House Passes DiZoglio Bill to Assist Veterans with Cost of Emergency Medical Services

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed legislation sponsored by State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) to assist veterans in need of emergency medical assistance.

Currently, veterans in need of emergency medical attention who are not near a VA hospital are transported to the nearest non-VA hospital, where they do not necessarily receive the same coverage provided to those who are near a VA hospital. Depending on income, health care services are often covered in full by VA benefits at a VA hospital.

DiZoglio’s legislation, House Bill 2765, An Act establishing emergency medical services for veterans, was included as part of a comprehensive veterans benefit bill passed by the House on May 23. The bill directs the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Department of Veterans’ Services and the Center for Health Information and Analysis to conduct an investigation into the transportation of veterans in emergency medical situations to non-VA hospitals.

The study, which is to be completed by no later than March 2019, will determine reimbursement guidelines for ambulance services to non-VA hospitals and identify any gaps to insure proper continuity of care for veterans.

DiZoglio was inspired to file this legislation by Newbury resident Donald Jarvis, a disabled combat veteran.

“I am very grateful that Representative DiZoglio is helping to lead the charge on this,” said Jarvis. “This will impact every veteran in the Commonwealth, whether they served two years or 20 years in the military. When we are in an emergency, our veterans are there for us and now it is time for us to be there for them. We owe it to our veterans to have their backs when they need us most.”

“This bill is so important to me because right now, no one can seem to agree on what it is exactly that America stands for,” said Army veteran Sara Keefe. “Fortunately, everyone seems to be united in the belief that our brave servicemen and woman were issued a promise in exchange for their oath, and we have fallen shamefully short on fulfilling that promise. It is a travesty and a disgrace to our country that we would even consider anything other than taking care of the very basic essential medical needs of those that were willing to sacrifice everything for the security and comfort of those that could not or would not do so themselves.”

“One of the obstacles our veterans face is transportation,” said Joseph Leblanc, District Director of Veterans Services for the Town of North Andover. “Even more daunting is transportation for veterans who are non-ambulatory, or wheel chair bound. There isn’t much out there. The services that are in place are overtasked and understaffed or very convoluted to access.”

“All too often, veterans in need of emergency medical services find themselves saddled with huge medical costs because there are gaps in the current system,” said DiZoglio. “If you’re a veteran and don’t live near a VA hospital, you will most likely be transferred to the closest hospital if you have a medical emergency. If you were taken to a VA hospital, your emergency care would be covered by the VA. Unfortunately, emergency medical services provided to veterans at a non-VA hospital do not always end up being covered by the VA. There are gaps in the process and many have had to figure out how to pay out of pocket when they shouldn’t have. We need to make sure that the system is fair and equitable for all of our heroes regardless of their zip code and how far away they live from a VA hospital. This measure will provide legislative solutions to make sure these gaps are filled, potentially saving many from unnecessary exorbitant emergency medical costs.”

DiZoglio Hosts Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Day

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) with Charles Brown, North Andover resident and Public Policy and Advocacy Volunteer with the Michael J. Fox Foundation

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) with Charles Brown, North Andover resident and Public Policy and Advocacy Volunteer with the Michael J. Fox Foundation

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted advocates from the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth at the State House for the fourth annual meeting of the state legislature’s Parkinson’s Disease Caucus.

DiZoglio serves as chair of the caucus and provided legislators an opportunity to learn more about Parkinson’s and consider legislative steps to address the neurological disease, which affects an estimated one million Americans and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that 60,000 people are diagnosed each year in the U.S. with Parkinson’s and its prevalence is expected to more than double by the year 2040. The exact cause of the disease, which is chronic and progressive, with no treatment to slow or halt its progression, remains unknown.

Joining the Representative for the caucus meeting were the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Massachusetts chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA).

During the caucus, DiZoglio presented a resolution, co-sponsored by 46 other legislators from across the Commonwealth, proclaiming April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month in Massachusetts.

DiZoglio officially created and launched the Parkinson’s Disease Caucus in November 2015.

“What began as a State House proclamation a few years ago declaring April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month has turned into an annual event that legislators have taken a real interest in,” said Charles Brown, North Andover resident and Public Policy and Advocacy Volunteer with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. “There are several bills in the making that will benefit the Parkinson’s community in Massachusetts, as we pave the way for other states to follow. I am proud to be a part of this event and the relationships I have formed with Representative DiZoglio and her aide Andrew Carden. We will find a cure – until then, we are a community.”

“An event like this is important because it raises awareness for Massachusetts legislators and citizens,” said Dan Harvey, board member of the APDA Massachusetts Chapter. “We are very fortunate in Massachusetts that there are excellent movement disorders clinics and hospitals, many support services and major investments of research being done. But we can do more, meeting with our state and federal legislators, developing relationships, working together.”

