this year, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation, sponsored by DiZoglio, to assist fire fighters’ efforts to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

“In just her first term in office, Diana has proven herself one of the strongest and most affective voices on Beacon Hill for public safety officials, both in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth,” said Edward Kelly, President of PFFM. “No one works harder than Rep. DiZoglio and the PFFM is proud to stand with her in the upcoming elections.”

“Diana’s level of commitment to public safety issues is a breath of fresh air,” said Daniel Pas, President of Local 2035 North Andover Fire Fighters. “She is truly dedicated to making our voices heard on the state level. We couldn’t be prouder to call her our State Representative. I have no doubt that she will continue serving the communities of the 14th Essex District well.”

“Diana DiZoglio has been a passionate and affective representative for Methuen fire fighters, unwavering in her advocacy for them in the State House,” said Tim Sheehy, Methuen Fire Fighters President. “We need Diana’s leadership and commitment to public safety for our brothers, sisters and family members to remain in the House of Representatives.”

“Diana is a strong advocate of public safety,” said Eric Zahn, President of Lawrence Fire Fighters Local 146. “She always works hard to ensure that the government is doing their part to maintain the security of the community. She brings an energetic and open-minded attitude toward the concerns of her constituents.”

“Rep. DiZoglio has worked tirelessly in her first term on various bills for the people of her district,” said Gregory Roberts, Haverhill Fire Fighters President. “That is why, once again, we will be supporting Rep. DiZoglio.”

“I am truly honored to receive this support from our local fire fighters, as well as PFFM, which represents more than 12,000 of our brave public service men and women in the Commonwealth,” said DiZoglio, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “As they continue to protect our hardworking families, I will continue to fight for them in the Legislature to assist them in their dedicated service.”

Massachusetts AFL-CIO Endorses Re-Election of State Rep. Diana DiZoglio

Diana with Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman

Diana with Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman

The Massachusetts AFL-CIO has endorsed the re-election of Diana to continue serving the 14th Essex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

“Two years ago, based upon her commitment to helping working families in the Merrimack Valley and across Massachusetts, we endorsed Diana DiZoglio for State Representative,” said AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman. “Since then, she has proven an extraordinary legislator, fighting tirelessly for the issues that matter most to our hardworking men and women in the Commonwealth. We are proud to again support her and encourage our members to join us in helping her to win re-election.”

“I am truly honored and humbled to receive this support from the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, which represents nearly 400,000 working families across the Commonwealth,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill in the Legislature. “Over the past two years, I have consistently advocated for jobs, infrastructure, health care, education, organizing rights and more to ensure a strong quality of life for Massachusetts workers. I want to continue representing these families in the 14th Essex District so I may ensure their concerns are always heard loud and clear on Beacon Hill.”

Diana Urges DOT Secretary & RMV to Apply the Brakes on Proposed Move in Lawrence

Diana is urging Richard Davey, Secretary of MassDOT, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to reconsider the recent proposal to move the Lawrence RMV branch from its current location on Route 114 in South Lawrence to Downtown Lawrence.

Diana, who represents the Lawrence neighborhood in which the current RMV resides, says she was not included in any discussions regarding the proposed move of the state agency. In her capacity, Diana said it is her responsibility to speak up on behalf of constituents who have not had a seat at the table on this matter.

“In recent weeks, countless residents from across my district have contacted me to express their concerns about this proposed move,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill in the Legislature. “On a matter of this nature, which will affect residents from across my district, and throughout the Merrimack Valley, it is critical that we work together to ensure their concerns are heard loud and clear.”

From an economic perspective, the Representative argues, it could prove counterproductive to relocate the RMV branch.

“The RMV has proven critical to the economic vitality of businesses along Route 114,” said Diana. “The proposed relocation also does not take into consideration what would happen at the current site. It could create severe blight that would be detrimental to future economic development, hurting surrounding businesses located along the 114 corridor.”
Additionally, Diana says the RMV relocation makes little sense when it comes to convenience for Merrimack Valley residents.

