North Andover Seniors Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Style

Diana visits with Mr. and Mrs. Padova of North Andover at the North Andover Senior Center during a recent St. Patrick’s Day Lunch.

Diana visits with Mr. and Mrs. Padova of North Andover at the North Andover Senior Center during a recent St. Patrick’s Day Lunch.

The North Andover Senior Center recently held a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon to celebrate the upcoming holiday and bring members of the community together for great food and conversation.

The event, which drew attendance from nearly 100 members of the community, was catered by A Haute Dish, located in North Andover and owned by Jennifer Broberg. The luncheon was sponsored by Diana.

“The North Andover Senior Center is the only municipal-funded resource and referral agency for the older adults living in the North Andover community,” said Irene M. O’Brien, elder service director for the Town of North Andover. “Social events like the St. Patrick’s luncheon hosted by Representative Diana DiZoglio support education as well as keep our older adults socially engaged, independent and active in the community.”

“It was an immense pleasure hosting this St. Patrick’s Day Lunch for all of the talented and vivacious North Andover seniors,” said Diana. “Turnout was terrific, the food was excellent and we had so many engaging conversations. It’s so important that we bring members of the community together like this and I truly cannot wait to again visit the Senior Center.”

Senate Passes Campaign Finance Reform

On the heels of its passage by the Massachusetts House of Representatives last November, the Massachusetts Senate has voted to enact campaign finance reform legislation sponsored by Diana.

Under House Bill 3760, An Act relative to strengthening campaign finance reporting requirements, current campaign finance report law is extended to candidates for municipal office who file with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Under prior law, candidates for state or county office who failed to file campaign finance reports were prohibited from appearing on an election ballot, yet this law did not apply to municipal candidates.

“With the passage of this legislation, candidates in municipal elections who file with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance will be held to the same standards as those running in county and state elections,” said Diana. “I want to express my gratitude to, among others, Senators Barry Finegold (D-Andover), Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport), Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) and Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge) for their tireless work in advancing through the legislative process a common sense bill that will bring more transparency to our government. This required a bipartisan team effort and without their willingness to meet with me and discuss this issue, this legislation would not have made it as far as it has.”

“This bill will strengthen our campaign finance laws and increase transparency in our elections by holding all candidates who file with OCPF equally accountable,” said Finegold. “It is a common sense measure, and I applaud Representative DiZoglio for taking the lead on this important issue.”

“Access to the ballot should be for people who play by the rules, and the campaign finance rules are in place to make sure that political funding is transparent and accountable,” said Tarr. “This bill ensures that municipal elections will also have the benefit of those rules.”

“With this legislation, mayoral candidates in large cities will no longer be able to break campaign finance laws and still get on the ballot,” said O’Connor Ives. “This bill strengthens the public’s access to election information and holds accountable those candidates for public office who do not disclose donor information on time.”

“Throughout this legislative session, Representative DiZoglio has worked to strengthen campaign finance requirements and prevent voting irregularities,” said Eldridge. “This measure would ensure that integrity and fairness is in place during elections and will create more transparency in government.”

Diana Brings Civic Education Tour to Lawrence

Lawrence Civic Education Day

Diana recently visited the South Lawrence East Middle School (SLE), marking the latest stop in her Civic Education Tour to engage and educate students across the Merrimack Valley.

The program, which the Representative has brought to schools in North Andover, Methuen and Haverhill, went over the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and, through interactive exercises, was designed to educate students about what it means to be a citizen and how to be active in the democratic process. During the event, students participated in mock legislative and judicial hearings, the latter conducted by Michael J. Ryan of the Office of Jury Commissioner for the Commonwealth.

“The Civic Education Day at the South Lawrence East Middle School was a huge success,” said SLE Principal Alyce Merlino. “The students were part of one of the fundamental processes of American democracy, a jury duty. I want to thank Representative DiZoglio so much for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this most important presentation.”

“This program helps students understand how our government works so that we can be involved in the future,” said student Yanira Cruz.

“Representative DiZoglio believes we, the students of Lawrence, can make a difference,” said student Caroline Mejia. “She came here to our school as a model for our community.”

“We learned that our State Representative is always there for us, which is good, we like to be heard,” said student Yelissa Torres.

“I love how our Representative was born here and understands where we are coming from,” said student Kyara Gonzalez. “We feel more connected to her.”

“I like how Mr. Ryan kept us involved in what he was doing,” said student Lisbeth Burgos. “It was a fun and interesting experience.”

“I was truly honored to be among so many bright and talented students as I spoke about how ideas become laws and involved the students in an interactive mock committee hearing,” said Diana, who has sponsored legislation to establish a comprehensive student civic education program. “I look forward to visiting additional schools in Lawrence and across the Merrimack Valley in the months to come to educate students on how our government works.”

In many of 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 in 2006 by the National Assessment Governing Board, two-thirds of students scored below “proficient.” In 2010, more than a quarter of college students reported they did not register to vote because they did not know where or how to do so.

“Our classrooms all too often lack a strong civic learning program to educate students about what state government does in our daily lives,” said Diana. “It is critical that our youth begin to grasp these concepts to ensure they are able to actively participate in the democratic process as they enter adulthood.”

“It is critical for students to have an understanding of our judicial system early on, given they should be prepared to serve jury duty as soon as high school,” said Ryan.

In addition to the South Lawrence East Middle School, Diana has visited North Andover High School, Methuen High School and Haverhill’s Hunking Middle School on her Civic Education Tour.

The Representative will next take the tour to Lawrence High School in April, the Wetherbee Elementary School in May and plans to visit additional schools in the future as well. She will also host a Distracted Driving Day at Methuen High School later this month.