“Greater research, education and community support services are necessary to find more effective treatments and to provide access to quality care to those with Parkinson’s Disease,” said DiZoglio. “I am honored to serve as chair of this caucus and committed to continue raising awareness about the disease with citizens from the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth.”

“I was proud to join this event, support Rep. DiZoglio’s important effort and read the Senate resolution, as we continue to spread awareness about this disease,” said State Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), who presented a resolution from the State Senate, recognizing April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month.

Running for State Senate!

Diana 2018 2

I am pleased to announce my candidacy to serve as State Senator for the 1st Essex District. I’m thankful for the service of Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives over the past several years, and I look forward to building upon her progress as she moves onto the next chapter of her life.

It has been an honor to serve the people of Haverhill, Methuen, North Andover and Lawrence as their State Representative for the last 6 years. As my community knows, I have been on a mission to bring accountability and change to Beacon Hill. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth the fight.

In the coming months, I look forward to speaking with residents in Amesbury, Haverhill, Merrimac, Methuen, Newburyport, North Andover, and Salisbury. As your senator, I will continue to work to generate economic opportunity for all, advocate for increased transparency from our elected officials, and support critical investments in education, public safety, anti-addiction efforts, veterans and senior services along with infrastructure.

I’m fired up about the campaign ahead, but I can’t win this election without your help. If you share my passion, please consider donating to my campaign or signing up to serve as a volunteer!

DiZoglio Hosts Civic Education Day at Haverhill High School

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) demonstrates using a cell phone while driving during Civic Education Day at Haverhill High School. The Representative engaged students in a debate over legislation pertaining to hands-free cell phone use while driving.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) demonstrates using a cell phone while driving during Civic Education Day at Haverhill High School. The Representative engaged students in a debate over legislation pertaining to hands-free cell phone use while driving.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently visited Haverhill High School as the latest stop on her Civic Education Tour to engage and educate students across the Merrimack Valley.

The program, which the Representative in recent years has also brought to schools in North Andover, Methuen and Lawrence, was designed to educate students about what it means to be a citizen and how to be active in the democratic process. Students had the opportunity to debate legislation pertaining to hands-free cell phone use while driving.

In today’s high schools, civic education is often only offered toward the end of a student’s studies, in twelfth grade. On the latest national civics assessment, administered by the National Assessment Governing Board, two-thirds of students scored below “proficient.” Another recent survey found that more than a quarter of college students reported they did not register to vote because they did not know how to do so

“Texting while driving is a serious issue and I’m glad that Rep DiZoglio and other representatives in Massachusetts have been taking steps in the right direction to resolve it,” said Eleanor Coffin, Haverhill High junior.

“Representative DiZoglio gave us relevant advice on how to work together to solve problems the same way the Massachusetts legislature does,” said Olivia Rodgers, Haverhill High junior. “She connected her experiences with ours. It was a great visit.”

“I appreciated the fact that Representative DiZoglio spoke to us about the issues the Massachusetts legislature has before it and she included us in the decision making process,” Evan Tsioropoulos, Haverhill High freshman.

“I can’t thank the Representative enough for taking the time to come and meet with my Civics class,” said Shaun Ashworth, Haverhill High history teacher. “I place high importance on creating a connection between the community and the high school. It provides students with a tangible opportunity to interact with the curriculum and further spark interest in what they’re learning”

“All too often, our classrooms lack a strong civic learning program to educate our youth about what state government does in our daily lives,” said DiZoglio. “It was an honor to join the amazing students of Haverhill High School as I discussed how bills become laws with this next generation of leaders. Thank you to Mr. Ashworth for having me for this wonderful occasion.”

DiZoglio’s visit came on the heels of her civic education legislation being passed by the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education.

House Bill 2022, An Act relative to civic education in public schools, was passed as part of a comprehensive civic education package to require all public elementary and high schools to teach American history and civics.

State Grants Awarded to Methuen, Lawrence, Haverhill to Combat Youth Gang Violence

The cities of Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill have been named recipients of funding from the Commonwealth’s Shannon Community Safety Initiative to address regional youth gang violence.

The competitive Shannon program is designed to support approaches to and create strategies for reducing youth gang violence, such as community policy, youth mentoring and improving relationships among families, law enforcement and school faculty.

The City of Lawrence has received $214,700 in funding, while the cities of Methuen and Haverhill will share $130,000. Additionally, UMass Lowell has received $98,858, including $26,953 to the Haverhill/Methuen site, $26,953 to the Lawrence site and $44,952 to the Lowell site.

Funds are administered by the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security.