“RMV customers want free, convenient, ample parking, which the current site affords and the downtown area does not offer,” said Diana. “If other nearby RMV locations have easier, more affordable access, my constituents tell me that they will likely pay their visits elsewhere.”

Diana has requested that immediate attention be given to this issue and that the Secretary meet with her and other local legislators from the region whose constituents the move would impact.

Legislature Passes Puppy Doe Legislation

The Massachusetts Legislature has passed animal welfare legislation that creates harsher punishments, along with increased financial penalties, against acts of animal cruelty.

Under Senate Bill 2345, An Act protecting animal welfare and safety, sponsored by State Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and co-sponsored by Diana, maximum penalties for animal cruelty convictions will be increased from five to seven years and the maximum fine will be increased from $2,500 to $5,000.

The bill also allows a penalty of up to 10 years and/or a fine of $10,000 for repeat convictions. Additionally, the bill requires veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse. The legislation creates a task force comprised of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary medicine and the law to systematically and comprehensively evaluate the state’s cruelty statutes to ensure continued progress.

The legislation is known as the “Puppy Doe” bill, in reference to an August 2013 incident in Quincy where a young dog was discovered starved, beaten, stabbed and burned in an area park.

“The horrific acts of cruelty inflicted upon Puppy Doe greatly concerned me and other animal lovers in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill in the Legislature. “This tragedy called for swift and comprehensive legislative action to prevent future animal cruelty and I want to thank Senator Tarr for his leadership in working to ensure the advancement of critical animal welfare legislation.”

The legislation will take effect 90 days after the Governor signs the bill into law.

Diana Hosts 14th Essex Senior Day on Beacon Hill

Senior Centers Visit 1

Diana recently hosted the North Andover, Methuen and Lawrence Senior Centers for a visit at the Massachusetts State House.

Nearly 100 Merrimack Valley seniors participated in the visit, as they toured the State House and joined Diana and fellow local legislators for a meet-and-greet over coffee and pastries.

Diana brought the seniors into the House Chamber to provide a hands-on civics lesson on the legislative process in the Commonwealth. The seniors sat in the seats of lawmakers as Diana explained how an idea becomes a law and strongly encouraged them to be actively involved in the process.

“During my first term, I have strived to host events like these that bring our amazing seniors from the Merrimack Valley together,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “I believe it is so important that we keep our older adults socially engaged, independent and active and I plan on hosting many more gatherings over the months and years to come.”

Joining Diana to welcome the seniors were State Senators Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport) and Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), as well as State Representatives Marcos Devers (D-Lawrence) and Frank Moran (D-Lawrence).

House Passes DiZoglio Bill Assisting Fire Fighters’ Fundraising Efforts for Muscular Dystrophy Association

PFFM

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed legislation, sponsored by Diana, that assists fire fighters’ efforts to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

Fire fighters are the MDA’s largest national sponsor and one of their most historic supporters of efforts to assist those suffering with neuromuscular disease. During the month of August, through Labor Day, fire fighters across the Commonwealth will be joining together to raise money for the cause.

“Every day, our fire fighters in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth dedicate themselves to helping people in peril,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “Their work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association marks another selfless act. With the passage of this legislation, our fire fighters will be able to ‘fill the boot’ as they raise money in this immensely important effort that demonstrates the true meaning of community involvement and public service.”

“Firefighters have been in the fight to cure Muscular Dystrophy for over 60 years and by partnering with the people in our communities, we have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for research and direct support to those in a personal fight,” said Edward A. Kelly, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM). “Our efforts have been hampered in recent years by legislation which indirectly stymied our efforts. That’s where Representative Diana DiZoglio took up the fight. Through her passionate leadership, she swiftly sponsored legislation to enable firefighters throughout the Commonwealth to be back on the streets ‘Filling the Boot’ for MDA. Diana has proven in her short time in the Legislature that she has what it takes to lead and effect positive change for the people of Massachusetts. We are lucky to have Diana advocating for firefighters on Beacon Hill.”