“Receiving the Shannon Grant again this year allows us to continue our community education program and Safe Haven homework center in the Arlington Neighborhood,” said Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon. “Together with the community and this funding we are providing children who are at risk with an alternative to a gang lifestyle.”
“This funding will allow us to expand and enhance our gang resistance initiative by adding a rehabilitation component to include job skills training,” said Haverhill Police Chief Alan DeNaro. “We believe no enforcement solution will succeed long term without an educational component.”

“These important funds will empower our communities in continued efforts to engage at-risk youth and provide them with a direction away from gang activity,” said State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen). “I look forward to working closely alongside our incredible local law enforcement and community-based partners in confronting these serious problems.”

“Shannon Grant funding has been essential to Haverhill’s efforts to address gang violence in our city,” said State Representative Andy Vargas (D-Haverhill). “We know that through effective prevention and community-based intervention strategies, we can provide young people with positive opportunities and outcomes.”

DiZoglio Financial Literacy Bill Passed by State’s Education Committee

On Tuesday, January 16, the state’s Joint Committee on Education passed State Representative Diana DiZoglio’s (D-Methuen) financial literacy bill.

A recent study conducted by the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College in Vermont assigned the Commonwealth of Massachusetts an ‘F’ grade for the quality of its financial literacy programs; a label Champlain College gave to just 11 states across the nation and which means that “the state has few requirements, or none at all, for personal finance education in high school.”

Under House Bill 2023, An Act relative to financial literacy programs in schools, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is directed to develop standards and objectives on personal financial literacy, for grades pre-kindergarten to 12, within the existing mathematics curriculum. The curriculum would include understanding loans, borrowing money, interest, credit card debt, and online commerce; as well as banking, housing, retirement and taxes.

“Teaching students how to manage their finances should be a priority and is no-brainer” said DiZoglio. “A decade ago, the U.S. financial crisis began which brought to light the low levels of financial literacy, not only in Massachusetts but across the nation. While they may be receiving a great education in other subject matters, students in Massachusetts are graduating high school without understanding how to manage a simple personal budget. As young adults they become enslaved to credit card companies, their car loans and their student loans because they don’t understand how interest works, and what it really takes to pay down those debts. We must take the lessons learned from the devastating impacts of our past financial crises and teach the next generation how recognize predatory lending practices, be fiscally responsible, and make sound investments.”

“It is important for young people to learn about short term and long term goals, the impact of planning, credit interest, compound investments, charitable contributions and more, so that they may be empowered in their choices and practice making prudent financial decisions,” said North Andover School Committee member Helen Pickard. “Financial literacy in our schools would ensure learners have access to information for their best interests, life-long.”

“As a mother and a school committee member, I want our children to be learning more than the core curriculum,” said Methuen School Committee member Jana DiNatale. “Students should leave high school with both knowledge and character, prepared to take personal responsibility for achieving their goals. Teaching students to become prudent managers of their financial resources will put them on the road to financial responsibility and security.”

“As a junior at North Andover High School, I’m beginning to think about college and my career but I feel in the dark when it comes to finances,” said Kaitlyn Parks. “Learning about financial literacy in school would be a huge help to myself and my classmates as we enter the real world.”

“This is such a huge step for the Massachusetts system of education,” said North Andover High School graduate Sarah Keith. “Financial literacy is a skill set that every student can benefit from, and having access to education on taxes, loans, and credit is crucial for future success. I have been fortunate enough to attend lectures and lessons throughout college on financial literacy, but not everyone has this opportunity post high school graduation. I love that Representative DiZoglio is sponsoring such an important piece of legislation.”

“Massachusetts educational standards are mostly great but severely lacking in any sort of financial literacy, so to learn about finance, I have to take online courses, visit banks and read the Financial Times,” said Austin Preparatory School student Sana Nadkarni. “I sincerely want to enter the financial sector, and don’t want to wait till I am in business school to learn about finance. This knowledge should be readily available, and has to start early. I am overjoyed that with the success of Representative DiZoglio’s bill, my eight-year old brother will learn real-life skills in the public school classroom, and contribute to a more educated generation of Massachusetts citizens overall, and of potential financiers.”

DiZoglio Gives Girl Scouts Hands-On Civic Lesson at State House

As part of her civic education initiative, State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted a group of North Andover Girl Scouts for a visit to the State House.

As part of her civic education initiative, State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted a group of North Andover Girl Scouts for a visit to the State House.

As part of her civic education initiative, State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted a group of North Andover Girl Scouts for a visit to the State House.

The troop had the opportunity to tour the State House and meet with the Representative. DiZoglio brought the students into the House Chamber, where they sat in the seats of legislators, as the Representative explained how ideas become laws. The troop then engaged in a debate, moderated by DiZoglio, over a piece of legislation.

Since 2013, DiZoglio has filed legislation to incorporate civic education in Massachusetts public schools. She also regularly visits schools across the Merrimack Valley, hosting Civic Education Days.