The MDA, which is based in Tucson, Arizona, is the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to researching treatments and cures for more than 40 neuromuscular diseases. It provides support and health care services to families across the globe and brings together communities from all walks of life for advocacy and fundraising.

“The Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM) are proud of our commitment to stand with the MDA in the fight against muscle disease,” said Kathleen Tighe, Boston area director for the MDA. “Since the tradition began in 1952 with Local 718 member George Graney answering the call of a neighbor in need in South Boston, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has contributed more than $450 million to MDA. These funds have supported MDA’s portfolio of health care services, clinic visits, summer camps and research for over one million Americans who live with muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases.”

Fire fighters in Massachusetts have helped to fund breakthroughs such the discovery of the gene for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at Boston Children’s Hospital, a treatment for Pompe Disease, and numerous advances toward understanding the causes of and possible treatments for ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in addition to sponsoring local children’s attendance at a week-long, fully-adaptive MDA Summer Camp each July.

Legislature Passes Balanced FY’15 Budget

Diana joined her colleagues in the Legislature to pass a $36.5 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2015 focused on economic growth and increased government accountability and oversight.

The spending plan makes important investments in local aid, education, and human services including substance abuse treatment and prevention and mental health care. Building on a responsible yet proactive approach to combatting the recession, the Legislature’s budget contains multiple measures to achieve sustainable economic growth and provide essential services that support the Commonwealth’s citizens.

Included in the final budget is amendment Diana sponsored which secured nearly $125,000 in funding to assist Career Resources, based in Haverhill, in its effort to assist local disabled veterans seeking job opportunities. Diana also successfully fought for the inclusion of a cost-saving amendment to assist homeless families in transitioning out of shelters.

“The FY’15 Budget strongly supports the Commonwealth’s most critical services and programs while also keeping a cautious eye on spending,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “I am particularly proud of our investments in education, substance abuse treatment and local aid. This is a budget that will greatly benefit citizens in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth.”

This budget enhances the Commonwealth’s partnerships with cities and towns through numerous funding streams including $945.8 million to Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), a $25.5 million increase from FY14 and $4.4 billion for Chapter 70, a record funding level. The spending plan provides $257.5 million for the Special Education Circuit Breaker, ensuring full funding for the third consecutive year and $70.3 million for Regional School Transportation to reimburse municipalities at 90 percent, marking the highest rate in the program’s history.

In addition to educational investments through local aid, this year’s budget extends Massachusetts ongoing commitment to strengthening its educational systems to foster equality and provide residents with a competitive edge. The budget allocates $15 million to expand access to early education and funds a grant program at $9.1 million to support Early Head Start and Head Start programs. The budget also prioritizes higher education through investments in state universities, community colleges and the University of Massachusetts and includes $519 million for UMass which will enable a freeze in tuition and fees for the second year. In addition, the budget dedicates money to implement the STEM Starter Academy, an initiative created in the FY14 budget aimed at strengthening and expanding STEM programming in community colleges.

This year’s budget emphasizes the importance of enhanced fiscal predictability and sustainable investments, a practice that has raised Massachusetts bond rating to AA+, the highest in the state’s history. In an extension of this fiscal prudence, the spending plan makes the lowest draw from the Stabilization Fund in four years and contributes about $1.79 billion to Massachusetts’ unfunded pension liability to accelerate the timetable for full funding.

To heighten accountability and streamline operations, the budget establishes the Massachusetts Office of Information Technology (MOIT) to be administered by a Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Commonwealth. The CIO will be responsible for supervising all IT services of state agencies and will review any proposed IT expenditure costing more than $200,000. The Massachusetts Health Connector Authority will be considered a state agency for the purposes of MOIT oversight.

This budget reflects the Legislature’s pledge to combat the alarming rise in mental health problems and substance addiction. It allocates almost $18 million in new spending to help combat substance addiction including $10 million for the Substance Abuse Services Trust Fund to provide substance abuse services to an additional 10,000 individuals in need of treatment. The spending plan also includes the following investments in substance abuse services and treatment:

• Creates a multi-year grant program at $5 million to fund mental health and substance abuse counselors within schools;
• Increases funding for specialty courts, including drug courts, to $3 million;
• Funds training and purchase of Nasal Narcan™;
• Creates a voluntary accreditation program for sober homes; and,
• Provides additional funding for the Prescription Monitoring Program to prevent the over-prescription of medications.

To improve quality of care for people suffering from mental illness, the budget provides $10 million for the expansion of community-based placements for at least 100 discharge-ready patients in the Department of Mental Health system, while maintaining sheltered workshops for those individuals who wish to remain in a residential setting. It also creates a Behavioral and Mental Health Special task Force to identify impediments to the delivery of comprehensive treatment.

The budget includes numerous additional health and human services provisions including $60 million in MassHealth investments and:

• $47.5 million for nursing homes to reduce the gap between Medicaid payments and uncompensated care;
• $35 million for Disproportionate Share Hospitals;
• $3 million in funds for employments programs for clients of the Department of Developmental Services;
• Requires the implementation of a hearing process for long-term facilities before there is any intent to close;

Building on the continued leadership in reforming and strengthening the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the budget provides $185.6 million to reduce social worker caseloads. It also includes initiatives to improve communications, IT and record keeping practices, and ensure initial medical screenings of all children entering DCF care within 72 hours. Background checks will now be required for all current and future foster parents. Individuals will be precluded from becoming foster parents if convicted of serious crimes, including those involving violence or sexual in nature.

The budget also:

• Provides $65 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program and permits for unexpended FY14 funds to carry forward, allowing hundreds of new families to access safe and permanent housing;
• Expands the Veterans Motor Vehicle Excise Exemption to include leased cars;
• Establishes a memorial to honor Massachusetts Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Heroes; and,
• Reestablishes the Water Supply Protection Program to promote the safety and purity of the Commonwealth’s water supplies and the protection of watershed lands.

House Passes Super PAC Transparency Bill

Diana

On the heels of the enactment of campaign finance report reform, sponsored by Diana, the Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed legislation that would require the timely disclosure of donors to Super PACs (Political Action Committees) in the Commonwealth.

Under House Bill 4197, An Act relative to campaign finance disclosure and transparency, donors to independent expenditure PACs, which are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, will be required to be disclosed to the public within seven days of running an ad. Additionally, the bill requires donors who provided more than $5,000 to a Super PAC be named in the ad itself.

Super PACs operate independently of a public office candidate’s official campaign. As donations to the committees are undisclosed, it is difficult for the public to figure out what interest groups are funding then. Critics of Super PACs have referred to these funds as “dark money.”

These new disclosure requirements will go into effect ahead of this fall’s elections.

“Over the past year, I have fiercely advocated for reforms to strengthen the Commonwealth’s campaign finance system, including those pertaining to Super PACs,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “I am truly delighted to see my colleagues in the Legislature share this commitment to increased transparency.”

Diana Embarks on Merrimack Valley Manufacturing Tour

Diana meets with employees at Jessica's Brick Oven in North Andover.

Diana meets with employees at Jessica’s Brick Oven in North Andover.

Diana, a member of the Legislature’s bipartisan Manufacturing Caucus, hosted several of her caucus colleagues on a Manufacturing Tour across the Merrimack Valley on Thursday, June 12.

Through the Manufacturing Tour, the Representative was able to introduce members of the caucus to four of the Merrimack Valley’s businesses, hear their concerns and see firsthand the things they are doing every day in the region. Diana was also joined by David A. Tibbetts, President of the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council, and Peter Milano, Senior Regional Director at the Massachusetts Office of Business Development.