“Visiting the State House was such a great experience for the girls,” said North Andover School Committee member and mother Holly Vietzke-Lynch. “Rep. DiZoglio gave the girls a glimpse into the life of a state representative, and I think we may have some future politicians in our town.”

“My favorite part of the day was pretending to be a state representative and debating and voting on an issue,” said girl scout Callista Giles.

“I had a really fun time, and I learned a lot about Massachusetts history,” said girl scout Lauren Lynch. “My favorite part was the debate!”

“The scouts got to experience what legislative debate is all about,” said troop leader Bonnie Miller. “They learned to respectfully disagree.”

“Diana did an amazing job bringing the legislative process to life for our Girl Scout troop,” said troop leader Valerie Giles.

“This is our next generation of leaders, so it is important that we encourage them to be actively involved in the democratic process early on,” said DiZoglio. “The girls were given the opportunity to debate a real-life bill that impacts citizens of the Merrimack Valley. While the debate was respectful and thoughtful, it was also plenty of fun.”

North Andover Boy Scouts Receives Hands-On Civic Lesson at State House

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted North Andover’s Boy Scout Troop 82 for a visit to the Massachusetts State House.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted North Andover’s Boy Scout Troop 82 for a visit to the Massachusetts State House.

As part of her civic education initiative, State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted North Andover’s Boy Scout Troop 82 for a visit to the State House.

The troop had the opportunity to tour the State House and meet with the Representative. DiZoglio brought the students into the House Chamber, where they sat in the seats of legislators, as the Representative explained how ideas become laws. The troop then engaged in a debate, moderated by DiZoglio, over a piece of legislation.

Since 2013, DiZoglio has filed legislation to incorporate civic education in Massachusetts public schools. She also regularly visits schools across the Merrimack Valley, hosting Civic Education Days.

Haverhill’s Carole Pelchat Honored by League of Women Voters at State House

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently presented a congratulatory citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives to Haverhill’s Carole Pelchat in honor of her more than 12 years of work as legislative director for the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. State Representative Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen) was also present for the celebration.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently presented a congratulatory citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives to Haverhill’s Carole Pelchat in honor of her more than 12 years of work as legislative director for the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts. State Representative Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen) was also present for the celebration.

Haverhill resident Carole Pelchat was recently celebrated at the Massachusetts State House, as part of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts’ Day on the Hill.

Pelchat, a founding member of the League of Women Voters of Greater Haverhill, has served as legislative director for the Massachusetts League for more than 12 years.

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages the participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through advocacy and education. Its goal is to empower citizens to improve their communities, statewide, nationwide and globally.

During the celebration, Pelchat spoke of her priorities with the League of Women Voters, among them expanding voter registration access, promoting civic education across the Commonwealth and advocating for the use of paper ballots in Massachusetts.

In honor of her service with the Massachusetts League, her state representative, Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), presented Pelchat with a congratulatory citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

“Carole’s work with the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, including her efforts with the Greater Haverhill chapter, has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said DiZoglio. “It has been a true honor and privilege knowing Carole, an advocate who has inspired me and countless others across the Commonwealth. I look greatly forward to continuing work alongside the League over the years to come.”

Lawrence’s 99Degrees Custom Recognized at State House

From left to right, State Representative Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin), co-chair of the Manufacturing Caucus; State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), member of the Manufacturing Caucus; and Brenna Schneider, founder and CEO of 99Degrees Custom

From left to right, State Representative Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin), co-chair of the Manufacturing Caucus; State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), member of the Manufacturing Caucus; and Brenna Schneider, founder and CEO of 99Degrees Custom

The Lawrence-based 99Degrees Custom was recognized at the Massachusetts State House as part of the 2st Annual Manufacturing Month Award Ceremony, honoring manufacturers across the Commonwealth.

99Degrees Custom is an apparel manufacturer, specializing in sewn and bonded sports and activewear. The company produces for leading and emerging brands that produce technical apparel for a number of markets including running, yoga, crossfit, cycling and rock climbing.

99Degrees Custom was nominated for this honor by State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), a member of the legislature’s Manufacturing Caucus.

“It is an honor to receive this nomination and to reflect on the last few years,” said Brenna Schneider, founder and CEO of 99Degrees Custom. “I’m thankful for the continued local and state support which have helped to advance my vision and catalyze our growth. It is my team’s spirit of innovation and the energy in our rising immigrant city that motivate me to build a future for apparel manufacturing that will make the Merrimack Valley proud.”

“Local manufacturers like 99Degrees Custom are the backbone of our economy, in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth, and critical to ensuring job growth and creation,” said DiZoglio. “I was honored to nominate 99Degrees Custom, a sterling example of American ingenuity that provides jobs across a wide spectrum of the Massachusetts workforce, for this recognition.”