The tour came one day following the Massachusetts House of Representatives’ passage of an economic development package, which includes a sales tax holiday to take effect on August 16 and 17.

Among initiatives included in the package was $250,000 toward a competitive grant program, to be administered by the Small Business Association of New England, to avert layoffs at manufacturing companies through technical assistance and management consulting. The legislation also provides $500,000 for a study of Massachusetts Manufacturing Industries to identify barriers to growth, assess global market opportunities and develop a strategic roadmap for future industry growth.

On the heels of the Manufacturing Tour, Diana announced she would be co-sponsoring manufacturing legislation alongside fellow caucus member State Representative Jonathan D. Zlotnik (D-Gardner). The bill, An Act Relative to the Taxation of Inventory in Manufacturing, is designed to gradually eliminate the inventory tax manufacturers pay on raw materials over a period of four years.

During the tour, the Representative visited three businesses based in North Andover: PanelClaw, Inc., a photovoltaic mounting systems supplier for flat roof and ground mount applications; Jessica’s Brick Oven, a wholesale bakery famous for its artisan bread; and Bake’n Joy Foods, a manufacturer of high-quality food items for more than 70 years.

The Representative also made a stop in Lawrence, visiting Solectria Renewables, a leading PV inverter, string combiner and web-based monitoring company for solar projects.

“Local manufacturers are the backbone of our economy, in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth, and vital to ensuring job creation and growth,” said Diana, who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “We in the Legislature must create a climate that fosters success and that is why I have signed on as a co-sponsor to common-sense legislation to ease the tax burden on manufacturers in the Commonwealth. I want to express my gratitude to these four businesses for giving me the opportunity to hear from them directly and will ensure their concerns are heard loud and clear on Beacon Hill.”

“Manufacturing companies like Solectria Renewables are vitally important for economic growth since we provide jobs across a broad spectrum of the Massachusetts workforce,” said Anita Rajan Worden, Chairman of Solectria Renewables. “We believe it is vitally important for members of our legislative body to take tours of facilities like Solectria’s to understand and appreciate the efforts we are making to create long lasting jobs in the Commonwealth. Through direct interaction with our companies, Rep. DiZoglio and the rest of the Manufacturing Caucus will likely make informed decisions that encourage more companies to manufacture in Massachusetts.”

“It was very helpful speaking with Representative DiZoglio about the issues important to us and to the Legislature,” said Nabil Boghos, President of Jessica’s Brick Oven. “She took a real interest in trying to help us and in the manufacturing industry as a whole.”

“The Merrimack Valley is home to manufacturers both small and large that face daily challenges such as finding a well-trained workforce and dealing with the high costs of doing business in Massachusetts,” said David A. Tibbetts, President of the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council. “I commend Rep. DiZoglio for reaching out to the businesses in her district to see and hear first-hand about the challenges they face, and to commit to fighting for small businesses and manufacturers on Beacon Hill.”

“As a member of the newly formed Manufacturing Caucus, I applaud Representative DiZoglio for her leadership in initiating and conducting a manufacturing tour in Merrimack Valley,” said State Representative James Arciero (D-Westford). “This effort highlights the needs of the manufacturing sector of our economy and the potential for public-private partnerships to create additional jobs in the future.”

Greater Lawrence Technical School Awarded Grants for New Clean Energy Internship Program

Greater Lawrence Technical School (GLTS) is the recipient of $145,000 in funding recently granted under the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Learn and Earn program to prepare students for higher learning opportunities and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The program will train 24 GLTS students over the summer, and an additional 60 during the fall and spring, in the installation of solar electric panels for residential and commercial uses. Students will have the opportunity to train on ground-level, full-size practice roofs and install a fully functional solar election system as a final project.

“Greater Lawrence Technical School is a truly invaluable asset to our community and this training program will no doubt place GLTS interns on the path to future success,” said State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), a member of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education who represents communities in North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill. “I am proud to join my fellow Lawrence legislators in celebrating the announcement of this important funding.”